Arvin City Council members are taking the city's $2 million budget deficit personally — so much so they're essentially willing to reach into their own wallets.
In its Dec. 5 meeting, the council unanimously voted to approve a resolution that will allow council members to reject the monthly stipend they get from the city. Due to state law, the council had to formally vote on a resolution that would allow them to donate their stipend back to the city.
“The money we get is really little in the scheme of things, but it’s a symbol to city employees, showing that we’re part of the team and we want to contribute as well,” Mayor Jose Gurrola said.
Gurrola said council members are given $300 a month; the mayor gets $900 a month. If every member chooses to donate their stipend, which Gurrola said he believes they will, the city would save $2,100 each month.
Gurrola said it’s up to the individual members to decide if they want to reject their stipend and for how long.
“I (will) do it for as long as we’re in a deficit,” he said.
Arvin is facing a budget deficit for this year and possibly in future fiscal years because of an overstated projection of development fee revenue and double-counting of some revenues, according to the city.
The city is looking at a mixture of expenditure reductions, fund transfers, donations and revenue increases to reduce the deficit.
The City of Arvin also recently received some donations to pay for its Christmas Parade, which was held Dec. 4.
Former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez donated a total of $5,000 to the city to fund the parade, which was in danger of cancellation due to the deficit. Hall donated $3,500 and Perez donated $1,500.
The city went to the Arvin Chamber of Commerce in November in the hopes of getting them to put $1,500 down for the parade, but the Chamber voted against it.
In other matters at the Dec. 5 meeting, the council also directed staff to start developing a permitting process and fee structure for commercial cannabis businesses. The council approved an ordinance allowing commercial cultivation in the city at a November meeting.