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Blog: Monrovia's New City Budget!

Notes from the City Council meeting last week.

The meeting on Tuesday, June 19th started with a public hearing with the council approving The Citywide Lighting and Landscaping Maintenance District in the amount of $56.23 for a single family home, the same rate that has been charged for the past 10 years.

We then moved on to The Park Maintenance Assessment District. This was a public hearing and this fund calls for an annual “Cost of Living: increase which this year was 2.1% or a $.22 increase bringing the total to $10.89.

The Council then adjourned to the Monrovia Housing Authority and approved a budget of $291,248 which is used in part for home improvement grants and to administer the Monrovia Area Partnership.

The evening then turned back to the City Council and we moved on to reports from Council members. Several reports were heard prior to the Mayor moving on to appointing several board and commissioners. We had two written complaints regarding the process. After lively discussion the Council approved all of the appointments except the ones in question. Those will be brought back for further interviews.

Next we moved on to the big item, the budget. Our staff has been working on this for several weeks and we have had a few meetings to take a look at what next year will look like. The state continues to be a menace to cities and schools along with the elimination of the redevelopment agency. Our new City Manager, Laurie Lile,  has done a great job in a very short time and we ended this item with a balanced budget, on time!

Last but not least we had an item where a recent Ninth Circuit case called into question our anti-solicitation ordinance so we took an action to remove the questionable portion of this. I think we were all a little stunned to see that we now need to allow people soliciting business on the city right of way, that being the streets and sidewalks. This will now allow someone to walk around with signs or handout handbills for commercial purposes. The Appeals Court felt this was a freedom of speech.

Thanks for reading this, as always I am open to questions.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

