Decision due on ballot measure Monday, nov 29, 1999 following
swearing in of new council members
Janet Abelson and Kathie Perka will be sworn in as council
members Monday, Nov. 29. Before the evening is over they are scheduled
to come to a decision on a matter the council has struggled with at its
past four meetings.
The previous council had been in agreement that a measure
be put on the March 7 ballot to raise up to $5.3 million to fund reconstruction
of the city's swimming pool and four smaller park improvements. It has
grappled with the details of the proposal, however, and time is running
The ordinance to put the measure on the ballot must be
approved by the council in two separate votes, at least five days apart,
before Dec. 10 to make the deadline for the March ballot. If the council
votes Nov. 29 to stick with the wording chosen Nov. 22 it would constitute
the second vote. If the wording is changed, another meeting and vote will
The measure currently before the council calls for a parcel
tax, under which most homeowners would pay the same rate, spread over
20 years. The maximum tax would be $58.46 annually per single-family home.
The maximum per multifamily residential unit would be $45, and for non-residential
property, $410 an acre.
The measure would require that for the duration of the tax
the city set aside in a dedicated maintenance and capital improvement
fund an amount equal to the property transfer taxes collected by the city
each year minus $250,000.
A simple majority -- three votes -- is needed to place the
measure on the ballot.
At the Nov. 22 meeting Larry Damon, Gina Brusatori and Mark
Friedman voted in favor. Voting against the measure were Norman La Force
and Jane Bartke, who are leaving the council. La Force and Bartke have
supported the idea of a ballot measure but disagreed with adding the dedicated
maintenance and capital improvement fund to the measure at the last minute.
If placed on the ballot, the measure will require the support
of two-thirds of the city's voters to pass.
The council meets at 8 p.m. Nov. 29 in council chambers
at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. Meetings are broadcast on cable
channel 25 and on FM radio KECG 88.1 and 97.7
Fiscal impact of capital improvement fund
According to a report prepared by City Manager Gary Pokorny
for the Nov. 29 meeting, the property transfer tax has yielded an average
of $525,400 per year since its inception in 1992. The amount has ranged
from $377,000 in 1992-93 to a high of $839,000 in 1998-99.
Had the proposed set aside been in place during the past
seven years, according to the report, an average $275,000 a year - approximately
2 percent of the city's annual budget -- would have been placed in the
fund. The maintenance and capital replacement fund would have accrued
The report notes that during the same period the city's
undesignated reserve -- funds set aside to deal with emergencies and other
unexpected costs -- has gone from virtually nothing to $2,630,000 on June
30, 1999. Council policy calls for the reserve to represent at least 10
percent of the city's budget which for the current year would be $1,364,
Pokorny's report concludes: "These amendments are not
likely to solve all of our capital facilities reconstruction needs over
the next 20 years. They could make a significant contribution, however,
if the reserve funds are used wisely.
"The effect of mandating the diversion of what are
now 'flexible' or 'undesignated' revenues away from operations toward
capital re-investment will, on the margin, make operating budget balancing
somewhat more difficult for future councils, but should not present any
insurmountable problems nor have any dire consequences for service levels."
Additional information will be presented at the council
meeting Nov. 29, according to the report. The staff was unable to have
the added detail available any sooner because of the holidays Nov. 25
and 26, the daily workload, and because of some staff being on vacation,
the report said.
Run dates: 1999-11-26 - 1999-11-29