As the fiscal-year 2013-14 budget was being planned, community meetings were held much earlier than normal, in the wake of the significant sales tax revenue loss from BP/ARCO’s move of their sales operations outside of the City. As noted by City Manager Ellen Volmert, “the City cannot continue to provide current services, the way they are provided, with current revenue. While significant action has already been taken by the City Council and City staff, more is needed for La Palma to have a sustainable financial future.”
Over $400,000 in expenditure reductions were needed to balance the 2012-13 fiscal year budget where the loss of sales tax revenue had already been felt. The City Council also helped to close the budget gap by authorizing a mid-year increase of the utility users’ tax, from 4% to 5%, the voter approved maximum. The revised general fund budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year was $9.4 million, with about half of that budget going to the La Palma Police Department.
Extensive public participation was encouraged so the final budget would accurately match the community's needs and wants. Residents were encouraged to sign on to the City’s website and share their ideas through the Community Voice, a electronic forum that lets the public make suggestions and allows others to comment and vote on those ideas. Further, involved residents who wanted to receive email updates from the City regarding the budget process, were encouraged to sign-up for our Notify Me service.