Del Mar faces realities of next two-year budget

By Crystal Crawford

Mayor, Del Mar

At the recent two-day budget workshop, the City Council reviewed the proposed budget for fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

For the past two fiscal years, Del Mar has been experiencing continued downturns in revenues with total losses of approximately $1.6 million. The proposed budget addresses this economic reality by reducing general fund expenditures by more than 6 percent through 2011 and by implementing revenue enhancement strategies. The city continues doing more with less and is fortunate to have committed management and employees who are foregoing salary increases as a way to help the city get through these tough times.

Additionally, the city is implementing new ways to conduct business and using operational efficiencies to cuts costs while continuing to deliver high level of service to the community.

The proposed budget does not address the State of California’s inability to balance their budget. With the failure of the recent ballot propositions, the state may try to bail itself out of its own budget woes on the backs of cities. If this happens, Del Mar could lose an additional $350,000 to $400,000, which is more than 4 percent of our $9,129,366 general fund budget for fiscal year 2009-2010. If so, the city will need to make some tough decisions.

Led by declines in its sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues for fiscal year 2008-2009, Del Mar will probably see its lowest levels in those categories in the last 10 years.

Fortunately, the city’s property tax revenue is still strong - Del Mar leads the county in increases to our assessed valuation. Meanwhile, the city is dealing with the Shores debt service, increasing public safety costs and the continued deterioration of city facilities.

If you’d like to review the details and learn more about the city’s finances, the proposed budget is available at both City Hall and on the city’s Web site: If you’re not up to reading the entire 200-page document, the city manager has included a budget message with an executive summary and summary tables for the city’s reserves, revenues and expenditures. The council will be asked to adopt the budget at its June 22 council meeting.

Meanwhile, please write the governor and your state Legislators and let them know that Del Mar residents do not want Sacramento balancing the State budget by taking our general fund dollars!