May 20, 2021
City of Escondido Budget Update
The City of Escondido's Annual Operating Budget is one of the most important tools in providing a City that is safe, clean, and run efficiently. The Operating Budget projects short-term revenue and expenditures related to providing day-to-day services. A separate capital improvement budget projects long-term revenue and expenditures for major projects such as roads, park improvements, and pipelines.
In spite of many positive economic developments, federal aid packages, and a robust vaccine rollout in recent months, COVID 19 negatively impacted revenue. Plus, an already difficult structural budget gap, and increasing pressure for City services, especially in traffic safety and homelessness worsens the problem. The City again faces a deficit, anticipated at $8 million. Staff has recommended that the City Council approve the use of the one-time source of funds from the Successor Agency Redevelopment Loan repayment and funds from the Section 115 Pension Trust Fund. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan will provide funds to ease the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember that these are one-time sources of money and don't solve the longer-term problem.
According to the most current Office of Traffic Safety data, in a category of 59 California cities of similar size, Escondido ranks 9th for fatal and injury crashes. The proposed budget includes a strategy to improve traffic flow and safety throughout the City by providing the resources to improve the City's infrastructure, operate a responsive transportation system and address transportation safety.
Homelessness is a national, statewide, regional, and local challenge. The City recently created and reviewed a "Strategy for Addressing Homelessness" with the City Council to articulate and implement the best approaches for addressing community impacts while being sensitive to the importance of tackling underlying causes and helping people; however, the current staffing does not meet the City's needs to carry out the strategy and meet the demand for service. The proposed budget provides the additional resources necessary to address this issue.
In the short term, the current budget recovers from COVID and addresses two significant public issues, traffic safety and homelessness. In the long run, staff continues to recommend that the community consider a revenue measure to put Escondido's finances on a sound footing on a permanent basis. The City Council will make the final decision on the Fiscal Year 2021/22 budget on June 9. You can watch the discussion of the preliminary budget here, and view the budget document here .
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