Economy is Job One for cities
With the close of another election year it has become crystal clear that the current state of the economy will be the focus of governments from Washington to Main Street.
As well it should be.
There’s no trickle-down effect here, the flood is already upon us - and patiently treading water may not cut it this time.
We’ve already witnessed belt-tightening in the private sector with job losses mounting and bankruptcies increasing and that means similar news for the public sector as well.
Although cities like Del Mar and Solana Beach have for the most part avoided heavy losses in the stock market due to requirements for lower-return, safer Treasury Department investments, its residents, it’s safe to assume, haven’t. That means declining state and local tax revenues including those from property and sales tax - two of the main three sources of city revenue.
The other major revenue source is hotel tax or transient occupancy tax. Although Del Mar was successful in shepherding through an OK for a future TOT increase on the Nov. 4 ballot to match neighboring Solana Beach and San Diego, it assumes revenue increases through one thing and one thing only - that people will continue to have enough disposable income to travel. That’s a big if nowadays.
Where does that leave cities? With pricey infrastructure needs and pet projects dependent on public fundraising. Not a place to be in during these financial times.
We don’t envy the hard decisions that will undoubtedly have to come from current or newly elected city council members. But we expect nothing less than what we would expect of ourselves - diligent oversight of the bottom line with a proper balance of needs and wants.