California’s has nearly 500 cities.
They say they will collectively lose $6.7 billion over the next two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Malibu’s rich property valuations and continued strong property tax collections means the COVID-19 virus will not hurt the city very badly.
In fact … the city manager projects a deficit of 30 thousand dollars … a water drop compared to a general budget of 30 million dollars.
And the city manager says there is 72 percent of an annual budget in savings accounts …. that’s 23 million dollars in the bank.
Why is Malibu escaping a COVID downturn???
City Manager Reva Feldman says its because the City’s main general fund revenue is derived from property tax … not sales tax … unlike most cities.
The Planning, Building Safety and Public Works Departments are experiencing a large number of non-Woolsey related applications … and people pay for those.
Property tax comprises approximately 42% of General Fund revenue … even after the Woolsey Fire and the loss of 488 single family residences, remained strong and steady.
And Malibu’s public safety expenses are significant at 20% of the operating budget.
But that 20 percent does not represent as large as a percentage expenditure as other cities.
While other cities are laying off or furloughing employees … Malibu’s budget has a shortfall of just $30,000.
On Wednesday … the city council is being asked by the city manager to provide direction on how best to eliminate the shortfall.
They can either use money from that 72 percent savings account … or reducing services or programs.
So … how much is the COVID disaster costing the city budget???
Less than 800 thousand dollars … is the short answer.
These costs include staff time related to operations of the Emergency Operations Center and the communications team, as well as expenses for personal protective equipment (PPEs) and cleaning supplies.
FEMA will cover staff overtime (not regular time) and costs for safety supplies and communication-related costs.
If a second wave of COVID-19 occurs in the fall of 2020, these costs will escalate. The City has already begun the process of requesting reimbursement for emergency response from FEMA.
California’s 482 cities are planning layoffs and furloughs for public workers … also potential cuts to basic services such as sanitation, public safety and housing.
The new city budget goes to the mayor and council at a special budget hearing …. Wednesday at 6.