Thursday, June 6, 2024

My 6.4.24 Meeting Summary

On Tuesday the Council met to discuss several significant items:

- We established salary schedules in relation to the re-organization of certain City staff positions from our last meeting.  Previously the org structure was more vertical.  By updating the org structure and combining two leadership positions, we will both save money, and have more resources available at the staff level.

- We approved the five year capital improvement plan.  This lays out the capital projects that are planned and the various funding sources available.  In Clayton, most restricted funds are related to roads or transportation and many have varying levels of constraints on how the funds may be used.  By laying out the five year plan and funding source, it allows for better planning as work comes up.  

There was one project that I questioned and that was an estimated $250K for a Trails Inventory and Assessment Report.  This money would be used to review our existing trail system, and determine what is needed in order to maintain it.  It would not actually do any of the work, rather the deliverable for this money is the report and assessment itself.  I questioned the viability of this on two fronts.  The first was that it was not budgeted so including something in the five year capital improvement plan was inconsistent.  The second was that we don't know the cost of this report and establishing a $250K figure would function to Anchor the conversation in way that creates bias.  Previously, the Council authorized the preparation of an RFP in order to complete this report.  I would have preferred to wait until the responses to the RFP were received before we included an amount in the five year plan.  The vote was 4-1 with myself voting no.

- We discussed the FY25 budget.  With recent staff turnover, our Interim City Manager pulled in outside resources to pull together the budget quickly and on time for the June 30 deadline.  This was a baseline budget - it did not seek to make significant changes, but rather establish an ongoing process by which we could conduct more frequent evaluation and make adjustments as needed.

Over the last 6 weeks, the Budget and Audit Committee (myself and Vice Mayor Trupiano) have met frequently to discuss and iterate on the budget.  I am pleased with the level of diligence and process that staff has engaged in to bring the budget forward.  

This budget does reflect an approximate $230K deficit which was expected given the recent Police contract was expected to incur approximately $190K in the first year.  The cost of police dispatch services contracted through Concord, and the cost of animal control services through the County also had significant increases as well.  This is still a far cry from the $560K deficit that was projected just this past March.  The disparity highlights the need to continue to engage in analysis and I look forward to the work from the Financial Sustainability Committee in assisting with that process.

During discussion, both Councilmember Cloven and Tillman represented that they did not have time to review the budget in detail and wanted to delay taking action.  This is unfortunate as the materials from the Budget and Audit Committee meetings are available and I am aware that staff has specifically reached out to all Councilmembers making themselves available to walk through any questions they may have regarding the budget or its details.  It appears this offer was not taken up.  Asserting that they both did not have time to review the budget, Councilmembers Cloven and Tillman voted no.  The vote to pass the budget was 3-2.