By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
For the first time in recent years the city of La Habra has approved multi-year contracts with all of its labor units as well as a balanced budget.
The La Habra City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve and adopt the contract agreements as well as the nearly $41 million city budget.
The budget includes a surplus of $211,740 for the city that is classified as unencumbered revenue.
“It’s not a huge amount by any stretch, said La Habra City Manager Jim Sadro, “but it’s still nice to have a bit of a buffer to start the fiscal year.”
According to Sadro, the surplus can go into reserves at the end of the year or cover the cost of something that comes up during the year.
In previous years, the city budget has been at a break-even schedule where the city was “dollar for dollar with its expenses to revenue.
It’s a good place to be, “ Sadro added.
The uptick in city revenue can be attributed to the fact that property tax revenues are up and sales tax revenue are steady with 3-5 percent growth according to Sadro.
Also, La Habra, like many cites, has continued to maintain a streamline operation to keep expenses down.
“We are very judicious with what we decide to put back in or add,” Sadro explained.
This year, the city was able to add an additional police officer from the general fund. Something city administrators haven’t been able to do for a while.
Within this year’s budget are multi-year contracts with all of the city’s labor groups. This marks the first time in the last decade that the city has approved multi-year contracts with all groups.
“Our negotiating teams worked closely with the labor groups to really identify key issues that were important for the city and for each group early in the conversations,” Sadro explained.
He added that they were successful in finding combinations of ongoing benefit increases and one-time money for the various groups.
“It was important to find what mix is of interest to the various groups and still within what the city can afford,” Sadro said. “And they were successful.”