The Carlsbad City Council has approved a $342.1 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, marking the end of an annual process of assessing the city’s financial health, community priorities, infrastructure investments and day-to-day operations.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, city finance staff presented two proposed additions to the draft budget. One was to add a school resource officer to the Police Department’s staffing to cover Sage Creek High School. The other was to make a one-time payment to the state retirement system, CalPERS, of $11 million to reduce city’s pension debt now in order to save $2.9 million in pension payments in the long run. The City Council approved both changes and asked staff to schedule a meeting to discuss creating a policy for managing pension costs in the future.
Maintaining excellent financial health while protecting quality of life as the city adapts to growth and change were key themes during the preparation of next fiscal year’s budget. Each year, staff from all city departments prepare budgets for the coming fiscal year to cover day-to-day city services, which make up the operating budget. The Capital Improvement Program budget covers construction projects and infrastructure.
The operating budget for FY 2018-19 totals $275.9 million, which represents an increase about 7 percent over last year’s adopted budget. Some of the new areas of spending in the proposed budget include:
Three new police officers
Two new police cars
An increase in funding for school crossing guards
Two police ranger positions to patrol trails, parks and the beach
Narcotics detection training for police dogs
A new online public records portal
A new “innovation” position to help ensure the city is maximizing opportunities to use technology to improve efficiency and customer service
A new traffic engineer position to devote more resources to managing traffic flow around the city
Increased spending on arts and cultural programs
Increased spending on the city’s homeless response plan
Increased services at Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch, Pine Avenue Community Park, Poinsettia Community Park and Aviara Community Park
A new parks superintendent position
Money to cover the cost of changing how the city manages pests and weeds to more natural approaches
Increased resources for code enforcement, including short term vacation rentals