Fiscal Year 2018-19 Narrative Budget Report and 10-Year Financial Forecast

On May 1st, the Council provided initial direction on recommendations for the FY 2018-19 budget. Staff indicated that the City continues to benefit from significant property tax growth resulting from new development and changes in property ownership. With a recommendation to add a net 14.5 new positions to address heavy workloads and increase staff capacity, the City is approaching the 2001-02 peak of approximately 650 positions. If the new positions are approved, there will be a total of 632.25 positions (ongoing and limited-period). Much of the increase will support the Community Development and Public Works departments, which are experiencing the heaviest workload due to significant demand for development in the City.

In the 10-year financial forecast, staff projects that the next recession will begin in Fiscal Year 2020-21, later than the previously projected 2018-19 timeframe. If the project is accurate, it would mark the longest economic expansion in recent history. Staff also forecasts modest deficits beginning from the projected recession through Fiscal Year 2027-28, the end of the forecast period.

The City projects $137.4 million in revenue and $124.8 million in expenditures in FY 2018-19. Using the surplus, Council approved staff recommendations, including funding a new Transportation Reserve and paying down employee pension unfunded liabilities. Additionally, responding to significant public support for new positions to focus on environmental sustainability, Council directed the City Manager to prepare for additional staffing to implement the anticipated recommendations from the Environmental Sustainability Task Force (ESTF-2). Finally, Council approved a number of other minor expenditures, including membership in an organization lobbying to address airplane noise, employee appreciation (potentially a one-time cash bonus), and new furniture in a council committee room.

Development of Commercial Cannabis Regulations

Council provided additional direction on the development of commercial cannabis regulations during a study session held on May 8th. A majority of the Council supported maintaining a 600-foot buffer from schools, but decreasing the buffer from child-care centers and day-care facilities. The Council also directed staff to study allowing storefront cannabis retail businesses in large retail centers (like the San Antonio Shopping Center and El Camino areas), Downtown, and Retail and Neighborhood Service areas (like North Bayshore and the East Whisman area). Finally, the Council supported limiting the total number of cannabis businesses permitted and establishing a permitting process.

2017 State of Mountain View Seniors Report & Age-Friendly City Update

The May 8th Council meeting included two consent items related to Mountain View’s senior population. (Consent items are usually non-controversial and approved without any discussion from the Council.)

The first was an update regarding the City’s World Health Organization’s (WHO) Age-Friendly City designation. This designation reflects a city’s efforts to support senior residents in eight “domains:” housing, transportation, communication and information, community support and health services, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, respect and social inclusion, and civic participation and employment. The WHO accepted the City of Mountain View as a new member of the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in February 2017. Subsequently, the City established an Age-Friendly Task Force that prioritized two domains: Community and Information, and Respect and Social Inclusion. The Task Force will create a resource guide for seniors and develop a community survey to gather more information about the needs of seniors in Mountain View.

The second item was “The State of Mountain View Seniors” annual report, prepared by the Senior Advisory Committee. The report includes an analysis of the demographics of the senior population in Mountain View as well as an assessment of the needs of and the existing services available to seniors. The report highlights the rapidly aging population as residents live longer, and it identifies housing affordability as a key issue affecting seniors in Mountain View.

North Bayshore Precise Plan and Master Plans

“Master Plans” show how an area is proposed to be developed over time. To implement the North Bayshore Precise Plan, Council previous approved the use of Master Plans to ensure the creation of three complete neighborhoods: Joaquin, Shorebird, and Pear. The Plans would include land uses, project size(s) and location(s), open space locations, new blocks, traffic circulation, conceptual architecture and infrastructure, and construction phasing. Each of the proposed new neighborhoods have unique considerations, most notably differences in the number of land owners and the amount of land owned in each of the areas.

On May 22nd, the Council reiterated its support for this conceptual planning process. Master Plans could be proposed by property owners or, particularly if there is not agreement between property owners, developed with City assistance.

— Lucas Ramirez, Observer