Over the next five weeks, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo will present a series of weekly State of the City addresses related to the COVID-19 crisis.
The addresses will be 12-minutes and aired on KEYT News Now, Cox Cable channel 13. A bilingual written version will be distributed for the hearing-impared, and Spanish versions of the address will be aired later in the week on Radio Bronco FM 107.7 and La Musical FM 94.5.
The address can also be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Tmf4y_lU6TE.
Mayor Murillo gave her first address Monday at 4 p.m. In it she acknowledged the widespread hardship caused by the coronavirus crisis and responded to calls to reopen the city immediately.
“The city is not in a position to willfully disregard California’s order. That’s not who we are—and surely that does not align with our value system as Santa Barbarans. Education, Public health, and public safety must rule the day. COVID-19 is not going away,” said Mayor Murillo.
Mayor Murillo shared that the city was at the beginning of a modified phase two reopening strategy that aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-phased strategy, but that the COVID-19 outbreak at Lompoc Prison skews the county’s data and prevents it from meeting Gov. Newsom’s mandate requiring there be no COVID-related deaths in the last two weeks before opening businesses further.
“The City Council and I are supportive of the Board of Supervisors’ letter to the gvernor asking his office to reevaluate the benchmark and exclude Lompoc prison from our local COVID-count,” said Mayor Murillo.
Mayor Murillo ended her address explaining the city’s four-pronged strategy to make up for its projected $12.3 million budget shortfall in 2020 and $9.7 million shortfall in 2021.
The strategy for 2020 includes holding vacant more than 100 city positions, deferring capital expenditures, slowing non-essential spending and tapping into available financial reserves.
Mayor Murillo also explained the city’s four-pronged strategy for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1. The city will make service reductions at the department level, defer capital expenditures and available contracts, will meet with labor partners, negotiate concessions and will continue to draw on the city’s rainy day fund.
“There is no sugarcoating our future. This hurts, but with each passing day, we get closer to a time when we can tell a distant story of how we survived the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Murillo.