While West Covina prepares to send a financial recovery plan for the California auditor’s office, a Wednesday night city hall meeting previewed city strategies and received feedback.
The City Council is expected to further discuss the budget at next week’s meeting.
One topic of particular interest was the West Covina Fire Department. Community members asked how to control firefighters’ overtime costs, which rose to more than $3 million during the pandemic. There was also some discussion about the elimination of one of the city’s five firefighters.
Other discussion topics included:
- A Review of Property Tax Revenue Projections
- Validating that revenue estimates are accurate
- long-term financial planning
- Upcoming pension payments
- Increases in Police Department Resources and Personnel
City manager David Carmany plans to present parts of the budget for fiscal year 2021-22 which highlight an anticipated increase in reserves, the city’s rainy day fund, and ways to spend federal and state money for pandemic relief.
The city is receiving nearly $20 million in relief funds and plans to use them for capital improvement projects. However, funds are restricted.
“I thought it was a good date. It had a good tone,” said Carmany. “I appreciate that people care enough about their municipal budget to share their ideas and hear about it. I was pleased.”
West Covina was designated as high risk in a report released by the California audit office in December. In the report, the state auditor’s office asked West Covina to prepare and present a recovery plan to resolve its financial problems.