R. Ray Morford June 25, 2012 at 03:59 PM
The Ninth Circuit Court is a menace to society. They do not understand quality of life. They have no comprehension that with freedom of speech comes responsibility. Again it's more control over our lives. If the solicitors are offensive "WE THE PEOPLE" do not have to do business with them.
punkster June 25, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Tom, I really appreciate your recap........Keep them coming
Gayle M. Montgomery June 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM
The Ninth Circut ruled fairly and equitably. It may be a pain in the keister to have these folks in front of local commerce and/or to be accosted by someone asking for whatever they're asking, but it is a basic part of the First Amendment protections. The problem we have as Americans is we want to protect those that are our sacred cows yelling "The Constitution," while sacrificing someone else's. Cannot have it both ways. Why I'm tempted to say take away all guns in this paragraph (evil grin) I'm not sure. Often, those who scream Second Amendment have real problems with the First.
Tom Adams June 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Gayle, I agree that the first amendment is very important, this decision is not about free speech but about commercial speech. A business owner can now stand in front of the competition and attempt to direct business away from that location and down the street to his own. We have all seen the sign guys spinning signs trying to get us to spend our money elsewhere, with this decision they need not buy a business license, permit or anything. Kinda takes the incentive away from paying all of those business taxes we pay.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Tom, it probably comes as no surprise that I am a long-time supporter of the ACLU, specifically because of it's First and Fourth Amendment protections. Now this is much to the chagrin of my dear dad who sees it as a shame upon the family (LOL). That said, You have to take the good and the bad as it stands with Constitutional protections. I understand your position, and I empathize. First Amendment is that which allowed Citizens United to prevail and allow companies to funnel dollars unfettered into political campaigns such that it won't be long before only the landed gentry can ever win political office. First Amendment is what allowed SCOTUS to deny Montana its challenge to Citizens United. First Amendment allows that dastardly "religious" (God does not like ugly) group to protest at funerals or the Skinheads to march on Main Street. But First Amendment also allows people to step up and protest that which is inequitable and unjust, allows people to speak what also needs to be said. There is no way to winnow either out when it comes to First Amendment. Truly, I understand your concerns. It's just that you have to take "the good" with "the bad" when it comes to Constitutional protections because each term is subjective.
Chris Ziegler June 26, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I don't understand calling the state a menace, we've caused them to go broke and now were feel the reality of such actions. Am I off base?
Tom Adams June 26, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Chris, I think a lot of people feel that way because the state is not spending the money in a manner in which many would agree with. I am not sure that "we" caused them to do the things they do, Sacramento is a "pay to play" environment right now, has been for at least a decade. The voters may have sent these folks there but never did the voters think that when a company that makes playground equipment pays a lobbiest to get a law passed that requires cities to replace all of the playground equipment that the pols where doing this because the "people" wanted it. A classic is that they took the money that was ear marked for the children of 9/11 victims to go to college and spent it, I don't know anyone who can defend that.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 26, 2012 at 02:45 AM
That pay to play, regrettably, is not limited to Sacramento. It is not limited to DC, and it has shown that it has been invasive in local goverments, aka Bell and Cudahy among others. I'd like to see the money come out of politics. That said, there is merit in what Chris writes. Not we as in Monrovia but we as the collective Californians. I know this is skunk at the picnic, but there were 2 real key attributes that attributed to the decline of the California (educational) economy. One ties directly to Prop 13 which may have helped some, but there were countless that had to do with less at the governmental level as a result. Then there was that God awful Cheney meeting with the energy mavens in the previous decade that left the State to extortionary electric generation rates, caused them to go into contracts in the long run which did not prove economical, and more. We have multi-generations of households living in one house, paying one house's taxes, but acquiring services as though it was equally paid. Then we have all these people under water on their homes. If their tax revenue declines, revenue to the State declines as well. It is a mess. Some have recouped these taxes calling them "Fees." Same difference.
Richard Christy June 26, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Oh it's not just Bell and the big obvious offenders.. It's right here in Monrovia too. This form of government is right here with the tax gift our city council just gave to a buddy local auto retailer. It's here with a local businessman and ex mayor getting on the school board and one of the first things he does is shuts down school fundraisers that don't support his friends pockets. There are countless examples here at home where this type of government rules. This is definitely under the category of "the state(city) not spending money in a manner which many would agree with"
Chris Ziegler June 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Tom, I'd like to learn more about the topics you've mentioned. Do you have a number of the bill regarding the park upgrades and a news source for the 911 funds issue? I'd be happy to write letters to our state folks if that helps.
Tom Adams June 26, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Chris, read this! Both Arnold and Jerry did the same thing, this is not about parties, this is about disfunction. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/47920330/ns/today-today_news/t/calif-used-scholarship-funds-close-budget-gap/
