Friday, September 15, 2006

Summary of Sept. 6th Council Meeting actions

Town Budget: The Town Council adopted a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2006-07, which does not rely on our general fund reserves to balance. The budget contains a conservative projection of property tax growth at 7% and targets an expenditure projection of approximately 5% growth, very much in line with previous Town budgets. We are moving forward on a number of many important and ambitious projects, some of which I will provide periodic progress reports on in this blog.

Town Management Salaries: The Council approved increases for our six current management positions. Some of the positions were 29% to 47% behind their comparator positions in local public agencies. With the increases, the Town remains the lowest paying municipality in the county, but the adjustments were fair and meant to assist us with retaining the excellent management team that we now have in place. Our managers are responsible for implementing the many projects that you will see happening this year.

Solar Permit Fees: The Town Council took the unprecedented step of adopting a resolution which waives all fees for solar power installations in the Town of Fairfax. Our fees are now the lowest ($0) in all of Marin County. This is a powerful statement of how the Town Council wishes to encourage the use of alternative, green energy sources, to help us wean away from the power grid and also help our planet.

Town Attorney: The Town Council approved a contract with the San Francisco law firm of Richards, Watson and Gershon for legal services, with Jim Karpiak assigned as our new Town Attorney. Jim, who provides legal advice to the Town on a part-time contract basis, also currently serves as the Assistant City Attorney for Mill Valley and Fairfield. Jim earned a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and is experienced in various fields of municipal law, including land use and affordable housing.

COPS Funding: The Council approved a resolution to renew our Citizens Option for Public Safety (COPS) funding, which is a federal grant that augments our Police Department’s budget by $100,000.

Emergency Operations Plan: With input from our Citizens’ Disaster Council, the Council approved an update to our Town’s Emergency Operations Plan, which serves as a working guide for us to follow before, during, and after disasters strike.

Response to Grand Jury: In response to a County Civil Grand Jury Report on disaster preparedness, the Council approved a report that outlines the steps we have taken to encourage Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) in the community, as well as the work of our newly-reconstituted Citizens’ Disaster Council and our efforts to promote disaster preparedness in our community.

Single-Payer Health Care: The Council adopted a resolution urging the legislature and Governor to support healthcare for all Californians, as proposed by Senate Bill 840, the California Health Insurance Reliability Act. Furthermore, September 21, 2006 was deemed Single Payer Health Care Day in Fairfax, and a community group led by resident David Glick will be holding a rally on that day at Bolinas Park, starting at 5:30 p.m.