Salinas Plan

The Salinas Plan is a Ten-Year Plan designed to provide the City with a path forward on maintaining a long-term balanced budget while preserving City services and addressing the affordable housing crisis. The Salinas Plan may be found here(PDF, 3MB) .

The Salinas Plan Story

The Salinas Plan was presented to the City Council by representatives of the National Resource Network on December 4, 2018. The Salinas Plan represented over a year of work analyzing the City's fiscal situation and current housing policies. The Salinas Plan presented the following key findings:

  • The City of Salinas is on a fiscally unsustainable path. While the City's revenues are growing at 2.4% per year, expenditures are growing at 2.9% per year.

    Major budget drivers graph

  • The primary drivers of the growth in expenditures is employee pension and health benefits. Pensions, in particular, are placing a significant burden on the City, as CalPERS imposes mandatory increases in local government contributions.

    General government funds graph

  • Absent any change, the City will deplete its reserve accounts by 2023. By that point, it will be operating at an annual budget deficit of $7.1 million per year, increasing to $10.4 million per year by 2027.

    Baseline budget graph

  • If this happens, the City would face dramatic cuts in services ranging from public safety, maintenance, libraries, recreation programs, and/or permitting services. Employee layoffs would be significant.
  • At the same time, Salinas finds itself facing a housing crisis, with unaffordability and overcrowding of residential units creating severe impacts for resident's economic well-being and quality of life. The shortage of units available to Very and Extremely Low Income households is especially significant. The City is in a position to influence these challenges, but must identify sufficient resources to do so.

Comparison of cost graph

The Salinas Plan then identifies a potential solution to in order to preserve core City services and address the housing crisis. Utilizing a ten-year budget model, the Salinas Plan identifies 32 specific recommendations that, taken together, would eliminate the City's structural budget deficit and establish resources which can be utilized to address the housing crisis. These recommendations include plans to reduce current expenditures, find ways to implement current efforts more efficiently, and identify potential new revenues. Additionally, the Plan includes recommendations to increase the supply of affordable housing and decrease the number of residents living in overcrowded and unsafe living conditions. Recognizing that it's impossible to provide public services without employees, the Salinas Plan does not recommend any layoffs.

The challenges facing the City of Salinas are real and need to be addressed; the Salinas Plan attempts to identify a path forward to set the City on a fiscally sustainable path. As noted in the Plan:

  • While Salinas's dual fiscal and housing crises are daunting, they are by no means insurmountable. The City has seen steady population gains over the past decade and an identified Future Growth Area represents new opportunities for further development. Moving forward, the City can now build on this momentum to turn the corner that leads to long-term fiscal and community sustainability.
  • By Choosing a bold path that provides a strong and balanced approach to solving the City's challenges on both the housing and fiscal fronts, Salinas can regain budgetary stability and leverage the strong agricultural presence in the regional economy—transforming the City into a leader in solving some of the difficult problems that are not limited to Salinas, but that also challenge other communities across the Monterey region and beyond.

10-Year Implementation Plan

As noted above, the Salinas Plan includes 32 recommendations. These recommendations cover a wide variety of topics, to be phased in over a ten-year period. Since its presentation in 2018, City staff has been systematically exploring the recommendations made, in order to determine whether or not each recommendation is the right fit for Salinas, and verifying the amount of potential savings from such actions.

In addition to individual items being considered, staff provides updates to the Finance Subcommittee on a monthly basis. Further, the full City Council receives quarterly updates from staff regarding the implementation of the recommendations.