Steve Buckner June 26, 2012 at 03:00 PM
"Just compensation"The last two words of the amendment promise "just compensation" for takings by the government. In United States v. 50 Acres of Land (1984), the Supreme Court wrote that "The Court has repeatedly held that just compensation normally is to be measured by "the market value of the property at the time of the taking contemporaneously paid in money." Olson v. United States, 292 U.S. 246 (1934) ... Deviation from this measure of just compensation has been required only "when market value has been too difficult to find, or when its application would result in manifest injustice to owner or public." United States v. Commodities Trading Corp., 339 U.S. 121, 123 (1950). So, when I came home one day to find the city had installed NO PARKING signs on my property and was told the city just pass a Resolution to give the right to do such, where is my rights. Calling the kettle black aren't we. You knew why the city did that dont you Tom, and who was the first person to get this inforcement without just compensation. ME. What was the cost to do this.
Tom Adams June 26, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Steve, I am sorry for your situation but a court did rule against you and we are still a nation of laws.
Steve Buckner June 26, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Sorry Tom, That is where the city sued me to take the land on the north side of my house. The city said they spend public funds to improve my land so now you can take it. As chris knows, there was never an improvement done to the prop. You, the city never got permision from the owners to use the land. Remember the permit that the flood control issued to the city, it said YOU MUST GET PERMISION FROM THE TITLE FEE OWNER BEFORE USE. I have a copy if you would like to see it. You broke the law by allowing some of the city employees who live on valmont use the land without consent from the land owner. Nation of laws, ya right. As for the south side of my land, YOU voted to give the fire cheif authorization to install fire lanes on PUBLIC Prop. The police dep has been over here countless times about me parking (temporarily) on my road. The police never said there is a prob. Mr Coleman (Great Guy) came over and asked me to park my truck on the road, took pictures and measured the road with my truck parked there. He stated, I dont understand what the prob is, you have 11 feet of road here with the truck parked on the road. He even asked the fire dept to bring over the ladder truck to show there is room to pass. The fire dept refused. (WHY IS THAT). This is an access road to my driveway, Not a city street. The family that is calling on me has a son that is a fire captain with Monrovia FD. Laws really. You make a law to go after ONE person.
Robert Parry June 27, 2012 at 01:25 AM
"We've caused them to go broke?" How did we cause Sacramento to go broke? We pay one of the highest sales tax rates in the country. Some states don't even have an income tax. What did we do to cause them to spend like drunken sailors? (pun intended, Sailor)
Gayle M. Montgomery June 27, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Those of us who have been around the block a few dozen times remember the glory days of California, the land of milk and honey. The milk has dried up, and the honey brings bears who terrorize the neighborhoods (smile). Look, we can all lament what was that isn't, but the fact of the matter, like them or not, our City Council has been fighting to keep us in the black where possible. They got a budget on time which is normally something the State cannot do, but this time, Governor Moonbeam (you have to have been around the block a few times to know that term) just did. Cities everywhere are struggling. Things are not nice, they just are as they are and require belt tightening. I just got a breaking news alert that the City of Stockton has just filed for bankruptcy protections. We're not there yet, but we could be if we don't face the music and realize the orchestra is no longer there, and all we've got is an old rusty trumpet to get us through. We're going to have to make tough choices to get through this, but get through this we will and must. Kvetching at one another, pointing fingers, getting ugly is just not going to cut it. We have to band together as family--even if a dysfunctional one--make some tough decisions, accept there are going to be some things we will not like if we had our druthers, and keep going. This is a great City in spite of rumors to the contrary. Don't worry. Be happy now!
Tom Adams June 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Gayle, it has never been said better!
Chris Ziegler June 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Soldier (Robert Parry), Corrupting the term "Drunken Sailor" by using it to describe electeds..... you show no respect for those hard-working, fun-loving old sailors of yesteryear (The new Navy does not tolerate alcohol abuse). Back to the question: Take a look at the state budget and you will see two huge slices; HHS and Education. Much of HHS is preventable by well known, well communicated personal behaviors but we ignore reality on the matter. And education; just go volunteer in your child's class for a week or two. You'll see that teachers are spending a huge amount of their energy on the kids from familes that are doing nothing for their kid's development. Kids that can't count, recognize colors, have never been read to and are sent to school with sugar donuts for lunch. By offering defined benefit retirement packages we exacerbate the CALPERS underfunding problem - Defined benefit worked when there was strong economic growth, those days are very likely gone and defined benefit should have been ended quite some time ago. Look at the wilderness preserve, we were auwfully quick to take public funding and are very slow to deliver on our obligations to make it available for much needed recreation. I'd even say our public transit solutions are a farce as we realize a much lower return on those investments when the level of service is so poor - bicycling is roughly twice as fast as most public transit options!
