Council Recap – Budget Deficit Looming in Coming Years

Council Recap – Budget Deficit Looming in Coming Years

By Robert Haugh

With no 49ers or Levi’s Stadium items on the Council agenda, it was like watching grass grow during Tuesday’s (June 13) Council meeting. We actually missed the theatre.

Despite the lack of excitement, many important actions were taken:

Budget, Budget, Budget – Gloomy Outlook

Salaries and benefits make up over 75 percent of the City’s operating budget. Other operating expenses (materials, services, supplies) are down two percent from the prior year. While the 2017-18 budget is balanced with no surplus, the next five years are projected to have deficits from $8.6 million to $37.9 million. This is primarily due to ever-increasing pension liability.  Interim City manager Rajeev Batra stated that the City needs new revenue sources. He did mention the proposed budget does not include the City Place project, since it is several years out, but it also does not factor in the chance of a recession. He suggested a few options to help in the coming years:

  • revenue growth,
  • future development funds,
  • expenditure containment,
  • limited-term employees,
  • using reserves, and
  • a pension trust.

Hey, maybe we will find a way to bring in more revenue through Levi’s Stadium …

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Project for Public Spaces

They made a presentation on the results from the public visioning workshop held for the 90 N. Winchester (BAREC) site. This was very interesting, with detailed information on smart and balanced development that incorporates many elements of community activity.

Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta requested having County Supervisor Ken Yeager make a presentation of a proclamation in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) pride month. Yeager was one of the County’s first openly elected officials whom Caserta hopes to succeed on the Board of Supervisors. Caserta requested City staff explore the possibility of the City displaying the rainbow flag at City Hall daily.

Santa Clara Chamber and Convention-Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) General Manager Lisa Moreno made a presentation on how the CVB promotes the Santa Clara Convention Center. No major news or surprises. This item was mistakenly noted on the agenda as addressing Convention Center operations. That’s bad when agenda items need to be corrected for clarity.

Consent Calendar Items

As we noted earlier in the week, after being alerted by Charter Review Committee member Hosam Hoggag of an abundance of large contracts being placed on the consent calendar, many items were pulled for discussion this week. Three of the larger ones totaling $16.5 million were continued to the next meeting on June 27 for more discussion and evaluation.  We tip our hat to Hosam for his role as a citizen watchdog.

 

 

 

 

One comment

  1. In reality, the City of Santa Clara is actually BANKRUPT! They just are unwilling to say the words and face the truth.

    No, I am not being negative, I am being a realist and factual … Something I so wish the City Manager that has NEVER been hired continues to refuse to acknowledge!

    Why do I come to this conclusion?

    1). Santa Clara has an UNFUNDED pensions liability of almost 1/2 of a Billion dollars! And no one will talk about, despite my continual asking, our additional UNFUNDED PENSION MEDICAL LIABILITY DEBT! It is there … But no one will disclose the amount and it is not required (per law) to be on our balance sheet … YET!

    2). Santa Clara’s infrastructure is in great need of overdue maintenance and there is NO MONEY to do it! Again, Citizens Advisory Committee asked for comparative information on surrounding city business fees, but City Staff HAS NOT delivered. Just drive down our streets — they are awful and with the current city staff handing out the money, the plan is for it to continue to get worse! But staff will get more money … Just watch. Don’t get me wrong, we have many wonderful city employees, but we have many city employees that have a feeling of entitlement to this jobs despite their poor performance — there must be some real efficiency finally introduced and trimming done, especially AT THE TOP!

    3). Santa Clara is rezoning industrial/commercial properties to residential uses … But they are not providing the public, the people who pays Staff salaries, a comprehensive analysis of the cost of these transitions. Why? Because the truth is that all these new residential projects COST Santa Clara money FOREVER, because as Rajiv Batra said (when he was Dir., Public Works) the incremental tax revenue that the City of Santa Clara receives DOES NOT fully pay the cost of the infrastructure to support these residential developments. The developers get rich … The City gets screwed! Which means WE get screwed.

    4). City Staff keeps growing and keeps getting raises, but they continue to not answer the needs of the people who pay their salaries … The taxpayers of The City of Santa Clara! I’d like to know how, we, their employers, get them finally removed. Seeing that it is not happening now and we cannot afford to keep lugging around dead wood. We also have too many high-paid management-types … That needs to be heavily trimmed too.

    I sure hope the word BOND doesn’t come into any conversation from the dais … Or TAX INCREASES … Not until the work in City Hall is done first.

    Like

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