Priorities for the FY 2016/17 Budget
The Town of Atherton is beginning the annual process of developing its operating and capital budgets for FY 2016/17. There are primarily two separate aspects of the budget: Operations and Capital Improvements. The Town's General Operations Budget hovers around $11.8m. The Town's typical Capital Improvement Budget hovers around $3m-$4m.
The primary source(s) of revenue for the Operating Budget is the Town's General Fund. The General Fund includes revenues from proeprty taxes, sales taxes, franchise fees, business license taxes, planning permits, building permits, police revenue (tickets, fees, and grants), park program revenue (use fees, class fees, meeting fees), and other miscellaneous revenues. A portion of the Town's Parcel Tax is also allocated to the Operating Budget in support of Police Services. The Operating Budget encompasses the following departments and operations: City Council, Administration (City Manager, City Clerk, HR, etc.), City Attorney, Finance, Planning, Building, Police and Public Works. The total operations budget for FY 2015/16 is approximately $11.8m.
The Operations Budget for FY 2015/16 is distributed as follows (rounded):
- City Council - $57,000
- Administraiton - $709,000
- City Attorney - $204,000
- Finance Department - $647,000
- Planning Department - $212,000
- Building Department - $1,250,000
- Interdepartmental - $552,000
- Police Department - $6,349,000
- Public Works Department - $1,819,000
The primary source(s) of revenue for the Capital Improvement Budget are the General Fund, the Town Parcel Tax, County Measure A, County Measure M, State Gas Tax Funds, Atherton Library Fund, Atherton Channel Fund, and Grants/Donations. The largest singular contributor to the Town's Capital Improvement Budget is the Town Parcel Tax. Excluding grants/donations and the Library Fund (both dedicated to the Civic Center Project), revenue to the Capital Improvement Budget hovers around $3.8m. The largest singlular contribution from the Town Parcel Tax at $1.65m
Join us on April 6 at 3 pm in the Atherton Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road to learn more about the Town's budget. The April 6 meeting is the first of five (5) City Council public meetings on the Town's Budget. The April 6 meeting is a budget overview. Subsequent meetings include:
- May 4 to discuss the Operations Budget;
- May 18 to review the Capital Improvement Budget;
- June 1 to review the entirety of the budget; and
- June 15 to adopt the budget.
If you would like additional information about the Town's budget, you can visit the Budget Archive on the Town's website as well as the archive of Audited Financial Statements. However, for an interactive perspective, visit the OpenGov Fiscal Transparency Portal.
Let's move to the fun stuff!
The City Council has established six (6) over-arching policy priorities for the Town. These are:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Preservation of the Town's "small town" Character and Quality of Life
- Creating a Town Center & Library
- Managing Circulation and Improving Safety
- Maintaining a Forward-Thinking, Well-Managed and Well-Planned Town
- Strengthening Community Engagement and Transparency
Visit Open Town Hall to see a list of some of the many services and priorities addressed within the Town's operating and capital budgets. These areas all fit within one of the above policy priority areas. Based on your observations of current conditions and operations of the Town, how would you allocate an additional “theoretical” $500 to improve the Town? Remember, the options and choices may translate to a specific focus or a specific project area. You can distribute the funds evenly over all the choices, or you can spend all your ‘money’ toward just one area; but the dollars you distribute represent the priority you give to a particular issue.