SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Council approved adjustments to the mid-year budget on Wednesday, February 26 after evaluating a $2 million shortfall from the reduction of the Transient Occupancy Tax from hotel guests. City Council is aiming to resolve the shortfall by finding efficiencies beyond what was identified in the Santa Monica six-year budget strategy.

The budget strategy focuses on fiscal sustainability and shifts emphasis to delivering outcomes by measuring and managing performance.

“The accelerated downward trend of revenue that our community relies upon requires us to take additional budget restructuring measures to avoid budget shortfalls this year with more to come,” said Finance Director Gigi Decavalles-Hughes.

City Council repurposed current positions to approve a new part-time volunteer coordinator to manage the qualifications, background, and policies for volunteers across Santa Monica. These enhancements seek to augment staff to youth ratios. In June 2019, when the City Council adopted the 2019-21 budget, 28 staff positions for youth were eliminated.

As part of the improved 2020 mid-year budget, the Santa Monica City Council agreed to:

  • Increase parking citation fines to make them congruent with the city of Los Angeles with an increase of $10 for most types of citations.
  • Accept a $250,000 grant from Metro for the COAST open streets event planned on September 20.
  • Award an RFP to TBWBH Strategies andGoodwin Simon Strategic Research for strategic advisory and opinion research services on potential tax measures for consideration.

The next steps for the city’s budget includes closing the $2 million gap by the incorporation of $1.5 million in reductions based on recommendations to the City Manager from the Budget Task Force for FY 2020-21.