The Lynwood City Council passed a budget for the next fiscal year at the recent Council meeting. It is the first time the Council has passed a budget on time in many years (the new fiscal year begins July 1) and reflects, as City Manager Ernie Hernandez said, “that the City’s financial condition is the best it has been in a very long time.”
You may remember that the City Council passed a biennial budget last year that covered 2021-22 and 2022-23. The city expects revenues totaling $42.1 million in the coming fiscal year and projects a surplus of $789,000, which is an improvement over last year’s projection of $1.3 million deficit. Just as important, the City was able to meet its reserve policy.
When City Manager Ernie Hernandez started in the job last year, the Council directed him to address the City’s budget woes and he thanked them for their direction Tuesday night.
Things are much better.
It’s important to remember that public safety—the cost of fire and police services—is nearly 55% of the city’s budget. That’s a fixed cost.
The City’s marked improved financial condition doesn’t mean that the challenges are over. For instance, the high fuel prices are having an impact. The price of gasoline needed to run the City’s fleet is projected to double next year. The City has been addressing this issue proactively. New vehicle replacements will be hybrid and electric vehicles. In fact, the City just bought four hybrid trucks for parking enforcement. Expect that trend to continue.
Insurance premiums—which are increasing nationally will cost the City an additional $200,000 to a $2.5 million annual expenditure.
And the City does not plan to add any employees in the coming fiscal year.
So, challenges remain but as Mayor Jorge Casanova said last week, “This is a very positive budget and I’d like to congratulate the City staff for its hard and productive work on this.”