February 26, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City Council Gears Up for Budget Deadline with Special Study Sessions:

The Santa Monica City Council held the first of three annual budget study sessions on Tuesday, May 26 at City Hall. The public meeting found city staff from all departments presenting condensed versions of budgetary priorities and cuts for fiscal year 2009-2010, information laid out in its entirety in a 300-plus page document.

Before the three-day budget talks started, the Council passed two motions on Tuesday night. The first item authorizes the city manager to negotiate and execute a maximum price amendment for various pieces of the Charnock Well Field restoration project. The project will cost approximately $52,000 in the build and design phase, and an additional $575,000 for geotechnical inspection services, deputy inspection and materials testing. The second item authorizes the City Manager to negotiate and execute a lease with Angelo’s Pawn Shop for the property at 1334 5th St.

Budget agenda items on Tuesday night kicked off with a presentation by City Manager P. Lamont Ewell, who talked about the tough economy and the need to balance expenditures against revenue sources that are under pressure. He presented budget balancing strategies, including proposed hikes in parking citation fee amounts, and presented upcoming opportunities for increased revenue, including the re-opening of Santa Monica Place in 2010, the City’s application for more than $25 million in federal stimulus funds, and the construction of the Expo Light Rail. He also said theCity has a reserve that includes approximately $550,000 in unallocated funds.

Next, City staff outlined its upcoming Capital Improvements Program (CIP) priorities, excluding the Redevelopment Agency’s projects, which will be re-visited at the June 9 Santa Monica City Council meeting. The City of Santa Monica annually develops a five-year CIP; for this budget period, the program covers FY2009-10 through FY2013-14. Although the program spans five years, funds for only the first year are appropriated as part of the budget process. Major initiatives for 09-10 include $1.6 million in computer replacements and $2.7 million in vehicle replacements, $3 million in street resurfacing, $2.25 million in facilities renewals and $2 million in streetlight retrofitting. Unfunded projects include the Colorado Yard replacement ($47.5 million) and the Pico Neighborhood Library ($13 million – $30 million) among others.

Several City departments subsequently outlined their goals and proposed budgets in brief, including the City Council and City Manager, Records and Election Services, City Attorney, Human Resources, Finance, Library, and Community Maintenance.

To view the proposed budget and send feedback to the City Manager, visit http://www.smgov.net/ and click on City Hall, then City Manager’s Office.

After the budget discussion was concluded, the Council adopted an ordinance that will extend massage technician permits for two months.

Two additional budget study sessions were held on May 27 and 28. The deadline for budget approval is June 23. The next regular City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 9.

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