As the City of Malibu enters the heart of construction on the $21.38 million Civic Center Wastewater Treatment Facility, next year’s projected budget shows the city’s first dip in general fund reserves in half a decade, though finances are still healthy — and remain well above the minimum 50 percent general fund reserve.
On Monday, May 22, Malibu City Council held a hearing on the budget with a presentation from Assistant City Manager Lisa Soghor.
“Overall, growth in general fund revenues from current fiscal year to upcoming fiscal year is $650,000,” Soghor told council.
Notable changes in the city’s budget include a push toward sustainable energy — $1.1 million was allocated to the City Hall Solar Power Project, including electric vehicle charging stations. Road improvements to Heathercliff Road and Westward Beach Road total nearly $200,000, with another $150,000 added to complete connections of city properties to the civic center sewer.
One notable addition to this year’s budget was the city allocating $216,500 toward local nonprofits and organizations through the general fund grant program. That is an increase of more than $40k over last year’s allocation.
As recently as the 2014-15 proposed budget, only $75,000 was set aside for general fund grants — a carryover, council members said at the time, from belt-tightening following the recession. That number has now nearly tripled.
Organizations earning the most from such grants include the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu Teen Center ($40,000), The Malibu Community Labor Exchange ($30,000), the Malibu High School Shark Fund ($10,000) and the Ocean Park Community Center ($76,000).
The city anticipates a $33.88 million fund balance at June 30, 2018, compared to the June 30, 2017 balance of $36.08 million.
Following the presentation, Mayor Skylar Peak requested room be made in the budget to add a full-time employee in the environmental sustainability department.
“I believe … it would be better for us as council members, and better for us to serve the community… by adding a full time environmental sustainability position here at the city,” Peak said.
Other council members agreed and City Manager Reva Feldman gave it a tentative approval: “If we can add it and stay balanced, we certainly will.”
The final budget hearing and approval is set to take place June 26, 2017.