DOWNEY - The city budget for this fiscal year totals $148.7 million with $68.8 million allocated to the General Fund, $42,203,606 to Special Revenue Funds, and $37,730,946 to Enterprise Funds."These are tough economic times," said Mayor Anne Bayer, "but despite a massive deficit facing the state, Downey overall is financially stable because of its $38.5 million rainy day fund." Speaking at Wednesday's Downey Coordinating Council meeting, Bayer said police and fire are still the most substantial elements of the budget, accounting for a combined 69 percent. Community services take up 11 percent, while spending on general government and public works amounts to 8 percent each. Development services brings up the rear with 4 percent. Sales tax revenues are down, she said, while unemployment figures remain high. A hiring freeze (on non-safety personnel) has been operative at City Hall and equipment replacement has been deferred. "There are tough decisions to be made on the horizon," she said. "We have a new police chief, Rick Esteves," she said, as she rattled off a few highlights: crimes against persons (homicide, rape and robbery) are down 12.7 percent; property crimes (burglary, theft, vehicle theft) are up 2.7 percent; gang detail has increased from two to four officers; and new technology equipment now enables police to scan license plates to determine if vehicle is stolen. The fire department, she said, continues to serve residents with its Community Emergency Response Team and emergency preparedness programs. Public works is doing landscaping and street widening at various sectors, while supporting Keep Downey Beautiful and recycling efforts. Community services began automating programs and projects, while its ASPIRE, Concerts in the Park, craft fair, and Discovery Sports Complex programs continue to serve the youth. Bayer said there has been positive response to the Columbia Memorial Space Center, farmers market, and its neighborhood/business watch programs. Community development has opened its new city website and went all out in support of the U.S. Census 2010, while it works on a specific plan to attract and keep businesses in downtown Downey. Among the new promising ventures are the Kaiser hospital, BJ's Restaurant, Kohl's and the Nissan dealership. Fresh N Easy had its opening on April 7, while Stonewood Center will welcome G by Guess and Buffalo Wild Wings soon, and everybody is awaiting the opening of Porto's Bakery in the fall. Tesla Motors? Bayer said hope is high some positive development is forthcoming soon.
********** Published: May 7, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 3