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Calendar >  Carlsbad City Manager

Carlsbad City Manager

By   /  May 19, 2022  /  No Comments


May 18, 2022

This week I have a short COVID-19 update, followed by other news of the week, including:

  • Update on city finances and the local economy
  • Number homeless in Carlsbad down 20%
  • Important meeting on the future of the power plant site
  • Input on “accessory dwelling units” aka granny flats
  • Celebrating all things public works
  • Summer reading program volunteer opportunity
  • Get rid of bulky items
  • Weekend activities (and a few temporary road closures)
  • Upcoming public meetings
  • Honoring those who serve

COVID-19 update Even though COVID-19 has largely faded into the background for many people, I want you to know that the City of Carlsbad is continuing to monitor developments.

COVID cases are increasing again around the county, including here in Carlsbad. We all still play a role in helping slow the spread so you may see employees once again wear masks while indoors at city libraries, community centers and other public buildings. We do not have a requirement that members of the public wear masks, but you may want to do so.

Here are a few other quick updates:
Wastewater surveillance The prevalence of COVID-19 in the community is being tracked through wastewater, including at the Encina plant here in Carlsbad, which treats wastewater from Carlsbad and the surrounding area. According to public health officials, this is considered a better measure of spread now that so many people are doing at home tests that are not reported through the channels used by the county to track cases.

Wastewater from the Point Loma treatment plant is being studied to determine which variants are present. Here is a site that explains how this works.

City’s economy strong, but some warning signs ahead Staff from the city’s finance and economic development departments provided an update to the City Council Tuesday that included many positive economic signs. Read the report. However, staff did caution that due to the war in Ukraine, inflation, supply chain issues and a gradual lessening of pent-up demand from COVID-19 lockdowns, the economy remains very volatile.

  • Carlsbad’s economy is continuing its strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with taxes from hotel room night stays and retail sales far exceeding projections.
  • City spending is at roughly the same rate as this time last year, while revenues have increased by about $25,227,232 – or 22%.
  • Much of that growth comes from the city’s three largest revenue sources. Compared to this time last year:
  • Transit occupancy tax – the money the city gets from hotel room and short-term vacation rentals – is up 161%.
  • Sales tax revenue is up 29%. Key gains were seen in automobile dealerships, jewelry and luggage stores, clothing stores, general merchandise stores and department stores.
  • Property tax revenue is up 3%.
  • The city’s general fund reserve (like a rainy day fund for emergencies and other one time needs) has grown by almost a third in the past four years, from $90 million to $116 million.

Home prices and property tax

  • Home values in Carlsbad, along with San Diego County, continue to rise significantly, with median home prices in the city at $1.44 million in March, a gain of 3.7% over the previous quarter.
  • Carlsbad home values have risen 28.5% over the past year.
  • Assessed values have increased 3.14% for fiscal year 2021-22.
  • This is the ninth year in a row that Carlsbad’s assessed values have increased from year to year.
  • The reason property tax revenue is up only 3% is because property taxes may only go up 2% of the assessed value each year due to Prop 13, and the assessed value for the purpose of calculating property tax only changes when a home is sold. Many homes in Carlsbad have been owned by the same person or family for years.

By the way, cities receive just a fraction of sales tax and property tax. Most goes to the state and county. We get the full amount of the tax paid on hotel room stays. Because Carlsbad has the second largest number of hotel rooms after San Diego, this revenue source is significant for our city.

 City budget

  • City staff will present the proposed annual operating budget for next fiscal year at the May 24 City Council meeting.
  • As a preview, we are projecting a balanced budget with a small surplus next year, while maintaining all core city services at their current levels and making measurable progress on some big initiatives important to the community.
  • You can see the details in the meeting agenda and staff report.

More information

Number homeless in Carlsbad down 20%Results from the 2022 Point in Time count released today show a 20% decrease in the number of people experiencing homelessness in Carlsbad, compared to a 10% increase regionwide.

Each year, agencies throughout the nation participate in the Point in Time count, an organized effort to collect data on homelessness on the same day over a four-hour period, usually early in the morning. Locally, the Point in Time count is coordinated by the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness. In Carlsbad, residents are invited to participate alongside social workers and members of the city’s Homeless Response Team.

