Officials say Seal Beach city revenues are down

It appears that the recession finally caught up with Seal Beach.

“The bad news is that the recession has hit our city later than other cities and revenues are way down,” wrote District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton in Saturday, March 26 e-mail newsletter.

“But, with all of us recognizing the need to tighten our belts and working to do so in a cooperative manner, we will come out the other side better for the work we put into the process,”             Deaton wrote.

Seal Beach holds budget hearings at two-year intervals. This year’s workshops will be held throughout April. The council is scheduled to adopt a final budget in May for 2011-2012.

Historically, Seal Beach adopts two-year budgets. District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks recently called for Seal Beach to switch to annual budgets.

Deaton’s words about city finances echoed comments made earlier this month by Robbeyn Bird, Seal Beach’s treasurer and director of administrative services.

Bird told the City Council on Monday, March 14 that Seal Beach had not felt the impact of the bad economy until this year.

That same night, Deaton said that the council knew the budget was “upside down” this year, but did not know where or by how much.

Concerns over the budget led four of the five council members to vote to postpone a decision on buying a new truck for Seal Beach Lifeguards.

Shanks said he had received many calls concerning the budget hearings.

Shanks called for Seal Beach to switch to a one-year budget system, as opposed to the current two-year budget.

Staff originally planned for the budget workshops to be four-hour sessions held over two nights.

Neither the public nor council members cared for that arrangement.

Old Town activist Michael Buhbe and Bridgeport activist Robert Goldberg called for televised public hearings.

Deaton objected to plans to have the meetings start at 5 p.m. She said some people couldn’t get to the meetings at that time.

The meetings are scheduled for the following dates:

• 5-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 5—Staff will present overview of budget.

• 7-9 p.m., Thursday, April 7—Questions from the City Council and the public.

• 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, April 13—Staff will present the Capital Improvement Plan for the next year.

• 5-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 26—Council discussion.