Solana Beach continues local emergency declaration, weighs financial impacts

Solana Beach City Hall
(File photo)

The Solana Beach City Council extended the city’s local emergency declaration indefinitely due to the persisting effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Council members unanimously approved the continuation of the local emergency during a special meeting on May 6, where they also discussed the ongoing financial implications for the city.

As of the day of the special meeting, Solana Beach had seven positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. There were 212 total positive cases among North County Coastal cities from Del Mar to Oceanside, and 3,740 cases throughout San Diego County. The disease has killed 165 county residents, a figure that continues to climb.

Restaurants, hotels and other Solana Beach businesses are likely to suffer greater financial impacts than the city originally projected, according to a city staff report. Among other financial implications for Solana Beach, the city’s sales tax consultant is projecting an additional $50,000 loss in sales tax revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year, for a total decrease of $106,800 from the adopted budget.

The state allowed some businesses to reopen, but many others, such as bars, restaurants and gyms, might be closed for a few more months.

City staff also proposed reducing $900,000 in pavement management program expenditures for 2020-21 to $575,000. The funding sources that support the project, including TransNet and gas tax, are projected to decline.

“I think it is important to take a look and make sure that we are maintaining our roads and that we don’t allow them to fall to the next level,” Solana Beach Mayor Jewel Edson said.

The city also held off on sending a request for proposals to carry out a long overdue and desperatly needed upgrade of the official city website. The 2019-20 fiscal year budget included $50,000 to develop a new website. That effort could still proceed during the next fiscal year.

“Information is so important, especially in this time,” City Councilwoman Kristi Becker said. “I’ve always been a little bit disappointed that our website is just not super informative and it’s hard to find. I always have to google what I’m looking for as opposed to going to the website.”

Council members also received a presentation from Chandler Asset Management about the city’s quarterly investment report.

The city’s portfolio “invests in high-quality fixed income securities,” according to the presentation.

“It’s got a pretty conservative basket of securities,” said Genny Lynkiewicz, a portfolio manager at Chandler. “We’re watching them all very closely.”

She added that there were no egregious causes for concern in the city’s portfolio.

“If there’s anything that happens that gets us more worried, we’re always prepared to take action and keep the portfolio safe,” she said.