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November 2020 Newsletter Article - 1% Sales Tax Measure D-20 - Thank you Atascadero Voters! and Oversight/Public Input Process

The City of Atascadero is extremely grateful for the recent passage of the 1% Sales Tax Measure D-20, thank you, Atascadero voters!

The City Council has already expressed their unified desire to ensure public engagement, transparency and accountability for this Measure. Therefore, before the City ever receives any D-20 funding, there will be numerous public meetings to provide opportunities for public input on the expenditure of these funds. The first budget after implementation of the Measure will be the most critical in determining on which highest priorities the funds should be spent.

Beginning early next year and in order to achieve the level of public participation and outreach desired by the Council, the following public meetings are being scheduled:

  • Kickoff Session: Tuesday, January 12th at 6p.m., during the regular City Council Meeting
  • Study Session 1: Thursday, January 14th at 10 a.m.
  • Study Session 2: Thursday, January 14th at 2 p.m.
  • Study Session 3: Wednesday, January 20th at 4 p.m.
  • Study Session 4: Saturday, January 23rd, at 10 a.m.
  • Study Session 5: Thursday, January 28th, at 6 p.m.
  • Study Session 6: Friday, January 29th, at noon
  • Study Session 7: Monday, February 1st, at 1:30 p.m.
  • Study Session 8: Thursday, February 4th, at 4 p.m.
  • Study Session 9: Saturday, February 6th, at 9 a.m.

At each study session, Staff will give a presentation about the current service levels in each department,  the immediate needs to maintain service levels, and will answer questions from the public to engender a broader understanding of what needs are not being met to maintain the service levels expected by community. Members of the public will only need to attend one of these sessions to voice their opinion.

Staff will gather all of the public input and will prepare a report for the Council’s annual goal setting session, tentatively scheduled for the evening of February 19th and continuing the day of February 20th.  Then, at their March 9th meeting, City Council members will review and confirm or revise any direction provided during that goal setting session and the public will have another opportunity for comment. At the April 27th Council meeting, staff will provide an Action Plan with detailed steps to be taken and the estimated costs associated with each, and the public will again be able to provide input. All action included in the Council-approved Action Plan would be incorporated into the City’s 2021-2023 budget.

In addition, there will be no less than six well-publicized Finance Committee meetings held between mid-April and the end of May that the public may attend, during which various sections of the budget will be discussed in detail.  At the June 8th Council meeting, the budgets for fiscal year 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 will be presented for adoption, incorporating the priorities, actions, service levels and metrics developed throughout this expanded public process. 

Council will review the first annual D-20 report during their July 13th meeting, which will include information on where the funds are going to be spent, what is to be achieved by the expenditure of these funds and what metrics will be used to determine success. This report will also be distributed to all residents and businesses.

Furthermore, after the end of each fiscal year, the Finance Committee will hold a well-advertised public meeting to review in detail where the funds were spent and to approve the annual report. Each annual report will include metrics information on where funds were spent and what was achieved.

Community members are highly encouraged to attend and participate in any of these public meetings to ensure their voice is heard. As always, if you have any questions regarding this or another topic related to the City of Atascadero, feel free to contact me at rrickard@atascadero.org.

 

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