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Santa Barbara Council Dips Into Reserves to Close Budget Gap

City leaders pull $2.5 million from three funds, and approve three projects for the Redevelopment Agency Capital Program

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday approved measures to close the fiscal year 2009-10 budget shortfall.

Without dipping into general fund reserves, funds were taken from City Hall Allocation Fund reserves, Workers Compensation Fund reserves and Street Sweeping Fund reserves for a total of $2,591,693.

The street-sweeping program is funded mostly by parking violations, and revenues have exceeded costs for the past few years. Workers compensation funds also have been building reserves, as there have been fewer injuries and fewer claims recently.

Workers compensation funds came from the departments they’re now being reallocated to, Councilwoman Iya Falcone said.

Using the funds won’t put the city in any kind of jeopardy, Councilman Roger Horton said.

The council also passed three project proposals for the Redevelopment Agency Capital Program. The $1,519,000 in funds will go toward the second phase of the East Cabrillo project, Chase Palm Park lighting and electrical upgrades, and renovating park bathrooms.

The bathrooms are in “deplorable condition,” Horton said.

The Parks & Recreation Department was hit with massive cuts this year, so the council decided not to fund the proposed waterfront lighting project, but instead to renovate park bathrooms.

The council proposed finding other means to fund the light poles on the breakwater, perhaps including sponsorship of some kind.

While “not as sexy” to fix up a bathroom, it’s very needed, Mayor Marty Blum said.

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

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