IVCSD Hosts Public Forum to Determine 2019-2020 Budget Allocations

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Alondra Sierra
Isla Vista Beat Reporter

Isla Visa locals gathered in the Isla Vista Community Room on the evening of Tuesday, April 9, to discuss how they’d like to see IVCSD’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget be used. Residents raised their concerns over parking, lack of emergency preparedness, public safety, and tenant resources at the public budget forum.

The majority of IVCSD’s funds accrue from over $800,000 of tax funds collected through Measure R — an eight percent utility user tax on gas, electricity, garbage disposal, sewage and water services — and an annual contribution of around $200,000 from UC Santa Barbara.

IVCSD intern Delaney Forester, a fourth year political science major, noted that the board will be focusing more on participatory budgeting, a process in which the public becomes part of establishing a public budget. The method would, according to Forester, bring in those who have been “historically excluded” from community leadership into the decision process.

Around the Community Room, the public brought up a concern over recent natural disasters. Individuals pointed out the lack of direction, namely for students, on what was happening and where to go during emergencies like the Thomas Fire and the resulting power outage throughout I.V. in 2017.

Alex Young, a second year political science major who described his experience during the Thomas Fire, recommended a concrete emergency preparedness plan.

“I was a first-year, but the sheer lack of communication was astounding and it could’ve been potentially really hazardous,” Young said. “I know living in I.V., if there would ever be like all of a sudden a fire and we were to be evacuated, I wouldn’t know where to go … it would be absolute chaos.”

Another issue was brought up by third-year political science major Leili Golian, who suggested a public parking structure in I.V. to mitigate potential damages done to vehicles.

“I personally will be living on DP next year and I’m scared to park in the streets because I cannot afford anything,” Golian said. “If anything happened to my car, it’s going to be very hard to fix it.”

Board members also heard public suggestions to improve lighting, increase legal resources for tenants, and address traffic concerns in busy intersections.

Before ending the forum, Director Ethan Bertrand shifted the focus to Deltopia. The weekend-long spring event attracted an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people this year, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, a jump from the estimated 10,000 people that attended in 2018.

In an effort to stay true to the “keeping it local” mantra that the CSD adopted, Bertrand brought up the idea of a sanctioned event in the style of a “community festival” with planned entertainment.

“Because oftentimes we see a problem with Deltopia, where there’s just a ton of people in the street with no clear place of where to be other than whatever looks like the best party,” Bertrand said. “And when you have a bunch of people rushing into residences … that’s not really the safest.”

Over the years, UCSB has created alternative events during Deltopia as safer forms of entertainment. While these alternatives — Associated Students’ Warm Up concert, Office of Student Life’s SunFest, and roller skating at the Recreational Center — draw in large crowds, they exclude non-UCSB students who live in I.V.

The board hopes to create an inclusive and safe event in which, as General Manager Jonathan Abboud described, the community can take “ownership in defining” Deltopia.

The finalized budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year will be presented at the April 23 general IVCSD board meeting.

For those interested in giving input on how the IVCSD should spend their funds during the next fiscal year, the board has created an online Budget Priorities survey to hear more from residents.