Costa Mesa City Council to chart path to recovery in 2021-22 budget process

Costa Mesa City Hall, seen in 2020.
Costa Mesa City Council members, in a study session Tuesday, will get a sneak peek at a $163.5 million proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22.
(Daily Pilot)

With a year of pandemic chaos behind them, Costa Mesa City Council members on Tuesday will begin charting a course for the city’s financial future, looking at what lies ahead in Fiscal Year 2021-22 during a special budget study session.

Officials will share how the city bridged unthinkable revenue gaps to balance the 2020-21 budget, in part, through significant spending cuts and employee furloughs and discuss how federal assistance might play a role in Costa Mesa’s economic recovery.

Council members will get a sneak peek at a $163.5 million proposed operating budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, which reflects a $17.7 million increase over this fiscal year’s operating budget.

Contributing to an influx of civic income will be an estimated $61 million in sales tax revenue, roughly a 10% increase over the 2020-21 adopted budget. The city’s number crunchers attribute the rise to a previously pent-up demand for sales, including the sale of luxury items, building and construction as well as a continued growth in online purchases.

Out of a nearly $13 million increase in the city’s general fund, some $6.6 million will come from a second installment of federal American Rescue Plan Costa Mesa is anticipated to receive after July 1. That will help the city refund part-time positions, training, supplies and other services de-funded during the pandemic.

Tuesday’s 6 p.m. online-only study session will also provide a snapshot of the more than seven additional city positions recently approved by the council to help the city implement its Measure Q retail cannabis sales and delivery ordinance.

The proposed 2021-22 budget will be reviewed by the city’s Finance and Pension Advisory Committee (FIPAC) on Thursday and is scheduled to come before the Costa Mesa City Council in a first public hearing on June 1, before being adopted by a June 30 deadline.

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