The Point in Time count provides a snapshot that, combined with other data, helps the City of Carlsbad get a better understanding of the population experiencing homelessness and how we can best direct resources to address this problem and its effects on our community. 

The County of San Diego has primary responsibility for leading the region’s homeless services. In 2017, the City of Carlsbad developed its own Homeless Response Program to address city-specific needs and help coordinate among the county and various non-profit organizations also involved in this issue.

Some of the numbers shared May 19 included:

  • 118 people are experiencing homelessness were counted in Carlsbad this year, compared to 148 in 2020
  • About three-quarters were male
  • 11% were under 18
  • 8% were veterans
  • The City of San Diego has 57% of the region’s total number of people experiencing homelessness. The north coastal region has 9%. Carlsbad has 1.75%.
  • 8,427 people were counted in all for San Diego County

Keep in mind, the Point in Time numbers can be affected by things like weather and shelter availability. That is why we will continue to report on a variety of data points to provide a more complete picture and allow us to track progress across many different measures. The next report to the City Council will be in June. More information

Future of the power plant site We will hold a special City Council meeting Monday at 4 p.m. to update our elected officials on efforts to relocate the SDG&E service yard from its current location (next to Cannon Park and the old power plant) to another site away from the coast. This is part of a 2014 agreement NRG, SDG&E and the city created when NRG was seeking to build a new power plant in Carlsbad. Under the terms of the agreement, the city supported the new, smaller and cleaner power plant in exchange for several benefits to the Carlsbad community.  

First and foremost, the City Council required the removal of the old Encina Power Plant once it stopped operating. If you’ve looked to the west lately, you’ve seen a very different view, with the above ground demolition now complete. 

Remaining benefits come to the city if the parties relocate the SDG&E service yard, including:

  • City would take ownership of the land where Cannon Park is located and the land next door, currently home to the SDG&E service yard, if a suitable site for the service yard can be found elsewhere in Carlsbad. We have identified several options so far, and we need SDG&E to agree in order to secure the land and benefits for our community.  
  • Another benefit is if the parties are successful in relocating the service yard, NRG has agreed to partner with the city on a joint development strategy, allowing the public to be more involved in the creating a future plan for the old power plant site.

Input wanted on “accessory dwelling units ”The city wants your input to help develop a program to encourage more “accessory dwelling units” (what used to be called granny flats) to comply with new state housing laws. Specifically, the state now requires cities like Carlsbad to create incentives for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their properties as a way to increase the supply of affordable places to live.

We are looking for input from property owners and from those who might be interested in renting this type of housing. Take the online survey, now through June 1.

Feedback gathered will be used by city staff to draft a package of incentives for the City Council’s consideration. We expect it will take about a year to have something ready to present. Learn more

Celebrating our Public Works teamMay 15-21 is National Public Works Week, and that gives me a great excuse to brag about the great work our Public Works staff is doing. Most of the work they do goes unseen by the public, yet it is critical to maintaining public safety and our excellent quality of life. Here’s a video showing a typical day in the life of our public works crews.

Just in time for Public Works Week, the city just picked up several awards from the American Public Works Association, including staff members Torrey Wolf and Jennifer Chapman, both of whom received awards of merit for their outstanding service. The Altamira Water Main Relocation Project and the Poinsettia Lift Station Hydraulic Surge Protection Project also won top honors along with our very own Mayor Matt Hall, who was recognized for his years-long career of advocating for public works projects.

Summer reading volunteersIf your teen is looking for a community service activity this summer, the Carlsbad City Library’s Summer Reading Volunteer Program is accepting applications for teen volunteers for the Georgina Cole and Library Learning Center locations.

  • Teens in grades 7 to 12 will be able to earn community service credits by helping staff with the library’s annual Summer Reading Adventure.
  • Applications are due by May 27 or until all vacancies are filled, whichever comes first.
  • Email libraryteens@carlsbadca.gov for more details.

Get rid of bulky items If you’re planning to do any spring cleaning, now would be a good time. That’s because Caltrans is hosting a free dumpster event Saturday at its maintenance yard in Carlsbad. The event is part of Caltrans’ Clean California program.

