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By Breeana Greenberg

In response to updated projections for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year revenues and expenditures, City Council voted unanimously to amend the city’s operating and capital improvement budget on Tuesday, June 7.

Nearing the end of the first year of its two-year budget cycle, councilmembers voted to approve a $979,700 decrease in General Fund revenues and a $328,257 increase in expenditures for FY 2023. The budgets, covering Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 were first approved a year ago this month.

The city’s 10% hotel bed tax or transient occupancy tax (TOT) is the city’s largest revenue source. Though the city is seeing a boom in the hospitality sector and TOT revenue is expected to exceed the $13 million that’s now budgeted, city staff is estimating a decrease in TOT receipts if inflation continues to rise.

Staff anticipate a decrease in travel spending in response to inflation. With the anticipated slowdown in TOT in mind, the City Council voted to decrease the TOT budget by $950,000, from $13.95 million.

A budget decrease of $533,940 for police services was also approved as the final contractual cost with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department totaled roughly $13.97 million, less than what had been anticipated.

Among other things, the council approved a $100,000 increase in the FY23 budget for emergency services; $223,332 for personnel costs as the city has filled most vacant full-time positions; $65,000 for parks maintenance; $60,000 for community activities; and $35,000 for new holiday decor in the harbor.

Additionally, City Council approved a $50,000 increase for engineering consulting; $44,000 for finance and administration; $39,500 for liability, workers compensation and property insurance for the city; $20,000 for traffic engineering; and $15,000 for vehicle maintenance with the increase in fuel prices.

Councilmembers also approved a $240,000 increase in funds for the city’s free trolley system, as operational costs increased when the city changed the routes and added a sixth trolley.

With the amended budget, Dana Point is estimated to bring in just shy of $40,82 million in revenue and spend just north of $39,85 million during the upcoming fiscal year. 

Staff is expected to present the fourth quarter financial report in mid-September.

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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