City Council is meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12 at City Council Chambers, 1685 Main Street. Council will be discussing its midyear budget and approving several items on its consent calendar, including a new electric car charger at Santa Monica Place and changes to the popular Twilight on the Pier concert series.
2018-2019 midyear budget
The City collected $10.1 more revenue since July than anticipated. 60 percent of the increase came from higher than projected Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority funding for the Big Blue Bus. The rest came from a $4.3 million increase over budget in the General Fund, a one percent increase. The fund grew a modest 2.6 percent since last year. $1.3 of the $4.3 million came from the City’s hotel tax, which reflected a continuing increase in room rates. $1.2 million came from mobility public right of way fees and citations. $1.1 resulted from delayed sales tax payments from fiscal year 2017-2018.
Annual financial report
Council will receive its annual financial report, which shows that the City of Santa Monica has $435.8 million in its General Fund. The value of its assets and liabilities totals $1,582 million, an increase of almost one percent from last year. The balance of the City’s General Fund increased by $89.3 million over the prior year, primarily because the City issued two bonds to fund a new administrative building and fire station. However, like cities across the state, the City has a $466.8 million unfunded pension liability caused by economic shocks to the State of California’s retirement system.
The City created the Wellbeing Index in 2013 with a $1 million award from Bloomberg Philanthropies to analyze resident wellbeing, equity issues and the impact of City policies. The RAND Corporation has been administering the index since then and Council will pay the firm a little more than $1 million to produce a third Wellbeing Index. This time, RAND will be training City staff to help reproduce the index in the future to limit the need to outsource the work and lower costs.
Charger for electric cars at Santa Monica Place
Council will allow Macerich, the owner of Santa Monica Place, to purchase a charger for electric cars on the roof of Parking Structure 7 at Broadway and 4th Street, which it leases from the City. Macerich will be removing six parking spaces to make room for the charger, which will generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction, not combustion, providing virtually emission-free power.
Twilight on the Pier
Last year, Council decided to move the Twilight on the Pier concert series from Thursday evenings before Labor Day to Wednesday evenings after Labor Day to mitigate crowding on the beach and congestion downtown. The concerts drew an average of 8,000 attendees per evening. This year, the Santa Monica Pier Corporation is requesting that Council authorize it to start the 2019 series in mid-August to increase attendance by about 30 percent and provide greater visibility and appeal to potential sponsors. The new start date means the series would conclude by the end of September, which would free up the pier for other events in October, such as Halloween-themed activities.
The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the City of Santa Monica’s assets exceed its liabilities by $435.8 million. In fact, $435.8 million is the balance of its General Fund.