Council gives first approval of $342.4M budget  

City of Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin speaks after receiving the Public Service Award during the 99th Annual Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards & Installation event held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Friday March 18, 2022. Dan Watson/The Signal

As the city’s monthslong budgeting process comes to a close, the Santa Clarita City Council gave its first approval of the city’s spending plan and annual review of its capital improvement program Tuesday. 

Santa Clarita’s largest budget yet totals $342.4 million, which includes funding for major projects, the Redevelopment Successor Agency, operations and maintenance, personnel and debt services. 

The 2024-25 spending plan is about $20.6 million more than last year’s, which represents a roughly 6.4% increase. 

As part of process, City Manager Ken Striplin once again reviewed some of the highlights from the numbers:  

General fund revenues represent $149.2 million, with sales tax making up the leading source of revenue for the city. The city’s sales tax revenue for the 2024-25 fiscal year is forecast to increase by 1.5% for a total of $49 million.  

In the past, the city has stated its two largest drivers of sales tax revenue have been the mall and the auto dealerships, although city officials did not have the specific figures for each section immediately available Wednesday. 

The city’s projected general fund expenditures are right behind the revenue program. The city has $148.9 million in costs projected, making for a balanced budget once again, Striplin touted Tuesday. 

The capital improvement program, which funds the city’s “prioritized projects, such as parks, buildings, paseos, trails and street improvements,” is set to have a $95.8 million budget, a 6.5% increase, or $5.9 million more than the previous year. 

Of that, about $68 million is for new requests, and about $27 million is for “re-budgets or to continue projects that we’re currently working on into the next fiscal year,” Striplin said. 

Of those funds, the largest chunk, $25 million, is being set aside for The Rink Sports Pavilion, which will provide a roller-skating rink as well as a multipurpose sports venue for indoor recreational activities. 

There’s also $22.9 million being spent of the city’s annual overlay and slurry seal program,which is part of a constant multiyear effort by the city to care for its roads. The work rotates throughout the city each year, but has been in the neighborhood of $20 million for the past few budgets.   

There’s also $3.3 million being set aside for the Newhall Gateway, a project area near the Highway 14’s Newhall Avenue exit, “approximately 200,000 square feet of blighted, unimproved land with no existing irrigation” where the city plans to enhance the previously constructed Caltrans freeway infrastructure and “enhance a primary entry point for the Newhall community.” 

There’s another $2.5 million put aside for refurbishments on Plum Canyon Road and also $740,000 for tennis courts at Valencia Heritage Park, to name a few. 

The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to give final approval of the budget at its second hearing at the June 25 meeting. 

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