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Budget, Utility Tax in Front of Pinole City Council Again

Deadlines loom as council is scheduled to take up vital issues Tuesday.

Facing a July 1 deadline to pass a budget and the uncertain fate of 20 percent of city revenue on the line, the Pinole City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss pressing fiscal challenges.

The council will hold a public hearing on adoption of the 2012-13 budget and will consider its next move on how to address the pending expiration of the 8 percent utility tax at the end of this year. It also has public employee labor union negotiations on its plate.

In a series of recent previous public workshops, the council has discussed two budget possibilities. One assumes that voters will approve a November ballot measure to extend the utility tax and the other presumes the loss of about $1 million for the budget year if voters reject the tax and ensuing slashes to the budget.

Such cuts would continue the trend of recent years, in which the city has seen a drop in revenues from sales and property tax and the state's elimination of redevelopment agencies last year. There have been numerous job cuts and increases in fees for recreation, senior and child care programs in moves to make balanced budgets.

Without the tax renewal, the city is looking at erasing about 14 jobs, including police officers and firefighters. Also dependent on the tax are subsidies for the Pinole Swim Center and the city's Cable TV operations.

The council has yet to determine what rate or sunset date would apply to a utility tax extension, although some proposal is likely to be placed before voters in the Nov. 6 election.

The attached document includes the meeting agenda and staff reports.

The public portion of the meeting is expected to begin at 7 p.m., following a 5:30 p.m. closed session meeting about ongoing negotiations with public employee labor unions. The meeting will be broadcast live and streamed on the Internet by Pinole TV.

M. Alegria June 29, 2012 at 06:08 AM
M/M Nan, From your remarks, you seem to be satisfied with the city council and city manager's job performance? Perhaps you should go to the city council and speak in support of a salary increase for Belinda Espinosa since her salary is well below her peers. Nan, you give me too much credit, I was only one vote on the city council. Murray, Horton and Boyle all voted to support re-negotiating the Bistro loan (remember Murray and Boyle were on the redevelopment subcommittee who made the recommendation) which was repaid in full and with interest, unlike the Tom Gozzano and Pantonni loans which the current city council voted to bail out at a cost of millions of loss revenue to Pinole taxpayers, or the $400k "grant" to Tina's Place. As a private citizen who has chosen to exercise my right to "free speech" (which obviously bothers you), and unlike you, I don't hide behind a "pseudonym".
Nan July 01, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I'm not here to comment on your right to free speech; only your need to be factual if you are trying to influence people reading this blog. For the last 2 years on the Council, or at least until Cole resigned, you had the majority of votes, which would have put you in the position of changing policy, especially as it related to the redevelopment subcommittee. You certainly exercised that majority vote to terminate the city manager. And on that topic, it is my understanding that upon her return, her contract was no different than the one she had when she was terminated my you. And nothing I have written suggests that she should be given an increase. I brought it up because you continue to talk about her "extravagant" package. I only was pointing out that it isn't so extravagant in comparison to other surrounding communities...but you know that. As to the comparison of the Bistro loan to the Gozzano and Pantonni loans, there is none. Absent of your support, the Pear Street was paid off pursuant to the contract. Both Gozzano and Pantonni were unable to perform. As the contract was written, the City was left holding the bag....terms that as part of the council, you agreed to. So if the City did not take over and pay off the loan, the bank would have come after the assets of the City, since the "Downtown Partners LLC", only had the building as its sole asset.
Nan July 01, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Continued....According to my research, Panatonni was a similar situation, however the majority of the council did remove part of Panatonni's obligations prior to their short sale. I believe that was not a unanimous vote of the council at that time. And once again you were a part of the council that approved the lease at the Tina's site and while a sitting member, you wanted the funds appropriated for restraunt use. By the way, $300,000 was alotted for improvements to Tina's. The balance was previously used for the architect, and once again these expenditures were a part of your tenure. So if in hindsite you think you made a poor decision, then say so. So while I could care less about your opinions, when you try to build upon them based upon incorrect and misleading statements, then I intend to correct them if I know otherwise. Having a different opinion based upon the same information is human nature...spinning the facts to mislead is why you were recalled and are unelectable. By the way, I am using my real name. I'm just not exposing my last name so you can contact me as you have done with others.
M. Alegria July 03, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Nan, This council has left a legacy of "bad to worst" deals over the last four years that have left our Pinole on the brink of bankruptcy. Again, I was not on the city council that bailed out Tom Gozzano, Panatonni or approved the "Tina's Place" $300K deal. These decisions by the current city council add up to over $5million of lost revenue that the taxpayers/citizens of Pinole will never see again. In response to your admission about your true identity. "Yes, I'm using my first name but I refuse to "expose" my last name." You expect those of us who read this blog to take you seriously? Like you, I'm a private citizen, and believe in "free speech". But somehow, it's ok for you and others to continue your tirade of "hate", "lies", "innuendo" and not be held "accountable"? Consider this comment the last blog in response to you or others who refuse give their "true identities".
Nan July 03, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I am not interested whether you comment or not. The bad "deals" that you reference are all a direct result of contracts that were entered into while you were on Council and legally had to be carried out or terminated based upon contractual language that you approved. I agree that others penned their names as well, but no matter how loud you yell, or become incensed, you are a big part of the financial problems the City faced today. Coupled with the depression of our economy, the best anyone could do was to keep the City a float, (not to be confused with the status-quo). Now that the state is stripping the city of any funding or residual money as earned through redevelopment, keeping the City from bankruptcy is a big deal.

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