Over the past decade, Santa Monica has had the good fortune of keeping its financial head well above water, unlike many other municipalities in California and throughout the United States. With healthy revenue streams from parking fees, (hotel taxes), real estate taxes, sales taxes, development fees and more, we have been in an envious position relative to our neighbors in Los Angeles and throughout the county.
We have not had any qualms about spending over $42 million on a new park, funding a fifth library and a new fire station, along with providing almost half a million dollars in additional funding for pier concerts, funding a potential lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration and, most recently, up to another $400,000 to save “Chain Reaction.”
But it is time for our City Council to start living within their means and to start making financially prudent decisions rather than politically prudent ones.
Within the next three years, with the increased costs in funding our public employee salaries, healthcare and pensions, we will be running a deficit in the millions. Without increases in revenues, we will no longer have the luxury of new parks, fire stations and libraries, let alone keeping our existing services at their current levels.
I have faith that our city manager, Rod Gould, will make the necessary recommendations to our council with regard to city services that may need to be curtailed or eliminated and recommending new sources of revenues that can be generated. Using “Chain Reaction” as one example, I do not have the same faith in our council members that they will make the fiscally correct decisions rather than the politically correct ones.
Michael C. Dubin