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Cloverdale Reveille
Cloverdale, California
September 21, 2011     Cloverdale Reveille
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September 21, 2011

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132 years serving the community 1879 Cloverdale, Sonoma County, CA Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 Volume CXXXII, Issue Number 38 50 Cents CRAWFORD COOLEY, LEFT, VERN LILE, GENO GIANOLI AND DENNIS PARKER shared their stories of yesteryear in Cloverdale at the second annual Jack Howell Founder's Award event hosted by the Cloverdale Historical Society this past Saturday, Sept. 17. reC t e r i CFaverdaFe efore ceCCy s PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR of the Cloverdale Historical Society, Doug Laurice, left, presents the Jack Howell Founder's Award for 2011 to Bruce Reuser, a lifelong resident of Cloverdale. Reuser was acknowledged for his numerous contributions to Cloverdale, including his support in reestablishing the Chamber of Commerce many years ago and enabling the Fiddle Festival to continue after the Cloverdale Historical Society lost financial support. By Roberta Lyons The Cloverdale City Council heard a budget update at its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and will be asked to look at a draft budget proposal at the Sept. 28 council meeting. According to City Manager Nina Regor's presenta- tion, the city will see just a $3,000 ending balance in its general fund in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011/12, but deficits will increase from then on with a projected deficit of about $2.3 million by 2015/16. The city has a budget of about $5.2 mil- lion. As city cotmcil member Car- ol Russell points out: "This is nothing new. We have known about these deficits for awhile now." As both Russell and Regor explained, one of the biggest problems for the city is the continuing decrease in prop- erty tax revenues. In FY 2010/11, property taxes de- creased by about $235,000. On a more positive note, Regor feels that the decreasing property tax floor has been reached and will start to grow again at 2 percent a year. Other revenues should grow by 1.5 percent; but city expenses, especially in personnel, could grow by about five percent in future years. Regor is projecting about $55,000 more in sales tax and $135,000 more in business taxes for 2011/12. To help solve the on-going budget problems she will present some proposals including increased employee cost sharing of medical insurance p~ums and PERS contributions. The city is also freezing two vacant (or pending va- cant) positions until revenues improve. The positions are one utility maintenance worker I and one police dispatcher. There are also some serious "unknowns" in the mix, including the proposed elimination of Redevelopment Agencies, or requirement of cities to "pay to play," if they want to continue with their redevelopment agen- cies. Currently the issue is being litigated with the League of California Cities leading the way in a lawsuit against the state alleging that the legislation is uncon- stitutional. There is uncertainty about the city's motor vehicle in-lieu fees that were cut by $20,000 unless the state passes legislation to provide that funding source. There have also been some last minute conditions put on the city's COPS grant of $100,000 which provides for front- line law enforcement services and subsidizes county booking fees. Council member Russell remains positive about Clo- verdale's future. She lauded city manager Regor for her ex- pertise in budgeting and her ability to explain the details of city financing. She also is en- thusiastic about the city's eco- nomic development plan and says it is bearing fruit. She pointed to new busInesses in town, and said that members of the city's business outreach group have talked to at least 30 businesses interested in Cloverdale. "Our economic development plan is really starting to pay off and we are seeing the fruits of it on the boulevard," Russell stated in a later interview with The Reveille. She said a big effort needs to be made to "fill up every house," here. She believes that if more people live here it will benefit the tax base, pointing out as well, that currently many people are working from their homes which also brings money to Cloverdale. The city must increase revenues to deal with im- pending deficits, is her opinion. "The problem is going ,to be solved by generating money," she said. . ,~ , Czty Manager Regor also explained: It s true that if our current assumptions in the five year forecast held true for five years, and we did nothing about it, there would be a $2.3 million deficit by 2015. However, we know that won't happen because we are obligated to bring the General Fund into balance each year. The $2.3 million is what would happen if we carried for- ward a deficit from the preceding year and it therefore just continued to grow over the time period. Because the assumptions become less and less reliable the fur- ther out we look, we don't even try to find solutions beyond the current or the next year. The out years of the forecast are simply a tool to help us understand the implications of current trends." The Cloverdale City Council approved the expenditure of almost $14,000 to address security issues at Clark Park and to modify some of the playground equipment. Clark Park, in the Tarman neighborhood of Cloverdale, is plagued with gang and juvenile delinquent activities. The City of Cloverdale's Public Services Subcommittee has been looking into ways to mitigate the situation and recommends the installation of a security camera system including monitoring devices. The new system will have four cameras per unit; the cameras have "plug-n-play," portability, so if Clark Park were to no longer need them the units could be moved to a new location; the systems needs only 110 power to run, records up to 45 days of video which can be played back remotely, and has central monitoring software, web browser viewing and i-phone app viewing. CPD dispatchers will be able to pull up the cameras on screen in the station, as well as CPD officers will be able to pull up the cameras on the screens in their cars. "Because the system will be run off of a wireless cell card that would live in the camera and transmit the data, there will be an on-going monthly cost of $50 per month, or $600 per year to the city's general fund," explained City Manager Nina Regor in her staff report to the council at the Sept. 14 meeting. The camera security system will cost $10,000 and the purchase of a small piece of playground equipment which will be used to modify existing modular equipment in order to make it more secure is $3,900. The money for the project is coming from Quimby Act funds which are funds generated through fees paid in lieu of dedicated parks within subdivisions at the time of development. "This is really important," noted council member Carol Russell. "I'm not big on 'Big Brother,' but I don't want people to be afraid of gang and drug activity. There is vandalism and graffiti at this park. We don't allow it in any other park, and we won't allow it at Clark Park." Russell commented that it is a sad state of affairs when the city has to spend money to protect a park that the taxpayers help pay for. CLARK PARK WILL BE GETTING A NEW $10,000 visual monitoring system to discourage vandalism, graffiti and Illegal activity at the OCTAVIO LOPEZ AND HIS TWO YEAR OLD SON ANDRES enjoy spending park. This photo shows a pair of tennis shoes thrown over the overhead time at Clark Park. Andres often comes to the park to play on the wires just across from the park. Some suggest that this is a signal of equipment while his father or mother supervise, drug activity in the vicinity.