Last week, Santa Monica Forward shared a letter with you that we submitted to interim-City Manager Lane Dilg. That letter should be part of your packet this evening. In it we outlined a number of recommendations we hope the city will consider to address the impact that COVID-19 has had on our city’s economy. Tonight, I wanted to highlight three items from that letter, which we hope you will consider as you discuss budget priorities.
First, we believe the city should preserve all departmental divisions and functions that are or can be structured to achieve full-cost recovery and/or generate more revenue than they cost, especially those that support economic activity and long term revenue generation. We should also be mindful to avoid losing institutional knowledge that we will need to generate revenue and to support our economic resilience.
Second, the city should adopt IZOs and permanent zoning reforms to prioritize business retention, economic recovery, new investment, and housing production for all income groups, and to streamline entitlement and permitting processes.
Third, we should accelerate the approval process for projects with high revenue potential. The three large site projects in the Downtown, joined recently by the proposed redevelopment on Lincoln between Broadway and Colorado, have been shaped by years of community input. They not only would provide millions of dollars in annual TOT, sales/use tax, and property tax revenue, but also would offer thousands of well compensated jobs at all levels both during and after construction, as well as providing affordable housing. It’s time to process these projects now so that, if approved, they can provide some immediate revenue for the city through substantial permit and impact fees and will open for business as the economy recovers.