Del Mar Foundation donates $180k to city

One of the donations the Del Mar Foundation made to the city was $30,000 for Beach Safety Center repairs.
One of the donations the Del Mar Foundation made to the city was $30,000 for Beach Safety Center repairs.
(Bill Morris

The Del Mar Foundation donated $180,820 to the city of Del Mar to help alleviate the financial difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Del Mar City Council voted unanimously to accept the donation, and the Del Mar Foundation’s stipulations for how it will be spent, during its Aug. 3 virtual meeting.

Per the terms of the donation, the city will use $80,000 of the donation for capital improvement projects that were removed from the budget in the aftermath of the pandemic: $30,000 for improvements to the 17th St. Safety Center and $50,000 to continue the River Path Del Mar project.

“We hope that this funding will benefit our community as we work together to overcome the challenges COVID-19 presents to our individual and collective health and safety, and our community’s well-being,” Sandra Hoyle, president of the foundation, said in a presentation to council members.

The donation also includes $66,900 for the community services, which will help bolster the city’s Lifeguard Department; $15,300 for the fire department; $12,400 for public works; and $3,500 for human resources.

“I am just proud beyond belief to live in a community that has an organization like the Del Mar Foundation that can raise this kind of money, and that has the kind of mission that is so committed and supportive of our community plan and our city goals,” Del Mar City Councilman Dwight Worden said.

“I think this is a big morale boost and uplift for our community,” Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland added.

Approximately $2,700 will be used to fund a pilot project that allows the Lagoon and Arts Advisory committees to resume meetings.

Later in the meeting, council members voted 3-2 to implement a pilot program to resume Lagoon Committee, Arts Advisory Committee and Sustainability Advisory Board meetings from this September to June 2021.

Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland and Councilman Dave Druker voted against the pilot program after questioning why the committees for which they serve as liaisons were not included.

“My committees are all eager to start meeting,” Gaasterland said.

They also indicated support for holding off on starting the pilot program until November or December, after the election.

The pilot program places a limit of three committees that can resume meetings next month. In addition to the two committees that will receive Del Mar Foundation funding to restart, the Sustainability Advisory Board was selected as the third because it has been one of the city’s “most active advisory committees,” according to a city staff report. The report said the board will be able to help the community with the Clean Energy Alliance rollout and with the upcoming renewal of the city waste-hauling contract.

Staffing costs for the meetings will be $4,345 through the end of the current fiscal year, according to city staff.

Under the pilot program, staff time will be limited to posting agendas and minutes, which will be prepared by each committee’s chair, secretary and liaisons, instead of city staff. All meetings will be online and will be held quarterly.

All of the city’s committee meetings have been on hiatus, with the exceptions of the Design Review Board and Planning Commission, since the pandemic started because of constraints on staff time and the closure of City Hall.

Since March, the foundation has increased support of various Del Mar-based organizations to help mitigate the effect of this crisis, including Del Mar Community Connections (Pandemic Response Driver Program), the Del Mar Village Association (Fueling the Front Line), and St. Peter’s Church’s Helping Hands food program, according to a foundation news release.