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Preliminary finance report shows Del Mar ahead of projections – Coast News

DEL MAR — A city auditor’s preliminary financial report shows the City of Del Mar ahead of budgeted revenues and expenditures despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, but financial limitations will likely remain for the city.

Due to the pandemic, the city’s finances for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 were significantly reduced in June in anticipation of a slow economic recovery. Adjustments were made to the projections for the city’s transient occupancy tax (TOT), sales tax, parking meter and parking violation revenues.

These changes resulted in a decrease of around $4 million in the city’s general fund.

However, the preliminary report has found those revenues have exceeded the adjusted projections.

Despite stay-at-home orders and other restrictions due to the pandemic, the city still was able to generate revenues from TOT and parking violations roughly 19% over adjusted projections.

Sales tax revenue was also 16% higher than the adjusted projections leading to higher than expected Measure Q funds, which the preliminary results show sits at $3.3 million.

City staff recommended the Del Mar City Council carry over $673,000 from the Measure Q Fund to the next fiscal year. Staff also recommended a total of $2,384,552 unspent funds to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022.

The council voted unanimously to approve staff recommendations.

Property tax revenue, which was not expected to be greatly impacted by the pandemic but is the city’s largest revenue generator also had a modest increase from projections in the final budget of $6,949,770 to a preliminary result of $7,065,754.

Additionally, the city’s expenditures also outperformed the adjustments made in June 2020, with the preliminary results for expenditures for public safety, public works and non-departmental expenditures all coming under the adjusted projections.

However, financial constraints will remain for the city. Interim City Manager Ashley Jones informed the council the city’s work plan for the remainder of the fiscal year will still take into account that the city’s staffing and financial resources do not see much room for change.

“I think that’s an important message, not just for us but for the public, that even though things are looking better than we projected, we’re still constrained,” Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden said.

Councilmember Dave Druker, who voted to approve all staff recommendations regarding the budget along with the rest of the council, was frustrated that the preliminary results from the fiscal year take as long as they do to be completed.

“It would be so nice if we had been doing this back in August or September rather than November,” Druker said. “We’re not going to have the final results until almost seven months into our current budget year and then we’re back a couple of months later trying to figure out the budget for the next year.”

Jones said city staff works as fast as they can to get the preliminary results to the council. The city said there are a number of invoices it does not receive until September.

“I assure you that if we expedite somehow we would, but we’ve looked at that process and it’s really challenging for us,” Jones said.