The half-year process to formalize the city’s new spending plan has officially commenced.
On Monday, Mayor Marsha McLean and Councilman Bill Miranda, who are part of the City Council’s Budget Committee, met to discuss the basic elements of Santa Clarita’s fiscal 2019-2020 budget, a “prep” for what will come Tuesday, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan.
Both will reconvene Tuesday with the rest of the City Council members and other members of the Planning Commission; the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission; and the Arts Commission to receive a presentation on the proposed budget.
This “study session” is open to the public and is scheduled 5:30 p.m. in the Century Room at City Hall. The meeting serves as an opportunity for all to “informally discuss and better understand major issues currently before the city,” according to the city staff report.
McLean said Monday the main focus for this coming budget plan is the same as the past: a balanced budget. “Our priority has always been and continues to be that we come in with a budget that is balanced,” she said. “We have a 20 percent reserve for emergencies and that will continue.”
“We also want to make sure we maintain the level of safety we’ve had in the past,” said McLean. “We’ve had the lowest crime statistics in the history of the city. We want to make sure we don’t spend more than we take in.”
Last year’s city budget totaled $203 million, which included a projected $110.8 million in general fund revenues, with the general fund’s budgeted expenditures at $110.4 million. Santa Clarita budgeted nearly $29 million for its Capital Improvement Program, which covers major projects based on community needs.
The budget process typically culminates around June with the adoption of a balanced annual spending plan. McLean said preparation is key.
“We always have to plan ahead for any contingencies,” she said. “We want to make sure that if the economy is up, that’s good, and if it’s down, we have to make sure that we’re prepared so we don’t spend more. We’re always looking into the next planning stages.”