On February 14, the Grover Beach City Council received the City’s Mid-Year Financial Review for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23, which highlighted Grover Beach’s strong financial position heading into the upcoming budgeting process. The City’s favorable mid-year budget projections and five-year financial forecast will allow the City to address key initiatives that benefit the community.
“As elected representatives, it is our duty to prioritize what our community wants and needs. Our strong financial standing in Grover Beach allows us to better serve the people we represent,” said Grover Beach Mayor Karen Bright. “We will continue to use our funds to build the thriving City for all of us to enjoy while remaining prudent and cost-effective with our budget.”
In January, the City evaluated financial impacts detailed in the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for FY 2021-22 to help plan for next year’s budget. The report indicated that the City is in a positive financial position with higher expected revenues and lower expenditures.
In FY 2021-22, the City invested in multiple projects to meet the needs of the community. One of the main projects the City invested in was Measure K-14 street construction and repairs. As of December 2022, the City completed 14 street rehabilitation projects and spent a total of $31.2 million on the updates so far. Another major street rehabilitation project that was completed in FY 2021-22 was on South Oak Park Boulevard from West Grand Avenue to Mentone Avenue. The upgrades included improved pavements, a buffered bike lane in both directions, a landscaped median and on-street parking. Additionally, the City also invested in public facilities for residents to enjoy, including 16th Street Park, Mentone Park and the South County skate park.
Measure F-20, a one percent sales tax that came into effect in April 2021, was an important source of revenue for City services in FY 2021-22. The City experienced a $2.4 million increase along with a $1.6 million boost from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, which led to a 20% increase in General Fund revenues compared to the previous fiscal year. The City’s General Fund maintained a healthy reserve level of 40% of operating expenditures, which exceeds the Council’s reserve goal of 25%.
The City found similar positive trends in the Mid-Year Budget Report, which provides an update on the City’s current financial condition for FY 2022-23. Given the healthy state of the budget, Council approved the use of surplus funds for community needs such as sidewalk repairs, a police response van and the installation of audio and visual equipment at Ramona Center. Even with these expenditures, the General Fund is projected to end this fiscal year with an estimated $225,000 surplus, leaving the reserves at 38% of operating expenditures. It should be noted that current estimates do not include anticipated cost increases to the Five Cities Fire Authority (FCFA) contract, pending a study that is being prepared by outside consultants on the FCFA’s future needs.
The City also experienced lower capital improvement project costs in FY 2021-2022, which carried over into this fiscal year and will cover upcoming projects including disability access improvements, facility assessments and upgrades and the annual street lighting project.
In addition to reviewing the Mid-Year Budget Report, the Council received an update on the City’s five-year General Fund financial forecast at its meeting on February 14. This forecast serves as a valuable tool to help Council and staff make prudent financial decisions and inform future City budgets. Despite the short-term economic impacts from the pandemic that are expected to normalize in 2024, the forecast pointed to a stable economy in Grover Beach for the next five years. The City is projected to remain in a strong financial position with ample reserves to address any unexpected situations.
“City Council and staff have created a strong financial foundation and set the stage for a bright future in Grover Beach,” said Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson. “With a General Fund in a healthy position and our commitment to responsible spending, we are well positioned to continue investing in street repairs, park improvements, public safety and other service areas consistent with our Council Goals to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of our City.”
The ACFR, Mid-Year Budget review and the five-year financial forecast will inform the upcoming FY 2023-25 Council goal-setting workshop on March 6, as well as the subsequent review and adoption of a budget that reflects these goals. Keep an eye on the City’s social media channels for future budget updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Nextdoor.