CONCORD -- A mix of political newcomers and repeat candidates are challenging three incumbents for a City Council seat in a race where Concord's financial future is likely to be a key issue.
Last month, the council voted unanimously to place on the November ballot a nine-year extension of Measure Q, which is set to expire in March 2016.
Without the additional tax revenue, city leaders will need to identify $4 million in ongoing budget cuts that could mean reduced police services, fewer recreation programs and deferred infrastructure maintenance. Under Measure Q, the total sales tax rate in Concord is 9 percent.
The council's decision to limit lifetime retiree health coverage for elected officials probably will be another central issue in the election since Terry Kremin -- an outspoken critic of the perk -- is running.
Under the proposal the council endorsed, Concord would create a new employee group for future council members and city treasurers who would have to serve at least 30 consecutive years in office with the city and retire at age 65 or older to be eligible for lifetime medical benefits.
Members of this group also would not receive pension benefits through the California Public Employees Retirement System, known as CalPERS.
Currently, Concord is paying about $29,000 total per year for health benefits for four former elected officials.
Mayor Tim Grayson and Councilman Ron Leone are seeking second terms, while Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister is up for a fifth term.
The challengers are:
Adam Foster, city planner
Patrick Hogoboom, stay-at-home dad
Terry Kremin, educator/scientist (ran for council in 2012)
Harmesh Kumar, psychologist, Measure Q Oversight Committee member (ran for council in 2012)
Vernon Kurpieski, coach/retired (ran for council in 2012)
Nicholas Lynch, industrial packaging sales
Brent Trublood, teacher.
Concord City Treasurer Thomas Wentling faces Louis Mazzarella.
Two years ago, they were on opposite sides on the failed measure to make the city treasurer an appointed position. Wentling supported the change while Mazzarella ran the campaign against it.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.