Santa Monica’s FY 2019-20 Approved Budget is Leaner and Invests in Community Priorities

Council adoption sets City on course for a government that works better and costs less

June 25, 2019

Santa Monica’s FY 2019-20 Approved Budget is Leaner and Invests in Community Priorities

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Tonight, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a balanced budget for FY 2019-20, a Proposed Budget Plan for FY 2020-21, and a strategy for the next six years that focuses on fiscal sustainability and shifts emphasis to delivering outcomes by measuring and managing performance.  

The adopted budget includes investments across the City Council’s Framework for a Sustainable City of Wellbeing priority areas of Affordability, Climate Change, Keeping Neighborhoods Safe, Mobility & Access, Reducing Homelessness, and Engaged & Thriving Community. Investments include: 

  • A new team of cross-functional homeless outreach workers focused on the beach and a six-month pilot program to expand Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Ambassador services in Reed Park. 
  • Expansion of the Preserving Our Diversity (POD) affordability pilot program to help rent-burdened Santa Monica seniors stay housed.  
  • Better online customer service through a digital City Hall to be rolled out in the second quarter of 2020.  
  • Cybersecurity protections essential considering high-profile hacking in the cities of Baltimore and Atlanta. 
  • Continuing the City’s commitment to providing important social services through the Human Services Grants Program funding of $8.45 million and $401,887 in funding to arts and culture nonprofits through the Organizational Support Program Grants. 

“With this budget, we continue to invest in the exceptional services, programs and public facilities for which Santa Monica is known while also preparing for harder economic times,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “Budgeting based on performance and continually measuring how we’re doing will maintain our strong financial standing and allow us to continue to innovate to meet regional and global challenges like homelessness and climate change.” 

The final budget is $712.9 million for FY 2019-20 and $756.4 million for FY 2020-21. Last year’s adopted budget was $802.1 million, demonstrating the transition to a leaner, more efficient government that works better and costs less. The $712.9 million includes a $9.3 million payment towards the City’s unfunded pension liability. This is part of a strategy to accelerate payments to fully fund the City’s pension obligations within 13 years, saving over $100 million in interest costs over 30 years. 

As part of Council’s vote, changes to the City’s fee and fine structure were adopted. Changes include a parking meter rate increase of $0.50/hour in the Downtown and Beach zones, $0.25/hour in all other zones and Main Street parking lots, and a $15 increase in the monthly permit price for the Main Street lots. Hourly and daily parking rates will also increase at the Pier deck and the Central Beach lots. All other parking rates will remain the same and are available at www.smgov.net/parking 

The City of Santa Monica has a longstanding AAA bond rating by all three national credit agencies.  

More Information 

Staff report > 

Information item on unfunded pension liability (April 22) > 

Budget webpage > 

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