Santa Monica City Council is set to gather this Saturday for a rare weekend meeting where it’s expected to adopt the community priorities that will guide its coming budget process, and the community is invited to participate.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will pertain to the development of Santa Monica’s Fiscal Years 2021-2023 Biennial Budget, which provides an important opportunity for city staff to gather input from the community and for City Council to identify community priorities that will direct the next two years of budgetary planning, according to a staff report available online.

“It goes without saying that 2021 is a time of great uncertainty and change,” the staff report states, so this is an opportunity for the Council and the community to reflect on where the city stands today and what is most important as the region begins recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously reported to Council in January, the report states, “the City’s finances are stable despite drastically reduced revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of (a) substantial cuts that were made to City services and staffing in the FY 2020-21 budget process and (b) the use of reserves and the setting aside of a $20 million Shutdown Reserve that was indeed needed to cover dramatic revenue losses during the COVID-related shutdown that Los Angeles County experienced in December 2020 and January 2021.”

Although the City did not receive meaningful support from the Federal Government in 2020, the American Rescue Plan is expected to be signed by President Biden this week and will likely provide broad funding that could be used to support families, businesses, vaccination, and school reopening across the country. More information on this and how the city could benefit from the stimulus package will be presented to Council together with the FY 2021-23 Proposed Biennial Budget on Saturday.

The meeting will be broadcast on Youtube or the website https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/xquvwyse.

“As noted above, the community priorities identified for FY 2021-2023 will, among other things, shape the City’s biennial budget. These priorities will also help shape the City’s plans in reopening City facilities and services, ensuring limited in-person resources go to services and programs most important to our community as early as April,” the report states, detailing how staff will work with departments to focus work plans and resources on the priorities since there are limited funds for new initiatives or resources.

The proposed budget is expected to be published on May 10, 2021 and Council will consider the budget at a Study Session on May 25, 2021. Council is then expected to adopt the budget at a meeting on June 22, 2021.

Brennon@smdp.com