Editor's Note: Story updated July 17 at 11 a.m.
The Encinitas City Council voted to adopt next fiscal year’s budget at Wednesday’s Encinitas City Council meeting.
To help fund a , City Manager Gus Vina said the city rescinded its request for a public information officer, saving $160,200. The city also eliminated $227,000 from law enforcement to go toward the fire station.
The Council members approved the budget after only several minutes of discussion.
The spending plan takes effect July 1, and according to city staff report (PDF attached) Encinitas is expected to take in $52.5 in revenue and its expenditures are estimated to total $49.9 million.
In the current fiscal year, the city expects to pay $48.6 million and collect $52.5 million, according to city documents (PDF attached). In the previous fiscal year, 2010-11, the city spent $46.2 million and collected $51.3 million (PDF attached).
While currently the city has a surplus, Tony Kranz argued unfunded pension liability could eventually put Encinitas in the red. He requested pension liability be placed on a future agenda. Specifically, Kranz took issue with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) underestimating pension costs.
“Most experts who don’t have the political pressure of CalPERS recognize that this unfunded liability amount is going to be much greater,” Kranz said.
The Council also addressed other business.
With Councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed, the Council voted to approve a two-year contract for Peder Norby.
Norby has facilitated meetings for the , which will weigh in on the , a blueprint guiding housing and development in Encinitas through 2035. Norby is also in charge of promoting the Highway 101 corridor in Encinitas.
Nineteen people at Wednesday’s council meeting spoke on whether Norby should continue to lead the ERAC.
Some residents claimed Norby misled the public in the past. Andrew Audet, a newspaper columnist, released an edited video two weeks ago that he claims shows Norby misrepresented a Cardiff advisory panel’s findings. In the video, Audet said Norby failed to report the panel reached consensus on mixed development housing.
“I oppose the contract based on the contractor’s previous work experience,” Audet said at the council meeting.
At last week’s Council meeting, Norby maintained his account of the panel’s votes were accurate.
said Norby’s “integrity and commitment” to Encinitas is “beyond question.” But Aronin, along with some residents, said Norby, as steward of the ERAC, will encourage growth at the cost of community character.
“It’s clear that he has a singular vision of Encinitas and he’s working effectively to achieve it,” Aronin said. “The question is: is his vision shared by the community? Not in Leucadia.”
Business owners and residents spoke about Norby’s history as a successful developer. Paula Kirpalani, the program manager of , said Norby’s guidance was critical when Leucadia 101 formed in 2003.
“In addition, Peder was there every step of the way during the public workshops for the north Highway 101 corridor streetscape, which you heard mentioned by several people here earlier tonight,” Kirpalani said.
Other residents painted Norby as the best person to bring together different factions toward common housing goals.
“Peder's wide range of personal and professional skills, his knowledge and experience, coupled with his imagination and love for Encinitas makes him absolutely irreplaceable for our city,” Keith Harrison said.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth was the only council member to vote against Norby’s contract. Barth said Norby is “more than capable” to lead the ERAC, noting the “economic benefits he’s brought to downtown.” But Barth, with a failed motion, said Norby should focus solely on representing the Highway 101 corridor, rather than splitting his time facilitating the ERAC.
“Peder's talents are better served being the 101 coordinator,” Barth said.