Tom McGreal | Stratford Court
Note: The editors believe the city budget and other financial documents should be seen as the “drivetrain” of all of our city’s operations. This is the first in a series by Tom McGreal to help readers understand the fundamentals of Del Mar’s financial system.
Measure Q increased the District Sales tax rate by 1%, which is projected to increase City revenues in Fiscal years 2018 and 2019 by $1.8 million per year. These new revenues are being held in a Designated Reserve for projects that couldn’t otherwise be funded such as undergrounding of the power lines, Shores Park development and Downtown Streetscape.
During the Budget Workshop in June the Staff presented the outline below to the Council of how the funds could potentially be deployed over the coming few years.
||Implementation, Engineering Design
||Design & entitlements
||Designated Reserve Balance
This was an initial concept and no decisions on Measure Q spending will be made until the City gathers feedback from the community. This process has been deferred but is expected to take place in the next few months.
Below is an update on the status of the three projects:
Undergrounding is the largest project with an estimated cost of $15 to $20 million and citywide implications. The Council is expected to appoint the Oversight Committee to monitor Measure Q spending in October. Mayor Sinnott has talked about the possibility of also appointing an Undergrounding Committee to guide the planning and work with the consultants.
Shores Park is in the master planning process and the Shores Park Committee is working on the design alternatives. The City’s latest strategy is to conduct joint planning with the Winston School for optimum effiiciency but ensure that each party can develop independently according to its needs. The Council is scheduled to have a joint meeting with the Shores Committee in October to narrow down the remaining design alternatives. Costing these alternatives and getting more public feedback on the design plans will be the next step.
Downtown Streetscape was discussed at the Council meeting on September 18th. Based upon the most recent designs the Streetscape project is now estimated to cost $4.8 million. The budget decisions, funding plans and timetable for this project will be addressed by the Council in October.
Each of these projects could include a component of non-public funding, but they represent a significant cost to the City ranging from $25 to $35 million. Measure Q provides an excellent source of long-term funding, but there are many decisions to be made as the City navigates through the spending priorities and funding plans.
We all need to pay attention and participate in these important decisions. These are long-term commitments with long-term ramifications.