South Pasadena City Council members officially received the results of the vote that was taken last month in regards to the Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District.
South Pasadena property owners were provided with an opportunity to create a new district and to approve a modest increase to their assessment, but a citywide vote was turned down.
City staff indicated during last week’s City Council meeting that the fund has been operating at a deficit for over a decade.
Sergio Gonzalez, South Pasadena’s City Manager, said cost to maintain the tree maintenance, lighting and landscaping throughout the city is approximately $1.1 million with revenues coming in at approximately $300,000 short.
During the upcoming budget formation process for fiscal year 2017-2018, city staff will be providing the city Council with a strategy to address the deficit, which will include identifying ways to cut costs and also potentially be able to identify additional revenues to continue the maintenance of the city’s urban forest, lighting and landscaping.
“Unfortunately the general fund has been subsidizing this special district, which then takes away from other areas in the city’s budget,” explained Gonzalez. “Essentially what we found was that the vote failed because the majority of multi-unit property owners like apartment buildings did not approve the increase. The vote is weighted and those large property owners outnumbered those single-family homeowners. The vote essentially failed to the tune of 60% against and 40% for the increase. If we look at the raw numbers, the vote only failed by 30 votes but because the vote is weighted according to state law, those who own large properties but do not live in South Pasadena, ultimately were the deciding factor for the vote failing.”