At a March 15 meeting, Seaside city staff presenting its mid-year budget update to City Council, delivering some good news: The city’s revenues for the 2021-22 fiscal year are expected to exceed projections by nearly $4.1 million.
Then came the bad news: Acting City Manager Roberta Greathouse, who is also the city’s human resources director, said Seaside is still struggling to attract and retain talent to the its depleted workforce; presently, Greathouse said, there are 39 unfilled positions within the city, which account for 24 percent of the city’s workforce. The existing staff, she said, is experiencing an “unprecedented workload” as several major projects are currently in the pipeline.
Despite that fact, she added, the city is out of workspace for any more employees. “We have really been pushed out of City Hall, we have no more vacant chairs for the positions we are starting to fill.”
To that end, Greathouse recommended adding another approximately $1.7 million to the city’s operating budget, both to create new positions (some of which had previously been eliminated) for help with administrative work and analysis. Also included in her request was authorization to build a modular office unit on City Hall property to accommodate more staff.
“I would not typically put a bunch of new positions in the mid-year budget,” Greathouse said, adding that she expected few of the positions to be filled before the fiscal year ends in July, but “it gives us a running start for next year’s budget.”
In the council discussion that followed, several council members made additional requests for various projects or programs to the tune of $550,000. They ultimately approved an amendment to increase city’s operating budget by about $2.23 million for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Speaking after the meeting, Greathouse says the City Council will have discretion as to how spend the remaining surplus, adding that the city has a handful of major capital improvement projects in the works, including a new fire station off Lightfighter Drive at Gigling Road and First Avenue. The city’s budget report states the Lightfighter fire station project is now estimated to cost up to $18 million, double the original $9 million estimate.