I am proud to say that because of our City’s exceptional skill in budgeting and managing resources, Desert Hot Springs, although fiscally challenged, is healthy and financially sound. We are being fiscally conservative, and we are thinking outside-of-the-box, making sure that tax dollars are spent responsibly. The City of Desert Hot Springs Municipal Code requires the City Manager to submit to the City Council an annual budget and administer the budget after its adoption.
Unfortunately, some tax revenues are down and expenses are up. This is partly due to struggles that our cannabis industry is going through, and it’s partly due to the impact of inflation on the City budget. Then, add in the multi-million-dollar cost of road repairs due to Tropical Storm Hilary. While much of the road repair costs will be funded by the federal government, these challenges will still require cost reductions in our city budget. The cost reductions include freezing and leaving vacant certain positions, reductions in travel and training, deferring some contract services, reductions in supplies, and decreases in consulting services. In fact, our new City Manager has been in the ongoing process of evaluating all City budgets, looking at all costs with the goal of making sure that the City lives within its means while still providing world-class services for all of its residents.
Thankfully, because of our foresight, the Consolidated General Fund has a $13,000,000 million reserve balance for natural or fiscal emergencies. This reserve is in addition to the Emergency Reserve that is funded by cannabis revenues. These reserves were created for just such a situation as we are in now. As your Mayor, I will continue to work closely with the City to maintain tax revenues and make sure that City expenditures are reasonable and appropriate. Our City will not fail financially under my watch.