Huntington Beach

City council will weigh budget deficit

THE HUNTINGTON BEACH City Council will meet on Monday with the finance commission to consider options to deal with projected budget deficits.

Facing a budget deficit that could rise to $2.8 million by the 2021-22 fiscal year, the Huntington Beach City Council will meet Monday in a study session with the city’s finance commission to discuss options.

That session will be at 4:30 p.m., preceding the regular session at 6 p.m. Both will be held in the Council Chambers in the Civic Center, 2000 Main St. (at Yorktown Avenue).

Possible solutions could include increases in transient occupancy tax (“bed tax” paid by hotel and motel guests) or general sales tax, as well as a special sales tax devoted solely to financing public safety costs including police and fire.

All would require approval by voters.

Other possible measures include increasing city fees, charges and fines for parking citations.

Huntington Beach, like many other cities in Orange County and California, has been hit by the increasing costs of pensions. Without any further hikes in those costs, deficits are projected as:

  • Fiscal year 2019-2020: $1.059 million
  • Fiscal year 2020-2021: $1.019 million
  • Fiscal year 2021-2022: $2.808 million
  • Fiscal year 2022-2023: $1.385 million.

The finance commission is recommending against tax increases. City staff is recommending, among other measures, exploring the possible revenue available from vigorous enforcement and higher fines for illegal short-term rentals.

Also the commission is recommending a study of possibly approving the sale of cannabis-marijuana as a way of raising money for city operations.

Additionally, the commission is backing staff reductions as vacancies occur.

The entire reports is available in the city’s website: https://www.huntingtonbeachca.gov.

Go to the government tab, to agendas and minutes and find the city council agenda for Aug. 6. From there, open the agenda and find the study session and click on item 18-170, and from there, the attachment for “Finance Commission-City Council Workshop.”

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