The City of Santa Barbara released its Recommended Operating and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins this July 1.
The proposed budget includes a total operating budget of $275.9 million and a capital budget totaling $36.7 million.
The General Fund covers traditional municipal services such as police, fire, parks, recreation, library, and building and planning services with a proposed operating and capital budget of $115.5 million. The General Fund budget includes a surplus of $1 million. Due to growth in transient occupancy tax, sales tax, and property tax revenues, certain services that were cut during the recession are proposed to be restored.
Key services recommended for funding include a zoning associate planner position to improve turnaround times for building permit applications, a police records specialist position to address the backlog of mandatory records management duties, and a part-time park volunteer coordinator. An increase in hourly staffing is recommended to support after-school sports programs, community special events, and inclusion services for children with special needs to participate in recreation programs. Additional hourly staffing is also proposed to improve customer service and programming at the Westside Center, Carrillo Recreation Center, and Parks and Recreation Office counter.
The recommended budget includes additional funding to improve maintenance of street medians and parkways, add children’s materials at the library, reinstate supervised youth skate hours on Saturday mornings, and address deferred maintenance in recreation facilities. A 2 percent increase in funding for community arts and promotion contracts is also proposed.
Recommended capital improvement projects include the refurbishment of the Kids World Playground, renovation of the Cabrillo Ballfield, installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Police Building, and a burn training system for the Fire Department. Additional funds are also budgeted for street maintenance.
During April and May, each department budget will be presented to the council with an overview of revenues and expenditures for the upcoming year, culminating with the council’s adoption of a budget by June 30. The budget document and a schedule of public review meetings are available on the city’s website by clicking here. The budget document is also available at the City Clerk’s Office at 735 Anacapa St., the Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. and the Eastside Library at 1102 E. Montecito St.
— Nina Johnson is an administrative assistant for the City of Santa Barbara.