SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday, June 21, unanimously adopted a new City budget that will create additional parks and outdoor spaces, expand youth programs, improve libraries, fix more streets and sidewalks, and enhance services.
“Thanks to careful fiscal planning throughout the pandemic, the City of Santa Ana is now in a strong financial position that allows us to invest in our residents, our infrastructure and our community’s future, even while many other cities have struggled to make ends meet,” Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said. “This budget addresses many of the concerns and desires shared with the City Council during our interactive budget process. I want to thank all of our residents who took our budget survey, came to our meetings and got involved in their local government. Together we can build a better Santa Ana.”
The 2022-2023 fiscal year budget of $760.1 million includes a $403.5 million general fund, which pays for public safety, recreation programs, libraries, street and sidewalk upkeep, City administration and other core services. Additionally, the approved Capital Improvement Program dedicates $45 million to facility renovations at parks and libraries, water and sewer repairs, and street, sidewalk and alley improvements.
The budget maintains a $70 million “rainy day” reserve fund to protect the City’s finances. The City has an AA credit rating and was recently able to refinance its employee pension debt at a lower interest rate to save the taxpayers $138 million.
Programs and projects over the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, include:
Youth services: More than $26 million – a $5.5 million increase – for youth services, including after-school programs, youth employment and internships, and youth sports, plus start-up funding for non-profits to serve the City’s youth
Libraries: Begin work on the Main Library renovation project, create an “outdoor library” at Jerome Park, and add a second Knowledge Mobile
Parks: New parks construction at Raitt and Myrtle (opening 2023) and Standard and McFadden (opening 2024), a 95% increase in funding for park maintenance and security, new fitness courts and splash pads
Housing and homeless: Over $24 million for affordable housing and supportive housing for homeless residents
Streets and sidewalks: Over $15 million – a $6 million increase – for street pavement, sidewalk and traffic calming improvements
Public safety: Increase the authorized police officer positions from 376 to 400, fund $1 million for police oversight
Clean up commercial properties: More Code Enforcement officers and resources to address public nuisance issues
Address environmental concerns: Create an Environmental Justice Section in the Planning and Building Agency
Downtown businesses: An additional $1.5 million to help downtown businesses affected by the OC Streetcar construction
South Main Street: $3 million for South Main business corridor improvements
Community Events: Over $2 million for movies and concerts in the parks, traditional events such as Fiestas Patrias, and new events for Chicano heritage, Asian culture, Indigenous People’s Day and Juneteenth.
Many of these allocations would not be possible without the voter-approved Measure X sales tax. The City’s Measure X sales tax and legal cannabis revenue have allowed the City to provide more services to the community by adding new staff. Those include three Library positions, three Zoo positions, four Code Enforcement officers, two Planning Technicians to work the public permit counter, and 19 Public Works Agency employees to perform a wide range of services, including maintaining our infrastructure and tree-trimming for streets and parks.
See the 2022-2023 City budget (pending updates from June 21 meeting) at https://www.santa-ana.org/fy-22-23-budget-documents/.