Santa Monica said Wednesday its city council has approved a $613.6 million Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget that reduces spending by nearly 25 percent and takes a small chunk out of the police department's budget.
The budgetary reduction is in response to the impacts of the novel coronavirus and includes measures to close a projected $224 million budget deficit through Fiscal year 2021-22, according to a city statement. The budget reduces the Santa Monica Police Department budget by 3.3 percent compared to the FY 2020-21 budget plan.
The council Tuesday night also approved a biennial Fiscal Year 2020- 2022 capital improvement budget, the statement said.
"City budgets express community values, prioritized in a complex process involving patience and compromise, more so this time than in previous years and circumstances,'' said Mayor Kevin McKeown. "Pandemic-triggered revenue shortfalls forced tough decisions that impact service levels to our residents and the livelihood of our dedicated City staff. Despite that, our City Council unanimously adopted a balanced budget aimed at Santa Monica's long-term vitality, focused on recovery and reform.''
The adopted budget includes racial justice initiatives, with a $200,000 allocation from the general fund and $25,000 from the Council discretionary fund for the Black Agenda spearheaded by members of Santa Monica's Black community.
Council directed staff to return no later than Sept. 8, 2020 with proposals regarding public safety reform, including proposals to divest from current police expenditures and invest in the community and particularly in programs and services identified in a Black Agenda for Santa Monica. The City Manager's proposals will be informed by a Public Safety Reform Advisory Committee that will develop recommendations on police use-of-force policies and allocation of public safety resources.
The budget envisions a new process for historic preservation land marking that will allow community members to review demolition permits to identify potentially significant structures for review for landmark consideration at a fee paid for by the community member applicant.
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It also projects increasing aquatic access for permitted groups through a staffing fee that will provide some groups the ability to rent the Santa Monica Aquatic facilities outside of normal operating hours.
The council also approved an Economic Recovery Fund with a $1 million allocation to spur economic recovery in Santa Monica for individuals, families and businesses and accepted federal Continuum of Care Program renewal grant funds totaling $3,913,586 to serve the homeless and disabled populations with housing subsidies.
A contract with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. extends the Reed Park Pilot Ambassador program through June 30, 2021.
Funding will continue for most organizations that receive grant support from the City through the Human Services Grants Program and Organizational Support Program. Changes to certain fees, fines, and parking rates, including an electric vehicle overstay charge, increased home sharing permit fees, and historic preservation fees were also approved, the statement reported.
As part of its annual end-of-fiscal-year discretionary fund allocation, the Council funded the following community organizations:
- $10,000, Family Service of Santa Monica Community Mental Health
- $20,000, Wise & Healthy Aging
- $24,000: $8,000 to Main Street, Pico Blvd., and Montana Avenue
Merchants to support Economic Recovery efforts:
- $20,000, Connections for Children -- Santa Monica Early Education
- $10,000, St. Joseph's Center Youth Resource Team (YRT) Collaborative
- $10,000 to St. Joseph's Santa Monica Retention Program
- $10,000 to LAFLA Domestic Violence Clinic