Port of San Diego Talks Budget

At the March 11 meeting of the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, the board received a presentation about the budget with year-to-date updates and a 2021 forecast.

SAN DIEGO一 The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal government was at a $300 billion deficit in just the month of February, the federal deficit for the fiscal year of 2021 is just over $3 trillion, according to Deficit Tracker on the Bipartisan Policy Center website.

The government is spending more than they are making in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and this story is a common thread on a state and local level as well.

At a March 11 meeting of the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert DeAngelis gave a report on the year-to-date budget report, the budget forecast, and the reserves for the 2021 fiscal year.

The adopted budget was presented in September 2020, the summary that DeAngelis presented was from January of this year as the February update is still being processed.

Broken down, the year-to-date update for January showed that revenue from real estate and parking was down by a combined almost $2 million from the projected budget that saw the two revenue sources bringing in $8.2 million for the month.

DeAngelis attributed the loss to COVID impacts, lack of demand for hotel rooms, and canceled events at the convention center and Petco Park.

The adopted budget was created under the assumption that there would be a recovery period from COVID-19, that recovery has yet to occur and the port is readjusting with a new forecast.

The forecast predicts a $16 million drop in operating revenue for 2021, with a $7 million reduction in expenditures.

The goal is to reduce the personnel budget by $3.6 million, it is currently 94.3 percent of the way to the reduction and the non-personnel budget is being reduced by $1.9 million and is currently 176.1 percent over the goal.

DeAngelis expects the savings to go down as the port continues with projects and continues COVID-19 cleaning protocols.

Equipment, maintenance, and time management program are looking at a combined $2.2 million in reductions, as projects are put on hold to meet the savings goal.

The total revenue for the port has been dropped $16 million in the re-forecast leaving revenue at roughly $49 million and expected expenditures at $151 million.

The original budget for 2021 was projected to have a $9.9 million deficit with an expense total of $157 million that the board was planning to balance out with money from the reserves. The forecasted budget sees the deficit at $18 million with an extra $8.2 million pulled from reserves and expenses set at $151 million as seen above.

For the first time in five years, the port is not expected to have a surplus of reserves, between the $11 million used to pad expenses for 2020 and the $18 million expected for 2021, the reserves for the port are expected to be at $51.5 million. In 2020 reserves were accumulated $78.4 million and the four years before that, from 2016 through 2019 reserves held between $90 million and $100 million.


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