Fighting to Stay Accountable for YOUR Tax Dollars, Balanced Budget, and Summer Fun
It seemed like summer would never arrive, but as we head toward the July 4th weekend, warmer weather is finally starting to show up in San Mateo.
During the Spring, as your City Councilmember I was busy on a number of issues. I wanted to give you an update on what was accomplished, what still needs some work, and where we are headed into the summer and fall.
In this issue, read about:
- Fighting to Stay Accountable for YOUR Tax Dollars
- San Mateo's Balanced Budget
- Summer Fun in San Mateo
Fighting to Stay Accountable For YOUR Tax Dollars
Did you know that the San Mateo City Council is required to approve by public hearing all City expenditures over $100,000? All expenditures under $100,000 can be approved without Council approval by the City Manger or City Department Heads.
In these tight economic times I thought it was time to review the $100,000 threshold.
For example, in Fiscal Year 2009-10, there were over $9 million of city expenditures that were not directly approved by the City Council, but instead approved by City Staff. And while we have the most professional, ethical City Staff anywhere, I felt that the public had the right to have their elected officials approve all expenditures of their tax dollars over $25,000.
That's why on April 4, I urged my colleagues on the City Council to consider lowering the threshold for City Council approval of all expenditures to $25,000.
I am sorry to say that my request did not receive a majority of Council support to pass. But it has not deterred me from continuing to advocate for what I think is right.
Thank you to the many of you who voiced support for this effort. I intend to bring up the issue again during next year's goal setting sessions.
To view a copy of the report associated with the April 4 meeting on this issue, click HERE.
San Mateo's Balanced Budget
On June 20, the City Council adopted a balanced budget for the City of San Mateo, as required under our City Charter.
Our budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2011-12 includes an Operating Budget of $116.46 million, plus Capital Improvement Program of $6.80 million, for a total $123.26 million dollar budget.
A gap between revenue and expenditures due to the continued downturn in our economy required closing a $7.9 million gap. The saving necessary to close this gap were filled with savings in budget management, employee cost reductions, capital project transfers, and department expenditure reductions for the upcoming year.
Thanks to all of our City Staff who worked long and hard throughout the winter and spring to bring this budget in on time and on budget.
A special thanks to our City Employees who made deep and often painful concessions in wages, benefits, and pension contributions to help the City balance it's budget.
To view a report of the budget approved on June 20, click HERE.
With the weather warming up, our Parks and Recreation Department, the Downtown San Mateo Association and the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to bring some great events your way!
Music in the Park started June 23, and runs every Thursday night from 6-8 PM through August 11. Join your friends, family, and neighbors for a variety of great music, great food, and great fun in Central Park in San Mateo! For more information, click HERE.
Off the Grid, a collection of gourmet food trucks comes to Downtown San Mateo starting Monday, July 18. For those of you who only remember food trucks as greasy food served at construction sites, prepare to be surprised. For those of you who have experienced the innovative, high-end, and downright tasty offerings from the food trucks of the 21st century, come hungry! And be sure to save room for the delightful offerings served by our hundreds of other gourmet restaurants located throughout our Downtown! For more information, click HERE.