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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current


Carlsbad adopts balanced budget with city’s quality of life in mind

Downtown Carlsbad. (Photo by Steve Marcotte, OsideNews)

Carlsbad CA— The city of Carlsbad will continue to invest in community priorities such as public safety, protecting the environmental protection and Carlsbad’s quality of life thanks to a balanced budget adopted by the City Council on June 14.

The $198.4 million fiscal year 2022-23 general fund operating budget maintains all core city services at their current levels and continues more than a dozen new programs focused on areas identified by the City Council as part of a strategic planning process currently underway. These are:

  • Quality of life and safety
  • Community character
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Economic vitality
  • Organizational efficiency and excellence

City Notes logo.The City Council also approved a $43.4 million capital improvement program budget that covers major city construction projects planned in the next fiscal year, along with a $3.9 million budget for the city’s Strategic Digital Transformation Investment Program that maintains and expands the city’s use of technology, which over the years has become as critical to city operations as traditional infrastructure.

Even though the rate of inflation is more than 8%, all city departments were asked to reduce costs wherever possible, which resulted in a 2% decrease in general fund maintenance and operations expenses in next year’s budget.
In addition to putting away about 6% of the total general fund operating budget money for future needs, the fiscal year 2022-23 budget fulfills the City Council’s policy to maintain general fund reserves equal to 40% of the city’s annual general fund operating budget. This way, the city can better weather emergencies or sudden changes in the economy without major disruptions to city services.
Major areas of new investment in the fiscal year 2022-23 budget include:

  • Reducing response times for the city’s Fire Department by building a new fire station along the coast and implementing other recommendations from a recent study of fire department operations. The first step is to build a temporary fire station on the site of the old power plant while a permanent site is identified.
  • Several new environmental sustainability programs including phasing out more single use plastics in Carlsbad.
  • A new park planner and a new engineer to help expedite planned projects over the next five years. Both positions are temporary.
  • Funding to maintain several recent park improvements including a new neighborhood park on the site of the former Buena Vista Reservoir and a dog park scheduled to open this summer at Poinsettia Community Park.
  • Increasing how many traffic studies the city can conduct in a year. Traffic studies are often the first step in developing options for reducing speeding in neighborhoods.
  • A new position that will allow the city to increase assistance to those in need of affordable rental housing from 550 households a year to 600. About 60% of the cost for this position is eligible for federal reimbursement.
  • Four new full-time lifeguard positions that will enable Monroe Street Pool to be open more hours. The city eliminated enough part time positions to offset the cost of three of the four new lifeguard positions.

The fiscal year 2022-23 budget will also continue more than a dozen programs added over the past several years, including:

  • A program to reduce homelessness in Carlsbad and its effects on the community.
  • Expanded arts and culture programs.
  • A park ranger program for city parks, trails and the beach.
  • A lifeguard program for the beach north of Oak Avenue, which is not part of the State Parks system.
  • Expanded community engagement and transparency, including livestreaming nearly 200 public meetings of city boards and commissions, in addition to the City Council.
  • Continuing a senior meal program expanded during COVID.

The fiscal year 2022-23 budget includes 24 new full-time positions starting July 1. About 70% of these are police, fire and lifeguard positions. Others are needed to maintain utilities infrastructure, provide more affordable housing and manage the city’s data and technology needs. The city reduced the equivalent of about six full-time positions in next year’s budget for a net increase of 18.
The city’s general fund operating budget covers day-to-day city services such as police and fire, library, planning, parks and recreation, which are supported by tax dollars. It also includes city services that are funded through fees, such was water, wastewater, trash and recycling. The city operates on a fiscal year that runs July 1 to June 30.
On May 17, city staff provided a financial and economic update to the City Council that showed a strong recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19. However, city finance officials cited the ongoing war in the Ukraine, supply chain problems and inflation among the reasons why the city will continue to closely monitor its financial forecasts and spending in case future adjustments are needed.

— News release

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Carlsbad adopts balanced budget with city’s quality of life in mind