News Release- City Council Adopts Structurally Balanced Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20
City Council Adopts Structurally Balanced Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20
$157.4 million General Fund budget supports the City Council’s top priorities of housing, transportation, and children and youth
REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. -- Last night at the final City Council meeting of the Fiscal Year, the City Council adopted a structurally balanced budget that focuses on the City Council’s top priorities of housing, transportation and children and youth while addressing unfunded liabilities. The General Fund revenue portion of the budget is $157.4 million and supports most City services including library, parks and recreation, and public safety services. The FY 2019-20 Adopted Budget for all funds totals $301.6 million in revenues and $290.0 million in expenditures. The City’s Fiscal Year begins on July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2020.
“The Adopted Budget is structurally balanced and focuses resources on the City Council’s top three priorities of housing, transportation and children and youth,” said Ian Bain, mayor of the City of Redwood City. “Because the Redwood City School District’s has faced difficult challenges, the Adopted Budget aims to help using one-time funding to help with school site consolidation. This includes supporting safe travel around schools and increased afterschool programs for children.”
In addition to furthering City Council priorities, the Adopted Budget pays down pension liabilities to save on interest, and uses community input shared at a recent community budget workshop to contain costs through efficiencies, innovations and partnerships.
The Adopted Budget furthers an annual Capital Improvement Program (CIP), funding 54 projects requiring $24.8 million. Capital projects range from supporting parks and public safety to transportation, water and utilities. The City also develops a Five‐Year Capital Improvement Program, which is a guiding document outlining all infrastructure needs of the City and includes 84 total projects requiring $238.9 million in funding. Total funding is not allocated in future years beyond the next fiscal year.
A 10-year General Fund forecast was presented with the budget to provide a long-term roadmap to financial sustainability. The 10-year General Fund forecast anticipates a future economic downturn in FY 2020-21, and when combined with rising mandated pension contributions, the City projects a budget deficit to begin in FY 2021-22 and increase annually over the 10-Year Forecast timeframe. This projected deficit in outer years will require the City to continue to manage costs and to explore new revenue sources. The City Council’s Finance/Audit Subcommittee will assess options over the next fiscal year for future City Council discussion.
Supports City Council Top Three Priorities of Housing, Transportation, and Children and Youth
The City Council’s top priority is housing. In addressing housing stability for all in the community, the City is pursuing short-term, mid-term, and long-term approaches to housing. New initiatives are arising based on City Council input and community feedback shared during last year’s Home for All community conversations.
Housing priorities include:
- Commence construction of a 20 for-purchase Habitat for Humanity affordable housing units at 612 Jefferson and 100 percent affordable housing apartment development at 353 Main (125 affordable housing units) by fall 2019
- Launch two pilot Housing and Homelessness Innovation Team initiatives by January 2020: a Downtown Streets Team, which will hire homeless residents to help clean and beautify the City with the goal of helping people develop job skills and landing a full-time job; and the Housing Locater Assister, which will assist homeless or at-risk households find affordable housing
- Collaborate with the City’s school districts to explore work force housing opportunities for school district and City employees by February 2020
- Develop a plan by June 2020 to increase the City’s overall effectiveness at serving homeless residents and helping them get housing
- Convene an annual meeting with affordable housing development organizations/developers to provide updates on City affordable housing policies/programs and Opportunity Zone benefits by June 2020
The Adopted Budget continues momentum on regional and local projects to make it easier and safer to get around within Redwood City and beyond. Much of this work requires close coordination with regional transportation partners and advocacy for Redwood City’s needs. Transportation priorities include:
- Kick off the Roosevelt Traffic Calming project and present design options for community input by October 2019, and preferred design alternatives in early 2020
- Increasing parking enforcement staffing by two positions (for a total of 4 positions) by fall 2019 to address additional neighborhood parking and Downtown parking needs and reclassify two existing parking enforcement officer positions to support abandoned vehicle abatement and traffic safety duties in support of the Traffic Unit by fall 2019
- Complete construction of the US Highway 101 Pedestrian Undercrossing between Bair Island Road and Main Street providing an important pedestrian and bicycle connection from the neighborhoods east of Highway 101 to the downtown area by December 2019
- Advance design of the Whipple Grade Separation project and develop conceptual grade separation alternatives by early 2020 and complete design of US Highway 101/84 Interchange Project by summer 2020
- Coordinate with regional partners throughout the year to further key transportation projects including the Redwood City Ferry Terminal Project, the Dumbarton Transportation Project, and the Caltrain Electrification and Modernization Project
Children and Youth
The Adopted Budget supports children and youth through a wide range of services and projects, including:
- Invest in parks and library infrastructure to expand Redwood City’s spaces for children including Hoover Park Turf Project by August 2019, Magical Bridge Playground by December 2019, and temporary pop-up activities like Putt’n Around Mini-golf throughout the year
- Launch new library programs and activities for seniors, veterans, LGBTQ+ residents, people of color, people with disabilities, and opportunity youth (those aged 16-24 who are not currently in school or employed), and work directly with these populations in the development of new programs and library collections that meet their needs by December 2019
- Install the Pirate Ship Imaginative Art Area for children and families at the Redwood Shores Branch Library by the end of 2019 and create a new makerspace/technology lab for people of all ages at the Downtown Library by April 2020
- Explore a temporary pop-up teen center in the Downtown by spring of 2020
- Conduct a Teen Citizen Police Academy and a Junior Fire Academy by June 2020
Continuing Budget Transparency
The City will also continue to improve community access to the City’s financial information. The City is partnering with OpenGov, which is headquartered in Redwood City, to share fiscal information online in more user-friendly formats. In early 2020, the City will launch new online dashboards, and share performance measures and other financial reports with the community.
Furthering Proactive Fiscal Management
The City’s proactive fiscal management has resulted in several recognitions by outside agencies. In 2018, Moody’s upgraded the City’s overall credit rating to Aa1, which is the second highest rating a municipality can receive and the City received the Distinguished Budget Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. The City also receives clean audits from independent, outside auditors every year. Approval of the budget completes a process that began in February, with multiple City Council meetings as well as a community budget workshop held in April.
Available Online Budget Resources
The budget determines the services the City provides to the community, the staffing of the organization, and sets the amount of funds spent in any given fiscal year. The Adopted Budget addresses the City Council’s strategic priorities and policy direction on fiscal sustainability by relying on ongoing revenue to fund ongoing expenses, using one-time revenues for one-time expenses, maintaining adequate reserves, and addressing long-term liabilities.
For more budget information, go here, www.redwoodcity.org/fiscalupdate
For the FY 2019-20 Adopted Budget and the Five-Year CIP, go here, https://www.redwoodcity.org/financereports