New Year’s Resolution?
The coming of the New Year brings a visualization of new beginnings – a fresh start. Most of us look forward to a new year with the anticipation that times will be better and experiences will be pleasantly remembered. We all have the expectation that the year ahead will put and keep a smile on our face.
As Foster City looks forward to a New Year, making sure that the City provides the services and amenities that the residents have come to expect will start in earnest in during the first two weeks of the New Year. January is the month that brings on the start of the budget season which lasts until June when the next fiscal year’s budget is presented to the City Council for approval. This year will be similar to the prior four in that we will be looking at revenue shortfalls forcing us to again look at reducing expenses with the ultimate goal of achieving a balanced budget by fiscal year 2013-14. Unlike other municipalities in the region who are struggling to make ends meet, we in Foster City do have much to be thankful... For starters, we have the financial reserves to weather a sizeable economic storm. We have not had to make those deep cuts that other municipalities have already made such as reducing emergency service personnel.
On our revenue front, Gilead has broken ground on a new laboratory building on their campus. We will reap greater property taxes for the building upgrade. There will be more workers employed in this new building and the buildings Gilead has plans on constructing. These employees will help stimulate the Foster City economy with spending and increase property values by their desire to own homes.
The Pilgrim-Triton project is well underway that will provide additional housing along with retail. Property taxes for the project will increase as will the spending that the new tenants will most certainly do.
The 15-acre project is in the negotiating stages with Foster City Community Partners that will add senior housing along with some retail space and will also provide sustainable revenue to the City for the first time.
Foster City’s Measure P, the hotel tax, passed by an overwhelming majority which will add additional revenue while still keeping Foster City the lowest hotel tax on the peninsula. Congratulations to the voters for realizing the importance of this Measure.
Foster City is as well positioned to come out of this economic quagmire as any city. We actually have development projects underway in these economically depressed times. The largest hurdle we will confront is the State of California. The State continues to spend more than it has and continues to pass costs down to the local levels.
We do have some major hurdles ahead of us. On December 29, 2011, the California State Supreme Court ruled that Redevelopment Agencies are “eliminated” and the companion bill that would have allowed agencies to remain in operation as long as they made a payment to the State was struck down. It now appears that the State will not get all the money from Redevelopment Agency elimination that they expected and will have to look elsewhere to cover the gap. With the $19.6 million Foster City has at stake, local officials will be exploring ways to work with State Legislature and all others concerned to address the full impacts of this decision.
Redevelopment Agency sponsored projects have provided jobs for many in the trades in the past and the ending of the Agencies will hurt job recovery progress all over the State. Redevelopment Agencies also provide funds to support affordable housing and without those funds, developers would have little reason to engage in housing development projects without a financial subsidy.
My New Year’s resolution for the City is the same as it has been for the past four years – Make sure that Foster City residents receive the highest quality of service that our funds will allow. I hope your New Year’s resolution is a bit less challenging and much easier to achieve.
I would appreciate your comments on this and other issues by emailing me at email@example.com or by phone - 650-573-7359.
January 04, 2012
New Year’s Resolution?
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