The Port Hueneme City Council unanimously approved a new two-year operating budget at a special meeting on Monday, June 24 at the Orvene Carpenter Community Center. The spending plan, which covers Fiscal Years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, projects operating surpluses for both years and makes a number of new commitments to increased service levels through staffing enhancements and investment in deferred maintenance and technology upgrades.
“Approving our second consecutive two-year budget speaks to Port Hueneme’s improving fiscal situation,” said Mayor Will Berg. “This budget has the City finishing in the black for the first time in at least eight years. With improving conditions we look forward to filling long vacant positions as we pursue more public works and community development improvements.”
The City’s General Fund budget for FY 2019-2020, which covers the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, projects revenues of $20,232,338 and expenditures of $20,026,526, for a surplus of $205,812. In the following year, FY 2020-2021, revenues are projected at $20,777,723 and expenditures are expected to be $19,881,656, with the surplus growing to $896,067. The General Fund pays for many basic City services such as the Police Department, maintenance of parks, City buildings, and public landscape, Community Development, the City Clerk’s Office, and the Finance Department. Port Hueneme has struggled for several years with a structural deficit in the General Fund. In his staff report to the City Council, City Manager Rod Butler indicated that the City’s Cannabis Business Ordinance, the approval by voters of a new local sales tax measure (Measure U), and the continuing success of the Port of Hueneme have created at least $5 million in new ongoing General Fund revenues over the past two years.
“We thank all members of our city: the staff, residents, business owners, and voters who have actively taken part in creating and supporting the financial components necessary to bring us out of deficit spending and give us a truly diversified revenue portfolio. We all take part in celebrating this achievement,” said Councilmember Sylvia Munoz-Schnopp, who has served on the Council since 2008.
The approved budget includes significant new spending on technology upgrades and increased staffing in the Police, Community Development, Finance, and Public Works Departments. In addition to the General Fund, the Council also unanimously approved two-year budgets for the Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste funds, as well as the Port Hueneme Housing Authority and the Surplus Property Authority. Staff will return to the Council in September for a detailed discussion of the Capital Improvement Program budget, which will include vehicle and equipment purchases, major technology initiatives, and roughly $3 million in deferred maintenance and new improvements at the City’s parks and public buildings, including the Orvene Carpenter Community Center. “It’s exciting to have the funds available to make these much-needed improvement projects a reality,” said City Manager Butler. “We’re moving from a period of retrenchment and cutbacks into a new season of investments and restoration. This is what we had hoped for when the Council directed us to place Measure U on the ballot and to pursue a legalized Cannabis Business Ordinance.”
Monday’s night’s budget adoption marks the only time in recent years when the Port Hueneme budget has been adopted prior to the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. In 2015, because of a deeply divided City Council, the budget was not adopted until November. “An on-time budget means we have taken a look at the divisiveness of the past few years and are committed to a new and better future,” said Councilmember Steven Gama, one of three new members of the Council elected in November 2018. “An on-time budget shows that we’re committed to a process for continued improvement.”