Our second city hall meeting was on Jan 18, 2022. Here are some highlights from Finance.
We’ve had our best sales tax year so far! 2021 Sales tax for year to date (YTD) Jan to Nov collections are $13,880158.60. This exceeds 2021 adopted budget estimates (which was about $9.89 million dollars). In fact we have exceeded the City’s best sales tax year, 2019 (2019 Sales tax receipts were $13.4 million), and the 2021 numbers are not yet final! December data will be reported in February. I will keep you posted.
Occupancy tax (which is distributed 2% to City Center, 2% to Discover Saratoga, 1% to County and 1% to City) for 2021 YTD is $586,747.41 This is significantly greater than 2020 but about 11% lower than 2019 which was $662,962.94This is about not a main source of revenue but an important economic indicator of our city tourism. We are hoping for a better 2022 tourism cycle and a better number in 2022.
Supervisor Gaston noted in her report that the county does not provide masks or tests for our city hall employees. The city does not have money in the 2022 Risk and Safety budget for masks. The City did not receive masks in 2021 other than the year end masks given to County Supervisors. The County did not supply masks for City for employee use. Each department budgeted for their own purchase of masks and deployed them per their departmental activities and duty statements. Similarly, there has been no communication from County indicating they will be supplying COVID test kits for our city employees.
As we know COVID is changing and evolving. Hence to ensure the safety of our city hall employees, I have created an assignment (which was unanimously approved) to put $50,000 from our city’s unassigned, unrestricted fund balance for COVID safety purchases for city hall employees. Having these funds assigned will help our city manage COVID, keep our employees safe and help us provide services to all our constituents.
Assignments are NOT appropriations. They are unspent cash in the bank that is restricted to use as the assignment dictates. Assignments may be increased, decreased, or extinguished by simple Council action. Any money that is not used goes back to the general fund.
In other news
I appointed Laura Faulk to the new Infrastructure Committee which is chaired by Joanne Yepsen. Ms. Faulk has 33 years of for-profit and non-profit experience in engineering, management, and executive roles. She is on the board of Sustainable Saratoga where she chairs the Climate and Energy Committee and serves on the Climate Reality Project where she’s the chair of the Federal Lobby Team, and Co-chair of the State Legislative Working Group. I believe she will make a great addition to our Infrastructure committee and I look forward to seeing good work come out of it.
I also nominated Jennifer Leidig to the Civil Service Commission. Ms. Leidig has served on our Saratoga Springs School Board and Saratoga Hospital Foundation board. Her work and expertise is varied and rich and I believe she will make a great addition to our civil service commission. I am happy to report the council voted unanimously to appoint Ms. Leidig to the civil service commission.
Ms. Carton made a presentation about our progress on the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail Downtown Connector. We’re very excited to support this project.