City to discuss budget, increasing fees

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26.
Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26. Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council is set to discuss both the upcoming year’s budget — which is projected to see a $51 million boom in comparison to the current year — as well as the possibility of increasing fees assessed for things such as housing developers and parking tickets, among other city-related services.  

If the budget and new fee schedule are ultimately adopted, which are both up for discussion during the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, both will come into effect later this year.  

Planned as the first item for the public hearing session, the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget for the city has a projected total of $299.3 million — a 21% increase from the 2021-2022 budget — that will be used on city services for the year.  

According to the agenda packet for the city, the large increase in the budget can, in part, be attributed to sales tax revenue that is scheduled to increase by 18.5% from the current budget, adding $46.2 million in annual revenue to the city’s $133 million general fund.  

“Several factors are considered to ensure accuracy in our projections, including the state of the economy, historical trends, population projections/growth, and inflation. With this information, the city can best determine the revenue available for allocation,” the meeting agenda reads. “For Fiscal Year 2022-2023, total revenue meets total expenditure appropriations.”   

The city’s operating reserve will total $19.8 million, according to the proposed agenda, and $84.7 will go to the Capital Improvement Program.  

“The Capital Improvement Program is a key component of the budget and is of vital importance to the community as a whole as it includes prioritized projects such as parks, buildings, paseos, trails, and street enhancements that improve the quality of life for residents in our community,” the agenda reads.  

If the budget is found agreeable to the City Council members, city staff have recommended that a vote to adopt it be placed on the agenda for the June 28 meeting. If approved, it would then take effect on July 1. 

In addition to budget discussion, the council will also consider a possible increase to the city’s fee schedule, or those costs imposed by the city for development-related projects, recreation, parking violations and other miscellaneous fees, such as vehicle impound release, handicap parking citations and filming fees.  

Unless otherwise stipulated in the agenda, the increase for the various services and fees will be largely based on the December year-end Consumer Price Index, which showed an increase of 6.57%. For example, the standard release of an impounded vehicle will rise from $216 to $235 and the noise disturbance fee will increase from $506 to $539.   

Transit and library service fees will remain unchanged, according to the agenda, and the recreation fees for things such as aquatics, youth and adult sports, camps and field use will increase “by no more than 10%” and will still be “below market.”   

If adopted on Tuesday, it is estimated the new fee schedule will add $598,084 in additional revenue to the general fund. Development-related fees would go into effect Sept. 14, recreation fees would go into effect Oct. 1, aquatic fees and special event fees would go into effect Jan. 1, and all other fees would go into effect on July 1.  

The special meeting for the Santa Clarita City Council is set to take place on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd. The regular public meeting is then scheduled to take place at 6 p.m.   

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