San Bruno Council hears presentationsBy Joe Capote
The San Bruno city council received a number of presentations and reports from staff as well as members of the San Bruno Park School District board. Most of the reports focused on the quarterly financial reporting.
The meeting opened with a presentation from San Bruno Park School district board members Kevin Martinez and Jennifer Blanco. Each delivered a short presentation on the upcoming Dia de los Ninos celebration in San Bruno City Park on Saturday, May 8th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Conduct of business included reports from the city treasurer as well as financial reports from the city's financial director and city manager.
San Bruno city treasurer John Marty presented a quarterly investment report to the council. Of the city's investment pie, $8 million dollars is invested in obligation bonds, $10.5 million in an independent investment fund and $16.7 million invested in the San Mateo County investment pool, managed by the county treasurer's office.
In addition, Marty reported on the possible reimbursement of losses in Lehman investments to local agencies. According to the federal secretary of the treasury, it is not within the treasury's means to make reimbursements. Further discussions regarding profits received from paid-in-full TARP funds which could be used to purchase Lehman bonds at par were discussed. Marty is awaiting further news from the county treasurer's office on this possible option.
The city council was then presented a quarterly financial report from San Bruno finance director Edmund Suen. Suen reported that sales taxes were flat from this time last year and that the TOT, while showing signs of improvement over recent months, was down from one year ago at this time. Property tax was up this year over this period last fiscal year and the general fund, internal services funds and enterprise funds measured positively against last year's performance.
San Bruno unemployment numbers remained in alignment with San Mateo County. The current unemployment rate of 8.5%, up slightly from 8.2% this time last year, was in line with the county's rate of ~9%.
Proposed changes to the reserve policies were discussed with the board by finance manager Suen. Both the general fund and capital equipment fund reserves were discussed. The proposed changes to the general fund reserve to minimum 2months annual expenses or 16.6%. This minimum would allow for the excess fund to be worked back into the general fund for use. The proposed capital equipment reserve would cap at 50% of the total value of the city's equipment assets. Like the general fund, this would open up excess reserve fund money for use.
All council members expressed concern over the proposed changes. "I don't know that that's enough," observed vice-mayor Rico Medina. "I would like to see what other cities are doing to get an apples to apples comparison". Mayor Jim Ruane agreed. "Two months is not enough for me" said Ruane.
Other matters that were discussed as part of the reports were the $1.3 million budget deficit. As part of the budget meetings last March, proposed budget shortfall strategies included personnel cuts, redevelopment loan repayments and ERAF reimbursements. These strategies will not bridge the budge gap entirely, leaving remaining $378k shortfall. Further cuts in city staff were discussed to balance the budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Lastly, an oral report was delivered by council member Ibarra regarding the annual San Mateo County progress seminar. The seminar, attended by Ibarra and council member Irene O'Connell, consisted of a day of breakout sessions. Topics included shared services, banking, education, water and social networking.
The next council meeting is scheduled for May 11th.
Copyright ©2010 San Bruno Views. Published 04/28/2010.