City of Benicia Takes First Step in Placing Revenue Measures on March Ballot, Declares Fiscal Emergency


Facing a multi-million dollar structural deficit, the City of Benicia took the first step in placing revenue measures on the March 5, 2024 election ballot by declaring a fiscal emergency at the November 7, 2023, City Council meeting. The declaration of fiscal emergency is required by law to place a revenue measure on a ballot that is not a regularly scheduled general election for members of the City Council.


To solve its structural budget deficit, the City of Benicia is undertaking the development of a Resiliency Plan, which will align the programs and services the city offers to its strategic goals and provide Benicia with solid and stable, long-term financial footing.


“Many cities struggle with financial challenges but fail to move with sufficient speed and focus to address issues before it’s too late. In Benicia, our City Council is taking the necessary action to secure our future. We want to protect those things that make Benicia a safe and vibrant community,” said Mario Giuliani, Benicia City Manager. “That means facing our problems head-on and being open and transparent by involving our community in the process.”


Already tightening its belt, the city recently combined the Parks and Building Maintenance Divisions with the Public Works Department, eliminating seven positions and saving taxpayers approximately one million dollars annually. Benicia still has a multimillion-dollar structural deficit and insufficient reserves to absorb the shortfall.


Revenues from any local tax measures would be used to protect public safety and essential city services, including maintaining police patrols, protecting 911 emergency response times, maintaining local parks and library services, and protecting vital city programs.


Potential local tax measures would be designed with taxpayer accountability measures, including independent citizen oversight and annual audits to ensure funds are used as promised.


The sales tax and hotel tax measures, presented for voter consideration on the March 5, 2024 ballot, may generate sufficient revenue to stabilize the city's fiscal condition, but would not provide additional revenue to address all future liabilities.


Residents will have many opportunities to participate in building the Pathway to Resiliency in mid-January. For more information on the city’s strategic planning process, visit


For more information on the city’s budget challenges, visit