September 28, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Look At The Biennial Budget’s Affordable Housing, Economic Development Initiatives:

In one week, the Santa Monica City Council votes on the proposed Biennial Budget.

With the prospect of City Hall operating at a deficit by the time the proposed Biennial Budget expires in 2015, several departments have sought ways to make cuts to its operations without sacrificing essential services.

One of those departments, Housing and Economic Development, requested $23 million in funding, including $5 million from the General Fund, to execute its initiatives and maintain its operation.

Andy Agle, the head of Housing and Economic Development, told Council members during his presentation the department’s key mission is to ensure the City’s economy is healthy in various sectors while also finding ways to fund affordable housing initiatives within Santa Monica.

One key element of the affordable housing mission: the City’s compliance with Prop. R, which requires developers to set aside 30 percent of the housing projects they bring to Santa Monica for low- to moderate-income residents.

Agle told Council members about 36 percent of all housing produced in Santa Monica since the adoption of Prop. R are affordable housing units.

However, complicating the City’s mission to sustain affordable housing is the loss of redevelopment funding.

“In the coming two years, we’ll continue to pursue our department mission of creating affordable housing opportunities and a sustainable economy here in Santa Monica,” Agle told Council members.

“We’ll do that by providing direct rental assistance to (more than) 1,300 low-income households, supporting the production and preservation of affordable housing, leasing and licensing the City’s property assets, implementing the City’s real estate transactions, supporting four Business Improvement Districts, operating four weekly Farmers Markets, and overseeing the wind-down of redevelopment activities,” Agle continued.

Agle pointed out some initiatives the new budget would support.

Several affordable housing developments would be complete within the next two years, Agle pointed out. The completion of these projects would bring 100 new affordable units to Santa Monica by 2015.

However, since redevelopment money was a primary source of funding affordable housing projects, Agle said the pipeline to finance more units for lower-income households would dry up pretty quickly.

“As a result, we’ll pursue leveraging opportunities as well as exploring new funding options, including permanent local funding,” Agle said.

To help shore up some funding for affordable housing program, Agle said his department is looking into assessing some developers a nexus fee. The money raised from that fee could be turned around to fund non-profits, such as Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), to build affordable housing projects in the City.

Council member Tony Vazquez suggested Agle’s department look into possibly parting with Century Housing. The agency, which has an office in Culver City, regularly finances housing projects. Vazquez pondered if City Hall might consider accepting a bridge loan from Century Housing to help fund affordable housing projects in Santa Monica.

Beyond affordable housing, Agle’s department must also focus on “Economic Development.” Some of the economic development projects the department will pursue, Agle said, include a new cinematic experience in the downtown core and Expo-friendly initiatives to help increase the City’s revenue.

The primary change in the Housing and Economic Development budget, according to Agle, is a 25 percent reduction in the department’s General Fund allocation. Agle pointed out the reduction in funding is tied to the loss of redevelopment funding and the loss of eight members of its staff.

Another adjustment the Housing and Economic Development staff had to make to reduce the department’s General Fund hit: reshuffle some beneficiaries of the Senior Housing Voucher program to other programs.

Also to be reduced is the department’s budget for prevailing wage monitoring for affordable housing construction projects.

Finally, Agle proposed reducing the Farmers Market Special Events budget.

in News
Related Posts

OpEd: The Miramar Project Will Be a New Architectural Jewel

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

The Miramar Hotel has been a central part of Santa Monica’s history and an integral part of the community for...

Edify TV: Trident Center Redevelopment

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

The Westside’s Trident Center is getting a major overhaul and new name as part of a flurry of development in...

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...

Will Los Angeles County See Another Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

County health officials keeping close eye on data this week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...