Coronado City Manager Tina Friend discusses the 2023-24 budget at the City Council Meeting on May 23. Staff photo by Craig Harris.

Coronado city employees will see on average a 3% pay bump on July 1, and money will be set aside for a new fire truck under a $67 million annual budget that received preliminary approval on May 23.

The Coronado City Council in a 5-0 vote gave the OK to City Manager Tina Friend’s proposed budget and financial plan for 2023-24.

The package includes two new positions: A full-time beach lifeguard for the Fire Department and a risk and safety senior management analyst for the Administrative Services Department.

Friend told the council that with 3 million visitors annually on Coronado beaches, the Fire Department needed some additional help. She also noted there wasn’t a single drowning in the past year. The new position will cost $80,000.

The city manager also said a new senior management analyst was needed to oversee risk management and manage liabilities for Coronado. This position will cost $147,000.

Saving for fire truck

And the budget will include $500,000 being set aside for a future new fire truck, which cost in excess of $1 million.

Further, the city has $64 million in its reserve or savings account in case of emergencies, such as a sudden reduction in tax revenues. That’s nearly enough to fund an entire year of city services.

“If something big were to happen, we are well prepared.”

-Coronado City Manager Tina Friend.

“If something big were to happen, we are well prepared,” Friend said.

Final sign off June 6

In addition to an increase in pay for Coronado’s 251 current full-time employees, the city offers a tuition reimbursement plan to its staff.

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey and the four council members asked several questions of Friend and her staff during a more than 2 hour budget hearing, but overall gave her praise.

They also noted Coronado is a unique small city that has its own police and fire department as well as a library and lifeguards.

With no additions to the budget from the council, they will formally vote on it June 6.

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Craig Harris has 31 years of daily journalism experience and is editor and associate publisher. He most recently worked at USA TODAY as a national investigative business reporter, and he’s a two-time Polk Award winner. You can catch him at the Coronado dog beach with his beagle, Daisy, who has her own Twitter account. He can be reached by email or at 602-509-3613.