Mike Donovan

Coronado City Council

December 2016-present


I served two consecutive,  four-year terms as a City Councilmember in Coronado, an incorporated, general law, full-service city, overseen by an elected five-person city council, comprised of a mayor and four councilmembers. Coronado has an overall budget of approximately $100M.

The majority of the City’s operating costs come from the General Fund, which is the largest fund, at approximately 65% of the overall budget, and supports all municipal services and capital projects. The major contributors to General Fund revenue are Property Taxes at 58%; Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), also known as hotel tax at 25%; and Sales Tax at 7%. These three categories provide approximately 90% of General Fund revenues.


The key responsibilities for the Coronado City Council are ensuring public safety; building and maintaining municipal infrastructure; and protecting fiscal health. Fortunately, because Coronado has been financially well-managed for many years, the city  is able to provide a level of services and infrastructure that ensures the safety and quality of life for its residents, employees, and visitors. The challenge as a City Councilmember is to safeguard funds for these key responsibilities, while also being able to finance a myriad of additional city projects and programs, many of which come before the Council as proposals and need to be accommodated in an already-existing budget.


Coronado was originally designed as a destination resort community, and tourism contributes greatly to the city’s financial well-being. In addition to providing TOT and Sales Tax income, tourism also determines the financial success for Coronado’s small businesses, including shops, restaurants, and services. The importance of tourism was highlighted during the COVID pandemic, when the City Council had to balance its reduced revenues, while still maintaining the caliber of city services and also providing assistance to many small Coronado businesses affected by the economic downturn. In addition, tourism must be managed in a way that protects Coronado as a hometown, preserves our residential quality of life, respects our natural resources, and ensures that Coronado continues to be “the best place to live.”


Coronado is also subject to oversight by a number of federal, state, county, and regional jurisdictions, which can affect a wide-range of outcomes – from how certain sections of city land are utilized to how/when some Coronado infrastructure, including surface streets, are maintained. Because non-Coronado oversight jurisdictions are so numerous, nearly every Coronado City Council decision must take into consideration land use priorities that are imposed upon the city, often in conflict with Coronado’s already-established criteria, standards, and aesthetics. Beyond that, because these outside agencies tend to have narrowly-focused missions and goals, their ability to compromise can be limited, not just with Coronado, but with any other agency that may also be involved in affecting Coronado’s future.

As just one example, Coronado is home to three major United States Navy installations: Naval Air Station North Island; Naval Amphibious Base Coronado; and Silver Strand Training Complex, all of which take up the majority of Coronado’s land mass and bring in more than 20,000 commuter vehicles every weekday. This influx impacts Council decision-making on everything from day-to-day safety to long-term infrastructure maintenance.

In addition to the United States Navy, other agencies that exert some level of control over various areas of Coronado include, but are not limited to:

  • Port of San Diego
  • California Coastal Commission
  • San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
  • California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS)
  • California State Parks
  • California Fish and Wildlife
  • California State Lands Commission
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Federal Aviation Administration


“Donovan has focused on protecting Coronado’s natural assets, traffic calming measures, improving residential quality of life, reducing building density, historic preservation, fostering the local economy while managing tourism, recreational enhancements, environmental protection – specifically regarding the sea level rise and cross-boundary sewage crisis – and much more.”   Coronado Eagle & Journal, January 10-16, 2024