The Tracy City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the city’s $194.5 million budget for 2020-21. The city’s spending plan includes a $79 million general fund budget, which pays for the city’s day-to-day operations.
City Manager Jenny Haruyama and Finance Director Karin Schnaider had to come up with about $11 million to fill the gap between general fund revenues, mostly sales and property taxes, and expenditures, mostly for personnel.
To close the gap, the city is leaving 15 positions unfilled and will draw on its budget reserves, postpone acquisition of city vehicles, delay a grant to the Mayor’s Community and Youth Support Network, and reduce spending on contracts.
That got the city within $2.2 million of a balanced budget, and the council agreed to borrow that money from the Measure V reserves, supported by a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016, provided the city can pay that money back into the reserve fund within the next two years.
In action on other matters Tuesday, the council:
• Agreed to have council members Dan Arriola and Veronica Vargas write the city’s arguments in favor of a new cannabis business tax, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. City Attorney Leticia Ramirez will write the impartial analysis of the measure, which will establish a 6% tax on retail cannabis sales and a 4% tax on all other sales, plus a fee of $12 per square foot for indoor cultivation operations.
• Approved a bench and plaque to honor Parmjit Singh, who was killed in GretchenTalleyPark on Aug. 29, 2019. The Sikhs of Tracy organization raised $1,500 to pay for the bench and plaque and also agreed to maintain them.
• Awarded a $1.17 million road construction contract to Knife River Construction of Stockton. The company will repave Grant Line Road between Lincoln and Tracy boulevards and also repave Beverly Place between Holly and Mae avenues and between Bessie and Parker avenues. The money comes mostly from federal Regional Surface Transportation Program grants, state gas taxes and San JoaquinCounty’s Measure K half-cent property tax.
• Approved the purchase of eight new Tracer buses. The city will buy four 21-foot buses, two 26-foot buses and two 22-foot transit vans for a total of $858,390. The city will use federal, state and local transit funds, by way of the city’s Capital Improvement Projects budget, to pay for the buses.
• Began the process of establishing new taxes within the Tracy Consolidated Landscape Maintenance District. The annual assessment, which appears on property tax bills for newer parts of town, typically increases along with inflation and requires a vote of property owners if the city expects a higher increase will be necessary. The council will discuss the matter in more detail at its July 21 meeting.
• Agreed to extend a contract with MTM Transit LLC, operator of the Tracy bus system, for another year, until the end of June 2021. The contract will cost the city $399,247, an increase of about $40,000 because the city is asking Tracer to increase its operating hours, and also to implement a new on-demand bus service.
• Approved a 30-year lease with TCYBLDG LLC, owner of American Custom Meats, 4276 N. Tracy Blvd., for a 33,449-square-foot patch of land, at $4,300 per year, so that the company can expand its parking lot. The land was part of the 1,097 acres that the city acquired from Holly Sugar in 2003. Legacy Fields was built on part of that land, and most of the rest is leased out for farming.
• Extended an agreement with West Yost Associates to study water pressure and capacity related to new development. The agreement, which is a contract for up to $2 million worth of engineering services, dates back to August 2014 and was due to expire at the end of the month, but now is good until the end of the year.
• Hired two consultants, at $200,000 each per year, to provide land surveying and engineering assistance to the city staff. David W. Enke and MCR Engineering will help the city’s engineering department with a detailed review of plans for new development in the International Park of Commerce, Northeast Industrial Area, Interstate 205 Corridor, TracyHills, Ellis and other projects.
• Authorized Parks & Recreation Director Brian MacDonald to apply for $67,962 in state transit funding through the Low Carbon Transit Operation Program. The money would subsidize Tracer bus fares for local students through the 2020-21 school year.
• Approved spending up to $600,000 over the next five years with engineering consultant Reinard W. Brandley for work related to TracyMunicipalAirport. The consultant, who specializes in airport construction projects such as runways, taxiways, lighting and hangar buildings, will be involved in improvements at the airport.
• Adopted an ordinance that updates speed limits on streets around town. It confirms that the city studied speeds that drivers actually travel at on certain roads, and by doing so it allows police to use radar devices to enforce the new speed limits.
• Agreed to forgo formal requests for proposals and amend existing agreements with Daniel P. Doporto and the law firm of Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson through June 2021. Doporto advises the city on land use matters and will be paid up to $150,000, of which up to $100,000 could be reimbursed by developers. Meyers Nave will be paid up to $50,000 to represent the city in administrative hearings, contract issues, eviction and rent control, and First Amendment issues.
• Approved a three-year agreement, at a cost of $162,375, with Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. to provide Geographic Information Systems software, which is used by the city’s police, fire, development services, public works and finance departments, as well as the city manager’s office, for a variety of mapping needs.
• Passed a resolution recognizing the importance of the 2020 U.S. census, and affirming the city’s commitment to make sure the city staff, which is involved with San Joaquin County Complete Count Committee, gets an accurate population count.
• Approved an updated Master Fee Schedule, which applies to a variety of city services, such as building permits, planning and development reviews, document reproduction, renting of city parks and recreation facilities and other city buildings, parks and recreation classes and programs, and police records, permits and some services. It does not affect utility bills, landscape district assessments, business license fees or fines.
• Approved a list of council member assignments to various committees, including those where the city of Tracy interacts with other local agencies, and those where the city is represented on regional agencies.
• Agreed to add a section for “council items and comments” to special meeting agendas. Traditionally there is a place at the end of regular meeting agendas for council members to discuss whatever is on their minds, but until now that had not been a feature of special meetings called for specific issues or purposes.