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CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS BUDGET

  |   by ws1    Bookmark and Share

SANTA BARBARA, CA – 6/29/2010

After two months of deliberations, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously adopted a budget for Fiscal Year 2011.  The budget includes a total operating budget of $246.9 million and a capital budget totaling $26.8 million.  The General Fund operating budget is $101.6 million, providing funding for police, fire, parks, recreation, library, community development, and administrative services.   

The City faced an estimated $8.9 million deficit in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010, if no corrective actions were taken.  This represents approximately 9% of the General Fund operating budget.  The budget was balanced with a combination of the following strategies:

·         Department budget reductions and enhanced revenues

·         Structural budget changes

·         Reduced funding to community organizations

· &nbs p;       Reductions in employee salary and benefits

The final budget includes approximately $4 million in cost savings from secured and pending labor concessions.  To close the budget deficit, Managers, Supervisors, and General and Confidential Employees, committed to labor concessions equivalent to a 6% - 8.5% salary reduction.  These concessions include cost savings from an employee furlough or mandatory leave without pay.  As a result, administrative offices and non-emergency facilities will close to the public over the December holiday and three other dates throughout the year. 

 While labor agreements with the Police Officers Association and the Police Management Association expire this month, an agreement has not been reached for a salary and benefits package.  The City is also in discussions with the Fire Association on potential reductions in salary and benefit costs, including the cancellation of a planned 3% salary increase in July.  

 Contingent on achieving labor concessions with the remaining bargaining units, Council added $1.1 million back to the budget to provide funding for four police officer positions, one fire captain position, park restroom maintenance, library materials, Ortega Pool Recreation Summer Swim, Planning Commission stipends, Santa Barbara Channels, New Beginnings, and the City's reserves.  The implementation of these items will be delayed or cancelled if labor concessions are not fully realized. 

 The budget will eliminate 32 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, most of which are vacant positions that have not been filled due to a hiring freeze.  The staffing reduction could impact services available and projects underway in many departments.  Slower turnaround times are anticipated for building plan check services, zoning enforcement, street tree maintenance, and requests for stop signals, speed surveys, and other traffic issues.   Delays are also likely for planning and transportation projects related to ordinance revisions and other special projects.  Staff anticipates delays to the implementation of Plan Santa Barbara (General Plan Update) policies and programs.

 The Central and Eastside Libraries will close on Mondays.  Repairs and improvements to many facilities, parks, and critical software systems will be deferred.  Several capital projects are included in the General Fund budget including Shoreline Park Safety Improvements, Mesa Lane Steps Renovation, Playground Re placements, and a Police Records Management System Upgrade.  The Fenton Davis Trust provided a generous donation of $250,000 for a renovation project in the Central Library. 

 Funding for several community organizations will be reduced, including funding for the Conference and Visitors Bureau, Summer Solstice, Visitors Information Center, 4th of July Symphony concert, and Santa Barbara Public Access Channel 17.  The budget eliminates full funding for the Fourth of July parade (Spirit of ’76) and Semana Nautica festival. 

 To generate additional revenue, planning fees and library meeting room rental fees will increase.  New beach and park concessions will be established at Chase Palm Park and East Beach and more revenue would be sought from community partners for their use of the City’s park and recreation facilities.

 Videos of Council budget discussions are available on the City’s website at:  www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov.  When completed, the budget document will be available to the public at the City’s website, the City Clerk’s Office at 735 Anacapa Street and the Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu Street.  

 

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Mayor Schneider Joins Delegation of Mayors in New Orleans to Support Local Officials

  |   by ws1    Bookmark and Share

SANTA BARBARA, CA - Mayors across the country gathered in New Orleans to stand in solidarity with the Gulf community affected by the oil disaster.  Mayor Helene Schneider met with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other mayors of the impacted region to urge federal leaders and BP to accept recommendations from the United States Conference of Mayors for more coordination in disaster clean-up efforts. 

Mayors from across the nation were represented, including Long Beach, CA; Houston, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Everett, MA; Fort Myers, FL; Baton Rouge, LA; and other officials from the Gulf Coast states.  The mayors visited the Laffite, LA Emergency Operations Command Center, where they participated in a briefing by Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner, BP representatives and Coast Guard Incident Commander Captain Roger Laferriere, followed by a tour to view the damaged area by boat.  Mayors discussed federal Fair Share Legislation that would share funds from new oil and gas leases with the four Gulf energy-producing states for the purpose of coastal protection and restoration.

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution on the oil disaster, requesting the Obama Administration to create a special task force of appropriate senior federal officials to direct the actions of all the federal agencies involved, provide timely and updated information to mayors and local officials on mitigation efforts, and ensure that lead federal agencies are working closely with cities and local governments.

