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Oceanside approves final budget, projects $2M surplus

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council approved the city’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget at its June 8 meeting, anticipating a $2.06 million surplus after $592.7 million in projected expenditures across next year’s operating and capital improvement budgets.

The city’s operating budget alone is projected at $506.4 million, with an additional $86.3 million allocated for capital improvement projects.

According to Financial Services Director Jill Moya, the proposed expenditures include salary increases, placeholders for future bargaining group raises, and $27.8 million for employee retirement under CalPERS.

The approved budget also includes increases due to 11 new positions – Parks and Recreation director, three EMTs, associate engineer, Public Works inspector, code enforcement officer, parking enforcement officer, and  maintenance worker.

An additional $350,000 has been added to the city’s vehicle fleet fuel fund to account for rising gas prices.

Skyrocketing inflation has increased the city’s spending, budgeting for a 5% increase in consumer price index (CPI), which measures cost of living expenses.

According to Moya, the city has only accounted for CPI increases between 0% to 2% each year over the last decade.

“We’re continuously monitoring the status of the city’s revenues and expenditures, and if needed, as we did during the pandemic, we can cut back on expenses or initiate a hiring freeze to manage our costs,” Moya said.

The city’s capital improvement program (CIP) budget expects to spend $202.3 million next year with additional allocations of $86.3 million.

New and continuing projects under the program include: street overlay and slurry seal projects; construction of the new Fire Station 1; storm drain improvements; water and sewer pipeline replacement; analysis and rehabilitation of the city’s reservoir; Buccaneer lift station and force main; building upgrades to Mission San Luis Rey; Oceanside Boulevard lift station relocation; automated meter infrastructure; phase 2 of Pure Water Oceanside, and a needs assessment for the Oceanside Police Department in its search for a new home for headquarters.

The city also has $27.6 million in revenue funds under Measure X, the city’s seven-year sales tax increase. Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman said the city could expect to carry some $6.7 million of those funds into next year.

“We have enough funds right now to cover all of the proposed projects, capital, and the programs we have currently in Measure X funding,” Gossman said.

Measure X pays for several ongoing projects, including the police department’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), sobering services, a homeless hiring program, an EMT program, construction of Fire Station 1, the South Strand rehabilitation project, Buccaneer Beach Park facilities study, and allocations for studies and equipment in the police and fire departments.

New projects include the addition of a community services officer for the police department and more traffic calming measures implemented throughout the city.

As for the Harbor’s budget, money remains tight. According to Public Works Director Hamid Bahadori, the Harbor expects to use $2.19 million from reserves to pay for several capital improvement projects, including the ongoing J dock replacement and other infrastructure repairs and replacements.

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