Tuesday morning report, June 23

Five things to know this Tuesday morning: 

1.) The City Council tonight is expected to pass a $164.3 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16.

I wrote about the proposed spending plan earlier this month, but to recap, it includes approximately $2.4 million for various capital improvement projects, including a new air conditioning system and bathroom renovations at the Downey Civic Theatre. 

The lion's share of the budget -- 65 percent -- is allocated to the police and fire departments. 

"While poised in a stable financial position, the City of Downey has significant unfunded needs for the infrastructure and services the Downey residents are used to," finance director Anil Gandhy wrote in a staff report. "Another challenge that the City is facing is increasing costs due to changes that CalPERS has made to its a.) discount rate b) actuarial methodology c) mortality rates.

"It is expected that the rates will increase by 13% for Safety and 8% for Miscellaneous over the next four years resulting in significant burden on the City's General Fund."


2.) Council members will also be asked to set a public hearing to approve seven affordable housing units on Elm Vista Drive. 

Downey's Redevelopment Agency purchased the land at 9393-09 Elm Vista Drive for $1.05 million in 2007. Negotiations are underway to have Partnership Housing Inc., an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, to develop seven owner-occupied, for-sale housing units. 

The properties include four detached units, each with two bedrooms and one bath. Three units are 792 square feet, and one is 924 square feet. 


3.) Want to play a little pick-up basketball or volleyball at the Apollo Park gym? It may soon cost you two bucks. 

The council tonight will consider approving a new schedule of city fees, and included is a new $2 surcharge for drop-in basketball and volleyball at the McCaughan Gym. 


4.) The FAA is seeking public comment as it considers changes to air traffic into and out of Southern California. 

From an FAA press release:

"Many of the current air traffic procedures in Southern California are decades old. While they are all safe, some are inefficient because they rely on ground-based navigation aids, which limit available flight paths.

"Some procedures are longer than necessary, while others converge and occupy the same airspace. As a result, air traffic controllers issue a series of instructions to pilots to vector aircraft onto more direct routs and to keep aircraft safely separated from each other. Vectoring, in turn, results in irregular and less predictable flight paths and increases pilot-controller communications and workload." 

Downey, of course, is in the flight path of aircraft landing at LAX. Residents can offer their input at a series of public workshops scheduled throughout Southern California. The closest to Downey takes place Thursday, June 25, from 4-7 p.m. at the Long Beach School for Adults, 3701 E. Willow St. in Long Beach. 


5.) Helen Hoag, a prominent realtor and philanthropist in Downey, died June 11, her family announced. 

She was interned at Rose Hills Mortuary with her husband, Larry Hoag. At her request, no services will be held. 

The Hoags owned and operated The Hoag Company Inc., which they founded in 1951. Helen was a member of the Downey Board of Realtors, the California Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. 

She served as a trustee of the Downey Community Hospital's Memorial Trust Foundation, and was an active member of the hospital's auxiliary, serving as president in 1970-71. She volunteered in many capacities with the Assistance League of Downey, and was its president in 1986-87. 

As a supporter of several art and music programs, Helen underwrote the Downey Symphony's annual concert at Furman Park, and was a major donor of the symphony's Music in the Schools program since its inception in 1995.