Monday, June 07, 2010

Blog #34 - Council Amends Ross Valley Fire JPA, Reviews 2010/11 Budget

The Town Council unanimously voted to amend the Ross Valley Fire Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement to include Sleepy Hollow as a full voting member of the JPA at a Special Town Council meeting on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Before taking the vote the Council agreed to some changes to the Agreement that was presented to them. These changes must return to the San Anselmo Town Council and to the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District Board for a vote. If approved by these two governing bodies then the JPA will be amended to include Sleepy Hollow as a full member of the JPA.

The Town Council also reviewed the first draft of the fiscal year 2010-11 Town budget. The Town is facing a $430,000 budget deficit due to continued declining revenues and increasing costs to the employee retirement and health benefits programs. The Town of Fairfax, like nearly all other cities in California has a budget that, over the short and long run, is not sustainable. Property and sales tax revenues are not keeping pace with the rising costs of the retirement and health care costs for employees.

The overall downturn in the economy is a large part of the problem because the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) is tied to the stock market and health care costs are tied to the overall cost of providing health care to all members in the CalPERS health care plan.

The Town Council will continue to have discussions about balancing the budget. No decisions have been made on how to balance the budget in terms of what will be cut verses what will not be cut. The Council will meet on July 7, 2010 and public comment will be taken for the second time on the budget.

Other actions taken at the Regular Meeting on June 2nd and the Special Meeting on June 5th, 2010:

• Appointed Ryan Meagher, Emma Mooney, Carlee Murray, Matt Saunders, Olivia Sicroff, Jolon Timms, and Jake Weinsoff to the Youth Commission.

• Re-Appointed Sam and Shoshanna Parry for an additional two years as the Town’s Artists in Residence.

• Adopted a resolution opposing Arizona Law SB 1070 (Immigration Reform as it relates to unlawfully present aliens) and urged its immediate repeal.

• Authorized the Mayor to write a letter to Assembly Member Huffman in opposition to the Governor’s budget proposal to severely cut State funding for childcare.

• Adopted Ordinance 751 amending the second unit amnesty program to eliminate the requirement for fire suppression sprinklers for existing second units qualifying for legalization.

• Authorized the Town Manager to award contracts to qualified bidders for chipper services, brush clearing, tree trimming and tree removal for the Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant project in the amount of $148,560.

• Adopted a Resolution setting the amount of the General Municipal Services Tax ($50/year), the Special Municipal Services Tax ($125/year), the utility users tax (4% of utility bill), the pension override tax (.0910%), setting a fee for funding the storm water pollution prevention programs ($15/year), and setting the tax rate (.048%) in connection with the general obligation bonds for Measure K. All of these taxes are at the same rate as the year before. There are no increases in any of these rates. The Town is required to adopt this resolution every year setting the tax rates.