Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog #21 Public Comments on Terrapin Crossroads, Budget Adopted

Fairfax Town Council Hears Public Comments on Terrapin Crossroads, Adopts Budget and Labor Agreements

Terrapin Crossroads

As the August 17th Town Council meeting began the Mayor announced that Item 12, Introduction of Terrapin Crossroads and consideration of establishing a methodology for preparing a traffic impact study for this project was pulled from the agenda at the request of the applicant. Shortly thereafter the Mayor invited the public to speak under open time for public expression. During “open time” twenty-five people spoke on the Terrapin Crossroads project. A majority of those that spoke favored the project. Concerns were raised on a number of issues ranging from the size and scope of the project to traffic and parking. The project has not yet been heard by any Town governing body.

There is a community meeting sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce scheduled for September 1st at 6:30 PM at the Fairfax Pavilion to introduce the project, discuss the application process and the environmental review process that will be required of this project. This will be an opportunity for the public to become informed, ask questions and voice concerns. There will be many other opportunities for the public to be involved in the process as this project will be considered by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission and Town Council.

Budget Adopted, Labor Agreements Approved

The Town Council, after many public hearings and months of discussing the Town budget, adopted the Fiscal Year 2011/12 budget on August 17th at their regular meeting. The budget is balanced but required a number of painful cuts to the operating budget; leaving four full time positions vacant, requiring major sacrifices from all employees in the form of a loss of compensation by requiring employees to pay for part of their retirement benefits out of pocket, and the borrowing of $226,836 from the Town’s “Dry Period Fund” also technically known as the unrestricted reserve of the General Fund.

All employee groups signed a two-year labor agreement, which the Town Council also approved at the same council meeting. The second year of these agreements requires employees to pay 5% of the 8% toward the employee paid portion of their retirement. This will save the Town more than $80,000 per year moving forward helping to stem the tide of rising health care and retirement costs. The deficit is caused by four straight years of declining property and sales tax revenues and increasing costs for health care and retirement.

Other actions taken at the Town Council August 17, 2011 meeting:

• Approved Town Council minutes from May 4 meeting;

• Authorized the Town Manager to sign an Agreement with Carol Golsch for Town website maintenance for an amount not to exceed $15,000 per year;

• Authorized the Town Manager to extend agreement with Wayne Bush for capital projects consulting services for an amount not to exceed $40,000 per year;

• Adopted Resolution 11-42 approving the negotiated MOU with the Fairfax Police Officers Association for the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013;

• Adopted Resolution 11-43 approving the negotiated MOU with the SEIU (Public Works employees);

• Adopted Resolution 11-44 approving the negotiated MOU with the Management Group for the period July 1, 2011-June 30, 2013.

• Adopted Resolution 11-45 approving the borrowing of funds for Fiscal Year 2011-12 and the issuance of and sale of a 2011 tax and revenue anticipation note;

• Adopted Resolution 11-46, authorizing the temporary closure of a portion of Glen Drive for a bike race fund raiser on Saturday, October 1, 2011from 8 AM to 5 PM;

• Approved a second amendment to the Town Manager’s employment agreement to increase the out of pocket contribution to the employee portion of PERS to match the contribution agreed to in the Management Group MOU a total of 5% of the 8% employee portion over the two year agreement;

• Approved a second amendment to the Police Chief employment agreement creating an out of pocket contribution to the employee portion of PERS to match the contribution agreed to by the POA, a total of 5% of the 9% employee portion of PERS over the two year agreement;

• Adopted Resolution 11-49 adopting the Fiscal Year 2011/12 Town Budget;

• Approved authority to have the Mayor write a letter on behalf of the Town Council replying to PG&E requesting further assurances to provide notice to Town residents prior to possible future installation of smart meters in Fairfax. Authority was also requested to compose an additional letter to the California Public Utilities Commission requesting their assistance in this matter;

• Directed staff to apply for a grant through TAM for a safe routes to school bike spine project.
Other notes and announcements:

• Chamber of Commerce sponsored Community Meeting on Terrapin Crossroads Project will be held September 1, 2011 at 6:30 PM at the Fairfax Pavilion;

• Fairfax Food Pantry on Saturdays 10:00 AM-12 Noon at the Fairfax Community Church, 1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.;

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

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