At a study session on May 17, the La Verne City Council met to discuss and provide direction on the City’s preliminary Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget. Based on the feedback received, staff is currently preparing detailed budget documents which will be brought back to Council at its first meeting in June for a more in-depth workshop where department heads will present their specific budget recommendations. While the budget under development is intended to maintain community services and address other needs like infrastructure improvements, it is also reflective of the realities brought about due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recommendations in the proposed General Fund budget of nearly $38.9 million will ultimately align the City’s resources with the Council’s goals and priorities to support community-wide enhancements. It is important to note, however, that General Funds do not generally contribute toward La Verne’s Capital Improvement Program which is funded largely through grants and other specific revenue sources. However, for FY 21-22, it is anticipated that General Funds could be allocated toward equipment needs including new patrol, fire command and sewer-cleaning (vactor) vehicles, personnel expenses such as reorganizing the community services department and adding a sergeant position, and several one-time expenditures.

The Council also discussed additional funding for fire and emergency staffing through the La Verne Fire Department (learn more). While adding more personnel is desirable, they also acknowledged a more comprehensive review is necessary. With that in mind, they directed that funding be added for completion of the Standards of Response Coverage (SOC) report which will take a comprehensive look at all aspects of the City’s fire service and medical response capabilities and make specific recommendations on how to best utilize resources to meet actual community needs across all aspects of the organization. It is expected that the findings of this report should be available at the same time the City is appointing its permanent fire chief.

While sales tax revenues performed better than expected in light of COVID-19 over the course of the last year, it is anticipated that sales tax revenues will not grow in FY 21-22. There are, however, three development projects requiring building permits that could generate some revenue. Additionally, with the exception of recreation programs, other major City revenues like property taxes are nearing historic levels which helps strengthen the City’s financial outlook. Therefore, the City is proceeding with both optimism and caution, realizing that there may be some lagged effects on the economy that could affect future revenue growth.

Supplementing the FY 21-22 budget is a population-based allocation of approximately $6.5 million from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These one-time funds could allow

La Verne to replenish reserves and address projected deficits, seek reimbursement for COVID-19-related operational expenses, address water and sewer capital projects, invest further in COVID-19 recovery programs and distribute additional relief to residents and local businesses.

The more detailed and fully flushed out proposed FY 21-22 budget will be presented to the Council on Monday, June 7. This will be followed by the formal adoption of the budget by the Council during its June 21 meeting, which will serve as the official approval for work programs to commence in the new fiscal year.