Soledad City Hall (Sean Roney)

SOLEDAD — Soledad City Council approved the 2021-22 fiscal year proposed budget and discussed the future of municipal services and offerings during its June 2 meeting.

The new budget has allocations totaling $11.8 million. City salaries will account for 50% of the funds, which City Manager Brent Slama said was in line with where the city should be. The remaining money would be divided as such, with 41% going to services and supplies, 7% for capital projects and 2% for other charges.

“We’ve developed really well for our sewer and our water,” Slama said about the city’s capital improvement plan. “We need to do more on the other side as far as parks capital. … Now that we have a recreation manager, we can start to examine that.”

The city is proposing to add more positions to create in the near future, including three parks and recreation coordinators, two parks and maintenance workers, two police officers, one community engagement coordinator, one IT technician, one assistant planner, one housing coordinator/manager, one victim advocate, one collections worker and one part-time helper.

Mayor Anna Velazquez noted the creation of positions means opportunities for local residents and youth, even though the city doesn’t have a local hire ordinance.

“One of the things that’s really critical … (is) providing those opportunities for our local residents and youth, especially as we are entering the recovery phase of the pandemic,” Velazquez said.

Currently, the city has created 34 new recreation positions and is working on getting those new hires into their roles in its new recreation department.

Slama said past budget workshops have shown strong community desire for providing more community, social and recreational services. There have also been concerns with code enforcement, animal services, hiring incentive programs, cost of services for waste management and joint use of parks with schools.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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