September 19, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Officials Consider $1 Bil. Biennial Budget:

The City of Santa Monica forecasted two years into the future and planned for about $1.07 billion in revenues and $1.27 billion in expenditures between 2011 and 2013, as every public service department made budget presentations to the city council as part of a three-day workshop at City Hall this week.

City Manager Rod Gould started the biennial budget presentations on May 24, the crux of the three-day workshop. He highlighted how the City’s financial plans through fiscal year 2013 would address just about every nook and cranny of the municipality’s daily, monthly, and annual operations.

“This budget does much more than simply allow Santa Monica to stand still. It will allow the city to advance on many fronts,” Gould said. “It is an assertive, forward-leaning two-year budget which is balanced and prudent in the face of the economic uncertainty that we still face in California.”

Prior to the council’s consideration of priority redevelopment agency (RDA) projects on the first night of the budget workshops, representatives from several departments made presentations to about its role in the biennial financial plan, including the offices of the city manager, city attorney, city clerk, library services, and departments of finance, planning and community development, and information systems.

Each department “presented their proposed budgets, including major goals for the next two years.”

Based upon the projections and presentations, it was stressed “the two-year budget maintains core municipal services, enhances emergency preparedness, addresses emerging community needs, avoids any new tax proposal, layoffs and furloughs, maintains City staffing levels and competitive compensation, supports critical infrastructure needs, provides resources for civic advancement, and promotes sustainability, livability, education, human capital, economic development, mobility and fiscal stability.”

With $647.1 million and $624.2 million in expenditures planned for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively, the budget also accounts for $532.9 million and $535.5 million in revenues, respectively, for the same 24-month period. That translates into a difference of about $114.2 million for fiscal year 2011-12 and $88.7 million for fiscal year 2012-13.

“Overall, the budget is a flat spending document that makes strategic investments to better our financial position,” Gould said.

Among those who presented budgets on May 24, the departments with the largest budgets (for fiscal year 2011-2013) include finance (nearly $50 million), planning and community development (about $32 million), and the city manager’s office (just under $26 million). However, to place these amounts in perspective, departments who presented its figures on May 25, such as police, fire, public works, and community and cultural services, have budgets ranging from about $61 million to about $183 million.

As the proposed budget is generally presented to the public each May and adopted in June, the City has now implanted a biennial budget to “make the overall process more efficient.” The council is expected to adopt the budget on June 21.

Once the two-year spending plan is adopted, staff is expected to “return to council frequently, with mid-year and year-end reports and adjustments, and ask council to adopt an annual budget.”

Upon adoption, the budget is then made available online on the City’s Website (smgov.net) by July 1 and includes a “supplemental document detailing revenue and expenditure line item budgets for each department.” The adopted budget document will be made available to the public in August.

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