City and Challenges
The City has enjoyed many years of prosperity coupled with prudent management. This combined with a model community situated in close proximity to Silicon Valley has created a perfect storm of social and financial viability. Foster City continues to be the place of choice for young families who desire to raise their family in a safe and welcoming community.
Last month, the world’s best congregated to celebrate sport and excellence at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It is no small task for the host country or the athletes who aspire to extraordinary feats of athletic and logistical excellence. Years of planning, preparation, and design culminate in success or failure. The end-result has a date - certain by which all those efforts can be measured. Our City has a similar herculean task at hand; we must create a sustainable plan for success.
While success for an athlete can be quantified at the end of a race, this is not the case for our City. In fact our continued viability cannot be measured on one day or any one period in the near future. It is a Sisyphean task of endless repetition with no foreseeable end in sight. We, as a City, must continue to reinvent ourselves to maintain the profit-centers which fuel our economic engine. We must reinvest in the infrastructure that has created our high property values and tax base. We must fund our City services and staff so that we maintain our public safety and infrastructure vitality. Finally, we must manage the budget that provides for the delivery of all of the above.
Over the coming months, we will begin the discussion on how we will address the 1.6 million dollar structural budgetary deficit in the next cycle. Our City Manager and his staff are now preparing various scenarios on how we can meet our Council’s goal of a balanced budget. I am confident that we as a Council will be presented with sound and prudent options that will responsibly allow us to both meet this goal and continue to provide the “quality of life” that our residents enjoy.
It is important to note that almost 80% of our City’s budget goes towards salaries. These are the salaries of Police, Fire, Parks, Public Works, and administrative workers. These individuals create and maintain the quality of life that we enjoy. Each of these departments has been asked to cut their expenditures and have delivered on several levels. This cooperation has resulted in significant savings which help the City meet the budgetary goals established by Councils past. By way of example, our City has saved significant dollars by the Shared Fire Services at the Administrative level with San Mateo.
Over the next months, I want to share with you some of the efforts the City and its employees have made to help us meet our budgetary goals. These efforts have allowed us to maintain a strong reserve fund and the funds to maintain our infrastructure.
We must continue our prudent management of our reserves and potential windfall from business deals in the economic pipeline. We must continue to create and recreate ourselves to meet the new challenges of doing business in the new economic environment. Finally, now more than ever we must find new streams of revenue to help us maintain those salaries that provide for the Foster City we all have come to love and experience as residents and families. It is a never-ending task but it is endlessly rewarding to our Foster City Families.