The Isla Vista Community Services District unanimously approved its 2021-22 fiscal year budget on Aug. 24. The services district expects a revenue and expenditure of $1.46 million — an approximate 6% increase from the previous fiscal year.
The Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD), formed in 2016, began receiving funding two years later and was started with the goal of improving the quality of life and infrastructure as the college town’s local government. The CSD is composed of five democratically elected members and two additional appointed seats.
Though certain programs were over-budgeted for wiggle room, under the current set of numbers, the IVCSD will spend all projected revenue except for $628.
The current budget has an increase in revenue by $85,766.31 and an increase in expenditures by $90,735.50 from the previous fiscal year.
The User Utility Tax (UUT) is expected to generate $1.024 million for the IVCSD, making up the majority of the budget — 70% — and continues to be IVCSD’s primary source of funding.
The remaining funds come from UCSB to pay for the Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Investigations program, Isla Vista Safety Stations program and a grant from the I.V. Community Relations Committee within the UCSB Associated Students.
The Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (S.T.E.P.) grant is a new source of funding for the CSD as well. The S.T.E.P. grant helps develop equitable mobility plans for communities.
The CSD broke down their budget into the following major categories: operations, community programs, housing, public safety, parking, public works and community planning.
Though total spending is only proposed to increase by 6%, a few programs, such as operations, community programs and parking, have major allocation changes. Operations and parking have a significant increase, while the community programs sector has a significant decrease.
The budget for operations — which funds salaries, legal fees, advertising and administrative costs — increased by 48% and is $163,157.90 more than that of the previous year at $502,690.90.
The operations budget is further broken down into categories: staff, communications, office, admin and board. The staff category includes funds for salaries, health care and retirement and is the biggest change in the operations budget from the previous year. For the upcoming fiscal year, salaries are going to increase from $150,000 to $246,000 — an increase of $96,000 — in part, due to the hiring of a community engagement director.
The I.V. Community Center and Community Room funding fell from $544,142.50 in the previous year to $397,790.50 this year — a decrease of $146,352. This category of the budget has many significant changes from the previous fiscal year, including the addition of a salary for a part-time programming coordinator, a position which is not filled currently, and a $5,000 increase for programming and events.
The majority of the decrease is due to utilities and maintenance not being included in the budget, as they are currently unknown and can be changed through a budget adjustment at a later time, IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud said during the Aug. 16 IVCSD budget meeting.
Utilities and maintenance are currently unknown variables because IVCSD is still negotiating property terms with the county and has yet to reach a resolution. For the previous fiscal year, regular maintenance and utilities were budgeted for $81,500. In addition, $100,000 for maintenance and long-term renovation that was budgeted for the previous fiscal year was not included while IVCSD negotiates with the county.
Funding for the I.V. Community Compost Collective, which falls under the community programs category, has increased from $38,995 to $80,454 — an increase of $41,459 — $24,000 of which is for the new Compost Collective program manager.
In comparison to the 2020-21 fiscal year, the housing budget decreased from $33,575 to $21,705. IVCSD eliminated their expenditures from advertising and IT hardware maintenance and decreased their contractual service expenditures by $10,000. The current allocation will go toward IVCSD’s housing remediation program, which helps resolve disputes between tenants and their landlords.
The overall budget for public safety decreased for the upcoming fiscal year as IVCSD cut its funding for community policing and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol social media intern, which faced controversy because some community members described the position as “a propaganda arm for the police.”
The funding for safety stations, however, has increased from $59,000 to $85,500 this upcoming year to include an additional tent on Friday and Saturday nights and during large events for a total of three tents.
The budget for parking increased from $28,000 to $135,500. All but $25,000 of that funding comes from the S.T.E.P. grant, which the IVCSD won from the California Air Resources Board to “develop an equity-based, community mobility plan for Isla Vista.” According to IVCSD Board President and Director Spencer Brandt, the money will be used to analyze and improve street parking and fund a project that promotes more walking, biking, skateboarding and public transit use.
The public works budget increased by $9,800 from the previous fiscal year. Within the public works section budget, $129,800 is currently budgeted for community beautification — an increase of $59,800 from the previous fiscal year. The increase is due to the elimination of the infrastructure category, as the funds were instead transferred to the beautification category this year. During the previous year, IVCSD budgeted $50,000 for infrastructure.
The community planning budget decreased from $53,000 to $30,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. The decrease is because IVCSD eliminated funding for advertising which saved $3,000. The CSD also reduced the allocation for contractual services from $50,000 to $30,000.
A version of this article appeared on p. 9 of the Aug. 26, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.