Release No. 95-7 March
Contacts: Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARB Releases SCAQMD Budget Review, Shows Costs Savings
In accordance with a
new law signed last year by Governor Wilson, the California Air Resources
Board (ARB) today released its review of the South Coast Air Quality Management
District's (SCAQMD) proposed 1995-96 budget forecast.
"By comparing the
SCAQMD to the ARB and other air districts, we identified a number of key
areas in their budget forecast where significant savings can be achieved.
In addition, we recommend that cost savings be used to reduce fees charged
to Southern California employers," ARB Chairman John Dunlap said.
Among the key recommendations
for cost savings are:
- Employee Compensation - The review found that SCAQMD employees receive
compensation on average 20 percent higher than the ARB for equivalent positions.
Adjustments should be made during the next round of contract negotiations
and collective bargaining later this year.
- Facility Expenses - The SCAQMD is not using a substantial amount of
space in the new headquarters it built in 1991, with a total of 150,000
square feet of unoccupied space at all district facilities. This space
could be subleased or sold for an annual savings of over $2 million.
- Travel Budgets - Out-of-district, out-of-state and out-of-country travel
totals nearly $220,000 per year. A new travel policy which focuses resources
primarily on the District's own region and responsibilities is recommended.
- Outreach and Lobbying - The SCAQMD's $6.1 million Outreach and Lobbying
budget exceeds the total budget of 26 of the state's air districts. Although
legislation mandates some outreach activities, the size of publications
and press relations budgets are discretionary. In addition, more than $200,000
is spent on outside lobbying contracts in Washington DC and Sacramento
which seem to duplicate the efforts of the six district personnel with
those same responsibilities. A justification needs to be made for continuing
"The SCAQMD has
made considerable progress in improving air quality in Southern California
and must continue to do so. Yet in order to retain public confidence, every
effort must be made to minimize the cost of district programs and the fees
charged to employers. As a result of AB 1853, the ARB will continue to
work with the SCAQMD and the Legislature to ensure that all opportunities
for savings are realized and that the savings are passed back to fee payers,"
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