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The original item was published from 5/9/2014 1:45:16 PM to 6/19/2014 12:05:01 AM.

News Flash

Finance Department

Posted on: May 9, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Budget Season has arrived!

money sign

Budget Season has arrived!

Budgets are the Town’s tool for linking the Town’s established goals with the fiscal resources available to achieve them. The budget addresses short-term goals as well as long-term goals through a 5-Year Fiscal Forecast and 5-Year Capital Improvement Program. The Town’s budget process involves numerous public meetings with staff and the City Council to discuss Council priorities as well as available resources. As the budget moves through the year, staff allocates resources in support of the identified goals, makes adjustments for unanticipated needs, and hosts a mid-year update with the Council. Staff is always looking for ways to reduce costs while maintaining the high-quality of service Atherton residents have come to expect. Often, to accomplish this goal, staff and the City Council have to identify ways to increase or diversify its revenues.

The Town’s budget operates on a Fiscal Year basis - July 1 through June 30. State law requires that the Town adopt a balanced budget by June 30 of each year. In advance of the budget’s planned adoption at the June 18 Regular City Council meeting, the Council meets several times to discuss discreet components of the Town’s budget and budget priorities. One of the priorities of this year’s budget process is to streamline expenditures in line with community priorities, identify potential revenue alternatives, and closely evaluate the imposition of the approved Parcel Tax.

The City Council met last week for Part II of the Revenue Enhancement discussion. At a prior meeting, the Council narrowed the list of potential revenue enhancements, so at this meeting, staff provided information on the following potential revenue enhancements:

• Viability of a Utility User’s Tax
• Modifications to the Business License Tax
• Validation of Rents and Use Fees
• Implementation of Benefit Assessment Districts
• Viability of the Road Impact Fee

The Council discussed each of the above in depth and staff presented scenarios for their consideration. A copy of the staff report can be found via the link below.

With respect to the Utility User’s Tax, the Council felt that while it may be a viable revenue source, it was not something the Council wanted to consider immediately. Given that the current parcel tax expires in four years, the Council did not feel the there was an immediate need to augment or replace the parcel tax with a utility user’s tax. That said, it is something that could be considered at a later date. The Council supported updating the Town’s business license tax to identify graduated rates for the different business license categories. The Council suggested that staff continue to look for innovative ways to raise revenues through rent and use fees. Further, the Council was supportive of increasing the gap between resident and non-resident fees. Expanding recreational activities in the Park should be explored, wherever possible and practical. The Council felt that Benefit Assessment Districts should be explored, when appropriate, for capital project where they make sense. Lastly, all of the Council recognized that the prior Road Impact Fee could not be re-instituted; however, the Council felt that staff should explore methodology to impose a development impact fee related to the direct impact of truck traffic connected to a specific development project. Engineering studies will have to be completed to determine the exact impact of truck traffic related to specific grading or excavation projects.

On May 21, the City Council will meet at a regularly scheduled meeting to kick off budget discussions related to Town operations (Administration, Finance, Police, Building, Planning, and Public Works. We encourage your participation and feedback during the budget process. Please be on the lookout for the May 21 agenda packet (scheduled for release next Friday, May 16) via the Town’s website.

For questions about the budget please contact Atherton Finance Director Robert Barron III at 650-752-0552.

Link to the May 7 Staff Report...
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