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October 28, 2021
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Cotati City Council takes on many issues

By: Paul Matli
September 17, 2021

Tuesday night marked the first Cotati City Council meeting of September and with it came a discussion about a few issues. A couple of these issues directly impact the city while others were meant to keep the public updated on what’s happening. Issues like taxes, what to do about the homeless problem and updates from City Manager Damien O’Bid were all on the agenda.

The first issue discussed by the council had to do with the Direction to the Voting Delegate for the 2021 Annual League of California Cities virtual business meeting. This was a 38-page document that the council received before the meeting started to review. The first major part of the paper had to do with the Bradley-Burns sales tax. The Bradley-Burns tax is a tax which imposes a statewide rate of 1.25 percent, of which 1 percent is allocated to counties of incorporated cities to use at their discretion and the remainder is distributed to county local transportation funds to support transportation programs.

California imposes the sales tax on every retailer engaged in business in the state which sells taxable goods. The law requires businesses to collect the appropriate tax from the purchaser and remit the amount to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Which then leads the CDTFA to distribute the Bradley-Burns tax revenue based on where a sale took place, known as a situs, based system. 

Each member of the council had something to say in response to this resolution. It ended up passing 5-0 with all of them in support, but each one addressed concern they had over how the money would be distributed.

According to Mayor John C. Moore, the City of Cotati were recipients of the taxes by the county last year. Vice Mayor Mark Landman said he agrees with everything that was presented and it sounds logical. “I like the recognition of the impacts on other communities that host these distribution centers.” Probably the biggest concern from the council emanated from Councilwoman Susan Harvey and Councilman Ford. They both wanted to make sure that lower income and impoverished communities got these funds. Harvey noted that it was pretty apparent that where the distribution centers were located, the communities got nothing at all. These communities were the lower income community who needed the grants. Councilman Ford agreed and said it’s important that the state sets some boundaries here because it gives the retail leverages to go where they want and leave out some of the lower income communities.

Making sure that the big retailers don’t put the smaller ones out of business is a struggle seen every day throughout the country, so Cotati is no different in that regard.

 The second topic of the night was regarding the unfunded Accrued Liability Management Policy and Pension update. This presentation was intended to give the council an update on the funds, what the goal was moving forward and how the money will be distributed.

 The purpose of the policy was to address existing and future pension unfunded accrued liability while employing a long-term strategy to balance savings and maintenance of specific resources. The main goal of this project was to establish a 90 percent pension, create a budget mechanism, a goal of when things should be put out and create transparency. 

A few other things to note is that the City of Cotati doesn’t participate in Social Security. Instead, Cotati participates in CalPERS that is a multi-employer defined benefit pension plan. The city gives this project two types of contributions; the first normal costs-regular required contribution based and unintended liability-annual minimum payments to pay down the shortfall between the plans market value of assets and the accrual liability

Finally, the policy object consists of funding level objective, establishment and operations of pension rare fund, transparency and reporting, annual budget to contain policy directed information and review of policy. The goal of the funding level objective is to reach a ratio of 90 percent, but not less than 80.

To wrap up the meeting, City Manager O’Bid updated the council on the happenings across the city. For those who want to receive Covid tests, O’Bid said the center changed their hours. Instead of being just Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., they are now on Wednesday as well so those who want to get a test will be able to get one. O’Bid did say making an appointment is best because they may not test those who don’t have an appointment and the site does a PCR Test. Wednesday, September 15 is an evacuation drill put on by the fire department, the county is currently meeting the water reduction goal. 

A couple more things of note on the docket include a group clean up at Pocket Park on September 22 as part of Creek Week. The Park is just outside the Rohnert Park line for those who want to attend. Finally, West Side Project, something that has been discussed by the council at length, is set to begin next week.