Santa Clarita City Council members voted unanimously to approve a draft of the city’s $191.5 million budget for 2014-15.
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The budget, the result of a six-month process, accounts for a 6 percent increase over last year’s budget, including a $460,000 operating surplus, City Manager Ken Striplin said Tuesday.
“The economy continues to show signs of recovery,” according to the city’s budget office. “Although economists predict that there will be some ‘swells and dips,’ they also suggest that conservative estimates continue to show signs of a more stable economy.”
While revenue levels improved, they haven’t approached pre-Great Recession levels, Striplin stated.
“I would like to point out although general fund revenues are back at pre-recession levels, the cumulative loss in revenues is as much as $46 million since the recession hit,” according to his office’s budget report. “This is money that could have been used to build and maintain new facilities. It will take us several more years to make up this difference.”
The next step would be for the budget to receive final approval at the June 24 City Council meeting.
Among the highlights mentioned at Tuesday’s City Council meeting included $75,000 for an arts master plan and $40,000 to support a Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley-run after school program.
A brief overview of the budget presentation mentioned several highlights in the major categories of city spending.
In public safety, it calls for $183,093 in order to add a Special Assignment Team deputy. The SAT is a unit of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station often involved in extensive investigations that can involve undercover operations.
The public safety portion of the budget mentions a little more than a half-million dollars to reflect the Sheriff’s Department contract and $5,540 to support DFYiT, a partnership with the Sheriff’s Station, the city and the William S. Hart Union High School District.
The budget for community support and advocacy includes $135,000 to fight Cemex, a sand-and-gravel mine slated for just east of city limits, as well as $83,200 to support the “Consortium for Updated Aerial Imagery.”
In addition to money to create a master plan, the city is also adding to another arts events coordinator to staff for about $63,000, an arts and events truck for $61,000 and $10,000 for a beach party event in Canyon Country.
The budget also notes the city’s spending plan for the road overly program is $10.7 million this year, about a $3 million increase over last year, and a figure that’s projected to rise to roughly $16 million the year after next.
The capital budget also includes $1 million for the Sidewalk Repair Program, which makes necessary repairs to sidewalks damaged by tree roots and pavement settlement.
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Source: Santa Clarita News