The Isla Vista Community Services District held a public forum on April 16 to receive community input on how its 2019-2020 budget should be spent.
The Isla Vista Community Services District (I.V. CSD) has an estimated revenue of $1,069,000, according to numbers released by the district at the April 16 meeting.
As of April 16, approximately $854,200 are either being used or are being budgeted for a project; the I.V. CSD will end the year with approximately $600,000 in funds, according to numbers introduced at the meeting.
Measure R, passed in June of last year, placed an 8% user utility tax on electricity, garbage disposal, gas, sewage and water services. The tax itself is estimated to net about $700,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
The district was open to suggestions about projects it can fund that fall under various categories (public safety, community facilities, housing mediation, public works improvements, parking and community planning) during the Tuesday night forum.
Current programs organized by the I.V. CSD include graffiti abatement, an AmeriCorps partnership and a resource center for survivors of sexual assault.
I.V. CSD Director and former president Ethan Bertrand gave the floor to those attending after he explained the budget.
Alia Reynolds, policy analyst for Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), proposed funding be directed toward peer advocates for Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). Peer advocates help survivors of sexual assault navigate their options and are required to undergo 60 hours of training beforehand, according to Reynolds.
UCSB Campus Advocacy Resources and Education Center (C.A.R.E.) funds the training for UCSB students but not for volunteers outside of UCSB. SASA recommends funding be directed toward establishing training as a paid position, so as to compensate volunteers for their time.
One community member also proposed the money be used to create a community counseling center for drug addiction, homelessness and suicide intervention, along with a mental health assessment survey of Isla Vista, in which a survey would be sent out to gauge the mental health of I.V. residents.
There were also multiple complaints by people concerning the difficulty of negotiating with landlords, leading to discussion about a greater need for tenant resources.
Public safety was a large concern among many in attendance. The need for better lighting, particularly in the farther reaches of I.V., was voiced by several attendees.
I.V. CSD Director Robert Geis believes a greater community voice is needed for change to happen.
“Let’s say, you know, there’s a member of our board that’s really interested in lighting and leading the charge to get better lighting out here and we’ve done the survey and stuff. But the one thing the community can do is be louder that the lighting is insufficient here,” Geis said.
“We’ve met with officials that say, ‘Ah, it’s been like that. We can’t do that.’ No. This is what the community wants, and I think we need to make that message clear.”
Emergency preparedness was another problem that was raised. Attention was then brought to the Thomas Fire and the lack of communication surrounding it.
Suggestions were made to keep Deltopia local and quiet, so as to not attract outsiders. One solution was raised to have a community festival, but attracting more out-of-towners was still a concern. Planning Deltopia into being a more controlled event is a primary goal for I.V. CSD.
For those unable to attend the public forum budget meeting, project proposals can also be submitted online through a survey.
A preliminary version of the budget will be released at the next I.V. CSD meeting on April 23. The district will also discuss future Deltopia plans during the upcoming meeting.