Pilot program in La Jolla will link citizens, budget process
If you go
■ When: 6 p.m. Oct. 4
■ Where: La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.
■ Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or lajollacpa.org/cip.html
By Pat Sherman
The mayor’s office is inviting the public to participate in development of the city’s capital improvement budget for fiscal year 2014, via a series of community meetings, including one scheduled at the La Jolla Rec Center, 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4.
The presentation, to be held during the regular monthly meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA), will offer insight into the budget process and how the public can make its community priorities known before money is allocated for capital improvement projects, such as street repair and public facility maintenance.
“Rather than waiting till the spring when there’s almost no time for meaningful input to change the draft budget, communities are being invited to provide input prior to staff development of that budget,” said CPA board vice-president Joe LaCava, who established the program and serves as chair of the San Diego’s Community Planners Committee, which is comprised of the chairs of the city’s 42 community planning groups (including the La Jolla CPA).
LaCava said city officials recognized that the annual capital improvement budget development process was not transparent and easily accessible to residents.
“The standard April through June time-frame for budget review was too compressed for meaningful input and deliberations,” LaCava said. “Rather than delay public in- put until the draft budget is published in April, the proposal was to engage the public in the fall, before the mayor’s staff begins drafting the budget in December.
“Each of the (city’s) 42 planning groups will be invited to hold hearings and (give) community input as to what should be funded,” LaCava said. “This is a great opportunity for public participation.”
Given the city’s ongoing fiscal woes, LaCava said he doesn’t feel that city officials are likely to approve funding any new projects in fiscal year 2014 (July 2013-June 2014), though he said moving forward it is important for community members to begin educating themselves, identifying budget priorities and taking part in the process.
“We’re using this first effort as kind of a learn- ing curve to figure out how the public participation process should work, to kind of get ourselves educated, and then really do a much better job for fiscal year 2015,” LaCava said.
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