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City sees lift in tax revenue this year: General fund up 9 percent, San Carlos officials beginning to make priorities for next fiscal year
April 28, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

With general fund revenue up 9 percent over the last fiscal year, the San Carlos City Council will consider funding nonprofits, an economic development plan, a new marketing banner, recreation promotional material and starting up a downtown business improvement district.

The staff spending recommendations are part of the council’s two-year budget cycle for fiscal year 2014-2016. The council doesn’t adopt the budget until its June 9 meeting but on Monday night will take a first swipe at the adjusted numbers and give staff some idea of what they want included in the document.

While city staff are recommending a list of new and increased spending, some councilmembers aren’t so sure that’s the best route.

“The bottom line with the 9 percent increase is I am looking to hold the line at operational expenses because the majority of that is payroll and I don’t think we should be going crazy on giving people raises,” Councilman Matt Grocott said.

Grocott also doesn’t favor spending $50,000 on a climate action plan or $30,000 for an economic development plan. Grocott said he doesn’t want to be negative but prior city efforts to drive business haven’t been any more remarkable than market forces.

On Monday, Grocott said he plans to ask how much of the 3 percent increase in operations is based on current labor agreements and talk about the city’s unfunded capital improvement projects.

Councilman Cameron Johnson is also interested in talking about putting some money away for future bleak days.

“I want to make sure we are prepared for the recession when it does hit and make sure we are making thoughtful fiscally responsible policies when we’re in good times,” Johnson said.

Johnson was still reviewing the agenda materials on Friday so couldn’t talk details but broadly said he is really pleased with the city’s improving situation. On Monday, he wants to make sure the council discusses pocketing funds and is on track with its new performance-based budgeting implementation.

“That helps staff become a learning organization, knowing which policies are successful, helps us invest more in things that are working and the public knows where their tax dollars are being spent,” Johnson said.

Staff recommended budget increases include turning the part-time volunteer coordinator into a full-time community relations coordinator, funding the Chamber of Commerce more for its home improvement marketplace, economic development marketing programs, after-school program supplies and both the Goblin Walk and Night of Holiday Lights.

The city’s total general fund revenue for 2013-14 is budgeted at $30,134,600, an increase of 9 percent from the adopted budget. It includes a 6 percent hike in business registration, a 30 percent jump in license and permits, 5 percent increase in property tax and 15 percent improvement in sales tax.

The San Carlos City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, April 28 at the San Carlos Library Conference Room, Second Floor, 610 Elm St., San Carlos.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: percent, staff, budget, monday, increase, grocott,

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