August 3, 2011
by Councilmember Charlie Bronitsky
Some Thoughts to Share
PROGRESS ON THE HOME FRONT
At our July 18 team building meeting I asked the Council to consider adding three new Citizen Advisory Committees: one to address alternatives to certain city funded services, such as city funded transportation; one to address economic development from the small and mid-sized business perspective; and one to address economic development from the large business perspective. I did this because I think we need to take a fresh look at our City and its overall sustainability. I am hopeful that the Council will, in the near future, approve these committees in some form because I think these are critical issues for our City, with economic development being, in my opinion, the top issue for the City to address proactively. If you would be interested in serving on any of these committees, let me know and I will keep you in the loop as things develop.
UPCOMING COUNCIL ELECTIONS
As of the time of this writing there are six candidates who have taken out papers for election to the three City Council seats that will be up in November. Rick Wykoff and Linda Koelling are termed out and Art Kiesel is running for reelection. This is a very important election for our City. We have a significant structural deficit to address and unless we can find innovative alternatives, we face the choice of layoffs and program cuts or, heaven forbid, continued use of our reserves as a way to balance the budget.
I hope that as these candidates come into your neighborhoods and ask for your votes that you will ask them about the issues. Ask them about the budget and how they plan to address a $2.8 million per year deficit in the coming two years. Ask them to address future development in Foster City and see what their views are about that. Ask them about raising taxes and fees and how they would vote if that came up. Ask them to tell you not only what their vision is for Foster City, but how they intend to accomplish it, what would they do and how would they get it done. Perhaps most importantly, ask them to tell you about their past experience as a leader and how that would translate to what we would see them do on the Council. These are the types of questions that should drive your decision on who to vote for in November.
UPCOMING TAX VOTES
The November ballot will also include two other significant items you should be aware of now. The first is an effort by the San Mateo Foster City School Board to obtain approval of a bond to build a fourth elementary school here in Foster City. If you do not already know it, earlier this year the School District voted to make it so that only Foster City residents would vote on this issue and thus only Foster City residents would be paying the taxes to repay these bonds. Prior to this the entire district would vote and be taxed. In considering how you want to vote on this issue, ask whether you think that is fair. Ask whether you think this is the right choice for Foster City. Ask whether there are better alternatives educationally and economically. Know and understand this issue as it will affect us long into the future.
The other item on the ballot will be an effort to increase the transient occupancy tax on the two hotels here in Foster City. The initial proposal was to increase it from 8% to 10%. Although 10% would put us on par with other cities as the lowest in the County, after hearing from the Foster City Chamber of Commerce, I was not willing to vote for anything in excess of 9.5% and thus, that is the amount that will be on your ballot. This amount was set after consulting with all of the stakeholders and will now be submitted to you to decide if that is what you want to do. Again, I urge you to learn more about this before you vote and doing so now gives you plenty of time.
THE FOSTER CITY VILLAGE PROJECT
The kickoff of the Foster City Village project has been delayed a bit, although there are already a large number of people who want to get involved. The delay is due primarily to my wanting to wait to see if and how the City will participate, making it perhaps a public- private venture. I do not intend to wait very long, however, as I feel we have time, but not enough to waste a lot of it. By mid-August, I hope to get the first meeting going.
Those are my thoughts. Tell me what you think. Share your ideas with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (650) 286-3504.
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