By Mayor Laurene Weste
There are many things that make our city the unique and special place it is. Over 9,000 acres of pristine open space preserved for future generations to enjoy, a thriving arts community, top-notch amenities, programs and events.
However, did you know that Santa Clarita has delivered a balanced and on-time budget every year since incorporation? Your City Council places a strong emphasis on being fiscally responsible and conservative. That is why during the economic downturns of the past, our services remain high and our finances rock solid.
For the 2018/19 fiscal year, the city has once again adopted an on-time and balanced budget, while maintaining our AAA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s and a healthy 20 percent operating reserve. Totaling $203 million, this budget provides for the continued implementation of the action items in our strategic plan, Santa Clarita 2020.
Public safety continues to consume the largest portion of the general fund budget at 23 percent, or nearly $26 million. Some of the items under the public safety theme include funds for sheriff staffing, and overtime operations and training, all working to keep us safe. Our successful and award-winning Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita Valley (DFY in SCV) program will be able to reach even more students thanks to budgeting for an additional program specialist.
One of the most exciting, and expensive, projects is beginning work this fiscal year: the new 46,000-square-foot Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. We broke ground in July at the location on city-owned property on Golden Valley Road, between Centre Pointe Parkway and Robert C. Lee Parkway. This project will move our hard-working deputies and sheriff staff to a more central location in the city. The total contract will be approximately $60 million.
The next phase of the Santa Clarita 2020 quality of life theme, building and creating community, totals approximately $2.3 million. It will improve roadway circulation and efficiency of the city’s traffic signal network by enhancing the existing adaptive signal system performance, thus providing real-time data to the city’s traffic management center and eliminating gaps in the city’s fiber optic interconnection system.
Our annual budget includes allocations for services, projects and programs that are also part of the city’s five-year plan, Santa Clarita 2020. You can view the plan at SantaClarita2020.com.
If you are interested in reviewing the budget in its entirety, including budgets for past years, check out the city’s website at santa-clarita.com.
We look forward to serving our residents and bringing continual improvements to our quality of life.
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].