Santa Monica City Hall (Daniel Archuleta

CITY HALL — The city budget under promised and over delivered last fiscal year.

City Hall spent less and made more than they expected to in fiscal year 2013-14, according to a report from finance officials.

The General Fund, City Hall’s primary account, brought in $17.3 million more than was projected — 5.1 percent better than the estimate.

About $7 million of that is expected to be an on-going boost to funds: They made more than a million dollars than they expected, for example, from parking revenues, parking citations, and local taxes.

The other $10 million bonus came from one-time windfalls: City Hall got back $4.6 million more than they’d anticipated in reimbursements related to the dissolution of the redevelopment agency, for example.

Meanwhile, General Fund expenditures were $5 million, or 1.8 percent, below budget. Nearly 70 percent of the savings from City Hall’s different departments (an $8.3 million total savings) came from 116 vacant positions, according to the report.

“Remaining supplies and expenses savings indicate more efficient energy use, decreased reliance on consultants, lower than projected training needs, and conservative spending on ongoing operations,” city officials said.

Between the savings and the revenues, the General Fund is $22.3 million richer than city officials thought it would be.

“These surplus funds … will be used for expenditure control budgeting, the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to be purchased (this fiscal year), increased contributions to the Workers’ Compensation Self Insurance Fund in order to maintain an appropriate funding level to cover liabilities, and to prefund and paydown (City Hall’s) retirement benefit liabilities,” city officials said.

All the other funds had revenues $2.6 million (1 percent) better than anticipated and savings $3.5 million (1.7 percent) below budget.

Only the Housing Authority Fund needed help from the General Fund this year.

“Funds historically requiring General Fund support, including the Pier, Airport, and Beach Funds, ended the year with a positive balance,” city officials said.

Along with the news of the better-than-expected financial results, city officials are recommending some additional spending this fiscal year.

About $850,000 will go toward the Water Conservation Unit, aimed at cracking down on water waste during this drought.

City Hall will add the equivalent of four and half new workers this year.

All told, the General Fund would spend $4.1 million more than had previously been approved if City Council gives the go-ahead.

Another $2.6 million, not previously approved, would go toward capital improvement project throughout the city. These funds would go toward establishing a budget, for example, for the Santa Monica Pier safety barrier.

City officials are also proposing changes that could lead to an additional $10,000 in annual revenue from the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. They say council should agree to raise private rental rates, which were established in 2002. They also want the carousel to be available for rental during regular business hours, limited to six times a year.

“Depending on the type of rental and number of guests,” city officials said, “the proposed rates would increase between 9 percent and 25 percent from the rates set in 2002.”

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *