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Santa Barbara City Council Adopts Balanced Budget

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SANTA BARBARA, CA – 6/24/09 | After two months of deliberations, the City Council unanimously adopted a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2010 on June 23, 2009.  The budget includes a total operating budget of $238 million and a capital budget totaling $22 million.  The General Fund operating budget is $104 million, providing funding for police, fire, parks, recreation, library, community development, and administrative services.   

The City faced an estimated $10.8 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009, representing approximately 10% of the General Fund operating budget.  The budget was balanced with a combination of reduced costs and enhanced revenue, involving the following measures: 1) department budget reductions; 2) citywide labor measures; 3) increased fees and charges; 4) structural budget changes; and 5) delays to capital improvements.  

While most programs and services will continue, the public can anticipate some service changes.  All departments will reduce spending on supplies, services, and training.  With a hiring freeze in effect and employee positions reduced through attrition, 41.9 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee positions will be eliminated in the upcoming year.  Delays in processing and longer wait times may be noticed at public counters.  

Significant cost savings will be achieved through citywide labor measures.  These measures include a 104-hour furlough or unpaid leave for managers, supervisors, and general employees over the December holiday and five other dates throughout the year.  As a result, administrative offices and non-emergency facilities will close to the public on specified dates.  

To generate additional revenue, the City will pursue collection of the transient occupancy and business license taxes for vacation rentals and begin a late payment fee for utility payments.  Fee increases are planned for parking citations, vehicle release, building permits, land development applications, dog licenses, and park and facility events hosted by commercial businesses.  When appropriate, General Fund costs will be shifted to Enterprise Fund operations where user fee revenue should support such expenses.  

Several capital improvement projects will be delayed to curtail spending in the upcoming year.  The City’s planned capital improvement program for General Fund facilities was reduced to $600,000, providing funds for the Shoreline Park Safety Improvement Project, Lower Mesa Lane Steps Replacement, Oak Park Restroom Renovation, and other major projects.  

Department budget reductions comprise the largest portion of the balancing measures.  These cost reductions will result in limited purchases of library books and materials, decreased efficiency in zoning enforcement, and less frequent tree pruning and park maintenance activities.  While school crossing guard services will no longer be provided by the City, the Police Department will work with the School District, parents, and volunteers to continue the service.  

Recreation opportunities will be scaled back with fewer Concerts in the Park events this summer, cancellation of the Senior Tour Program, and closure of the Lower Westside Center.  The 1235 Teen Center will be closed on Saturdays and the Oak Park Wading Pool will remain closed.  Thanks to a fundraising commitment by the Friends of Los Banos, the planned elimination of the free recreation swim program at Ortega Park Pool and Sunday lap swim at Los Banos Pool will be restored.

Financial assistance to community organizations will decrease by 8.4%, the same percentage adjustment as City departments.  By Council action, the Conference and Visitors Bureau and New Beginnings will continue to receive funding at current levels.  

The City Council adopted the budget and acknowledged that the future of the City’s financial condition remains uncertain, as major tax revenues continue to decline and the state budget deficit is unresolved.  The Council expressed an interest in becoming a smaller, more efficient organization and revisiting the adopted budget in upcoming months to make modifications if needed.

Videos of Council budget discussions are available on the City’s website at:

When completed, the final budget document will be made 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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Memorial Service Scheduled for City Wastewater System Manager John Schoof

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SANTA BARBARA, CA – 6/19/09 | On the evening of Wednesday, June 17, 2009, John Schoof (age 48) died unexpectedly while undergoing medical treatment at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.  

John was a Registered Civil Engineer and served as the Wastewater System Manager for the City of Santa Barbara.  With over 20 years working with the City of Santa Barbara, he was considered a friend to many City employees, contractors, and members of the public.  John had over 30 years of experience working in the public sector, including employment with the Cities of Encinitas, Gardena, and Palos Verdes.  

John is survived by his wife Mary Walsh Schoof, their son Will, mother Kay, brother Steve and sister-in-law Roe, and sister Randi and brother-in-law Stephen. 

The public is invited to pay respects to John at a mass to be held at Our Lady Mount Carmel Church at 1300 East Valley Road in Montecito on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 1 p.m.  

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International at 120 Wall Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10005.  

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Haute Couture Comes to Santa Barbara!

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Fine Fabrics of Santa Barbara Hosts Haute Couture Lace Showroom
Exclusively for Month of August 2009

June 18, 2009 – During the month of August, the worlds finest lace maker, Solstiss will unveil its Paris Showroom 2010 Collection at Fine Fabrics in Santa Barbara, California. Fine Fabrics is celebrating its Third-Annual Solstiss Lace Event.

Anyone who loves fashion will want to make a beeline for Santa Barbara during the month of August. In an intimate, off-the-beaten track location you’ll find an exclusive resource for the worlds finest lace and fabrics at Fine Fabrics, 715 Kimball Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 805.966.2488.

Susanne Chess, owner, Fine Fabrics, likens her fabric shop to a high-end gourmet food store where you’ll find the best caviars and pates… only this is gourmet fodder for the eyes, the hand, and the heart.

“The feel of these laces is something difficult to describe. They way they drape due to the intricate use of crystals, beads, leather, silk, metal… they instigate a visceral response in fashionistas and others who are attracted to fine, beautiful objects.’

The Solstiss laces available for purchase are from the 2010 collection; they are NOT mill ends, points out Susanne. These are the identical laces that Lagerfeld, Cavalli, De La Renta, Dior, and Gaultier, to name only a few, see and select for their very own 2010 haute couture collections.

Susanne goes on to say, “Many of the laces are sexy, yet some are sweet and innocent… in fact Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding dress (designed by Emmanuel Ungaro) incorporated an abundance of Solstiss lace.”

Fine Fabrics retail location is nestled under 18 foot ceilings and includes a fashion design studio and loft. In addition to fabrics, laces, buttons and thread for sale, the site is equipped with marble sewing machine tables, an ironing board and iron, black granite 4' x 6' cutting table, and manufacturer's mannequins. Fine Fabrics trained staff, with more than 100 years of combined sewing experience, is here to assist with fitting, sewing instruction, encouragement and moral support.

For more information contact Kande Hall at 310.364.1100 ex106 or

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Save Water and Get a Rebate

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SANTA BARBARA, CA – June 2, 2009 - The City of Santa Barbara and Goleta Water District are offering rebates toward the cost of installing efficient irrigation equipment and water-wise plants. Up to 50 percent of any combination of irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify for a one-time rebate of up to $1,000. The program covers approved irrigation equipment, water-wise plants, mulch, and smart irrigation controllers. 

Make an appointment for a pre-qualification visit from a representative of one of the water districts. Owners of projects that qualify will receive a list of items eligible in the rebate program.

For more information on saving water, go to Save water now, it's the right thing to do!

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