Balanced Budget for FY 2023 – 2025 Approved By City Council

July 3, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—On June 27, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously adopted a balanced biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2023-2025. The budget reflects the most substantial restoration of services since 2020, and builds on the work done in recent years to help respond to and recover from the COVID-19 emergency as well as make strategic investments to advance priority areas the city council identified at its workshop on March 11, 2023, which include Addressing Homelessness; Clean and Safe Santa Monica; Cultivate Economic Recovery and Expand Community and Cultural Offerings; Racial Justice, Equity, and Social Diversity; and Sustainable and Connected Community.

“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, the approval of the Biennial Budget adds to the City’s momentum and focuses our next two years,” says Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. “I’m looking forward to the expansion of our beloved programs and ask for the community’s support as enhancements become implemented to address what’s most important to our residents.”

The city reported in a press release that the overall FY 2023-25 Proposed Biennial Budget is approximately $745.0 million in FY 2023-24 and $750.6 million in FY 2024-25, net of reimbursements and transfers. That is a difference of $4.2 million and $4.1 million, respectively, from what was presented at the Budget Study Session in May 2023.

The final budget reflects the Santa Monica City Council priorities and direction and utilizes new revenues from Measure CS adopted by voters in November 2022, including:

-Allocating resources to several public safety initiatives such as adding six police officers and one police sergeant to expand the Homeless Liaison Program team to enable the program to operate seven days per week and augment patrol operations; investing in technology to enhance community safety; enhanced patrol and security services at the Pier, Beach, and Downtown; implementing a transit safety officer program for Big Blue Bus (BBB) to enhance customer and Motor Coach Operator safety on BBB’s 19 routes and 980 stops in the City and the Westside, and further staff restorations to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter.

-Expanded efforts to address homelessness such as the addition of another multidisciplinary outreach team to work east of Lincoln Blvd., in areas outside of the current focus areas Downtown and the Beach; development of a Homelessness Strategic Plan that sets clear policy direction, promotes alignment across City stakeholders, supports regional efforts, and improves focus on measurable objectives and reporting; expansion of SAMOSHEL hours to allow for 24/7 intakes; allocating funds to support eviction prevention; a new 3-1-1 outreach response in partnership with the Salvation Army to respond to requests in the field; and the addition of a dedicated Santa Monica Fire Department case manager.

-Expanded Public Works teams for maintaining clean public spaces such as increasing alley clearing frequencies; enhancing illegal dumping and bulky item pickup services; and enhancing tree pruning in high-traffic areas.

-Organizational realignment to create the Housing and Human Services Department and the Recreation and Arts Department to carry forward the Community Services Department’s work to be responsive to the social and economic challenges residents are facing, the need for community healing and recovery, and to provide services and programs that enrich lives and help people thrive.

-Grants to support the behavioral health needs of vulnerable residents.

-Further restoration of youth programs by enhancing staffing to enable CREST afterschool programs to fully operate at elementary schools and enroll additional participants; ongoing staffing of the Police Activities League and Virginia Avenue Park youth programs that serve the most vulnerable populations in the community, building participation by 480 to 500 youth for a projected total participation of over 2,200 youth served; and supporting SMMUSD’s continued operation of the Playground Club program.

-Further restoration of Santa Monica Public Library’s programs and hours to include the Main Library extending hours to include Saturdays, extending evening hours at all open locations (Monday through Thursday) to 8 p.m., and opening the Main Library one hour earlier (Monday through Thursday) at 10 a.m.

-The continuation of the Art of Recovery program which funds inclusive and diverse cultural activities that support mental well-being, build and connect community, and spur economic recovery.

-Funds to continue essential road maintenance and rehabilitation projects.

-Support for monthly meetings for the Landmarks Commission.

-A new small businesses assistance program.

-Establishing a Citywide ADA Coordinator.

-Restoration of City Traffic Engineer position to advance mobility projects and develop a multi-year traffic signal preventative maintenance program.

-Continuing work on action plans to support zero waste, sustainable water, and electrification of the City’s fleet.

The Adopted Biennial Budget will be posted to finance.smgov.net/budgets-reports/annual for individuals to view.

By Donald

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