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Budget, Utility Tax in Front of Pinole City Council Again

Deadlines loom as council is scheduled to take up vital issues Tuesday.

Budget, Utility Tax in Front of Pinole City Council Again

Facing a July 1 deadline to pass a budget and the uncertain fate of 20 percent of city revenue on the line, the Pinole City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss pressing fiscal challenges.

The council will hold a public hearing on adoption of the 2012-13 budget and will consider its next move on how to address the pending expiration of the 8 percent utility tax at the end of this year. It also has public employee labor union negotiations on its plate.

In a series of recent previous public workshops, the council has discussed two budget possibilities. One assumes that voters will approve a November ballot measure to extend the utility tax and the other presumes the loss of about $1 million for the budget year if voters reject the tax and ensuing slashes to the budget.

Such cuts would continue the trend of recent years, in which the city has seen a drop in revenues from sales and property tax and the state's elimination of redevelopment agencies last year. There have been numerous job cuts and increases in fees for recreation, senior and child care programs in moves to make balanced budgets.

Without the tax renewal, the city is looking at erasing about 14 jobs, including police officers and firefighters. Also dependent on the tax are subsidies for the Pinole Swim Center and the city's Cable TV operations.

The council has yet to determine what rate or sunset date would apply to a utility tax extension, although some proposal is likely to be placed before voters in the Nov. 6 election.

The attached document includes the meeting agenda and staff reports.

The public portion of the meeting is expected to begin at 7 p.m., following a 5:30 p.m. closed session meeting about ongoing negotiations with public employee labor unions. The meeting will be broadcast live and streamed on the Internet by Pinole TV.

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