Financial troubles are expected to continue in Culver City.

The city released its proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget to the public for the first time Monday night, showing a budget deficit similar to the $18.6 million deficit the previous year. A General Fund Deficit of over $17.1 million is projected for the city despite increased revenue, driven by increased spending on the city’s homelessness programs with operations at full capacity.

“Now that the City’s Project Homekey, Wellness Village, Motel Leasing Program, and Mobile Crisis Team are fully operational,” the report released with the budget said, “The full costs of these programs will be applied for the first time in Fiscal Year 2024-2025.”

The city council will hold a meeting to deliberate on the specifics of the budget on June 10 starting at 7:00 p.m. Before that, each city department will give a presentation to the council on their budgets and the enhancement requests they have submitted for the upcoming fiscal year. These meetings are scheduled for May 20 and 21 starting at 3:00 p.m., with any holdovers to be given time on May 22.

The budget’s release to the public came as part of a motion that also set this schedule for this year’s budget hearings. It was also done to remain in compliance with the city charter that requires the upcoming budget be released to the public no less than 45 days before June 30 — the end of the fiscal year. 

Among the first departments to make these presentations will be the Culver City Police Department, which continues to command the largest allocation of any city department at almost a third of the General Fund. However, the CCPD received one of the smallest increases in General Fund revenue, seeing just $2.5 million more than last fiscal year mainly for projected salary increases under the city’s Salary Initiative Ordinance that requires police salaries be normalized based on increases provided by either the city or County of Los Angeles

On top of a Housing and Human Services Budget at over $16 million — more than six times larger than what it was just two fiscal years ago — the city is also projecting that an extra $15 million will be spent to maintain the various housing programs across the city. This money would be used “To address specific operating and capital needs that extend beyond the resources afforded in the city’s base budget.”

These costs play a major part in the $17.1 million General Fund deficit the city is projected to face this coming fiscal year despite a projected revenue of $170.2 million, an increase of almost $10 million. The Business License and Cannabis Tax are expected to increase significantly this fiscal year, with budget projections expecting $8.5 million more revenue from these sources than last year. The main contributor to this increase is the voter-approved 2022 Measure BL, which updated the city’s business license classifications and tax rates.

However, lagging growth in other major revenue sources like Sales Tax and the half-percent Measure CC sales tax and increased costs from inflation forced the city to dig into its reserves once again.

“While the City strives to respond to the community’s ever-evolving needs,” the report said, “Inflation continues to drive up costs for the goods and services that the City relies upon for business operations.”

For more information and to view the proposed budget, click here.

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