Mayor Schneider said, “This is not only a Gulf crisis, it is an American disaster. As the mayor of a coastal community, especially with the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill still on the minds of our residents, I was saddened to see the damage the oil spill has created thus far. With the possibility of capping the oil well at least two months away, it is imperative that mayors across the country assist our colleagues in the Gulf Region in containing the spill, cleaning the coastline, protecting marine life, compensating the local businesses and fishery industry who have lost their livelihood, and then start the recovery efforts.”

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Upper State Street and De la Vina Street Construction Begins June 14th 2010

  |   by ws1    Bookmark and Share

SANTA BARBARA, CA – June 10, 2010 - On Monday, June 14, 2010, and continuing through July 2010, the City of Santa Barbara, Public Works Department, will replace the street surface on upper State Street and De la Vina Street.  Construction will affect most blocks on State Street from La Cumbre Road south to De la Vina Street and all blocks on De la Vina Street from State Street south to West Alamar Avenue.  The existing street will be ground down and replaced with an asphalt overlay to restore the street surface.

Construction will be conducted at night between the hours of 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM.  One lane of traffic will be provided in both directions at all times during construction; however, traffic speed may be reduced. Residents and businesses in the area may experience noise from jackhammers, grinders, truck back-up alarms and other equipment noise associated with street construction.

The new asphalt overlay is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and will maintain the City’s transportation infrastructure.  When construction is complete, a smooth and safe driving surface for travel will be provided along the upper State Street and De La Vina Street corridors. The Public Works Department appreciates the community’s patience and cooperation during the construction. 

For the exact location of the project, please visit the Upcoming City Road Maintenance Work Info and Street Map at www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Engineering.  If you have further questions, please contact Tim Gaasch, Supervising Engineer, at (805) 897-2502.

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New SEIU, Santa Barbara City Agreement Equal to 6% Salary Reduction

  |   by ws1    Bookmark and Share

SANTA BARBARA, CA - City negotiators reached a tentative agreement today for labor concessions with City’s largest bargaining unit, represented SEIU Local 620.  The agreement, equivalent to a 6% salary reduction, will provide almost $2 million in labor cost savings in the coming fiscal year, almost $1 million of that in the General Fund, and will restore twenty-one jobs to the budget. 

Under the agreement, each General Bargaining Unit employee must take 116.5 hours of time off without pay (unpaid furlough) during the next fiscal year, and will again give up the vacation cash-out benefit provided under their labor contract. 

The agreement also restores positions for twenty-one General Bargaining Unit employees that would otherwise have faced layoff or displacement. 

The agreement comes as the Council prepares to adopt a budget for the new fiscal year that will address an $8.9 million budget gap.   The City has sought concessions from all of its employee groups to help address the problem.  Talks with the Police Officers Association, the Firefighters Association, and the Police Management Association are ongoing.

Unlike the Police Officers Association and the Police Management Association, whose labor agreements expire this month and who are required to be in active labor negotiations with the City, SEIU Local 620 had a valid bargaining agreement through September 2010. This is the second year in a row that SEIU came to the table voluntarily before the expiration of the labor agreement to offer concessions.  In fiscal year 2010, employees took 104 hours without pay and no vacation cash out. 

  “SEIU came to the table early in a problem-solving mode”, said Kristy Schmidt, the City’s Chief Negotiator.  “Our talks have been ongoing since January.  We appreciate the willingness they showed to understand the depth of the problem, and to be an active part of the solution.” 

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Noted Ocean Environmental Leader David Helvarg to Speak at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum

  |   by ws1    Bookmark and Share

 

A very special opportunity unfolds this week!  The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will host a free evening with author and ocean environmental leader David Helvarg.  On WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2010 from 7 to 9 PM, join a cadre of local environmental non-profits, including Channelkeeper, the Ty Warner Sea Center, Ocean Futures, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, Save the Mermaids, The Origami Whales Project, and more for information about Santa Barbara ocean-related issues and a discussion about Mr. Helvarg’s new book, “Saved by the Sea, a Love Story with Fish”. Local marine biologist and naturalist Holly Lohuis of Ocean Futures will introduce Mr. Helvarg.   A book signing will follow the discussion.  Mr. Helvarg and Ms. Lohuis are both passionate about how the ocean has touched their lives, and how our care of the oceans affects each of us in Santa Barbara.  Space is limited at this event and will be on a first come, first served basis!  Doors open at 6:30 PM.

David Helvarg is the president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, whose mission is to promote unity, provide tools to and raise awareness of the solution-oriented marine conservation community. Mr. Helvarg is President of the Blue Frontier Campaign (www.bluefront.org) and the author of five books: Blue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors and his latest, Saved by the Sea, a Love Story with Fish. He’s editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide, organizer of several ‘Blue Vision’ Summits for ocean activists, and winner of Coastal Living Magazine’s 2005 Leadership Award and the 2007 Herman Melville literary Award. Helvarg worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covering a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Sierra, and The Nation. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He’s led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. He is a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.
This event is coordinated by Channelkeeper, Choose to Reuse, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the “Where’s Your Bag?” Campaign. 


 

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