Chris Ziegler June 27, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Gayle, That's the big question, are we going to band together? It seems that we are so much better at pointing fingers than rolling up our sleeves and respectfully addressing the issues in an educated manner. Banning together in times of abundance is a snap, times of contraction, not so much. Out of curiosity, did you see the YouTube online documentary someone posted on another thread titled, "There's No Tomorrow" ? It was very well done and provides a good education on some of our economic headwinds.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 27, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Chris, parenting is not something we teach in school (unless you were lucky enough to have had Ms. Tye's (sp?) course at MHS back inna day). It is not always innate. Some have never been taught good parenting skills. Some are so consumed with getting through the day-to-day to cover the bills they don't have the inclination to step up and educate as (you and I believe) they should and think it's just the teacher's issue to deal with. Some should never have been parents; some may not have wanted to but for the lack of prevention. Some don't even have the luxury of being able to spend time in the classroom. The days of June Cleaver are long gone in most households. The education budget, as stated before, took its biggest hit when Prop 13 was passed. It effectively enriched a couple of generations of Californians to the detriment of future students. In some cases, you cannot fix those socioeconomic ills for current parents, you can just work on the current generation to try to make for better future parents. How many kids have never set foot in a museum to learn about the treasures there? How many kids are pacified with video games and cartoons. When the grandkids were little and lived with me, I took the remote control to work with me so I could find it at night. They got to pick 1 channel per day, and it could only be Cartoon Network 1 day a week. They watched History Channel, PBS, Animal Planet and such. They were taken to museums and learned.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 27, 2012 at 07:03 PM
And while I'm ragging on pet peeves, why on God's green earth do you have to have a DVR player in the car to zombieize your kids on a road trip? How are they ever going to learn about simple beauty, simple pleasures, the topography of California, its geology, the flora and fauna, how long it takes, or how to get from here to there if they're hyperfocusing on some cartoon movie? Why should you be exempt from the tortures of the incessant "How long does it take?" My dad always told us twice as long as it actually took so that, when we got there, we were really surprised and excited about what a good driver he was to get us there so soon.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 27, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Chris, I haven't seen the video, and I don't know if "we" are going to band together. I'm just going to say what I've done. I've spent a lifetime of giving back. In addition to working a full-time job, and even when I was a single mom, no child support, after my husband and I split, and while going to school, I volunteered like crazy and have my whole life. While I said I did it to help other people, fact of the matter is the person it helped most was me. I've met some incredible people involved in community outreach and increased and acquired skills that might otherwise have gone dormant. I've offered time and talents to a variety of social services and museums. I run a 3.7K jobs board for museum folk I created 10 years ago that colleges and universities send their students to (new sessions must have started because I just got a fresh batch). I chair a philanthropic group through the work group and lead a team of 11 committed to supporting local nonprofits. I've been less involved in Monrovia specifically, doing a part of my work online and much of my volunteering around the area. For nearly 20 years, I supported children's shelters, fundraising for them, recruiting others to give of their time, mentoring a 9-year old born addicted to crack and an 18-year old who timed out. One year, I put on Christmas for 600 kids. So, for me, personally, I feel I've been banding, but if you want to put heads together, let's talk.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Now that last post was not intended to be a toot your own horn. It's to say that each of us reaches out and gives a little something of themselves, whether a freewill contribution, an in-kind donation from a business or home no longer needed or put to better use by someone else, or time in service to our neighbors and our community, not only will our community be helped, but we as individuals will be. I had to pull back on my volunteerism last year when I hit the wall on something and my doctor told me I was quite literally exhausted. And for the better part of this year I've been shepherding the medical care and support of my daughter's children. But there is so much to be gained in working together toward the greater good. For me, personally, when I lay down for that last and forever sleep, I can do so knowing that I gave my best. I encourage us all to work together and separate our differences to get us through this current fiscal crisis. You can be happy in a bucket of manure if you choose to be. It's all about how you frame things. We get so focused on the negative. That is the wrong place to live.
Gayle M. Montgomery June 28, 2012 at 09:29 PM
So today the audit report came out on the City of Vernon. They used to be rich and forward thinking. They have not been staying within budget for quite some time and were excoriated in the audit. Again, we are fortunate to live in a City that tries to stay within the navigational beams even if the channel narrows dramatically.
T. L. Shryock July 01, 2012 at 04:07 AM
So just how much is in the just approved budget for Retired city workers for pension and health care benefits?
Insider February 08, 2013 at 01:50 AM
I am not comfortable blaming Prop 13 for California's fiscal problems. Before Prop 13 elderly people, on a fixed income, who worked hard to own their homes, lost their property because they could not keep up with the unregulated property tax hikes. Many people in government waste money and can't stick to a budget. I remember years ago an LA supervisor spent over $700,00 of goverment money to remodel his office and he was not a unique case. Most Californians have bought and sold new homes since Prop 13 and spend an average of 1% to !.5% of the homes purchase price on property taxes. So if the average California home is $450,000.00 the owner pays $4,500 to $6,750 a year in property taxes. That is not a small amount of money. Plus with Prop 13 families can reasonably plan their property tax payments for the future.

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