Free Dumpster Day Saturday, May 21, 8 a.m. to noon 6050 Paseo Del Norte 

Multiple dumpsters will be available for unusable, broken or unwanted items, including up to four tires (separated from rims) and four mattresses per household. Space is limited, so it’s a good idea to arrive early. The following items will NOT be accepted:

  • No construction debris, dirt, concrete, asphalt or asbestos
  • No hazardous waste (batteries, oils, paints, flammables)
  • No e-waste (TVs, computers, microwaves, stereos, electronics)
  • No refrigerators or freezers
  • No compressed gas or aerosol cans
  • No treated wood waste

Before throwing things away, consider donating them or offering them to neighbors through various “buy nothing” websites and social media groups. If this Saturday doesn’t work for you, remember the City of Carlsbad makes it easy year-round to get rid of your unwanted bulky items. Learn more on the city’s website

Experience arts and culture, out and about or right at home The city continues to provide a diverse array of arts and culture experiences, with the next two coming this weekend:

  • Showtime at the Schulman
  • Mando Basso Saturday, May 21, 7:30 p.m.
  • Dove Library’s Schulman Auditorium, 1775 Dove Lane
  • Free admission

The popular duo – featuring Gunnar Biggs on bass and Bill Bradbury on mandolin – will perform Irish, American Folk and original compositions. Biggs and Bradbury first came together as colleagues working on projects at Palomar College and Cal State San Marcos. Biggs comes from a strong background in jazz and classical performance, Bradbury from a composition and computer music background. 

The Carlsbad concert is free, and seating is first come, first served.Learn more

Virtually Artful performance If you prefer to listen to great music from the comfort of your own home, the City of Carlsbad in partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is presenting:

Virtually Artful: Monumental Trios Streaming May 23-27 

Monumental Trios features instrumental trios playing the works of Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. 

The city’s Cultural Arts Office has created several programs that enrich our community by giving people the opportunity to watch live and streaming events, create and perform with the whole family, tour a virtual gallery exhibit and explore a variety of other cultural arts experiences online or in person.Learn more

Several downtown streets to close for Carlsbad 5000 If you plan to visit downtown Carlsbad or the beach this weekend, be aware that several streets will be closed Sunday for the Carlsbad 5000 and the Junior Carlsbad, and one block will also be closed Saturday for race-related activities.Get the details

Overnight northbound I-5 closure All northbound I-5 lanes between Carlsbad Village Drive and State Route 78 will be closed overnight next Tuesday, May 24, for construction work related to ongoing freeway improvements.

During the closure, crews will remove overhead sign structures as part of the Build NCC project. The closure will begin at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, and end at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25. Please follow detour signs and drive with caution around the construction area.

Upcoming public meetings The next regular City Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 24, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber. Here are some of the topics scheduled to be discussed.

  • Annual levy of assessments for two street lighting and landscape districts
  • Contract for building permit services
  • Agreement with Catholic Charities for contracted social workers to support the city’s Homeless Response Plan
  • Annual donation from Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation
  • Purchase Order for office furnishings for the Police and Fire Headquarters renovation
  • Updating the city’s drought ordinance to be consistent with new state water conservation rules
  • Fiscal Year 2022-23 Preliminary Operating Budget

Here is a link to the full agenda and staff reports. You can watch the meeting live on the city’s website or cable TV channel.

These city meetings are also planned in the coming week:

  • May 25, 4 p.m. – Library Board of Trustees
  • May 26, 5 p.m. – Carlsbad Tomorrow: Growth Management Citizens Advisory Committee
Armed Forces Day Before I close, I want to note that Saturday is Armed Forces Day and thank those in our community who serve the U.S. military and their families. Your commitment and sacrifice help to cement the freedoms our country was built on. We’re so grateful for your service, today and always. 

I’ll be back next week with more updates. 
Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager

CarlsbadConnects app is an easy way to report things that need repair or attention around town, like potholes, sidewalk cracks, traffic light outages, graffiti and code enforcement issues. Submit service requests anonymously or create a free account where you can track progress and see what other people have reported.
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City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village DriveCarlsbad, CA 92008


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