Thursday, June 8, 2023

My 6.6.23 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council meeting started at 6pm and went until about 2am.  There was quite a bit of information presented and discussed:

We received a presentation from Fire Chief Broshard from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District regarding an update on activities of the District.  There was a lot of useful information, some of which included discussion around changes to fire threat maps as well as a reminder for residents to stay vigilant in steps they could take to help protect against fire risk, and various alert systems available (  More information available at

- We received a presentation from the Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club regarding the activities of the Club, including an upcoming Inaugural Father's Day Run.  The Club has long held the annual 4th of July Pancake Breakfast at Endeavor Hall, among other fundraising events in order to support their mission, including a recent donation to the City of Clayton to help fund the Clayton Community Park playground equipment refresh.  For more information about the 5k run:

- We received the Engineer's report on the Streetlight Assessment District and the proposed assessments for FY24.  We approved the assessment for FY 24 at the same rate as prior year.  This assessment remains flat each year as the City has not pursued an increase in assessments since inception.  While the annual cost of operating streetlights have gone up over time due to rising costs including inflation, with assessments not increasing this special district assessment district is and will continue to be in deficit and subsidized by the General Fund.

- We received the Engineer's report for the Diablo Estates at Clayton Benefit Assessment District and noticed a public hearing to levy the FY24 assessments.  This District operates like an HOA for a limited number of residents and this is an annual process to collect assessments for the following year.

- We had a first reading of an ordinance regarding speed limits in town.  Back in 2019 the City conducted a speed survey and based on the results it was recommended that we increase speed limits at that time.  Myself, and others on the Council were not in agreement with that recommendation and we declined to do so.  The law has since changed and now cities are allowed to preserve their existing speed limits in certain circumstances even if a speed survey would indicate otherwise.  To do so, we need to update our City ordinances to contain certain language and this is what we did last night.  There will be a second reading next meeting before the new ordinance takes effect.  As a result, no speed limit in town will be increasing which is a benefit to traffic and pedestrian safety.

- The GHAD Board also met to discuss the FY24 levy and budget.  Given the shortfalls in the GHAD that I have discussed previously, we discussed what strategic approach for the budget going forward.  The GHAD receives approximately $49K in assessment revenue each year.  Baseline expenses for administering the GHAD is approximately $28K.  There remains existing fund balance from historical legal settlements, but that figure is not large at approximately $76K.

The GHAD Board was presented with three budget approaches ranging from using current and prior funds on multiple inspections to conducting no activity and retaining all funds.  Ultimately we gave direction to the GHAD District Manager to prepare a budget that has some monitoring and inspection, with funds set aside for work necessary to pursue a local ballot measure for residents within the GHAD by mail.  Increasing the GHAD assessments is the only way that the GHAD will be able to be self sufficient and conduct the activities it was intended to do.  If we are unable to increase the assessments of the GHAD, then we will likely modify the actions that are conducted from the GHAD.  We will be discussing the logistics of a potential increase in assessments at a future meeting.

- We adjusted the salary schedules for certain leadership positions, and unleveled one existing position in order to be more competitive in recruitment and retention of talent.  While we recently brought on a new Finance Director, they left employment with the City unexpectedly without notice.  We continue to recruit for this position however it is likely that we increase our chance of attracting talent with this increased salary schedule.


We discussed the proposed FY24 budget which reflected a surplus in the General Fund of approximately $7K which was inclusive of a transfer from the Pension Rate Stabilization fund in the amount of $125K. Pension expense has increased significantly this year and this fund was established for this purpose. Largely this budget holds the line as the City has a number of complexities primarily around vacant and new staff, and it will take time to work through onboarding before a realistic steady state can be determined.

Several of the specific funds reflect a deficit as well.  Streetlights, Stormwater, LMD, the Grove, and the GHAD all reflect deficits to some degree.  For some of these (Streetlights, Stormwater), we will be repurposing Gas Tax revenues to cover eligible costs within these funds.  For others (LMD, GHAD) we will be rebuilding the budget with the available funds as a constraint so we can assess what that level of service delivery that will look like.

While the current General Fund budget for FY24 reflects a modest surplus of $7K, a few items will add context to this figure.  It does not include any impact of current contract negotiations with the City's Miscellaneous employee group - any increase in compensation will have an unfavorable impact on the General Fund.  It includes $40K of one time spend related to technology projects that have not yet been identified and will be carved out which will have a favorable impact to the General Fund.  It includes additional fee revenue of $36K for user charges, but it does not include any fees that may be earned for special events held in the City.  Any fees earned from special events will have a favorable impact to the General Fund.

When the FY23 budget was approved, it was done so with an approximately $127K deficit.  Based on current projections we will end FY23 with an operating surplus of approximately $408K - representing a favorable swing of $535K.  This is due to a combination of greater than expected revenues, staff vacancies, and other savings.  Much of the discussion leading up to the current budget being adopted was around structural deficits, with negative projections for every year available.  This negative outlook has been utilized to support a narrative that taxes need to be increased.  As we can see with the current fiscal year, this significant deficit did not materialize for a variety of reasons calling into question prior predictions. 


I will separate discussion of the Master Fee Schedule in its own post.