Monday's council meeting will be very critical on a series of issues that will dramatically affect the future of our city.
First up will be the re-certification of the Downtown Pomona Owner's Association (DPOA). The DPOA is a special assessment district that funds, through assessment of property owners, increased services for the downtown area beyond those that the city normally provides. Other such assessment districts in the city include the landscaping district in Phillips Ranch, as an example, which provides extra landscaping for the hillsides and streetscapes of the Phillips Ranch area that are paid for by the property owners in that area.
For the DPOA, the mission is a little different. They are tasked with providing a clean, safe downtown AND to promote our downtown as a destination for our citizens and for those in our surrounding communities. DPOA also goes by the name "Metro Pomona." It is the DPOA that coordinates such activities as the 2nd & 4th Saturday Art Walks, the farmers' market at the art walks and the farmers' market on Wednesdays in the Antique Row area. They also sponsor and support many other activities that focus attention on the businesses and opportunities in our downtown. They also pay for two police officers dedicated to patrolling downtown to keep us safe when we visit there, and cleaning of the streets and sidewalks so our experiences are pleasant when we visit.
It has been suggested that the city can't afford its participation in such an enterprise at this time. Because the city is a major property owner within the assessement district, they are assessed the same as any other property owner. It has been suggested that pressure be put on the council to vote against renewal of the district as a cost-saving function. However, the reality of the situation is that most of the city-owned property is either redevelopment agency and vehicle parking district. Funds from these two entities cannot, by law, be transferred to the general fund and must be used solely for activities related to the properties that they own, such as the DPOA. In addition, the DPOA takes part of the responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks and adds two police officers that the city does not have to pay for from general funds. So the city definitely gains value from any money paid toward DPOA activities.
If you believe that we need to have a DPOA and actively support our downtown, please show your support with a letter to your councilperson or by coming to Monday's meeting and speaking in support of the DPOA. Let's not let short-sightedness rule
Also on the Agenda for Monday is the city's budget. This is particularly difficult as the city is looking to make significant cuts to city staff, police, and services to children and seniors.
On the chopping block will be:
- 20 Police officers / positions, including 5 police investigators
- 5 Police report takers, whose work will go to patrol officers
- 2 Police crime prevention officers (I guess we don't prevent crime, we just respond to it)
- Reduced patrol overtime to the tune of $100,000 (so fewer officers working fewer hours)
- Reduced homicide weekend standby to the tune of $7,000
- Reduction of funding for unexpected repairs to police facilities, $25,000
- Outsourcing of Park Security
- Elimination of one engine company for 7 months, $819,000
- Outsource Building and Safety Department
- Eliminate 1 Planner and 1 Planning Assistant
- Outsource street sweeping including a reduction in the number of days/streets
- Outsource Parks Division, eliminate 19 positions
- Eliminate downtown and weekend graffiti removal position
- Eliminate 3 Engineering/Construction positions
- Eliminate 3 Equipment Division positions
- Eliminate tree trimming positions resulting in fewer street trees being trimmed, planted, removed
- Reduce median maintenance resulting in mowing, trimming, watering, fertilizing, weed control, etc.
- Eliminate 5 Parks coordinators and recreation coordinators/supervisors
- Eliminate Admin. Assistant in Youth and Family Services program
- Eliminate Veteran's Park Rentals Coordinator
- Eliminate Concessions program at Veterans Park
- Eliminate 4 Parks/facilities custodians
- Eliminate Senior Trips and Tours Program
- Eliminate funding for Cultural Arts Commission
- Eliminate funding for Pomona Concert Band
- Reduce facilities maintenance by $15,000
- Eliminate funding for Youth Advisory Committee
- Close Library on Mondays
- Eliminate 2 Library Assistants
- Reduce Operations budget by $14,000
- Reduce library book and materials and related personnel, $32,600
- Planning & Housing $130,670
- Public Works $636,030
- Library $83,055
- Community Service: Level 1 $341,855 | Level 2 $751,505
- Police: Level 1 $341,225 | Level 2 $448,740 | Level 3 468,770
This is another of those areas where if you disagree with the cuts, please write your councilperson or address the council at Monday's meeting. The council has some tough choices and they need to know what we citizens are willing to let go and what we feel we truly need.