Local Mayors Address Community Concerns
Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara and Goleta mayors posted separate videos addressing their resident's concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Cathy Murillo made her first official COVID-19 address on Monday, approximately two months after the Governor's stay at home order was put into effect. She announced the City of Santa Barbara would be providing a series of short weekly "state of the city" addresses over the next five weeks.
Murillo addressed the feedback received by community members stating the city council is empathetic and understanding, however, demanding to reopen the economy against the Governor's executive order will not happen.
"The City is not in a position to willfully disregard California’s order. That’s not who we are—and surely that does not align with our value system as Santa Barbarans," she said. "Education, public health, and public safety must rule the day. COVID-19 is not going away."
The city is endorsing a science-based phased approach to re-opening in collaboration with County and State public health officials. Together they are aligning a re-opening strategy within the Governor's framework as well as consulting with those in the COVID-19 Business Advisory Task Force.
Murillo addressed the outbreak at the Lompoc Prison and how it may hinder the county's reopening. Earlier today, Governor Newsom announced an easing on requirements and Supervisor Gregg Hart confirmed the numbers at the prison will not affect the county's total.
The City of Santa Barbara is facing a $12.3 million budget shortfall for this year and a projected $9.7 million shortfall next year as sales and hotel taxes are at an all-time low.
To close the gap this fiscal year, the city will hold more than 100 job positions available, defer capital expenditures, slow down non-essential spending, and tap into financial reserves, said Murillo.
For the next fiscal year that begins on July 1, the city will make service reductions at the department level, defer capital expenditures and available contracts, discuss concessions with labor partners, and continue to tap into the financial reserve.
"We must navigate cuts to right-size our organization in the face of this new economic reality," said Murillo.
Goleta's mayor Paula Perotte also provided a short message to residents and business owners.
"I want to assure you that the city of Goleta is here to support you every way that we can," said Perotte.
She encouraged wearing masks referencing the new ordinance requiring customers and employees to wear masks, as well as practicing social distancing.
The City of Goleta will be closely following the state and county directions on how and when to reopen with decisions made on data and guidance from the public health department, said Perotte.