The City of Santa Barbara appears poised to spend $4.6 million on four homes and a 10-unit apartment complex on the 500 block of Bath Street for future use as a 50-unit affordable housing development. The City Council Finance Committee approved plans to loan the funds to the Housing Authority. Although the Housing Authority will pay the money backat minimal interestit claims a 100-percent land subsidy is required to make the project economically viable.

The Carrillo Recreation Center will soon be receiving a $6.6 million makeover that includes seismic upgrades necessary to meet state code. The cash has been on hand for three yearsas part of a Redevelopment Agency Bondand remained unspent because the project proceeded so slowly. In this instance, procrastination appears to have paid off. Of the $6.6 million, $1 million was generated as interest on the unspent bond money.

As revealed at a 4/15 Finance Committee meeting, City Hall bean counters have proposed $3.75 million in cuts for this year’s budget. Administrators say $3 million in cuts is necessary just to balance the budget. The additional $750,000 was included just in case. Given that police and fire services comprise 49 percent of the city’s general fund, most cuts come from those departments. No positions have been slated for elimination.

Santa Barbara City Council created an Executive Environmental Services Manager position to oversee the city’s nascent food scrap recovery program and planned new curbside electronic waste collection program. The position will also handle contract renewal negotiations with rival trash haulers MarBorg and BFI. Additionally, City Hall is hoping to participate in a joint effort with the County of Santa Barbara to convert much of the Tajiguas landfill waste stream into energy.

With Measure D set to expire in 2010, Santa Barbara City Hall approved plans to spend nearly half its last allotment of $10.5 million on alternative transportation projects, $3.2 million on road repairs, and $2.7 million on capital projects. Included in the alternative transit categories are subsidies for the downtown electric shuttle, funds to restripe bike lanes, and sidewalk repairs.


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