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 …
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.