HomeCity Government NewsLa Cañada Flintridge Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

The Kiwanis Club of La Cañada held its annual State of the City event on March 20, which featured Mayor Rick Gunter, who discussed the budget, city projects and his time on the Council.
Gunter first explained the city’s budget and the General Fund, which consists of ongoing operations, like public safety, community develop and public works, to name a few. He said that a majority of the city’s budget is actually capital projects.
“So generally speaking, our General Fund remains reasonably constant; it’s a hair under $20 million at the moment, but the total outlay in our city is closer to $53 million with all the benefits that we’re getting as a community,” said Gunter.
Gunter added that the city is very conservative in how funds are spent on resources and that the city has always had a positive budget.
He also pointed out that all capital projects are completed on budget, thanks to Public Works Director Patrick DeChellis.
“We get significantly more projects done than other cities of our size, because of the caliber of the staff that we have leading our public works department and their relationship with the county,” said Gunter. “That’s really important to why we’re able to accomplish so much.”
Projects that were completed in 2023 include the Foothill Link, Soundwall Phase III, Descanso Drive resurfacing and the Olberz Park gazebo. Projects currently in progress include Soundwall Phases II and IV, Sister Cities Friendship Path and the Foothill Boulevard median landscaping.
Gunter also highlighted the community development department, which is the most active department in the city.
“At the moment, we’ve issued almost 600 zoning clearances, nearly 1,500 permits, 2,100 business licenses and 428 code enforcements,” said Gunter.
On the lower side was the commercial vacancy rate, which was less than 5%.
He also highlighted the city on having a housing element in compliance with state law and the city updating its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
Parks, fields and recreation facilities continued to be maintained and improved on last year, while the city plans for physical improvements at Mayors’ Discovery Park and proceeds with the conversion of the skate park to pickleball courts.
“And lastly, one of things that we’re very excited about is that our staff has worked very hard to make communication to our residents easier, and so we have an online reservation system called ActiveLCF, which is how we reserve parks and fields and facilities, which is a little more transparent than standing in line and filling out a paper,” Gunter said.
Gunter said the city is excited for residents to use ActiveLCF more, as it will make it easier for residents to interact with the city.
Gunter concluded the meeting reflecting on his nine-month tenure as mayor since his term will expire in April.
He expressed that he is proud of the fact that he spearheaded the request for proposal, or RFP, for Building Department Services to make things run smoother and faster for residents.
Also, during his term, Gunter has encouraged the staff to start early in the budget process.
“We’re trying to revamp our budgeting process, to start a little earlier, to make it a little more transparent and make it easier to understand,” said Gunter.
Gunter touched upon the March primary election as he finished up the address, highlighting the two new Councilmembers assuming their roles in April.
“One of the things that I think is so powerful, is that for the first time in 23 years, we will have two women on the Council, and I think that’s a huge deal,” said Gunter.
Measure LCF was also passed by voters, which is the city’s first time imposing a new tax since its incorporation.
“It’s going to make a huge difference for our town,” said Gunter. “The key to this [tax] is that [money] will stay 100% locally.”
He ended his presentation by thanking the community for letting him serve the city.
“I’ve had the great good pleasure to serve the city for 12 years in various capacities, and it’s time for me to serve in some other way,” said Gunter. “I’m not going anywhere, [but] I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, I probably need to take a little space.”
Kiwanis President Joe Radabaugh said that events like this let the community see a different side of the city.
“It’s a nice opportunity for residents and guests to hear from and engage our local leaders in a more casual setting,” Radabaugh told the Outlook Valley Sun.

First published in the March 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

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