At its June 10 regular meeting, the Carpinteria City Council unanimously adopted a new budget for fiscal year 2019-20. With no cuts, and significant expansion of capital improvement projects, council members enthusiastically followed the recommendations of City Manager David Durflinger and city staff. Council members applauded the positive effects of increased Measure X spending, with Mayor Wade Nomura thanking the community for “investing back into the city.”
Durflinger and city staff presented the council with a breakdown of revenues and expenditures for the forthcoming fiscal year. The overall city budget of approximately $17 million remains largely unchanged. Property taxes and the hotel bed tax (the transient occupancy fee) experienced modest growth, while sales tax revenues declined slightly. The growth in dedicated city revenues allowed for a small 2.1 percent cost of living adjustment for city employees, as well as the creation of a new hiring line for a Community Resource Officer and the funding of several major capital improvement programs.
Carpinteria’s Public Works Department budgeted more than $5 million for programs including major municipal pavement rehabilitation, the Carpinteria Avenue bridge replacement and the East Via Real Storm Drain project. Parks Director Matthew Roberts outlined plans for the new La Concha “pocket park,” as well as sites for an anticipated city skate park and off-leash dog park. Roberts also noted that the playgrounds at Monte Vista and Heath Ranch parks will be renewed to improve safety, accessibility, and ambiance. The council will decide the ultimate location of the off-leash dog park at a future date, choosing from locations including Dump Road, Carpinteria Creek Park and Lagunitas. The proposed skate park, its permitting issues now resolved, will continue fundraising efforts to establish an engineer’s estimate for future construction. Importantly for local environmentalists, the Chevron-led decommissioning of the Carpinteria Oil and Gas Plant is “well under way,” according to Durflinger, and the development of South Coast HOV lanes continues apace. Council member Fred Shaw inquired about the Public Works Department’s planned “sustainability and environment division,” urging city staff to formally incorporate the new division as an identifier of the city’s profound environmental commitment.
Measure X, the sales tax referendum approved by city voters in 2018, will account for $1.9 million in extra city spending this year. Three-hundred thousand dollars will go towards Law Enforcement funding, including the creation of a new Community Resource Officer position. The largest chunk, $975,000, will pay for increased road and right-of-way maintenance, while some $200,000 is dedicated to enhanced library services.
Council members praised the city staff’s budget presentation, which can be found on the city’s web site. Vice Mayor Al Clark said, “you can really look at where every dollar is,” while member Gregg A. Carty thanked the staff for the clarity and ease of reading the budget document itself.
Representatives from an array of local social service organizations, including the United Boys & Girls Clubs, Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA), the local suicide prevention group HopeNet, Friends of the Library and the Carpinteria Children’s Project, attended the meeting to thank the council for their continued funding and support.
Council members voted unanimously to adopt Resolution No. 5897, adopting the city staff’s budget recommendations. Members also approved, 5-0, a four-year extension of the city’s policing contract with Santa Barbara County, an arrangement that has been in place since 1991. The council will hold a special meeting Monday, June 17, to discuss cannabis regulations, which will be open to the public.