News
April 24, 2017
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room And they're off. . . Community quickly rallies for Project Grad RP girl accosted while walking to school Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Two RP Parks getting upgrades Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement Saddle Up and Ride Cotati opposes SB 618 Graton Tribe makes good on payments A mission to help RP man arrested for attempted murder A traditional dance of Japan RAFD names part-time fire chief Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso Padre Town Center changes hands RP makes changes to city code for ADUs RP man busted for possession of meth CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students Man arrested for attempted murder Reilani Peleti Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR RP man arrested on drug possession charges Credo gets used to new digs at SMV New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A bit of Uganda RP rejects new self-storage facilities RP to replace old trees Body of missing woman found Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo crew marches to new home Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP Shameful time in history RP man reported missing Council amends UDSP Bomb scare closes RCHS KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Man who led chase into SF caught The Voice enters into 25th year Taking a pie in her grill A new look for SSU gym RP votes to regulate vaping Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Cotati votes to host shopping cart race RP to conduct survey Artists ready for art show at library Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Suspected explosive device at RCHS A crab feast at Community Center Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP adds seven to public safety Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Corrections

Cotati-reviews midyear budget

By: Dave Williams
March 10, 2017
City hitting on just about all of budget targets for FY 2016-17

Staff for the City of Cotati presented its mid-year budget review for fiscal year 2017-18 to the city council at its last meeting.

The review was based on operating results through Dec. 31, 2016. But it also serves as a precursor to City Manager Damien O’Bid’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2017-18 because of revenue and expenditure results as well as projections for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Norm Velosa, Cotati’s Director of Administrative Services, presented the review to the council.

City staff chose to emphasize an analysis of Cotati’s General Fund revenues but it also evaluated the General Fund expenditures, the Water Fund, Sewer Fund and Capital Projects funds.

Cotati’s General Fund revenues, according to a staff report, are performing as well or slightly better than expected and says property tax growth is strong.

The city’s net taxable increase of 5.9 percent for this fiscal year’s tax roll kept pace with the countywide increase of 5.9 percent, and residential values continued to increase from their levels of the previous year.

The median sale price of a single-family home in Cotati from January to August 2016 was $430,000. This represents a $50,000 (13.2 percent) increase in median sale price from 2015.

Sales tax, which is near the budget estimate, is expected to grow moderately and reflects a continued shift of sales to online platforms which increases the overall value of the pooled funds for Sonoma County, which Cotati has a proportional share. Sales tax revenue does not include the true up or clean up amount for December.

When this budget was adopted by the council in June last year, some of the highlights included: a 25 percent contingency reserve; the prioritization of economic development, infrastructure and community; enhancement of service levels, operational improvements and transparency in city government; the increase of funding to support basic maintenance of streets, parks and civic buildings; and the completion of major grant-funded capital projects improving infrastructure.

Cotati resident Laurie Alderman had questioned why there was only $2,700 in the fund for street maintenance.

“That money is designated for street maintenance after all the expenses were included in budget,” Velosa said. “That is the remaining cash available moving forward. We accumulate revenues for future use. For example, you try to save as much money knowing in 15 years you’ll have to change roof. When comes 15th year you use revenues you’ve accumulated for 15 years. We tried to be diligent for saving as much we could for the rainy days.”

Overall, staff says the General Fund revenue is in a better position when compared to the adopted fiscal year 2016-17 budget and staff anticipates a slight increase in revenue above budget if they remain consistent with the first two quarters of the year.

Former Cotati councilman George Barich chided the entire budget process.

“This budget is not on target or you set the bar very low,” Barich said. “The budget is not balanced because you have not put in future anticipated expenditures. This building we’re standing in is not earthquake safe. We need a new city hall. There are a lot of projects in Cotati not funded for needed repairs.”

Councilman John Dell’Osso said Barich had a point about the city not budgeting in anticipated expenditures, but he provided added nuance.

“That makes perfect sense but incomes are not projected at this time,” Dell’Osso said. “It’s apples and oranges. You can’t say we there’s a $3 million retrofit for city hall, but we’re not projecting what any of revenues are when it’s time for that project. This is not smoke and mirrors. It’s always nice to see at midyear we’ve collected more and spent a little bit less.”

The water fund revenue is tracking at 18 percent above budget estimates, and expenses to mid-year are close to the budgeted amount. The general operational incomes were higher, the staff report said, mostly because of unbudgeted development fees.

The sewer fund revenues and expenditures are currently tracking at and just below budget estimates, respectively. The general operational incomes were higher, also primarily because of unbudgeted development fees. Expenses are slightly lower as the capital projects budgeted were not initiated during the first six months of the fiscal year.

Though the revenues for sewer were higher than anticipated, at half the budget amount for the year, a significant portion of this increase was because of one-time payments, and revenue from service charges had decreased from prior years. This revenue decrease reflects the recalculation of sewer usage based on drought years as well as having no change in the billing rate applied per 1,000 gallons used. Cotati currently is performing a rate study that will analyze the sewer rates with respect to current and planned operational and infrastructure expenses.