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Mid-year evaluation brings extra breathing room in Santa Clarita city budget

Posted: December 15, 2013 1:46 p.m.
Updated: December 15, 2013 1:46 p.m.

City Manager Ken Striplin will see a 5 percent raise in 2014 following a positive review by the Santa Clarita City Council.

For the second year in a row, the Santa Clarita City Council adjusted its budget upward at mid-fiscal year, increasing estimated revenue for 2013-14 by nearly $30 million.

While most of the increased revenue comes in the form of grants or funds restricted for a specific purpose, $4,049,776 of the increase is in Santa Clarita’s general fund, a pot of money the city has greater freedom to spend.

The city’s expenditures are also projected to increase by almost $12.5 million, including $3,677,303 in additional general fund expenditures.

Some additional expenses this year include $150,000 to replace playground equipment and install a shade structure at Chesebrough Park in Valencia and $120,000 to continue efforts to block development of the proposed Cemex sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon.

Another expenditure is $50,368 to provide part-time staffing at the Canyon Country Community Center, which City Manager Ken Striplin said shows the growing popularity of the facility, which opened last January.

“I think it’s positive news that we’re seeing revenues coming in higher than we anticipated,” Striplin said.

A review and adjustment of the city’s budget at mid-fiscal year is a standard part of the budget-setting process, he said. The council approved the revised budget at Tuesday night’s meeting. The fiscal year runs July 1-June 30.

When approved earlier this year, the city’s spending plan stood at about $180.6 million, with about $85 million of that in the general fund.

That budget also included a 17 percent reserve.

This is the second year in a row the city has had a rosier-than-expected budget outlook at the halfway point.

“I think it shows that over the past several years the council’s conservative approach to fiscal planning continues to pay off,” Striplin said.

Last fiscal year, the city’s mid-year budget adjustments called for about $13.8 million more in revenue than originally projected, with some $939,980 of that in the general fund.

The previous year’s projected revenue increase of $7.3 million was offset by expenditures going up by more than $9 million.

Tuesday’s council agenda item also carried with it an early Christmas gift for Striplin in the form of a 5 percent raise.

Striplin, who has been the city’s top administrator for about a year, was hired on at $220,000 a year.

His raise was built into the terms of the city manager’s contract and provides for the pay bump should the City Council determine he has performed as expected.

Council members met with Striplin in a closed session meeting Nov. 26 and determined he had met all the criteria necessary for the pay increase. Council members have also repeatedly and publicly praised Striplin’s performance.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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