SANTA CLARA – The City Council unanimously adopted the City of Santa Clara Biennial Operating Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 and 2020/21 last June 25. The adopted budget is fiscally responsible, enhances services, and addresses rising operating costs while establishing a new policy to regularly set aside reserves to pay down liabilities.
“The budget is balanced and reflects the Council’s focus on financial reforms,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor. “I would like to acknowledge City Manager Deanna Santana and the Finance Department staff for their hard work and diligence in bringing forth a transparent budget that invests in community needs while improving the City’s overall financial standing.”
The City originally faced a General Fund deficit of approximately $13.8 million and $24.0 million respectively for FYs 2019/20 and 2020/21, with ongoing deficits forecasted in every year of the 10-Year Financial Forecast. Now, these immediate deficits have been eliminated by taking a closer look at financial assumptions and projected expenses, although the financial outlook still requires focused discipline and strategy.
The total operating budget for FY 2019/20 is $844.7 million. The budget includes further refinements in calculating CalPERS costs and revenue sources, along with netting out fund transfers. The FY 2020/21 operating budget is $846.5 million, an increase of 0.2 percent above the FY 2019/20 budget which now incorporates a few Council-recommended additions from the proposed budget. The capital budget for FY 2019/20 is $339.6 million, which includes carry-over Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects from FY 2018/19 totaling $209.8 million.
The adopted budget features key investments, along with providing investments in the Reed & Grant Streets Sports Park, improvements at the Raymond G. Gamma Dog Park, installation of a bathroom at Fairway Glen Park and an increase in library hours at the Northside Branch Library. Other highlights of the operating budget are:
Launching a pilot for an Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Program for teachers and public service workers
Investing in Information Technology Services to enhance cybersecurity, audio/visual services and Office 365 workforce transformation
Replacing one reserve fire engine
Funding of up to $100,000 for Census 2020 outreach to ensure an accurate population count
Funding for Measure N Outreach and Engagement for public outreach and community engagement for district elections
Funding for City Clerk initiatives and voter outreach to encourage voter participation
Adding resources for risk management program and public records act administration
Supporting all City Council priorities with the strategic net addition of 15.5 positions (8.9 General Fund positions) including the addition of a Sustainability Officer to help support the recently added policy priority of sustainability, two positions to expand parks programming through the anticipated opening of the Reed and Grant Sports Complex and a Stadium Oversight Manager to provide additional stadium oversight and public safety coordination.
Based on Council input, the budget now includes funding for a “Love Santa Clara” program, additional monies for the Sister Cities program, $70,000 in funding to the Santa Clara Parade of Champions, and one-time funding of $100,000 to provide internship opportunities for high school students over the next two budget years.
This is the first time that the Council approved a two-year operating budget, continuing a Council-approved biennial budget process initiated last year with the FY 2018/19 and FY 2019/20 Capital Improvement Program.
The Finance Department also restructured the budget document to enhance transparency which is one of the Council’s strategic pillars. The revamped document provides the Council and the community with an improved representation of City funds and spending. In addition, this year’s budget showcases performance and service delivery rather than transactions.
Prior to the budget’s adoption, a joint study session about the proposed operating budget was held with the Sports and Open Space Authority and the Housing Authority on May 7.
On June 4, a public hearing was held to allow the Council and public to review the budget and provide input as well as include follow-up from the May 7 meeting.