SANTA MONICA—During the Santa Monica City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 14, the agenda will focus on budget approvals, but will also determine the path for the selection of the vacant city council seat by Greg Morena.
City Council will meet virtually, discussing budgets for the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Downtown, a student transit program, and various other budget approvals and ordinances.
They will be asked to renew “Any Line, Any Time,” an unlimited bus program for Santa Monica College students. The program will cost just over $3 million, reimbursed by SMC to Big Blue Bus.
The contract is structured in preparation for a reduction in public transportation by SMC students due to classes being held primarily online this fall. The payment for 2020-21 will be $500,000, increasing to $1.25 million the following year assuming Los Angeles County reopens. A contract renewal option is included for one additional year.
Councilmembers will also be asked to approve Downtown Santa Monica’s annual budget. Santa Monica contracts Downtown Santa Monica for planning, marketing, and economic growth in Santa Monica’s downtown area.
With an expected revenue of $8.6 million and expected expenditures of $8.9 million, the budget gap of $272,398 will be filled with a “one-time allocation from operating reserves.” DTSM announced plans for the upcoming year focus mainly on recovering Santa Monica from COVID-19’s economic impact.
The Santa Monica Pier’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year is $1,066,250, with an expected revenue of $1,130,500 resulting in a $64,250 budget deficit. The Santa Monica Pier Committee’s reserve funds will cover the deficit. Santa Monica city’s funding of the pier, $250,000, has been reduced significantly from its previous $546,402.
“However, in the post-COVID world, event production and marketing of the Pier will need to be significantly minimized until government regulations and associated public health department guidelines allow for the easing of physical distancing requirements and authorization of larger gatherings,” the staff report said.
The council meeting will also include a second reading of ordinance eliminating fee waivers for landmarks and associated buildings. The elimination of the waivers is estimated to save Santa Monica $95,000 in an effort to reduce the city’s budget deficit.
Councilmembers have three recommended options in the process of selecting a new council member for the vacancy of Morena’s seat. They may select one of the 97 applicants for the vacant seat at the meeting on Tuesday. The council has the option to push back the selection of a replacement till a special meeting on Tuesday, July 21.
If no replacement is selected, the city council would be required to “forthwith cause an election to be held to fill such vacancy.” The vacancy would be selected in the upcoming November 3, Santa Monica City Council elections.
Councilmember Morena stepped down after a conflict of interest arose between renegotiated his restaurant’s Santa Monica Pier lease and being a Santa Monica council member.