President's Message (Pearl Johnson)
Planning and Transportation Meeting
Honolulu City Council will honor League member Astrid Monson
Welcome New Members
In My Opinion... No Need to Raise Property Taxes (Charles Djou)
Proposed Program for Adoption at the Annual Meeting
Traffic Reduction (Charles Carole)
Nominating Committee Report
National LWV News
Tales of Two Cities (Charles Carole)
Proposed Budget for Year Ending March 31, 2004
TALES OF TWO CITIES
Two cities, Long Beach, California and Honolulu, knew in early 2002 that they would have a budget deficit in FY 2003-04 and beyond. However, they choose different means for public involvement and planning future budgets.
Long Beach: The process of budget review has two very distinct goals. The first is to address the immediate gaps facing the City in the 2003/04 fiscal year; and the second is to create a comprehensive approach on a fiscal strategy for a three-year financial strategic plan. In Long Beach the Mayor's Budget Advisory Committee was reactivated in 2002 with several additional residents of different backgrounds that were added to the committee. During their 2002 meetings, they reviewed the City budget, current operations and sources of revenue. They evaluated short-term cost-saving and revenue-raising measures and long-term policy modification.
The Long Beach advisory committee is only part of a very comprehensive budget evaluation process that includes stakeholders throughout the city, the City Council, community members and City employees. Over 80 workshops, presentations and public meetings were held in 2002 on budget. In addition, a survey form was sent to residents, business people and city staff in an effort to determine priority of city services which were evaluated in four categories: essential, important, nice to have, and not important. Some of the comments and recommendations from these gatherings, and survey evaluations were considered by the Budget Advisory Committee and in the Financial Strategic Plan. The financial plan and the recommendations of the Budget Advisory Committee were presented to the City Council at a workshop for discussion in January 2003. Long Beach now has sufficient time for shaping the budget before passing it by June 2003.
Honolulu: Now we have our case. The City Administration itself develops the FY 2003-04 budget and presents it to City Council on March 2nd. There is no financial plan for FYs 2004-07 that may or may not have deficits. And useful citizen input has only an opportunity of two months for comments. The City Council could adopt a more extensive budget review and financial plan development starting with FY 2004-05
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