Budget enhancements address priorities adopted by the council such as homelessness, cleanliness and safety and economic recovery.
By Zach Armstrong
The proposed FY 2023-25 biennial budget for Santa Monica includes the “most substantial restoration of ongoing services and introduction of enhanced services” since a budget restructuring in 2020, according to the city.
The proposed budget is $740.9 million in FY 2023-24 and $746.4 million in FY 2024-25. Budget enhancements address priorities adopted by the council such as homelessness, cleanliness and safety, economic recovery, expanding community and cultural offerings, racial justice and social diversity, and a sustainable and connected community.
The proposed budget also includes restoring almost 70 positions to city hall, including more than eight positions previously added as limited term ones that could be extended or converted to permanent.
Estimates show a revenue surplus of $200,000 over three years, then shortfalls of about $600,000 and $1.5 million in the fourth and fifth years. The negative balances can be managed over the next three years, according to the city.
The council’s meeting on Tuesday will begin the discussion process leading up to the budget’s adoption in June. A public hearing on June 27 will be held for public comment, making revisions, and adopting the first year and approving the second year of the budget.
Here is a breakdown of the proposed biennial budget:
WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM IN FY23-24
Local Taxes – 72.5%
Charges For Services – 12.2%
Fines/Licenses/Permits – 11.4%
Investments/Rents – 2.5%
Other – 1.4%
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Public Safety (Fire and Police) – 38%
Internal Services – 14.2%
Non-Departmental – 13%
Public Works – 11.8%
Housing and Community Service – 7.5%
Mobility and Parking – 5.6%
Community Development – 4.3%
Capital Improvements – 3.1%
Library – 2.5%
What Are The Largest Enhancements In The Proposed Biennial Budget?
Over $2 million – Increasing police department staffing to expand the Homeless Liaison Program and to augment staffing in other areas such as the Downtown Services Unit.
Over $1.7 million – Staffing to enhance alley clearing, illegal dumping and bulky item pickup services, bike lane sweeping, comply with State mandatory organics recycling, and work towards the Zero Waste goal.
Over $1.5 million – Staffing changes to support the Big Blue Bus’s recruitment and training efforts, maintenance needs and security services.
$800,000 – Redesign of the SAMOSHEL interim housing program to accommodate 24/7 intakes.
$605,000 – Establishing ongoing funding for security services program at the Pier.
$510,000 – Restoring additional service hours at the Main Library on Saturdays, extending evening hours at all open locations (M-TH) to 8 pm, and opening the Main Library one hour earlier.
$500,000 – Ongoing funding to support the School District’s Playground Club program.