City officials say they need the extra $63 million to maintain existing service levels and fix aging infrastructure. Most of the increase apparently would go toward maintaining existing services and the pension cost increases for the existing workforce and retirees.
The budget pressures are prompting warnings from the city manager that services may have to be cut back, despite growth in tax revenues. The funding gap is projected to grow to $40 million in five years.
“This is probably the most political and divisive city council Santa Ana has had,” Councilwoman Michele Martinez said as the council debated the appointment. “Let’s be honest with each other. We really don’t like one another, and we really don’t trust one another.”
Raul Godinez works for the city of Lynwood, which has one-fifth the population of Santa Ana. He previously led the larger public works departments of Oakland and Santa Ana, before his run as city manager of El Monte abruptly ended in controversy.