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Local News

Santa Barbara Council Adopts Budget for Upcoming Year

The Santa Barbara City Council adopted a final budget Tuesday for the upcoming year that begins in July, and approved about $1 million in restored services and enhancements that previously had been cut.

The city's general fund budget, which includes services such as police, fire and library, saw a surplus of $1 million because of growth in bed, sales and property taxes the city collected.

The city has a total operating budget of $276 million and a capital budget totaling $37 million, and the council voted to approve the 2015 operating budget, 5-0. Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilman Frank Hotchkiss were absent.

The City Council had previously approved the recommended budget on April 22, and Tuesday's vote was a final vote as well as approving the restoration items.

Some enhancements to services that were approved were $145,807 for a police officer position, and $150,000 allotted for community services officers and $100,000 for East Beach Playground Replacement.

A number of funding increases to outside organizations were also approved, the largest of which was to homeless shelter Casa Esperanza for $125,000.

The council did not approve the portion of the budget that deals with waterfront fees because two council members have a potential conflict of interest.

Councilmen Randy Rowse and Bendy White are slip holders at the harbor and can't vote on an item that involves fees at the waterfront, city counsel stated, so they'll be bringing the item back next week before a full council.

City staff was also asked to come back later this year prepared for a fill discussion about how the city levies business license fees on artists in the city, a topic that had garnered some concern from the public.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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