Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
- A Cycling Safety tips booth
- A kids' helmet giveaway (helmets provided by Sonoma County Safe Kids)
- A bus so you can practice putting your bike on the bus rack
- A bike light giveaway
- Inspiring speakers
- Games and contests for kids and adults
- Live music
- Local food vendors
- Booths by local bike and bike-friendly groups
- Free valet bike parking
- A public ride around Sonoma and the Springs area
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The next meeting of the City Council will be held on August 20th. The agenda packet for this meeting will be posted on the City's website this Friday.
Friday, August 8, 2008
The State of
How would the latest State budget proposal impact
Residents should be aware that a combination of good fiscal planning, proactive revenue enhancement, prudent management of existing resources, and wise decisions in “good times” have placed the City of Sonoma in the position of being able to withstand economic ups and downs. The following nine-point explanation will hopefully also answer those questions from residents inquiring whether
Overall, the City budgets conservatively, which means we do not optimistically over-predict our revenue nor underestimate our expenditures. This has placed us in the sound position of producing a balanced budget year after year. Secondly, the City has wisely developed over the years an emergency reserve and an operating reserve. Simply put, these are funds set aside in a “savings account” to provide for fiscal stability and are available in times of emergency, plus this policy allows the City to maintain an excellent bond rating and favorable terms when borrowing. Thirdly, the City’s solid revenue stream from local sales tax and transient occupancy (lodging) tax is not the result of luck, but rather from the proactive partnerships that the City cultivates with our local businesses through the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. Fourth, in “good times,” current and prior City Councils chose not to enhance our city employees’ pension plan. When many other agencies were moving to an enhanced retirement system in the late 1990s and early 2000s, our City Council chose to continue with the basic “2% at 55 miscellaneous” plan under the California Public Employees Retirement System. This decision has kept our retirement costs manageable. Fifth, wise risk management has meant that our premiums for workers compensation and general liability insurance have remained predictable and our losses have been favorable. Sixth, we have taken advantage of regionalization with respect to public safety services as a means of achieving economies of scale. Our contract with the Sheriff’s Department for police services has kept our police budget more predictable and our Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority partnership has meant more and flexible resources at our disposal while allowing for shared administration, enhanced staff coverage and equipment, along with cost containment. Seventh, the City is leanly staffed and did not enlarge its employee base to unsustainable proportions during the “good times,” and thus is not facing lay-offs to adjust to the reality of the “tough times.” Eighth, the City has wisely used redevelopment funding mechanisms to enhance our local economy through commercial rehabilitation loans to local businesses and through capital projects that do not require general fund (discretionary) dollars. Finally, the City Council has reacted to the current economic downturn and the potential State raid on our finances by amending our two-year budget by recently adjusting our general fund expenditures downward for the second year. Our Council has also recently taken a hard look at the use of consultants on special projects and directed staff to seek ways of reducing expenditures on projects and studies.
Because of these and other wise fiscal policies and choices made in the “good times,” I feel confident that the City of Sonoma will be able to continue to provide our residents the same level of services they have come to expect, should the State decide to dip into the pocketbooks of local government. Should the borrowing scenario come to pass over multiple years, I would ask the City Council lead us in re-examining any special projects or discretionary expenditures for future years, reconsider our planned spending on mandatory services versus discretionary projects, engage our employee unions in a conversation about the fiscal situation, seek ways to continue to partner with other local agencies including the County on cost-sharing and regionalization of services, and as an absolute last resort, consider utilizing, and then replenishing, our own operating reserve which has been set aside as a cushion in the event of financial adversity.
The City of
I appreciate the opportunity to make this statement about our City’s financial situation and I welcome any questions from residents and community members at email@example.com. Residents may view the City’s budget at www.sonomacity.org, click on City departments, Finance and personnel.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The agenda and packet for the August 20th regular City Council meeting will be posted on the City's website on August 15th.