City Passes $146 Million Budget with Cops and Coronavirus in Mind

Santa Barbara Police Department Budget Has Increased 31 Percent over Last 10 Years

Santa Barbara Police officers stand guard as protesters against police brutality and justice for Breonna, George and Ahmaud arrive near the police station Sunday May 31, 2020. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday adopted a $146 million budget for fiscal year 2021 with $6.5 million in coronavirus-related reductions. In solidarity with the economic pain many residents are now experiencing, each member of the council also vowed to forgo a scheduled 10.7 percent salary increase. City Attorney Ariel Calonne explained Santa Barbara’s charter won’t allow them to reject the money outright, so they must find ways with the Human Resources Department to evenly funnel the cash back into the city.

Over the last three weeks, regional Black Lives Matter organizers and their allies had heavily lobbied the council to reduce the Police Department’s budget, which consumes more than a third of the city’s financial resources. City leaders ought to prioritize human services and community equity over boots and guns, they argued. The council stopped short of slashing the cops’ budget but agreed to conduct a full audit of the department to determine how officers spend their time and where cost savings might be found.

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The full 2021 budget breakdown is as follows:
•  Police: $47.2 million
•  Fire: $30.8 million
•  Parks & Recreation: $18.6 million
•  Community Development: $13.4 million
•  Public Works: $9.6 million
•  Finance: $6.2 million
•  Library: $6 million
•  City Attorney’s Office: $3.9 million
•  Mayor & City Council: $3.5 million
•  Human Resources: $1.7 million

The Police Department’s budget has increased every year for the last 10 years, records show. In 2010, it was $32.5 million.

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