The City Council approved the 2012-13 $47 million city budget with a balance of $71,000 Tuesday, in compliance with a July 1 requirement of the municipal code,
The city’s Complete Streets Task Force received a bonus beyond City Manager John Pietig’s recommendation of $5,000 from the city’s public pathways and complete streets contingency fund to improve local bike access on city streets.
Instead, the council decided to incorporate the entire contingency fund of $15,000, bringing the total to $35,000 for local bike rights-of-way, particularly on Glenneyre Street, and for downtown bike racks.
In his report, Pietig conveyed that Europe’s economic uncertainties and the state’s $15 billion budget deficit may affect city reserves. November state ballot measures call for an increase in personnel income tax for higher-income taxpayers and a sales-tax increase of .25%. If the measures fail, warned Pietig, the city may lose $100,000 in state grant funds.
Pietig said the budget was balanced with operating revenues exceeding operating expenses by $71,000. “We’re still $580,000 shy of where we’d like to be on the equipment replacement account,” he said. No salary increases were included for city employees; however, the council approved continuing a 5% performance increase for the city clerk and city treasurer, both elected positions.
The city will also provide a paid and insured attendant at the Pavilions parking lot for free public parking from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. except for July 4 again this year.
Pietig also asked the council to spend an additional $25,000 for an ongoing program to alleviate traffic congestion on approximately 20 peak weekends during the off-season months, such as Memorial Day. The money would pay for two part-time employees directing traffic at high-impact intersections.
Chris Prelitz, chair of Complete Streets Task Force, told the council that local bicyclists are being sidestepped as part of the city’s commitment to make streets safer for human-powered transportation. “Of all the millions we’ve spent on everything else, sharrows (bike lane markers in North Laguna) was the only concession to bicyclists on city streets that the city has ever made,” Prelitz said. The city spent $6,000 painting the arrows and bicycle symbols on Cypress and Monterey streets.
The additional money will be used to place bike racks downtown, designate bike paths on Glenneyre Street on the south side of town as well as other bike-friendly projects later approved by the council. He added that the city hopes to receive a grant to initiate a mobility plan for non-vehicular modes of transportation.