July 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Adopts $765M Budget, Focuses on Public Safety and Homelessness

Adjustments Involve the Addition of Police Officer Positions and Enhancements to the City’s Security Camera Program

The Santa Monica City Council recently adopted the Fiscal Year 2024-25 operating and Capital Improvement Program budget, investmenting in areas such as public safety, addressing homelessness, sustainability, mobility and inclusive programs.

The $765.3 million operating and CIP budget for 2024-25 incorporates $1.8 million in adjustments to support public safety and economic recovery, based on council direction from the May 28 budget study session. The budget also includes grant funds to support homelessness programs.

Significant adjustments involve the addition of four police officer positions, a one-year waiver followed by a second-year reduction on outdoor dining fees for businesses on the Third Street Promenade, enhancements to the city’s security camera program, and investments in mobility, road safety, and transit, including improvements to unsignalized intersections.

The budget reflects key investments in five community priority areas: Clean & Safe, Addressing Homelessness, Sustainable & Connected, Justice, Equity & Diversity, and Economic Growth and Cultural Vitality.

Key initiatives funded by the balanced budget include ongoing resources to address homelessness, such as a contract with The Salvation Army for drug abuse treatment services and funding for the completion and implementation of the citywide Homelessness Strategic Plan. 

The budget also expands operating hours for the Homeless Liaison Program (HLP) Team in the Police Department and allocates $119 million for police and crime prevention, including increased deployments of the mobile command post and the build-out of the Real Time Crime Center. With the addition of four officers in this year’s budget, the City Council has allocated resources for 11 new police officers over the past two fiscal years. Enhanced recruitment efforts to fill Police Department vacancies are also included, along with the creation of a small business assistance and tenant improvement fund and the streamlining of the city’s permitting processes.

The Council also advanced a $194.7 million FY 2024-26 Biennial Capital Improvement Program plan, paving the way for safety cameras and other public safety improvements, transit upgrades, parks and community services, tree planting, and other key infrastructure projects over the next two years.

The two-year CIP includes projects funded by 22 different sources, including enterprise funds from rates and fees, such as the Water Fund, as well as tax revenues from voter-approved ballot measures, and federal and state funding. 

Notable capital projects for the next two years include $29 million for the Pier Bridge replacement project, $11.95 million for street and sidewalk maintenance, $6.45 million to construct two groundwater recharge wells through the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), $4.77 million for the completion of the Wilshire Transportation Safety Project, $1 million for streetlight modernization, $2.1 million for a new playground at Virginia Avenue Park, $500,000 for tree planting and landscape improvements as part of the Urban Forest Master Plan, $450,000 for the completion of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and $850,000 for a new community garden on 19th Street.

As part of the budget adoption, the Council directed city staff to schedule a study session to explore additional measures for public safety and homelessness and to discuss potential budget revisions to reallocate resources accordingly.

in Hard, News
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