City Releases Proposed Budget: It’s Balanced, Enhances Transparency, and Builds Upon Fiscal Stability
Residents can now view City’s fiscal information by department, services and staffing through newly revised budget format
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
CONTACTS:Lenka Wright, Director of Communications, 408-615-5515 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Released earlier today, the proposed City of Santa Clara Biennial Operating Budget for fiscal year 2019/20 and 2020/21 enhances the delivery of public services, expands the City’s capital assets, and invests in the development of City employees. The City Council will consider the proposed operating budget during a joint study session with the Sports and Open Space Authority, and Housing Authority on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
For the past eighteen months, the new Administration’s meticulous diligence on improving past budgeting practices and rehauling the budget document has resulted in significantly more transparent reporting and, overall, improved financial standing. The proposed budget is balanced, discloses known financial risks that can alter the Ten-Year Financial Forecast, and invests in the Council’s reforms and policy priorities. For example, for FYs 2019/20 and 2020/21, the City originally faced a General Fund deficit of roughly $13.8 million and $24.0 million, respectively, with ongoing deficits forecasted in every year of the Ten-Year Financial Forecast. That’s no longer the situation for the City of Santa Clara and, while the financial outlook still requires focused discipline and strategy, the Council and City’s leadership have changed the fiscal course for now.
“The City Council’s focus on financial reform and sustainability was wise and strategic. The new Administration accepted this direction and the results speak for themselves in the improved Proposed Operating and Capital Budget transparency and Ten-Year Financial Outlook. The Proposed Budget is fiscally responsible, enhances services, addresses rising operating costs, and establishes a new policy to regularly set aside reserves to pay down liabilities,” said Deanna J. Santana, City Manager. “The Proposed Budget recommendations also feature enhanced community services including investments in our Sports Park, dog park, installation of a bathroom at Fairway Glen Park, and increased library hours at Northside Branch Library.”
The total operating budget for FY 2019/20 is $826.2 million, which reflects a change of $33.2 million, or 4% compared to the FY 2018/19 Adopted Operating Budget. This downward shift is due to further refinements in calculating CalPERS costs and revenue sources, and netting out fund transfers along with our change in budgeting practices. The total capital budget for FY 2019/20 is $128.6 million, which reflects an increase of $44.6 million, or 53% compared to the FY 2018/19 Adopted Capital Budget. The increase is due to a modest number of new projects and the timing of several large projects. Highlights of the proposed operating budget are:
- Launching a pilot for an Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Program for teachers and public service workers
- Investing in Information Technology Services to enhance cybersecurity, audio/visual services and Office 365 workforce transformation
- Replacing one reserve fire engine
- Completing construction of Reed & Grant Streets Sports Park
- Continuing improvements to Raymond G. Gamma Dog Park
- Funding of up to $100,000 for Census 2020 outreach to ensure an accurate population count
- Funding for Measure N Outreach and Engagement for public outreach and community engagement for district elections
- Funding for City Clerk initiatives and voter outreach to encourage voter participation
- Expanding hours at the Northside Branch Library
- Installing a restroom at Fairway Glen Park
- Adding resources for risk management program and public records act administration
- Supporting all City Council priorities with the net addition of 15.5 positions (8.9 General Funded positions) including the addition of a Sustainability Officer to help support the recently added policy priority of sustainability, two positions to expand parks programming through the anticipated opening of the Reed and Grant Sports Complex and a Stadium Oversight Manager to provide additional stadium oversight and public safety coordination.
To address ongoing deficits projected for 2022 and beyond of the Ten-Year Financial Forecast, revenue strategies are under development for future Council consideration.
Table 1: Ten-Year Financial Forecast (2020-2030)
The Council has directed staff to explore revenue strategies that will generate needed General Fund resources to keep pace with current service level needs. Staff will also review revenue sources for possibly issuing debt to replace aged infrastructure.
In support of the Council’s strategic pillar to enhance transparency, the Finance Department completely restructured the budget document. The redesigned document provides the Council and public with an improved representation of City funds and spending. In addition, this budget highlights department performance and service delivery rather than transactions. Last year, the City Council approved changing from a one-year budget cycle to a two-year budget, a process that alternates each year between an operating and capital budget.
Following the May 7 study session, the City Council will consider formal adoption of the Proposed Biennial Operating Budget for FY 2019/20 and 2020/21 on Tuesday, June 4.
Attachment: Excerpt from Budget Transmittal Letter, signed by City Manager Deanna J. Santana and Director of Finance Angela Kraetsch, and past Financial Forecast charts issued by the City.
About the City of Santa Clara
Located at the heart of Silicon Valley about 45 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara truly is “The Center of What’s Possible.” Incorporated in 1852, Santa Clara covers an area of 19.3 square miles with a population of 120,000. Santa Clara is home to an extraordinary array of high-tech companies, including Applied Materials, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nvidia, Oracle, and Ericsson. The City of Santa Clara is also home to Santa Clara University, California’s Great America Theme Park, and Levi’s® Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl 50. For more information, go to www.SantaClaraCA.gov.