City Council to consider adopting new budget Tuesday

City Hall on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Eddy Martinez/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council will consider adopting its new budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year Tuesday, and hold public hearings related to special districts and open space. 

The proposed budget, as presented to the City Council and all commissions during joint budget study sessions, totals $225.9 million, which includes $36.7 million for capital improvement program projects, such as for parks, transit, streets and landscaping. 

“I’m pleased to share that I am presenting a balanced and healthy budget to the City Council,” City Manager Ken Striplin said during a presentation and public hearing for the budget at the June 11 council meeting. 

Santa Clarita’s general fund — the largest portion of the budget — represents $114 million of total revenues and sales tax at $37 million, which is projected to be flat or have no growth from the current adopted budget, according to the city staff report. 

The city’s general fund operating reserve will remain at $17.6 million, 20% of operating expenditures. 

“Overall, I’m happy to report this organization is in solid financial standing,” said Striplin. 

At the public hearing, resident Alan Ferdman said he was concerned about funding for capital improvement projects like the Canyon Country Community Center and the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, which are underway.  

“Where’s the money going to come from to complete construction of the Canyon Country community center in the 2020-21 timeframe if (construction is) not even in this capital improvement program?” he asked. 

Striplin clarified that funds for specific steps of a project are not all listed at once. 

“The capital budget changes on an annual basis. We budget on an annual basis, but we plan beyond an annual basis, obviously,” he said. “The funding is available for those projects. However, what we don’t do is, if a project, for the sake of this discussion, is $50 million, but we know that that $50 million is going to be broken up over three years, I’m not going to come to the council and say, ‘Budget $50 million now,’ when I know that that money is not going to be needed until three years. We will budget in that current year what we believe it needs to be.”

The City Council is also scheduled to hold three public hearings to consider an annual levy of assessments for special districts and for an open space preservation district, as well as for the annual adjustment to fees and amendments to the new fiscal year fee schedule. 

Council members are also scheduled to make a proclamation to recognize June as Pride Month.

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