6/16/19: Encinitas’ Budget Remains Strong!

Continuing our financial stability, the city’s economics are solid! Plus, we’re giving employees time off work on election days to vote and volunteer at the polls!

The City Council unanimously approved our two-year budget last week. We’re a fiscally healthy city with a responsible budget, investing in our community and keeping control of our expenses. 

Here are some highlights:

  • Operating revenues exceed expenditures by $7.7 million this fiscal year and $7.9 million next fiscal year. Operating revenues this year are $77.2 million while expenditures are $69.5 million.
     
  • “Capital Improvement Projects” or CIP, which are the bigger infrastructure and facilities projects, total $62.4 million over the next six years, with $9.5 million being programmed for next year. That will fund the beginning of North Highway 101 Leucadia Streetscape, the next housing update, Santa Fe Dr. improvements, a sidewalk enhancement project on MacKinnon Dr., a new Leucadia park provisionally named Standard Pacific Park, and citywide street paving and storm drain improvements.
     
  • The second year CIP includes the El Portal rail undercrossing, the third roundabout on Leucadia Blvd. at Hygeia Ave., the majority of the Leucadia Streetscape project, and improvements to the civic center and library.  

Here’s the Encinitas Advocate story on our new budget. 

At next week’s City Council meeting, we’re poised to approve our negotiated labor agreement with our represented and unrepresented employees, along with our city manager. These highlights include: 

  • A four-year labor agreement covering 2019 through 2022, which provides a 2% base salary increase each year for employees. 
     
  • Instead of being closed every other Friday, the city will stay open every Friday for our “One Stop Shop Permit Center.” Counter service will now be available every weekday for anything related to permits, planning, engineering, building, cashiers or paying San Dieguito Water District bills. 
     
  • City employees will have half the day off (paid) to vote on Election Day, or a full day off (also paid) to volunteer at the polls! 
     
  • Our city manager will receive a 2% salary increase for next year, consistent with the employees’ increase, and an additional week off for vacation. (She does a great job!)

All of these changes are very positive, in my opinion. The financial and other employment changes are fair to both the employees and the taxpayers who provide the city’s revenue. The city is providing better service to our residents by being open every day during the work week. (The every-other-week Friday closure was a holdover from when the California electricity crisis led many cities to reduce their electric usage. Many municipalities and government agencies still maintain a similar schedule.) 

Giving employees paid time off to vote or volunteer at the polls aligns with our principles and values of promoting civic engagement and participation. The City Council included this in the package because it’s important for us to do what we can to create a work environment and a societal commitment to the bedrock democratic principle of voting. There’s nothing more American!

And our fiscal prudence allows us to improve our infrastructure, such as our roads, parks and public spaces, without having to ask the voters for a tax increase. I continue to be proud of our city’s finances. 

Here’s the staff report on the employee compensation agreement – it’s quite readable and provides more details. 

Spreading the word on Encinitas housing ideas

Last week I had the chance to present our “Housing for Generations: Permit Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit” program to several hundred people at the San Diego Creative Investors Association as part of a panel spotlight on granny flats, or backyard homes.

Our innovative program was tremendously well-received by the large audience and the other panelists! Other cities are beginning to follow our lead. I’ve also been invited to present at the US Conference of Mayors in July on this topic and can’t wait to share it with the nation’s mayors. 

A refreshingly candid and detailed conversation

I was invited to speak about SANDAG’s upcoming Regional Plan and several other local issues in a 30-minute Voice of San Diego podcast recently. It’s a rare experience to be given the time to discuss issues in detail with our local media, without the message being hampered by incomplete sound bites.

The direct, insightful questions posed by VOSD reporter Scott Lewis elicited a lot of useful information for listeners. If you’re interested in hearing what the county’s working on for transportation for the next half century, and a lot more, you might want to check this out. 

Memorial Day at our American Legion post

It’s always an honor to spotlight our veterans on Memorial Day. I was delighted to address our well-run and highly regarded local group of the American Legion. Here I’m with Matt Shillingburg, a U.S. Army Retired Commander who runs the San Dieguito American Legion Post 416.

Our children are officially out of school for their ten-week summer break, and our family is getting ready for some camps and trips (you can see what we’ve already been up to in the photos below)! I’ll write one more newsletter next week, after our Council meeting, before taking a couple week newsletter break. 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. We couldn’t build this great society without you. 

With gratitude for all our blessings,

P.S. Taking a bite out of summer!

Oliver loves to try new restaurants around town. We rode our bikes to Live Culture in Leucadia for lunch one day (which was great!) and he’s really into soccer with his team, the Cardiff Mustangs.

Ava is swimming competitively at Rancho San Dieguito in Solana Beach and recently won a 100 yard butterfly race by swimming it in 1 minute and 16 seconds. She also ably performed the role of Abigail Adams in the end of year “Colonial Days” celebration at school. And she’s picked up skate boarding (on our new Cardiff Rail Trail, no less)!

Jeremy continues to nourish his soul in the outdoors, enjoying the water, mountains and desert whenever possible.

I’m reading a book entitled Accidental Presidents about the eight presidents who rose to the presidency after their predecessors died or were killed in office. It’s outstanding! 

Here’s to Summer 2019 in Encinitas! I hope you get a chance to savor it, too.