How much does it cost for Laguna to be “A Destination”

Revenue the City government receives from visitors falls short of covering the additional expenses the city incurs due to visitors. A 2017 report to a City Council subcommittee looking into the issue of the imbalance between revenue from visitors and costs due to visitors indicated that while City government revenue attributable to visitors comprises 35% of all revenue, 61% of City government expenditures are attributable to visitors.

The resultant difference between revenue attributable to visitors and expenditures attributable to visitors was for the 2017-2018 fiscal year estimated to be more than $23 million. That is, residents were estimated to subsidize visitors by $23 million for that year. That means $1,000 per year of revenue attributable to residents, or over $2,000 per year per Laguna household, is diverted to pay costs of providing City services to visitors since revenue from visitors is not sufficient to do so. If the City could collect from visitors enough revenue to cover the additional costs the visitors are responsible for, could that $23 million per year be put to a better use that would benefit the residents who are providing the revenue?

4 thoughts on “How much does it cost for Laguna to be “A Destination””

  1. Is the study available on line? I would like to read about how the study was done and the distribution of visits that pay enough for the city to recoup the costs vs visits that are subsidized by residents. I remember John Thomas talking about the visitor numbers and breaking down the service cost per visitor but it has been too long for me to recall the details. Also, why is this issue not widely discussed (Nextdoor for example) and debated since this should be a big issue for all residents and management of the city’s budget?

    1. Dear Ray:

      In case you are still searching for the Economic Impact report online, it is available at

      In the meantime, LRF has been working hard for the past 6 months to create a Ballot Initiative to ensure that LB voters have a say in any Major Development Projects proposed for the City in the future. We hope to have an announcement in short order about these efforts. For the immediate future, however, get ready for “Carmaggeddon” happening on PCH starting sometime in Sept2020 and continuing thru Oct2020. The culvert (large concrete drain) under PCH is being replaced, and this will require the closing of 3/4 of the lanes on PCH around Broadway. It has the potential to bring us to gridlock for weeks; but let’s hope they’ve planned it out so as to minimize disruption to our lives.

      Michael Morris – Treasurer

  2. Basically the city needs to put in place any possible measures to get more money out of day trippers..I have looked at this and the ability to tax day trippers is limited.. With day trippers down due to Covid this is a perfect opportunity to cut police, fire , public works and marine safety. George Orff

    1. Dear George:

      We wholeheartedly agree; day trippers are the problem and anything that can legally be done to get more money out of them should be tried. The CCoastalCommission essentially places an unfunded mandate upon all beach-cities in the state, to welcome & host unlimited numbers of people. There is a dire need for the State to create a fund to reimburse coastal towns for the immense burden placed upon them by this unfunded mandate: the state should fund any & all coastal city staffing that is attributable to the tourism that is forced upon us. A City the size of LB (approx 24,000) should pay to support a police force of X size; anything beyond X should be paid for by the state (indeed, our City’s police force is about 3 times the size of a similarly populated, inland city).
      While I’m not holding my breath for the State to step-up with funding, in the meantime, LB can try to minimize the day-tripper numbers with common-sense steps. Unfortunately these steps run directly into the self-interest of the Chamber of Commerce. These steps include:
      * Moratorium on ALL new alcohol/liquor licenses. ZERO new licenses whether restaurants, bodegas, grocery stores
      * Roll-back of operating hours and alcohol-serving hours at currently licensed establishments – last call: 11pm. Closing time: 12:00am.
      * Zero-tolerance of quality-of-life affecting misbehavior & enforcement. Ticketing for parking, littering, smoking, loud-vehicle offenses

      I have other ideas, but the general approach is to return LB’s reputation to being a sleepy town that rolls-up its sidewalks after dark. That reputation would send the hoi polloi elsewhere and help save residents’ sanity and wallets.

      Michael Morris – Treasurer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.