Planning for the financial future of the city, the Dana Point City Council adopted the city’s $46.4 million and $48.8 million operating budgets for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025, respectively.
The city’s budget, approved on Tuesday, June 6, in a unanimous vote with Councilmember Michael Villar absent, includes funds for traffic and roadway improvements, facilities maintenance, personnel costs and police services.
Councilmember John Gabbard noted the previous budgets over the past decade have put the city in the financial place it is now, thanking the staff and former councilmembers for their efforts.
Mayor Pro Tem Jamey Federico echoed Gabbard’s comment, adding that the staff has put the current City Council in a position where it doesn’t “have to make terribly difficult budget decisions.”
“Our staff represents our taxpayers well by being wise with the way that they spend the money, and this budget represents the focus that the strategic plan that we’ve adopted, and so I’m comfortable with it,” Federico said.
“It’s fiscally responsible, and it’s a good use of our taxpayers’ dollars,” Federico continued. “Our staff continued to give the taxpayers good value for their tax dollars.”
For FY 2024, which begins on July 1, the city anticipates receiving $41.57 million in total tax and franchise revenue. The following fiscal year, the city projects to receive $42.9 million from those revenue sources. Dana Point’s largest source of revenue comes from its transient occupancy tax (TOT), a 10% hotel bed tax.
In total General Fund revenue, the city anticipates collecting more than $46.48 million during FY 2024 and more than $47.87 million in FY 2025.
In a letter from the office of City Manager Mike Killebrew, Killebrew said “the City’s revenues have fully recovered from impacts of the pandemic.”
“The City’s hospitality-based businesses have experienced a major post-pandemic rebound, which is reflected in summer Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Sales Tax receipts in 2021 and 2022,” Killebrew said in the letter.
The city began the 2023 fiscal year with just over $15 million in its Community Investment Account to be used for “projects that are non-reoccurring, including those listed in the unfunded projects list in the Capital Improvement Fund budget.”
In October 2022, the City Council formed a subcommittee to decide which one-time capital improvement projects should be prioritized and funded with a portion of the city’s surplus.
The city allocated $14.7 million for its police services contract in its 2024 fiscal year budget and $15.2 million in fiscal year 2025.
The budgets include reserves for a slate of capital improvement projects, including $400,000 for citywide storm drain repairs, $300,000 for traffic safety repairs and improvements and roughly $1.13 million for facility improvements.
The city budgets also allocate just under $2.73 million toward Doheny Village connectivity construction, $7.8 million for roadway resurfacing and asphalt repairs, roughly $3.4 million for storm drain improvements on Calle Real and Calle Portola, and roughly $2.8 million on improvements to Stonehill Drive.
Included in the budgets is a list of proposed projects to submit to the California Transportation Commission to receive Senate Bill 1 funding. SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, provides transportation funds for state and local roadway maintenance.
According to the staff report, this is the seventh year in which the city has received SB 1 funds, “and will enable the city to continue essential road maintenance and rehabilitation projects, safety improvements, repairing and replacing aging bridges, and increasing access and mobility options for the traveling public that would not have otherwise been possible without SB 1.”
Included in the list of proposed roadway improvements were Orilla Road from Granada Drive to Amber Lantern; Amber Lantern from Orilla Road to La Cresta Drive; La Serena Drive from Orilla Road to La Cresta Drive; and La Serena Drive from La Cresta Drive to San Mareno Place.
The budgets also fund a $20,000 annual appropriation to create an arts and culture ambassador program, per the council’s direction from a previous budget workshop.
The arts and culture ambassador program would be a “more robust version of our current Arts and Culture Commission,” Federico explained in the May 16 council meeting.
City Council will receive a Fiscal Year 2022-23 financial report during its Sept. 19 meeting and a first-quarter financial report during its Nov. 7 meeting.