On Monday, June 1, at 6:00pm the City of Grover Beach will hold a public hearing at its regularly scheduled council meeting to review the City’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21, totaling $30.8 million. If approved by the City Council, this will set work plans in motion that will allow City staff to provide essential services and tackle key community needs.
“A city’s budget is more than numbers on a page and a list of expenditures; it tells a story of how a city serves and cares for its community,” said Matthew Bronson, Grover Beach City Manager. “While the coronavirus pandemic has created significant financial impacts to the City, we are focused on continuing our level of service to our community in the new fiscal year.”
Due to COVID-19, between the current fiscal year and the next, the City is facing an estimated loss of approximately $1.5 million General Fund revenues. While these revenue losses are sizeable, they are manageable for now without service or staffing reductions especially since the City’s lean operating budget is one of the smallest per capita in the county. Grover Beach’s FY 2020-21 budget will fund current city service and operation levels, Council-directed items such as the low-income subsidy for utility customers, as well as address work programs for the City’s four Major City Goals of economic development, housing and homelessness, public safety and street and other capital improvements.
Highlights of work programs include:
• Approximately $200,000 in one-time grant funding for economic and business development support, including working with the South County Chambers of Commerce on business support initiatives such as a microgrant program and co-working space.
• Nearly $800,000 in one-time grant funding for housing and homelessness support including updating the General Plan Housing Element and Development Code and providing housing assistance in partnership with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition.
• Working with partner agencies for continued fire and emergency medical services from the Five Cities Fire Authority and funding the Grover Beach Police Department’s Strategic Plan and Succession Plan, which will chart the direction of the department for the next several years and help recruit for officer positions to meet the community’s needs for law enforcement services.
• Over $8 million in capital projects including $3.3 million in Measure K-14 funding to carry out two local street repair projects of roughly 10-20 blocks each, as well as $3.5 million in water and sewer improvements to the City’s utility systems.
Overall, the City of Grover Beach Proposed Budget FY 2020-21 is balanced with a nominal surplus of approximately $56,000 and ending reserves of approximately 32% compared with the reserves goal of 25%. Of the $30.8 million proposed budget, 38% of revenues will come from property taxes, 21% from sales taxes, 12% from cannabis taxes and 5% from transient occupancy taxes which demonstrates the City’s diversified revenue base. The City’s relatively stable financial outlook currently is due in large part to revenues from commercial cannabis businesses along with current stability in property tax revenues. The commercial cannabis tax is expected to generate $1.5 million in revenues in FY 2020-21 as the industry has taken shape in Grover Beach to generate economic activity and tax revenue.
The City of Grover Beach has strived to project a tone of calm, competence and compassion in its response to COVID-19 and the proposed budget for next year embodies this theme in enabling important services that support its community. There are numerous uncertainties ahead in the economic environment in the wake of COVID-19 along with increased community needs including public safety staffing and major streets and sidewalk improvements that do not have funding sources. These needs along with ongoing business support would require additional funding beyond the City’s budget which the Council will be discussing further in June and July. However, with the City Council’s leadership, City staff’s implementation, and the community’s support, Grover Beach is positioned to create an even stronger and more resilient community for years to come.