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La Verne in Good Shape Despite Financial Challenges Ahead, Says Mayor

The mayor spoke on the city's past and its future Jan. 31 during the annual State of the City address.

The city of La Verne’s future may include some challenges, but the overall health of the city is good and its future looks bright, Mayor Don Kendrick told a crowd at a Jan. 31 State of the City address.

About 150 people filled a banquet room at the Hillcrest retirement community. On the luncheon’s agenda was the traditional look back and glimpse ahead. Kendrick gave the address and touched on the progress made to the La Verne Veteran Memorial and the progress soon to be made.

The mayor gave a financial update and then talked about economic development and upcoming projects.

“(Financially) in general, we are in a position better than some other cities that have been highlighted in the news in recent months,” Kendrick said. “But we are not without our challenges.”

The city has adequate rainy day reserves of 15 percent that meet the city council’s policy, Kendrick said.

“And we have a small projected growth in most major revenue streams totaling 3.6 percent,” Kendrick said.

The city has balanced its budget without touching its reserves. But they will be using $1.5 million in what the mayor called “one time revenue.” There will also be some cuts to expenditures that will include a third round of incentivized retirements for staffers, he said.

They may also look at cutting the cost of personnel. He did not elaborate how.

Sales tax income went up this year by about $200,000, an increase of 5 percent, Kendrick said.

Last summer, Kendrick said they hired a new marketing firm to develop a strategy that will help the city better position itself to lure in more retail. They will produce a market analysis that can identify businesses that might be interested in La Verne.

Kendrick also mentioned the start of La Verne Village, a mixed-use project that includes residential and retail, which broke ground in December. They hoped to have it open by early 2014.

Another future venture will be the creation of a web-based tip line that will allow people to text information about a crime or report a crime.

“The goal is to improve communication with our citizens and business owners,” Kendrick said.

He ended with a quick description of an Old Town La Verne specific plan that will create “a road map for transit-oriented development in the vicinity of the Gold Line rail station.”

The plan will affect the area around First Street and Arrow Highway between Street and White Avenue, according to staff reports.

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