Late into the evening at the end of a busy City Council meeting May 21, the council passed more than $1.3 million in expenditures for the coming fiscal year on account of predicted tax revenue increases.
A few of the 31 items that council passed in a single, unanimous vote include increased landscaping services around the city, increased street lighting, water meter repairs, a new wireless system for downtown and new computers for city employees.
Sales tax revenue is expected to surge to $14.5 million, a $1.2 million increase for the coming fiscal year, according to Christina Turner, finance director for the city.
Approximately $761,373 of the expenditures come from the general fund, leaving a total predicted surplus of $54,89 for the approaching year.
The spending is based on an expected continuation of the positive growth the city has seen during the past eight consecutive quarters.
“These increases are a comeback from the years we had cuts. We’re finally able to add things we haven’t been able to for a while,” Turner said.
After Turner presented all the proposed expenditures, she asked if anyone on council had questions.
“Do we have any money left after this?” Mayor Al Pinheiro shot back. Turner gave a shocked little laugh as Pinheiro told her he was only joking.
After less than three minutes of Council discussion, and no public comment, Council passed the expenditures on a 7-0 vote at 9:45 p.m.
Many of the budget amendments will go to the public works department for programs that have been put on hold in light of cutbacks the city had to make over the last few years.
Expect to see the eastside look a little brighter at night, as the city plans to trim trees around posts that may be blocking light, remove all 70-watt light bulbs in eastside streetlights and replace them with 100 to 200 watt light bulbs with a $81,000 budget amendment.
“We looked at putting a new system in but that cost is overwhelming,” said Rick Smelser, director of public works. “Eventually we have plans to upgrade our street lights but we can’t do it now with this program.”
For $115,000, the city plans to increase landscape services around the city, including more weed abatement around the city, and the maintenance of trails near city parks.
For $50,000, the city expects to add to the “Safe Route to School” fund that will focus on establishing safer routes for children to walk to Christopher High School, Smelser said.
Downtown goers can expect to enjoy faster wireless Internet in the downtown district and near city buildings under a $125,000 expenditure that will upgrade the city’s current wireless plan.
Also, a budget amendment of $137,000 promises to replace all city employee’s desktops computers, which are currently about six years old.
“Discover Gilroy,” a campaign to encourage residents to shop local and “enjoy all that Gilroy has to offer,” is in line for a $60,000 facelift, up from the $10,000 the city initially granted the program.
$118,000: One new engineer I position (A second engineer I is also to be hired for another $118,000 but funds come elsewhere for it)
$35,000: Increased salaries for shifting IT positions
$22,000: Part-time fleet and facilities position
$70,685: Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team officer that is subsidized by a grant. This is the city’s contribution
$25,090: A 10 percent match for a grant that reimbursed the city for providing defibrillators for emergency vehicles
$57,178: Part-time wages for the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation plan and Natural Conservation Community plan
$92,000: City property insurance increase
$5,920: Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority contribution is higher than originally budgeted
$115,000: Increased landscape service
$23,000: Tree trimming near street lights, and the removal of four Elm trees on Fifth Street, and to put together an Elm tree removal program
$10,000: Landscape supplies
$60,000: Discover Gilroy initiative additional funding
$50,000: Economic development strategic plan
$45,000: Establish a communications “master plan” between city departments
$32,500: Additional funding for traffic signal synchronization project
GAS TAX FUNDS
$56,000: Increased costs to Pacific Gas & Electric
$5,000: Additional funding for an intern to spray paint broken sidewalks in residential areas
$81,000: Increased streetlight output on the eastside, as well as other lighting upgrades throughout the city
$50,000: The City’s required contribution to a Safe Route to School grant
INTERNAL SERVICE FUNDS
$137,000: Replacements for all city desktop computers
$125,000: Downtown wireless upgrade
WASTEWATER ENTERPRISE FUND
$10,000: Deep sewer lateral repairs using a non-destructive repair method
WATER ENTERPRISE FUND
$50,000: Groundwater management fee increase
$15,000: Recycled water increase
$1,500: State water fee
$100,000: Conversion of water meters to fixed base type meters
$3,800: Meter box repair
$20,970: Meter box repair and reprogramming
$1,620: Additional trench backfill funding
$9,650: Additional funding needed for pipes, valves and hydrant maintenance
$3,000: Additional funding for city’s specialized software that measures the water system from a distance