Carlsbad adopts balanced budget

CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad City Council adopted a balanced budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, a move expected to preserve essential city services in spite of steep declines in city revenues due to the recession.
The fiscal year 2009-2010 budget includes a $190.3 million operating budget and a $71.2 million capital improvement program budget. The fiscal year 2009-2010 budget also includes investments in efficiency, infrastructure and technology.
The operating budget includes some reductions in city services, but those reductions have been focused in areas that have the least direct impact on essential public services, especially public health and safety. Police and fire services are being maintained at current levels. Library hours are not being reduced. Community centers and other city facilities are not changing their hours.
The CIP budget placed a high priority on the construction or renovation of major infrastructure, such as roads, buildings, and sewer, water and drainage facilities. The CIP budget also includes new restrooms at Pine Park, a new police and fire training facility and the Alga Norte Park and Aquatic Center. The Carlsbad City Council recently authorized the grading of the Alga Norte Park site, the first step in its eventual construction.
The city will continue its TGIF Jazz in the Parks concerts; although, due to a conflict on one of the dates in 2010, the schedule has been reduced from 10 concerts in 2009 to nine in 2010. Some city-sponsored events, such as film nights at Leo Carrillo Historic Park and the summer camp preview event, will not be held next year.
To save on printing and mailing costs, more information will be provided through an improved city Web site. City parks and other landscaped areas maintained by the city will see less frequent mowing and trimming. With new water use restrictions, residents may also notice some landscaping turning yellow or brown over the summer. Due to reductions in city staffing, residents may have to wait longer to get a response to requests for maintenance and other city services.
The city is reducing the size of its workforce by not filling open positions unless absolutely necessary to maintain essential city services. To date, the city is operating with 28 fewer positions. At this time, the city does not anticipate needing to lay off full-time staff.
Due to the recession, projections for Carlsbad’s top sources of revenue are all down over projections for fiscal year 2008-2009. Property taxes projections are down 5 percent. Sales taxes projections are down 13 percent. Transient occupancy (hotel) tax projections are down 10 percent.
As a result, the city’s fiscal year 2009-2010 General Fund budget has decreased by nearly 8 percent over the original fiscal year 2008-2009 budget. In January, recognizing that the recession was having an even greater than anticipated effect on city revenues, the Carlsbad City Council adopted a mid-year budget adjustment, shaving $5.3 million off city spending. The city plans its budget on a fiscal year cycle that begins July 1.
The city budget is available online at www.carlsbadca.gov/finance.

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