Draft budgets for coming fiscal years reflect increased revenue, spending, and a focus on quality of life

Faced with a July 1 deadline to adopt next year’s budget, the Palm Springs City Council dived into the spreadsheets Monday evening during a three-hour special session with city staff.
Money for more projects aimed at improving city streets and traffic flow is included in draft budgets under review at City Hall as City manager Scott Stiles looks to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.

Improvements to parks and roads and increased efforts to address homelessness and public safety are among the ways Palm Springs officials could allocate tax dollars over the next two years, as noted in draft budgets currently under review at City Hall.

Faced with a July 1 deadline to adopt next year’s budget, the Palm Springs City Council dived into the spreadsheets Monday evening during a three-hour special session with city staff. Councilmembers were presented with a positive revenue outlook and suggestions on how to utilize that revenue to enhance residents’ quality of life.

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Highlights of the draft budgets include:

  • Revenue growth was brought on by continued robust transient occupancy taxes from hotel stays, increased property taxes, and a significant year-over-year increase in utility bill payments from residents. All are expected to help bring an additional $13 million to the general fund – from $186 million in the current fiscal year to nearly $200 million in 2023-2024.
  • The city could spend approximately $40 million more than it will in the current fiscal year’s budget – $216 million compared to $177 million. That money would go toward additional city staff, including more police dispatchers and firefighters, and dozens of current and future capital improvement projects.

City Manager Scott Stiles, who presented his first budgets since assuming the role in March, emphasized his focus on improving residents’ quality of life and fostering economic development. The budgets allocate funds for homelessness initiatives, affordable housing, and efforts to reduce crime.

Enhancing the quality of life in Palm Springs entails various projects, such as upgrading the city’s swim center, restoring water features in city parks, and implementing numerous street improvements to enhance traffic flow. For instance, the budget includes funding for an industrial-grade motor grader to mitigate prolonged closures of major routes during severe weather events.

Increased budgets for the police and fire departments aim to create a safer city. The police department budget is expected to rise by approximately 3% from $42 million to around $43.4 million, while the fire department budget will increase by around 13% from $25 million to $28 million.

Stiles mentioned that the police department is conducting a staffing study and will request additional officers based on the findings. The budget will be adjusted accordingly.

Regarding homelessness, the city plans to utilize millions in grant funds to construct and initially operate a homeless navigation center. Additionally, $900,000 will be allocated for cooling and warming centers and encampment cleanup.

The Palm Springs International Airport budget reflects the need to hire around 40 additional employees, bringing the staffing levels in line with similarly sized airports. With the assistance of federal grants, airport officials intend to initiate projects such as restoring the main terminal facade, expanding terminal facilities, upgrading the parking lot, and implementing new technologies.

The Council plans to discuss the budgets during regular meetings on June 5 and June 29, looking to pass them by a July 1 deadline.


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