June 29, 2022 4:55 PM
Last night, the Santa Monica City Council adopted a balanced budget for FY 2022–23 aligned with its adopted priorities of a clean and safe community, addressing homelessness, and an equitable and inclusive economic recovery. Last week, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings completed their review of the City’s financial health and have maintained the City’s General Obligation and Lease Revenue Bond ratings, affirming the City’s strong (AAA/Aaa) credit rating.
“The City is in the same quandary as our country. We are experiencing significant cost increases resulting from high inflation, market disruptions from the war in Ukraine, and supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “While some economic uncertainty remains, I am confident that the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget responds to what Santa Monicans need and reinforces our commitment to economic recovery.”
The adopted FY 2022-23 Budget comes as the City gradually recovers after a General Fund revenue loss of over $180 million over three years due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FY 2022-23 Budget allocates resources responsive to Council direction and community feedback and consists of no-cost operational adjustments to improve service delivery for the community.
In addition to programs and services funded in FY 2021-22, the FY 2022-23 Adopted Budget includes:
- Funding for the Directed Action Response Team (DaRT), formerly known as the Pier Vending Task Force, for another year.
- The launch of a supervised afterschool playtime program at all seven SMMUSD elementary schoolyards through one-time funds. The City will work with the School
- District to determine the best approach to ensure program costs are affordable.
- The restoration of sports fields at Clover Park, Memorial Park, and Los Amigos Park using one-time savings.
- Staff will return to Council with a proposal to expand library hours of service using one-time funds reallocated from capital projects that can be deferred.
- A Paid Parental Leave Program for City staff effective July 1, 2022, that will provide for six weeks of leave at 100% of an employee’s salary.
These restorations are supported by one-time funds and will require additional revenue streams in the future.
To expedite economic recovery, enhance public safety presence and address homelessness, the City must seek a combination of new ongoing and one-time revenues. At last night’s meeting, Council adopted a resolution to place a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) measure on the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot.
Downtown Santa Monica and Pier Investments
As part of the approved FY 2022-23 Budget, the Santa Monica City Council funded ongoing Downtown investments to enhance the resident, visitor and business experience.
- Continue the Drone as First Responder program and closed-circuit television security camera programs to strengthen police presence and 911 response.
- Improve the Pier experience by replacing the existing Pier bridge, installing fire sprinklers and upgrading the Pier deck.
- Enhance infrastructure by repaving streets, renewing sidewalks, and maintaining parking structures and lots.
- Deploy a comprehensive, collaborative approach to cleanliness and hospitality through daily maintenance, sanitization, and custodial services led by staff who cover 2-3 million square feet of public space downtown.
- Implement our comprehensive approach to address homelessness in downtown and across Santa Monica, that balances immediate quality of life issues with longer-term solutions. Funded efforts include street-based outreach, funding local non-profits that provide outreach and focus on preventing homelessness, adding experts to the field through the Santa Monica Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Program and Santa Monica Fire Department’s Community Response Unit, increasing patrols and enforcement of local laws in parks and public spaces, and advancing longer-term solutions like meeting behavioral health needs and investing in permanent housing.
FY 2022-24 Biennial Capital Improvement Program Projects:
Council also endorsed the FY 2022-24 Biennial CIP Projects including:
- Initiate a community process to plan for the future of the Santa Monica Airport in preparation for local control in 2029.
- Upgrade community facilities like the Virginia Avenue Park fitness room and planned maintenance for the swim facilities at the Swim Center and Annenberg Community Beach House.
- Improve the City’s parks and open spaces including Douglas Park playground reconstruction, Beach Park #1 playground equipment replacement, additional beach volleyball courts and lights, Palisades Park pathway and drainage improvements,
- Marine Park parking lot resurfacing, and the urban forest renewal program. Improve vehicles and pedestrian safety and connections to bus service at seven high crash intersections on Wilshire Boulevard.
- Significant investments in water projects that will move the City towards its goal of water self-sufficiency including new groundwater recharge wells, water main replacements, and improvements to the safety and operations of Santa Monica’s water treatment plants and groundwater reservoirs.
- Develop Phase 1 of the Beach Master Plan to prepare the Santa Monica State Beach for future major events like the 2028 Olympics.
The total adopted budget for the City for FY 2022-23 is $665.4 million. This is a difference of approximately $633,000 over what was presented in the initial proposed budget on May 24. Of this amount, approximately $564,000 is in the General Fund and $69,000 is in the Miscellaneous Grants Fund. The final approved budget is available at finance.smgov.net/budgets-reports/annual.
The FY 2022-23 operating budget is the second year of a two-year biennial budget. As a result, the budget presented to Council shows only changes to the second year of FY 2021-23 Biennial Budget that was approved by Council in June 2021. For additional information on the overall budget, including line-item allocations, the community is invited to review the FY 2021-23 Biennial Budget documents published in 2021.
Public Information Coordinator