Del Mar economy appears to be on the upswing


By Marlena Chavira-Medford

Staff Writer

During the Monday, Nov. 15 Del Mar City Council meeting, city treasurer Teresa McBroome presented the fiscal year 2010-2011 first quarter financial report, which showed some early signs of an economic upswing.

The general fund is higher than estimated thanks to the city’s efforts to cut corners and bolster revenues last year. In fact, for the fiscal year 2009-2010, general fund revenues came in $634,602 more than anticipated — and expenditures were $188,676 lower than expected. That means the city is starting this year with more money in its general fund reserve. Though the numbers still have to be audited before they can be finalized, preliminary calculations for the general fund reserve are at $3, 354,426. That’s $ 1,070,365 more than the city initially anticipated.

“It’s nice not to see as many minuses in front of us,” said Mayor Richard Earnest, calling the report “good news.”

Property tax continues to be the city’s strongest and most stable source of revenue, with that accounting for more than $3 million in revenues last year. For the third year in a row, Del Mar had the county’

s highest increase in assessed valuations.

Transient occupancy tax (TOT) was another strong revenue source, accounting for more than $1 million. This July, in fact, the city saw its highest receipt of TOT in 10 years. Councilmember Crystal Crawford said she’

s heard stories backing up those numbers.

“I’ve certainly been hearing anecdotally from some of the restaurateurs and hoteliers about how the last couple of years have been good to them and, in particular this year, I’ve had a couple of people tell me it’s been their best year ever,” she said.

McBroome said another sign that Del Mar’

s on the rebound is that the second quarter of FY 2010 was better than the second quarter of FY 2009, with the city seeing an 11 percent jump in economic activity, most of that coming from restaurants.

Though the “economy is still recovering and not yet on solid footing,” McBroome said the preliminary data is reason for the city to remain “cautiously optimistic.”

In other news:

Committee appointments

George Webb was appointed to a four-year term on the Energy Issues Advisory Committee, which will end November 2014. Barbara Mandel Pache was appointed to a four-year term on the Parks and Recreation Committee, which will end November 2014.