By Ken Striplin
Santa Clarita City Manager
Each year, staff spends six months preparing the City of Santa Clarita’s annual budget. The process includes gathering input and guidance from the City Council, evaluating budget requests, reviewing community survey responses and ensuring all items are tied to the City’s five-year strategic plan, Santa Clarita 2025.
As a whole, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 budget totals $248.3 million, which represents a 13 percent increase over the previous year. Santa Clarita also continues to maintain a healthy operating reserve representing 20 percent of General Fund operating expenditures, equaling $18.7 million.
Our City prioritizes community well-being through investments in Public Safety. At a sum of $29.7 million, the Public Safety budget makes up the largest portion of the budget. Which is one of the reasons Santa Clarita continues to rank as one of the safest cities in the nation. In fact, a recent study by AdvisorSmith ranked Santa Clarita the eighth safest city in the country.
Investments in Parks, Recreation, and Community Services remains a key focus. The Recreation and Community Services budget totals $16.5 million, contributing funds to the facilities and programs that will allow residents to happily recreate. The City has also allocated $10.9 million toward the preservation of parks, providing exceptional field conditions residents have come to expect and appreciate.
Other highlights of the new budget include funding for the Arts Master Plan, with the development of a film festival and increased diversity and inclusion programming. One-time funding has also been allocated to the operations at the brand-new Canyon Country Community Center, which will open its doors this fall.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City committed funding to provide clean and disinfected air at all City facilities. With ongoing funding to cover the costs of annual replacement of ultraviolet disinfecting lamps, the City will fulfill its long-term priority of keeping residents and employees safe at public facilities.
The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) continues to be an integral part of the City’s overall budget. With a total investment of $46.3 million, CIP projects this fiscal year include the Bouquet Canyon Trail expansion to Central Park, trash filter installations in storm drains, facility improvements at The Cube, traffic safety enhancements near schools and many more. As demand for additional fields continues to be one of the community’s priorities, residents will surely enjoy the Central Park buildout, adding four multipurpose fields, lighting, parking and many more enhancements. All of these improvements demonstrate the City’s focus not only to building new amenities but also the maintenance of public infrastructure.
Even with the many challenges faced in 2020, our City organization is in solid financial standing and the elite AAA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s (S & P) remains intact. This rating indicates the City’s strong ability to meet current and long-term financial commitments. Thanks to your City Council’s leadership, the City is confident we will continue providing exceptional service to the residents in the community. The City encourages everyone to visit our website at santa-clarita.com to dive deeper into the numbers and explore other projects within this year’s budget.