Friday, June 24, 2011

Blog 18 - Council Approves Good Earth Project, Holds Budget Hearings

The Town Council at an adjourned meeting on June 22, 2011, approved the Good Earth Project. The Council adopted a resolution approving the initial study, draft mitigated negative declaration and traffic impact permit for a project encompassing remodeling the existing commercial building and adding exterior improvements and landscaping and resurfacing the parking lot.

The natural foods store has a projected opening day in early November of this year. Twenty-four speakers addressed the Council, virtually all in support of the project. The Town staff, the applicant and the neighbors living across the street from the future Good Earth grocery store all worked together on several mitigation measures aimed at reducing noise and traffic. One change already made is the removal of a “no turn on red” sign from Pastori to eastbound Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

The Town Council also heard a lengthy presentation on the draft Town Budget for the 2011/12 Fiscal Year from the Town Manager, Police Chief, Finance Director and Planning Director. The projected budget will have a deficit of about $305,000 due to declining property and other tax revenues and increasing retirement and health care costs for employees. The Town budget recommends leaving the public works director position vacant as well as leaving a police officer, administrative assistant and maintenance worker position vacant from previous years. The proposed budget has 28.25 full time equivalent employees, a reduction of 1.5 employees over last year’s budget. Employees will not receive any cost-of living adjustments this year, marking the third straight year of no salary increases coupled with compensation reductions over the last several years in retirement benefits in order to balance the budget.

Some of the employee groups already pay a portion of the employee portion of the PERS system and labor discussions are occurring with all bargaining groups in Fairfax and with the Ross Valley Fire employees. There will be more budget hearings on July 13th and August 17th.

Other actions taken at the Town Council June 22, 2011 meeting:

• Approved Town Council minutes with corrections for the June 1, 2011 meeting;

• Accepted Financial Statements for the period ending May 31, 2011;

• Adopted Resolutions 11-28 through 11-34 setting the amount of the General Municipal Services Tax, Special Municipal Services Tax (Measure I), Utility Users Tax, Pension Override Tax, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program, General Obligation Bonds (Measure K), and Ross Valley Paramedic Authority Tax;

• Adopted Resolution 11-36 continuing expenditures and revenues in accordance with the 2010-2011 Town Budget and in lieu of timely 2011-2012 Budget Adoption;

• Approved the Notice of Completion for the Peri Park Tennis Court Bank Stabilization and Pedestrian Bridge Replacement FEMA project;

• Discussed the possibility of a local sales tax in the Town of Fairfax.
After some discussion on proposed language for a ballot measure the Council decided to bring back the item for the July 13th regular meeting to consider placing a local sales tax measure on the ballot. The entire amount collected from a one half cent local sales tax would go to the Town and could generate about $150,000 per year. A local sales tax of three quarters of one percent would generate about $225,000 per year. A one percent local sales tax would generate about $300,000.

Other notes and announcements:

• Fairfax Food Pantry on Saturdays 9:00 AM-12 Noon at the Fairfax Community Church, 1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

• Applicants sought for the General Plan Implementation Committee, two community members needed

• Volunteer Board Vacancy to complete an unexpired term to September 30, 2012

• Vacancy on the Fairfax Youth Commission for Ross Valley youth between 14 and 19 years of age

• Register now for Camp Fairfax and exciting new summer programs– new FOCAS guide available

The next Town Council meeting will be July 13, 2011 at 7:00 PM at the Women’s Club.