The good news is that the City of Santa Barbara’s proposed
budget – unveiled Tuesday – is balanced for the first time in five
years; the bad news is that a major showdown is brewing between
harbor boat owners and City Hall regarding a proposed four percent
hike in slip fees. City budget chief Robert Peirson explained city
revenues were $2.3 million higher than anticipated and costs were
$1.8 million less; as a result, the “adjustments” required –
$500,000 worth – were far less than feared. Peirson said city
department heads have figured out how to bridge that gap by
increasing revenues and cutting costs without cutting services. To
that end, Councilmembers Helene Schneider and Das Williams
suggested the Waterfront Department shoulder the cost – $186,000 –
of sweeping the city’s beaches, typically borne by Parks and
Recreation. In turn, the Waterfront director proposed an increase
in slip fees, angering the Harbor Commission and boat owners, who
are preparing for a political battle.


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