Cotati may declare fiscal emergency
City report calls for need to expand, increase tax measure
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By Dave Williams  February 10, 2014 02:36 pm

The Cotati City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 11, is expected to vote on a resolution unanimously declaring a state of fiscal emergency in the city.

This action, according to a report by city staff, is necessary "based on current economic factors that could not be foreseen when Measure A was adopted, such as the slow recovery of an historically weak economy and ongoing raids by the State of California on Cotati's local revenue."

The staff report also says "the continuation of this vital local funding will have significant impact on the city's ability to provide the level of services Cotati residents expect and rely on."

Cotati voters addressed the city's financial concerns in 2010 by approving Measure A, a one-half cent (0.5 percent) sales tax to support essential city services for Cotati residents. Measure A has provided the city with a source of local funding for local city services that cannot be taken by the state and has helped maintain Cotati's police department.

Measure A is to expire in 2015, and the city is anticipating a loss of more than $900,000 of funding for essential city services. The City's historical revenue sources have not recovered in the intervening years. Additionally, external costs beyond the city's control have increased faster than the city's revenue sources, including Measure A, and the state has continued to raid the city's coffers, taking $2.3 million from the City, including $600,000 from the general fund, just this fiscal year.

If Measure A expired, the Cotati council, according to the staff report, would have no choice other than to implement severe reductions in city services and the potential elimination of the police department. Just extending Measure A would be inadequate to address the returned emergency that faced the city in 2010. The Measure must be expanded for nine years at one-cent to protect our local, high- quality services and ensure our Police Department has the resources it needs to keep Cotati safe.



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