The Isla Vista Community Services District convened on April 24 for its annual roundtable, discussing the state of the district, its accomplishments and projected goals for the coming year.
The Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) serves the unincorporated area of Isla Vista to provide local governance, community services and resources related to public safety, housing, parking, public infrastructure and quality of life.
IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud provided briefings on the current staffing resources and the financial state of the district as well as an update on services, community spaces and special projects.
IVCSD was founded in 2016 and established a source of consistent revenue for itself two years later when the community approved Measure R, allowing an eight percent utility-user tax on households.
Abboud described the district’s financial position as “very strong,” as the estimated revenue of $1.35 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year exceeded projections by 15%.
The financial report furthered that the district, which spent its early years focused on expansion of staff and services, “is now in a position to consider its current financial trajectory in terms of stability rather than continued rapid growth.
Abboud cautioned that revenue projections for the upcoming year may be less reliable, citing the impact of inflation and potentially lower prices for water utilities as the Central Coast exits a long drought.
The district also has an unspent “massive fund balance” representing nearly an entire year’s budget, Abboud said at the meeting.
IVCSD currently holds approximately $1.2 million in undesignated reserves and pledged contributions from UC Santa Barbara. In 2017, the university pledged a one-time grant of $200,000 a year for the first seven years of the district’s operation. The remaining money must be spent before its expiration in less than a few months on June 30.
The university-grant funding has gone toward mutually agreed upon projects, like Community Resource Officers and an Interpersonal Violence Investigator provided in partnership with UCSB Police Department.
Abboud and several directors expressed interest in entering negotiations with the university to secure continued funding.
“With the UCSB funding that’s ending, are there any discussions that have begun? Do we have a process on our end of how we might be able to?” IVCSD Director Jay Freeman asked the general manager.
“We need to renegotiate,” Abboud said. “We need to figure that out.”
During the meeting, board directors reflected on their relationships among the district, including staff and fellow directors and in the outward I.V. community.
The board then evaluated whether they felt they had achieved their set of defined goals for the year, encompassing I.V. Community Center programming, public safety and racial justice, community relationships and improvements to public infrastructure.
“There’s agreement from the board and the staff that we met most of our goals, but there’s some where we made more progress, we just need more time,” Abboud said.
Alex Levin contributed reporting.
A version of this article appeared on p. of the April 27, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.