The City of Carlsbad has begun a series of budget meetings, the final stage of an annual process to develop a spending plan for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1. The “Capital Improvement Program” budget, which covers major city construction projects for things like roads, water and sewer pipes, and city buildings, was presented at the June 7 City Council meeting.
The preliminary “operating budget,” which outlines the coming year’s spending on city services like police, fire, libraries and parks, will be presented at the June 14 City Council meeting. A “budget workshop” will be held Tuesday, June 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the city’s Faraday Administration Center, 1635 Faraday Ave. The workshop is an opportunity for the public to learn about what is being proposed and ask questions directly of city finance staff and department directors. The City Council will consider approval of the final budget at its June 28 meeting.
The budget planning process typically begins with an annual City Council goal setting workshop at the beginning of the calendar year. In setting goals, the City Council focuses on achieving the Carlsbad Community Vision, a set of nine core values developed through a two-year public involvement process. Input from its annual resident satisfaction survey and the city’s financial forecast also plays a role in setting budget priorities.
Projects proposed in the Capital Improvement Program are selected based on additional criteria, including public health and safety, legal and regulatory requirements, and ensuring the city is meeting the standards of its voter approved Growth Management Program. The program ensures public facilities and services keep pace with increases in population to ensure Carlsbad maintains an excellent quality of life and a sustainable city.
The proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2016-17 outlines approximately $64.4 million in funding for the continuation of existing projects and new projects. Since some projects span multiple years, the $64.4 million will not all be spent in the next fiscal year. The Capital Improvement Program identifies projects and an implementation schedule for the next 15-plus years.
Among the projects that would be funded over the next five years are:
Creating a master plan for the new Robertson Ranch park, near the corner of Cannon Road and El Camino Real.
Building planned improvements at Avaira, Poinsettia and Pine Avenue community parks, including a new community garden, a dog park, updated playground equipment and a new community center.
Road improvements and new traffic signals to improve safety and traffic flow, including completion of the final link of Poinsettia Lane between Aviara Parkway and El Camino Real.
A new maintenance and operations building that would consolidate these functions in one centralized location to increase efficiency.
Sewer, drainage and water infrastructure projects, including the continued expansion of the recycled water system.
Even though money is appropriated each year through the Capital Improvement Program budget process, large projects still must be authorized by the City Council before proceeding.
About 21 percent of the city’s Capital Improvement Program budget comes from developer fees. Other funding comes from special financing districts, infrastructure replacement funds set aside by the city, the state gas tax, Transnet, grants and other agencies.