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Finalized FY 2020-2021 Budget Approved; Skate Park Big Topic

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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 12:38 pm

The fiscal year 2020-2021 budget was briefly presented during the last council meeting on June 5 by Deputy City Manager Erika Cortez although overshadowed by the many young speakers in favor of approving funding for a skate park. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year and serves as a planning tool for expected expenses and revenues for the city. The FY 2020 general fund revenue is projected at $20,852,550 and the major revenues sources are: gas tax $ 941,850, sales tax $1,378,000, franchise tax $ 2,054,000, Port of San Diego $ 4,124,140, property tax at $705,400 and Transient Occupancy Tax $ 440,000. The city’s budgeted expenses are projected at $34,025,778. The general fund expenses increased from $20,184,699 in 2019 to $ 20,852,550 in FY 2020 due to the increase cost of the Sheriff’s Department. That cost will go up by $422,354 and $383,043 in FY 2021. In order to balance the budget the city is projecting a reduction in non safety personnel costs of $292,000 without impacting public safety. The city has reduced Unfunded Accrued Liability and made pre-payments to CalPERS which reduces the pre-payment in FY 2021 to about $375,000. Capital Improvement Program budget for FY 2020 is $4,140,512 and $2,841,564 in 2021. Public Works Reserve has a minimum of $1M. The projected fund balances and internal revenue services funds by the end of June 2019 is $17,671,323.

The city has 134 employees with 73 full time and 61 part time and it is a reduction from a total of 145. Changes have been recommended in personnel: reduce the full time administrative support in HR to a part time lower classification; reclassification from administrative assistant to office specialist (lower classification); continue to seek opportunities to combine job responsibilities; continue to leave HR manager and administrative services/ finance director vacant with roles taken over by deputy city manager; the assistant fire marshal will take on the leadership of Code Enforcement; maintain current staff and review vacant positions without affecting the community to services.

After the budget presentation about 30 speakers from teenagers to elementary school children spoke in favor of funding a skate park preceded by resident Veronica Archer from the Friends of IB Skate Park. She spoke to the council about the outreach to the community done so far. She and her group have two main points in mind: expansion of the skate park and noise abatement. Archer said that especially when the beach is closed there are more skaters coming to the park and when it’s too crowded some leave and skate in places they are not supposed to like Pier Plaza. “They are truly an underserved community. From the inception of the park there was supposed to be an expansion instead we got a fence,” she said. Archer said the group is asking for funding for a skate park and to address the concern from the neighbors.

Councilman Robert Patton said that he and the mayor have taken a field trip to Linda Vista Skate Park and have taken note of ideas that can be used in a park in Imperial Beach. He also recommended the Sheriff’s Department to do regular checks on the park at night when there is a tendency for groups to gather and party. He said there should be zero tolerance for parties and noted that during the day there is not much noise coming from the park other than some clicking. Patton also stated that the city should set money aside for the park now. Councilman Mark West recommenced working on a skate park design at an accelerated pace. Mayor Serge Dedina said that he and his family were involved in getting funds for the current park some years ago but the city ended up spending more money on the fence than the park itself. West also said he doesn’t want see the alley repaving project chopped off because of the expense of the park. “ We will work for other revenue sources and try to do both,” said City Manger Andy Hall.

In other business:

A consideration to adopt an ordinance amending the code regarding location, number and application requirements for cannabis outlets in the city was postponed to a later date.

The consent calendar was approved unanimously.

The following items were adopted unanimously: The demolition of a one-car garage to be replaced with a two-car garage and a two story addition in the R-1500 zone at 634 Ocean Lane; lighting assessment district for SR-75. The city’s share of the cost is $17,195 out of the total estimated annual cost of $29,000; a request to SANDAG as the San Diego County Regional Transportation Commission to provide advance funding through SANDAG Commercial Paper financing Program in the amount of $1,500,000 for the pedestrian Access Project for the IB Boulevard project; an amendment to the 2018 Regional Transportation Improvement Program covering FY 2019-2023 for the addition of the pedestrian access project to the IB Boulevard CIP and the addition of $200,000 to the pedestrian access project and $1,300,000 to the IB Boulevard Enhancement Project from SANDAG acting as the San Diego County Regional Transportation Commission, Commercial Paper Financing program and the adjustment of the 2018 TransNET local street improvement program of projects.

Michael Camuñez of Monarch Global Strategies, an organization which works on public advocacy in the Mexican government presented a wrap up of the work done so far. Monarch has been retained by the city on the issue of water contamination. “To solve a problem like this, it comes down to political will…this problem has been around for so long,” he said. Camuñez pointed out that although the lawsuit has brought attention to the problem the ultimate resolution will be through government intervention at the federal level. “Our focus is how do we help the city break through to harness the political will,” he said. Monarch has been able to reach the Mexican president. “He committed to us this is going to be a top priority,” he said. Monarch Global Strategies has been around for 20 years and was founded by former US Ambassador Jim Jones. Camuñez was an assistant secretary of commerce under President Obama and as part of his responsibilities at Monarch he manages bilateral economic relations with Mexico. “We have deep connectivity with the Mexican government and bring American companies and development to Mexico,” he explained. “When we speak they trust we know and have the best interest of both countries. We’ve reached the president and engaged his cabinet and we are pleased to say we had successful meetings with different foreign ministries.” Camuñez also said that despite the tensions between the two countries at the moment the issue of contamination has been elevated to the top two priority. He pointed out that Monarch wants to make sure all issues are addressed as well as reach short and long term solutions. Monarch representatives have also met with Governor Newsom and he was receptive and has a “strong support for this to be part of a bi-lateral agenda.” Camuñez said that Monarch will also look at opportunity in the private sector to use the waste water to be recycled, reused or rerouted for agricultural uses as part of long and short term solutions.

The next city council meeting will be held June 19 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 825 Imperial Beach Boulevard.

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