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June 2009 home page

The Bucks Stop Here!
Bud Emerson, Klish

Putting together a balanced budget for Del Mar in these challenging times requires much more than manipulating a calculator. The story behind the numbers is one of extraordinary human effort on the part of city staff, Council members, and involved citizens.


City Manager Karen Brust says “it is similar to a work of art...the team has had to shape and reshape it until we could develop a resource plan that meets Council priorities and deals with the revenue shortfalls and public safety increases.”

Del Mar revenues will probably be lower than we have seen in the last ten years, including sales and hotel tax declines and a $400,000 “loan” our deficit-ridden State will impose on our property taxes.

This loss has lead to a dramatic rethinking by the entire staff of how our city operates, finding ways to increase revenues, implement operating efficiencies, and decrease costs.

On the revenue side we have new clean water fees, recovery of actual costs for benefits received, updated planning fees, increased hotel taxes, new false alarm fees, and fees for new sidewalk cafes.

Operating efficiencies are coming from fewer outside contracts, re-negotiating engineering and legal contracts, and upgrading the financial system.

Cost saving measures found include staff restructuring, reduced student intern program, staff reductions, delay of equipment purchases and repairs, and elimination of cost of living adjustments for many staff and management salaries.

The good news is that the county’s smallest city is able to balance its budget with a healthy reserve, provide essential services to its residents, and find funding for high priority capital projects such as the 21st street pump station, the lifeguard safety center, and the Torrey Pines Bridge.

The best news is the quality of our city’s staff, their ingenuity, and their commitment to preserving the quality of life of Del Mar citizens.

Other links:

Proposed City Budget in pdf format
City Website Budget Page


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