City budget hearing set for Monday, May 22

On Monday, May 22, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2023-24 Seal Beach budget, according to a legal notice published in last week’s Sun.

(For a look at recent council discussions about the budget, see “Five-year financial outlook: costs rising,” on page 8)

The council will also take a look at how to spend $3.1 million in ARPA funds, according to a Monday, May 15, email from District Two Councilman/Mayor Tom Moore.

The City Council recently discussed options for spending the money, including one-time only expenses for the city.

“Since the ARPA money was intended originally to benefit people most affected by COVID,  I suggested we look at spending the $850K remaining out of the $3.1M on park improvements in Seal Beach. However, it was decided to leave the $850K separate from this for now to be decided upon at a later time,” Moore wrote.

“Citywide operating expenditures are estimated at $96.8 million, a 13.3% increase from the Amended FY 2022-23 Budget,” according to the “City Manager’s Message” section of the proposed budget.

“The FY 2023-24 General Fund Budget includes estimated revenues of $42.1 million, operating expenditures of $42.1 million and capital project expenditures of $11.0 million,” according to the document.

“Due to decreases in revenues over the past few years and the continuation of many deferred items related to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain items have again been re-budgeted from prior years resulting from capital projects being deferred,” according to the document.

“With that, the capital improvement budget includes approximately $1.2 million from General Fund Balance to complete these deferred projects,” according to the document.

The Capital Improvement Program “identifies specific projects that are planned for construction in the City. Improvements to the sewer, buildings, streets, and other facilities are discussed in the project information sheets in the Capital Improvement

Program section of the budget,” according to the document.

Recently, during the May 2 budget workshop, the city finance director advised the council that the city’s costs are expected to outpace the city’s revenue. Those budget estimates did not include the possibility of a recession.

In recent budget workshops, city staff have argued that the city cannot sustain more cuts.

During the April 4 Strategic Planning Workshop, department heads argued for more staff.

Staff have also discussed increasing fees and creating a tiered business license system.

A copy of the draft of the budget is available at the city website. To download a copy, visit, select Departments, then go to the Finance Department page, click on “Budget” on the left side of the Finace Department page. The link to download the budget will be on the right side of the page.

On that same night, May 22, the council will hold a public hearing on the annual assessment for Lighting District No. 1.

The public may email comments on the proposed budget to City Clerk Gloria Harper at Emails sent before 5 p.m., Monday, May 22, will be distributed to the council before the meeting, according to the legal notice.