Seal Beach is facing an estimated $832,300 budget deficit for the 2018-2019 fiscal year according to projections presented at the nearly five-hour long budget workshop held at Council Chambers.
The shortfall comes in the city’s roughly $30 million General Fund which covers key city services including police, fire, marine safety, public works, community development and recreation.
Finance Director Victoria Beatley noted that $309,800 of the deficit will be covered by money from the city’s swimming pool reserve fund to pay the first-year salaries for two new police officers. The council is scheduled to look at the final budget on June 11.
The city’s largest revenue source, property taxes, is projected to increase next year to $11,392,900. But the second and third top revenue generators for the city, sales taxes and utility taxes respectively, are projected to be flat. The city could also see increased money from the oil industry in barrel taxes as oil prices increase, as well as more money from parking citations and meters as the city implements new technology. There is also discussion about increasing the parking fee at the beach parking lots and raising the sales tax through a ballot measure for the November election.
The bigger issue is the increasing costs — swelling pension payments to the CalPERS retirement plan just for the Police Department will jump an estimated $377,000. Insurance premiums to the Joint Powers Insurance Authority will jump a projected $435,000, and the cost for contracting with the Orange County Fire Authority for fire and emergency medical services is also expected to increase annually by around 5 percent for the next two years.
The article in this week’s Sun has more details.