Garden Grove

Green grows the city budget

GARDEN GROVE City Council on Tuesday night head good news on the city’s financial status (Shutterstock).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

Money was very much on the agenda and on the minds of city leaders at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council.

Reports on the recovery of the tourism business and the income from the Measure O one-cent tax measure approved by voters in 2018 indicated a healthy financial situation for the City of Youth and Ambition.

Representatives from the Garden Grove Tourism Improvement District and the Visit Anaheim organization – which also markets for Garden Grove’s many hotels – indicated that occupancy was approaching pre-pandemic levels, and that efforts were being made to attract more conventions to the area as a way of boosting the hospitality business all along the Harbor Boulevard corridor.

The Measure O Citizen’s Oversight Committee – chaired by Sandy Thomas – reported that money raised by the sales tax increase was indeed being spent as promised, which is a focus on public safety and other essential services.

For example, 47.3 percent of the city’s general fund budget was spent on police services and 26 percent on fire services, totally nearly two-thirds of the total.

The original 2021-2022 budget projected that hotel “bed tax” – officially called transient occupancy tax  – would reach 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels but the updated estimates were that it could reach 70 to 80 percent.

In the fiscal year 2020-21, Measure O brought in $23,279,000, an increase of $3.3 million over the previous year. When originally proposed, it was estimated that new annual revenue from the measure would be in the $14 to 16 million range.

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