The Santa Barbara City Council will hold a special meeting tonight to review adjustments to the fiscal year 2021 recommended budget.
After preparing the recommended budget, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a substantial impact to local revenues, with current estimates showing a revenue loss of $26.5 million for fiscal year 2020, $24 million for fiscal year 2021. The impact to the city’s general fund is estimated to be $12.5 million in FY 20 and $10 million in FY 2021. It remains unclear if the city will receive any state or federal relief, according to the staff report.
To close the budget gap, the city is using a four-pronged approach, which includes service reductions at the department level, deferring capital expenditures, labor concessions and use of reserves.
Department reductions in the amount of $6.5 million are proposed. The general fund capital budget has been cut in half, currently proposed at $400,000, down from the original $800,000. This includes changes to ADA-related projects, though city staff believes these projects will still be accomplished using Measure C funds, which are projected to be reduced from $26.8 million to $22.8 million, according to the staff report.
The reduction plan estimates approximately $1.6 million in salary budget reductions via labor concessions.
“It is likely that most of the contingency reserves will be used to fill the gap in Fiscal Year 2020 as a result of revenue losses from COVID-19,” the staff report reads. “One of the balancing measures will be to utilize additional contingency reserves and possibly some disaster reserves, to fill the remaining gap.”
The recently merged Santa Barbara and Goleta Chamber of Commerce is submitting an economic development and business recruitment proposal, which would help establish a new economic development division to oversee and manage multiple revitalization efforts. The preliminary first year capital budget and funding requests a contribution of $150,000 from the city, according to the staff report.
Monday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. via teleconference. The meeting will be broadcast live on City TV channel 18. An online stream can be found at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, set for 2 p.m., Mayor Cathy Murillo is set to read a proclamation to declare June 19 as Juneteenth in Santa Barbara.
The proclamation calls for the city to join a nationwide celebration of the emancipation of the last enslaved black Americans, while “mourning the many Black lives that continue to be lost unjustly,” the proclamation reads.
It continues, “we condemn the prevalence of systemic racism in the nation’s fabric; denounce the unequal treatment of the Black community; acknowledge the devastating impacts of racism on the health, safety, and wellbeing of Black Americans; and vow to take action to end racism and prejudice in our community and beyond.”
In other business, the council will discuss additional Community Development Block Grant funds that have been allocated to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the staff report, recent relief packages have made additional funds available, as the city has been allocated and will receive $530,774 in CDBG-VV funds. In order to receive the funds, the city is required to amend its fiscal year 2019-20 annual action plan and submit an amendment to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
These funds must meet the national objectives of the program, which are to benefit low-income or moderate income residents, aid the prevention of slums or blight and have a particular urgency, according to the staff report.
City staff recommends the funds be used for business assistance to avoid job loss caused by business closures, public services such as food banks, meal delivery programs, mental health counseling or homeless shelter creation or expansion, as well as rental relief for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Also on Tuesday, the council will discuss executing a contract of nearly $250,000 for design services of the Vision Zero Eastside Green Lanes and Bicycle Boulevard Gap Closure that is aimed at providing cyclists with a “safe, efficient alternative to riding along Milpas Street” and a connection to the downtown area. Additional community engagement is scheduled during the design phase.
Tuesday’s meeting will also be streamed live on City TV channel 18 and online at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap.