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Santa Barbara to Consider Small Revenue Changes to Help Fill Big Budget Gap

Tuesday's Council, Finance Committee meetings will have a fiscal focus

The city of Santa Barbara will be dealing with its looming budget decisions for the next two months, but Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting will focus on potential revenues to help fill the gap.

Members will hear from city staff regarding proposed departmental fee changes, downtown parking rate changes and Golf Enterprise Fund fees.

That narrow focus will expand once again for Wednesday’s City Council budget workshop, which includes the Community Development Department, the Redevelopment Agency and the library. It will be the third in a series looking into each department.

The Finance Committee will meet at noon in the David Gebhard Public Meeting Room at 630 Garden St. Click here for a complete schedule of the City Council’s budget workshops.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the council will vote on a neighborhood preservation ordinance, changing several classified employee positions to unclassified and receiving revenue for each episode of On Patrol with SBPD.

The status change of 16 classified employees to unclassified will affect only new employees hired or promoted to one of those positions, which include airport patrol supervisor, senior librarian, senior planners, maintenance supervisors and wastewater and water treatment supervisors, to name a few.

Unclassified, or “at-will,” employees may be dismissed, demoted or suspended without a civil service commission hearing, according to the staff report. The industry standard is to have most manager and supervisor positions as unclassified, and the council will vote whether to change 16 such positions. Current employees will keep their classified status — and are entitled to a notice of intended discipline, pre-disciplinary hearing and an appeal hearing before he or she can be demoted, suspended or dismissed.

The change will have no fiscal impact, but a title change for a Public Works Department administrator would save several thousands of dollars by reorganizing the position into a lower salary range.

Another General Fund boost may come from On Patrol with SBPD, a reality show filmed on ride-alongs with the Santa Barbara Police Department. Having the company compensate the police department with $1,000 per original episode and $500 per rebroadcast could bring in $25,000 to $50,000, staff predicted. The show has almost no production responsibilities or costs to the department.

Also on Tuesday, the City Council will set a hearing date for renewal of the Wildland Fire Suppression Benefit Assessment District, which has been in effect since 2006. The $221,484 price tag includes vegetation road clearance, vegetation management and defensible space inspection and assistance. Cleared vegetation is chipped and spread out on grounds or parks, excepting non-native pest plants, and affected areas include the foothill and extreme foothill zones.

The council will meet in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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