Santa Monica to Assemble Task Force to Advise on Budget
August 5, 2019
by Rick Cole
Every budget cycle represents an important opportunity to preserve our City fiscal sustainability and the next three biennial budgets represent an important inflection point for Santa Monica’s future. We are reaching out for broad involvement to assist in this effort.
Santa Monica’s current financial health is strong. Looking forward, however, our long-established ways of budgeting and making economic and operational projections face challenges. Traditional revenue streams are growing at a slower rate due to changes in the modern economy; pension costs are projected to increase significantly to address statewide unfunded public pension liabilities, and Santa Monica is not immune to impacts from national and global economic trends.
Above all, Santa Monica recognizes that profound technological, economic and demographic changes are reshaping our lives, affecting both the public and private sectors and rendering old ways of doing business and delivering services increasingly obsolete.
These challenges and our focus on delivering the most effective services where they have the greatest impact are the impetus for our goal to create a 21st Century government that works better and costs less.
I am assembling an 11-member Budget Task Force, comprised of six community members and five members from the city workforce, who will advise me on options and priorities for addressing budget shortfalls over the coming six years. I encourage you to get involved and invite you to apply to fill one of these seats.
Goals for the Budget Task Force include:
- Ensure City can continue to provide excellent service and safety to the community.
- Help the City maintain fiscal balance in a changing economy.
- Recommend a budget reduction plan that allows the city to eliminate the threat of unfunded pension liability through an accelerated 13-year pay-down of our unfunded pension liability, currently estimated at $448 million and save the City $106 million over 30 years.
I look forward to working with the Budget Task Force to make meaningful changes to our budget and create a sustainable city of wellbeing.
Santa Monica City Manager
Qualifications for Budget Task Force Members
- Relevant experience in business, public sector and non-profit management and innovation.
- Basic knowledge of financial matters
- Ability to attend regular task force meetings
- Ability to analyze information
- Desire to work collaboratively with the other members of the committee and City staff.
What will the Budget Task Force do?
After receiving an overview of the City’s budgetary framework, constraints and proposed budget efficiency/reduction measures, the Budget Task Force will evaluate ideas generated by City Departments and make recommendations for:
- Fiscal Year 2020-2021: $1.5 million in budget reductions
- Fiscal Years 2021-2023: A minimum of $2.5 million in reductions
Process for Appointment
There are six (6) community member seats on the Budget Task Force. Interest to serve on the Budget Task Force must be provided to the City Manager by submitting an application. The City Manager will review all applications and select members based on their qualifications. The final list of appointees will be posted on www.smgov.net.
- August 30, 2019: Deadline for application submission
- September 30, 2019: Announce selection of Budget Task Force members
- October 2019 – January 2020: Budget Task Force meetings (1st & 3rd Mondays)
- February 2020: Budget Task Force recommendations to City Manager
The Budget Task Force will comply with and will operate in accordance with the Brown Act. The Budget Task Force will meet the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month. Meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Agendas, minutes and meeting location information will be posted on www.smgov.net.