City Council to conduct public hearing for new budget

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File photo

Santa Clarita residents will have a chance Tuesday to discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-20 and a recommended increase for the stormwater pollution-prevention fee, as the City Council plans to hold public hearings.

At its regular meeting, council members will conduct the hearing and schedule a date to adopt the budget, a calculated total of $225.9 million, which represents an 11% increase or $23 million from the current year’s adopted budget.

Over the course of about six months, city staff, council members and commissioners prepared and reviewed the proposed amount. The latest step was Tuesday when the Planning Commission found that the Fiscal Year 2019-20 draft was consistent with the city’s general plan.

At a May study session, City Manager Ken Striplin called the proposal “a growing, balanced budget,” with a revenue surplus of $385,906. The city’s general fund for the new fiscal year represents a total of $114 million in revenue and sales tax, projected to be flat or with no growth from the current budget at $37 million.

When it comes to reserves, the proposed operating reserve is $17.6 million, said to remain at 20% of operating expenditures.

“Reserves are a critical component of the budget because this is a funding source that can be counted on in case of an emergency or unforeseen opportunity,” the city staff report read. “The city has been very fortunate to be able to maintain a healthy General Fund Operating Reserve during slow economic times.”

The recommended date to adopt the budget is at the June 25 City Council meeting.

Stormwater pollution prevention fee

The City Council will also hold a hearing and is recommended to introduce and pass the second reading of an ordinance determining the annual fee, which could rise from $25.40 to $26.22 per residential unit.

The collection began in 1995 to support the requirements of the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, or NPDES, according to the city staff report. State-mandated programs, such as water quality monitoring and pollution prevention, are administered and funded under fees collected and NPDES.

Every year, the City Council must determine the rates of the fee to the maximum fee authorized by an ordinance it adopted in 2009 after property owners approved a revision to the fee through a special ballot election process that same year.

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