Full Council Agenda Includes New Mayor
By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
Laurie Ender is expected to be named Santa Clarita mayor when the City Council holds its annual reorganization meeting Tuesday – and later in the evening, the City Council is scheduled to review a budget adjustment that includes money for a community center in Canyon Country.
Ascension to the mayoralty isn’t automatic, but the position traditionally goes to the person who was appointed mayor pro-tem a year earlier. That person is Ender, who is nearing the end of her first four-year term on the City Council.
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Santa Clarita has a five-person City Council, which selects one of its own to serve as mayor for a year. The mayor acts as a chairman of the board, presiding over City Council meetings, but has no more voting authority than any other council member.
Councilman Bob Kellar is in line for mayor pro-tem and would become mayor in 2013 if the council honors the rotation – and if Kellar is reelected to a fourth four-year term in April 2012.
Both Ender and Kellar are up for reelection next Spring. The terms of the other three council members – current Mayor Marsha McLean, Laurene Weste (mayor in 2010) and Frank Ferry (mayor in 2009) – expire in 2014.
The reorganization meeting takes place Tuesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall, followed by the regular meeting at 6 p.m. when the council will review the city’s mid-year budget.
The council adopts a budget for the fiscal year each June and reviews it in December to check whether the money is coming in and going out as anticipated.
The city expects to receive $1.2 million more in sales and use tax than in projected, but the total figure is still off 15 percent from pre-recession years, and city staff isn’t in a rush to spend the little windfall – especially when Sacramento is prone to diverting money from city and county coffers. A staff report notes that the state “permanently diverted the vehicle license fee revenue from cities” in June, costing Santa Clarita $900,000 this year.
Another upside revenue adjustment is $6.8 million “in order to account for Fire District fees already collected” for three new fire stations.
But the city won’t be collecting $826,700 it was expecting from developers whose projects have been postponed.
On hold are a parking structure at Grace Baptist Church, medical office buildings in Valencia and Canyon Country, and a shopping center at Via Princessa.
Also, the redevelopment agency will come up $387,995 short due to taxpayer refunds and downward property reassessments.
Expenses that were unforeseen six months ago include a $477,093 payment to the state for the privilege of keeping Santa Clarita’s redevelopment agency intact; $124,000 to advocate for the Cemex land swap bill; $25,000 to design 27 additional parking spaces at the Valencia Library for a total of 70 spaces; and $32,500 for a downtown Newhall parking plan.
New expenditures also include $50,000 for the Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons. The expenditure didn’t make the June budget, so local arts groups turned out en masse to persuade the city to help offset the cost of their performances at the facility.
Also recommended is $311,500 for a new community center in Canyon Country. The city didn’t have the money for a new community center in the sour economy – but as it turns out, the recession works both ways. The city can’t pass up the deal it will get on a particular space for lease in Canyon Country, so the proposal is back on the table.
According to the staff report, the location “ would serve as a community center or a hub for services that would provide an array of opportunities for the east side of the city, which makes up over 50 percent of Santa Clarita’s population.
“This community is a multi-generational, bilingual, and diverse socio-economic community. The new community center will offer programs that strengthen families and communities, while providing positive recreational and skill-building opportunities for youth. The center will be strategically located in order to maximize opportunities to intervene in the lives of high-risk youths, while also serving local families and seniors.”
Both council meetings – at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – will be televised on SCVTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 20, AT&T U-verse Channel 99/Santa Clarita, and streaming live on the Internet at SCVTV.com).