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Santa Monica Council Adopts FY 2020-21 Operating Budget and FY 2020-22 Capital Improvement Program Budget
June 24, 2020 7:38 AM
Last night, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved the City’s FY 2020-21 proposed budget and biennial FY 2020-22 capital improvement program budget. The operating budget is $613.6 million and reflects an organizational restructuring, a reduction to the operational budget by nearly 25% in response to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and includes measures to close a projected $224 million budget deficit through FY 2021-22. The budget reduces the Santa Monica Police Department budget by 3.3% as compared to the FY 2020-21 budget plan approved as part of the FY 2019-21 Biennial Adopted Budget.
“City budgets express community values, prioritized in a complex process involving patience and compromise — more so this time than in previous years and circumstances,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. "Pandemic-triggered revenue shortfalls forced tough decisions that impact service levels to our residents and the livelihood of our dedicated City staff. Despite that, our City Council unanimously adopted a balanced budget aimed at Santa Monica’s long-term vitality, focused on recovery and reform.”
The adopted budget includes the following as prioritized by Council at the June 9 budget hearing and through 13 items on last night’s agenda:
- Racial justice initiatives with a $200,000 allocation from the general fund and $25,000 from the Council discretionary fund for the Black Agenda spearheaded by members of Santa Monica’s Black community.
- Council directed staff to return with proposals regarding public safety reform, including proposals to divest from current police expenditures and invest in the community and particularly in programs and services identified in a Black Agenda for Santa Monica, no later than September 8, 2020. The City Manager’s proposals will be informed by a Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee that will develop recommendations on police use-of-force policies and allocation of public safety resources. Applications are now being accepted at santamonica.gov.
- Changes to the We Are Santa Monica Fund to allow donations to be earmarked for the Black Agenda. Once unrestricted donations to the We Are Santa Monica Fund may be used for the development of the Black Agenda, allocate 10% of any such unrestricted donations to the development and implementation of the Black Agenda.
- A new process for historic preservation landmarking that will allow community members to review demolition permits to identify potentially significant structures for review for landmark consideration at a fee paid for by the community member applicant.
- Increasing aquatic access for permitted groups through a staffing fee that will provide permit groups the ability to rent the Santa Monica Aquatic facilities outside of normal operating hours.
- Cost recovery for service programs that balances the need to ensure access to vital youth programs, including financial assistance for working families.
Council approved an Economic Recovery Fund with a $1 million allocation to spur and speed economic recovery in Santa Monica for individuals, families and businesses and accepted federal Continuum of Care Program renewal grant funds totaling $3,913,586 to serve the homeless and disabled populations with housing subsidies. A contract with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. extends the Reed Park Pilot Ambassador program through June 30, 2021. Funding will continue for most organizations that receive grant support from the City through the Human Services Grants Program and Organizational Support Program. Changes to certain fees, fines, and parking rates, including an electric vehicle overstay charge, increased home sharing permit fees, and historic preservation fees were also approved.
A proposed measure to increase the City’s documentary transfer tax will come back to Council for approval to be put on the November 2020 ballot at the July 28 meeting.
As part of its annual end-of-fiscal-year discretionary fund allocation, Council funded the following community organizations:
- $10,000 Family Service of Santa Monica Community Mental Health
- $20,000 Wise & Healthy Aging (also included above)
- $24,000: $8,000 to Main Street, Pico Blvd., and Montana Avenue Merchants to support Economic Recovery efforts.
- $20,000 Connections for Children – Santa Monica Early Education
- $10,000 St. Joseph’s Center Youth Resource Team (YRT) Collaborative
- $10,000 to St. Joseph’s Santa Monica Retention Program
- $10,000 to LAFLA Domestic Violence Clinic