By Terry Miller
Hundreds of people, including popular former Mayor Bill Bogaard, attended the annual rite of passage known at the State of the City Address on Thursday, Jan. 17.
The event, held at Pasadena High School’s newly remodeled gymnasium, was expected to garner protest but rains earlier in the day may have prevented people from expressing their First Amendment rights. There were a few people from the ACLU and POP (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress) handing out their hopes for civilian oversight and changes in Pasadena Police Department’s use of force policy. However, there were no other visible or audible protests prior to or during the mayor’s speech.
Here’s the first part of Mayor Tornek’s address:
“The City Charter requires that in January of each year, the Mayor present a thematic budget message for the stated purpose of receiving and considering public suggestions and comments on the City budget prior to its preparation and ultimate approval by the City Council. So for the past 3 years, I have devoted most of my State of the City speech to our finances. I have provided our residents with a background on how we pay for City services, alerted everyone that the day was approaching when we could not rely on our current sources of revenue to adequately pay our bills, and proposed a 0.75% SALES TAX increase to the voters—Measures I & J—which passed overwhelmingly on November 6th.
“So tonight, I want to thank the people of Pasadena for selflessly voting to tax themselves—by a margin of better than 2:1—in order, to assure our City and.its children a better future. Please give yourselves a round of applause.
“There are a lot of positive things happening in our City, and the passage of Measures I & J is one of them. Tonight will again begin with our finances—where we’ve been, where we find ourselves now, and what we can anticipate in the future.
“As a refresher, CHART A shows that our current FY2019 General Fund Revenues are approximately $245.8 million. The four biggest individual sources which account for more than half of that Revenue remain:
- Property Tax = $64.9M
- Sales Tax = $35.OM
- Utility Users Tax = $27.8M
- Transient 0cc. Tax = $17.5M
- Everything else, charges, fees, unpredictable intergovernmental transfers = $100.6M.
“New development and rising property values will continue to be our primary source of revenue and revenue gains, while sales and utility taxes are largely flat except for the infusion of Measure I dollars beginning in July.”
Read the rest of the mayor’s address here.