Adopt Mid-Year Budget Revision - YES
I voted to adopt our mid-year budget revision after a thorough presentation on the proposed changes from staff. This is a routine process; when you set a budget for the coming year, you don't always know how revenues will compare to what you had originally forecast, or what unexpected expenses might pop up. We typically do a mid-year check-in to see how things are tracking, and make any necessary adjustments.
Most of the items in this revision were pretty ordinary, but I do want to draw attention to two important matters for us to keep an eye on:
First, last year, one of the businesses in town made a reporting error that caused the state to over-pay their sales tax to the Town of Corte Madera by nearly $6 million. When the issue was caught, all parties agreed we needed to make it right—but now, due to what can only be described as bureaucratic insanity, the state is claiming that they will take back not only the overpayment, but an additional $1.8 million as well, the majority of which is rightly due to Corte Madera. In other words, the state is saying they will essentially fine Corte Madera taxpayers more than $1 million, in response to somebody else's mistake. This would obviously be unacceptable, both morally and fiscally, to the Town, and we are working with the state to ensure this issue is corrected fairly.
Second, despite our hard work in putting our Town on the path to paying off all our pension debts, CalPERS (the state's pension system) has had another horrible year for its investment returns, which has resulted in new pension debt for Corte Madera (we expect around $2 million). We are watching this situation closely, and Town leadership will work with our Finance Committee of resident experts to develop a strategy for how and when to pay this off, if it becomes necessary (I say "if" because, should CalPERS have another good year for its investment returns, this debt could be wiped out all by itself).
These are two important matters of fiscal responsibility that we will keep a close eye on in the weeks and months ahead, to make sure our progress is not jeopardized.