The Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to fund the restorative policing program next year at a cost of $322,243, which pays for police officers and outreach workers dedicated to working with the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
After weeks of deliberation, council members are deciding what to fund in the 2012-13 budget, which begin July 1. Losing the Redevelopment Agency, which funded capital projects, affordable housing and social programs, was a big blow, but the city is expecting higher sales- and bed-tax revenues next year.
At Wednesday’s special meeting, council members also voted to reopen the Central Library on Mondays, which was cut several years ago.
By having minimum staffing levels and closing at 7 p.m. during the week instead of 8 p.m., the cost to reopen on Mondays is $154,000.
The council had considerable discussion about the Rental Housing Mediation Task Force, a service for landlords and tenants that often negates the need for legal action. The council approved $64,129 of funding from human services and general fund money, but wants to pursue other ways to pay for it in the future — perhaps by having landlords or even organizations such as the Santa Barbara Rental Property Association chip in.
The Redevelopment Agency funded a lot of subsidies toward the Metropolitan Transit District contract with the city, and if the new oversight board doesn’t approve those in the future, the City Council will make service cuts. The Carrillo Commuter Lot shuttle service could be eliminated, the crosstown shuttle might have reduced midday service, and the downtown/waterfront shuttle fares could double from 25 cents to 50 cents.
Council members will have to approve a final budget by the end of June.