CONCORD -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider an ordinance requiring one-time revenues and budget surplus moneys to be used to fund specific needs, including retiree benefits and a backlog of repairs to roadways and other infrastructure.
Since February, Mayor Tim Grayson and Councilman Ron Leone, as members of the Policy Development and Internal Operations Committee, have been working with city staffers on a proposed ordinance.
While pensions, retiree medical benefits and infrastructure maintenance are the primary focus, the funds also could be used for special or one-time projects or to restore reserves.
The final ordinance will be posted online with the May 27 meeting agenda.
From fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2008, Concord had an average net budget surplus of $4.2 million, according to the city staff. Although the Finance Department hasn't tracked one-time funds, in fiscal year 2012 Concord received a total of $2.4 million, including $877,490 from reimbursement of a property tax administration fee and $987,294 in redevelopment funds.
"We will direct those moneys to high priorities of the council and the city, and one of those high priorities is unfunded liabilities," Grayson said. "We are coming up with a very strong plan to make sure money isn't lost in the general fund, but that every council's No. 1 priority is dealing with unfunded liabilities."
Funds from Measure Q, the half-cent sales tax increase voters approved in 2010, won't be subject to the requirements of the ordinance. Although Measure Q revenue isn't ongoing -- the tax hike expires in March 2016 -- the city is bound by the ballot language to use the funds to maintain core city services such as police protection, youth and senior programs.
The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget projects total revenues of $85 million -- including about $29 million in regular sales tax, $11.6 million in Measure Q sales tax dollars, and $20 million from property tax. Expenditures are projected to be $81.4 million, up $2.3 million from the current fiscal year.
The budget includes $1.2 million for the full annual contribution to the City of Concord Retirement System, a closed plan for about 200 former employees hired before 1993, the year the city joined CalPERS.
But an additional $5.9 million for roadway and street sign improvements, $1.2 million for building maintenance and $1.2 million for retiree medical benefits the city should be spending each year isn't built into the 10-year financial forecast.
The draft ordinance requires the council to use one-time and budget surplus funds for the annual contributions to the City of Concord Retirement System and retiree medical benefits, the infrastructure backlog, unfunded liabilities for retiree benefits, special or one-time nonrecurring expenditure needs or to replenish the general fund reserves.
Deviating from the policy set forth in the draft ordinance would require a supermajority of the City Council, according to the draft ordinance.
In 2012, the Walnut Creek City Council adopted a "one-time money" policy that requires spending such funds on unfunded capital needs and upgrading the city's information technology systems.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.