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City Council Approves Midyear Budget and Continues Budget Restructuring
February 26, 2020
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – At last night’s meeting, the Santa Monica City Council reviewed and approved adjustments to the midyear budget . The budget responds to softening revenues that are impacting the City sooner than originally projected. A $2 million shortfall is expected this budget period predominantly due to a reduction in Transient Occupancy Tax from hotel guests.
“The accelerated downward trend of revenue streams that our community relies upon and the eventual slowing of the national economy, require us to take additional budget restructuring measures to avoid budget shortfalls this year with more to come,” said Finance Director Gigi Decavalles-Hughes.
While departments are taking steps to resolve the shortfall by finding efficiencies beyond what was identified in the six-year budget strategy to create a government that works better and costs less, there are new positions reflected in the budget to implement best practices for youth programs. Council repurposed current positions to approve a new part-time volunteer coordinator to manage the qualifications, background, and policies for volunteers across the City. This came as a recommendation from Praesidium—a leading organization in the prevention of child sexual abuse—that reviewed City youth programs and policies. The CREST after school program will also receive 1.4 additional as-needed staff. These enhancements will augment staff to youth ratios. In June 2019 when Council adopted the FY 2019-21 budget, 28 positions were eliminated.
As part of the midyear budget, Council also took the following actions:
- Increased parking citation fines to make them congruent with the City of Los Angeles with an increase of$10 for most types of citations.
- Accepted a $250,000 grant from Metro for the COAST open streets event planned for September 20.
- Award an RFP to TBWBH Strategies andGoodwin Simon Strategic Research for strategic advisory and opinion research services on potential tax measures for consideration.
The immediate next steps for the City’s budget include closing the $2 million gap this year followed by the incorporation of $1.5 million in reductions based on recommendations to the City Manager from the Budget Task Force for FY 2020-21.