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Council Postpones Decision on How to Appropriate $10M Surplus

All council members support directing revenue to the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which is anticipating $3.5 million in cuts for the next school year.

City Council decided Tuesday to table until its Dec. 18 meeting a vote on how to appropriate $10.24 million in revenue from fiscal year 2011-12.

The extra time will allow for council to form a liaison with Board of Education members on how the city can best aid the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which is projecting $3.5 million in cuts for the 2013-14 school year.

During the study session, all council members favored earmarking some of the surplus for city schools. Mayor William Brien suggested at least $1 million, while Vice Mayor John Mirisch favored $4 million as it covered BHUSD's anticipated shortfall plus more "to give a little bit of padding."

"I've spoken to a few of the school board members and they have told me they hope that we would be considering a $4 million number," Councilwoman Lili Bosse said in support of the higher expenditure. 

Councilman Barry Brucker said that in backing funds for BHUSD, he wanted the money used for programming to ensure that middle schools keep their librarians, music classes and other electives. 

"I think having our monies directed toward the kids and their academic benefit and the classroom is probably what this community would want this council to do, with some very tight parameters around those funds," he said.

Mirisch and Councilman Julian Gold supported setting some of the revenue aside for the city's ongoing litigation with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over its plan to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School.

Bosse and Mirisch both said they would like to use some of the funds to offset the city's recent water rate increases.

"I would like to see about the possibility of reducing that or eliminating it," Mirisch said of the price hike.

Brien said the council continued to support capital assets land acquisition and that reserves could be set aside for that purpose as well.

In giving staff direction to study council's suggested expenditures, Brien noted the city's positive fiscal status.

"Looking at $10 million of extra funds, couple that with the fact that we were able to actually spend $5 million less last year than what was originally budgeted, I think we're doing great," he said. "This is a great position to be in."

Editor's Note: During the City Council study session it was stated that the second meeting in December is Dec. 20. The meeting is actually Dec. 18.

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Ace T November 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I congratulate the city leaders for giving us a surplus. I'm hoping they keep taxes low or make them lower on residents and property owners. Lower taxes and rates will benefit everyone in BH and spur more business and investors to come here.

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