Measure O sales tax and property tax receipts bolster Capitola revenue
By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel
CAPITOLA >> Thanks to a recovering economy and the 2012 Measure O sales tax bringing in $1 million in annual revenues, the City Council is contemplating a budget of $14 million for each of the next two years.
Of the Measure O receipts, $505,000 will go to street projects and $447,700 to rebuild reserves depleted after a 2011 pipe break that flooded the village, with 9 percent for a public works staffer and police.
On Wednesday, City Manager Jamie Goldstein said 2014-15 will be the second year of economic recovery.
A surplus of $475,000 is projected as of June 30 coming on top of a $650,000 surplus a year ago, which Mayor Sam Storey called “tremendous.”
Goldstein proposes the surplus go for debt reduction, capital improvements and rebuilding reserves.
Property tax receipts in Capitola are up 3-5 percent while other local jurisdictions are still experiencing a decline.
Goldstein said the city can move ahead with plans for the historic Rispin Mansion property since the state has closed its review of Capitola’s redevelopment agency. The allowance for administering redevelopment dropped from $250,000 to $150,000, and Measure D’s quarter-cent sales tax, which brings in $1 million a year, is slated to expire in December 2017.
However, Goldstein said he expects fiscal stability because the 2007 pension obligation bonds are slated to retire then, and restocking of the city’s reserves is expected to be complete.
Capitola had 521 businesses last year, down 48 from the year before, but Target opened in 2012 and employs 200 people, sharing the title of largest employer with Macy’s.
Councilwoman Stephanie Harlan called for a percentage formula to fund health and human service providers to give them stability, Councilman Dennis Norton wanted funds dedicated to the wharf and ADA improvements and an 11 percent hotel room tax. Councilman Ed Bottorff emphasized water conservation, including the Esplanade shower, and the wharf. Councilman Michael Termini said he was concerned about the employee head count creeping up and favored a baseline for service providers.
Top priorities for 2014-16 are:
Parks: Completing McGregor Park with $165,000 in city funds.
Streets/sidewalks: $900,000 for Clares Street, Depot Park path, upgrading the Rispin/Peery path to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act and, Village sidewalks.
Facilities: $175,000 to restore the City Hall community room, remove lawn to save water, and recycle Esplanade shower water.
Vehicles: $120,000 for a hybrid or electric vehicle for the building department, pickup and mower for public works and a police car.
Library: Fully funding the library replacement fund with property tax revenues. A subcommittee recommends surveying voters on library needs; Goldstein plans to hire pollster Gene Bregman for $10,000.
Retirees: Fully pre-funding health care benefit costs for retirees estimated at $1 million.
Employees: Will get cost-of-living adjustments based on the consumer price index under contracts running through June 2018.
Link to original article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/capitola/ci_25812409/capitola-sees-economic-recovery