During the past several months, officials at Lakewood City Hall have been head-down, working to finish next year’s budget.
And last week, Mayor Michael Summers presented the 2013 budget to Lakewood City Council.
Not unlike last year, the news wasn’t fantastic, but the budget is “structurally balanced.”
The projected $33.3 million of revenue in 2013 is nearly $2.75 million less than the $36.05 in 2012 — meaning that the city will be working with revenues “comparable to the 2002 levels.”
Summers has said there are a few reasons for that.
One of them is a 50 percent cut to the Local Government Fund. In addition, the state eliminated the estate tax.
A 4-percent reduction of the property tax — because of dropping home values — hasn’t helped either.
Included in the 184-page document are cost-cutting measures that highlight energy and fuel consumption, expanding recycling and using technology to improve effectiveness.
But notably absent are additional layoffs.
Summers recently told Lakewood Patch that the city is focused on “staying lean.”
However, he added that no additional layoffs are expected in 2013. Instead, the city will continue to look for ways to restructure — using attrition — when an employee retires.
“We’ve already made our deepest cuts,” he said, referring to last year’s budget.
The city has also recently begun negotiations with several of the city’s five unions.
Council is expected to officially review the document at Monday’s meeting.
One tool the City’s introduced and began implementing this year is what Summers calls “LEAN Lakewood,” a process challenging current methods in an attempt to lower costs and streamline processes and workflows.
“Local government has to begin a whole new way of thinking,” Summers said in the news release. Delivering services with substantially less resources is very challenging. But we are confident we can continue to provide the level of service that our residents have come to expect.
"Our focus will remain on lowering costs and making the best use of our revenue sources as we respond to these significant cuts from the state. Additionally, we are challenged to create a capacity to invest in Lakewood’s future.”
The entire budget document is available online.