Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/08/2010 06:28:02 PM PST

REDLANDS – The new City Council will try to fill the city’s current deficit together and publicly, while creating a subcommittee to begin hammering out details of the following fiscal year.

One of the first topics the council discussed after being seated Tuesday was whether to establish an ad hoc budget advisory committee to focus on solutions for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years.

Though the committee would have worked only in an advisory capacity to the city manager, the council chose to deal with the 2010-11 budget as a whole during public meetings over the next month.

“Those are going to be weighty decisions for all of us, and I think I would benefit from hearing my colleagues’ responses to those presentations (by the city manager),” said newly elected Mayor Pete Aguilar. “My recommendation or suggestion would be that we meet as a council of the whole on (Dec.) 21, if we need to schedule more special meetings between the meeting of Jan. 4 and the second meeting in January or sometime in between Dec. 21 and Jan. 4, then we can do that. If (the city manager wants) to meet and brief each individual council member, that’s fine.”

Martinez said he will bringing proposals to fill the nearly $1.4 million gap to the council at their Dec. 21 meeting.

“We need to solve this current year’s budget problem no later than the middle of January,” Martinez said.

He said having council input will help him create proposals that fit with the new council’s vision for the city.

“I certainly know that as the city manager, it’s my responsibility to put the budget together but I know it’s productive when the City Council tweaks it this way or that way,” Martinez said. “I want to make sure those options reflect your core values. I don’t want to recommend that we turn all the lights off and that’s not something you want.”

The council scheduled a special meeting next week to work, during public session, with the manager on possible solutions.

After the current Fiscal Year’s budget is in place, the council will begin working on the 2011-12 budget. The committee, made up of Councilmen Jerry Bean and Bob Gardner, will work with the city manager in private meetings to draft ways to fill that budget shortfall.

Martinez said his goal is to provide a projection of the 2011-12 budget to the council in December or January.

To read entire story, click here.