Equity, Homelessness and Safety

Addressing Homelessness, Creating Clean and Safe City Top City Council Budget Priorities

By Samuel Alioto

The Santa Monica City Council held a special meeting last Saturday to discuss the community priorities that will guide the biennial (2021-23) budget.

In a 4-3 vote, the Council selected the following priorities: addressing homelessness, creating a clean and safe Santa Monica, and cultivating an equitable and inclusive economic recovery.

"The City Council chose to focus for the next two years on the two issues overwhelmingly favored in the unscientific survey of the public's priorities, addressing homelessness and promoting clean and safe neighborhoods," said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. "But we also added as a priority the promotion of an equitable and just economic recovery in recognition of the challenges and historical inequities laid bare in the last horrific year."

"We also will not falter in fulfilling our existing careful and ambitious plans as leaders in sustainability and affordable housing," she added.

City officials said the priorities were recommended by more than 3,000 community members and they represent "the city's values of accountability, equity, inclusion, innovation, resilience, safety and stewardship."

The priorities selected by Council will now inform an April 13, City Council meeting to allocate the American Rescue Plan stimulus within the allowable areas outlined in the bill.

The $29.3 million Santa Monica is expected to receive in federal stimulus "will stabilize the City's budget after a year of deep revenue losses," city officials said. "The aid will also allow GSH tax revenues to be restored to support affordable housing."

The 2021-23 budget book will be become available to the public on May 10 followed by a biennial budget study session on May 25 before budget adoption that is set for June 22.


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