Archive for the ‘Taxes’ Category

Gov. Newsom signs Executive Order providing relief to California small businesses

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Order provides 90-day extension in state and local taxes, including sales tax; extends licensing deadlines and requirements for a number of industries

SACRAMENTO – On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will provide tax, regulatory and licensing extensions for businesses.

The executive order allows the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes. That means small businesses will have until the end of July to file their first-quarter returns.

Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund by 60 days to accommodate tax and fee payers.

The executive order also includes extensions that impact state government workers, as well as consumers. For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will limit in-person transactions for the next 60 days, allowing instead for mail-in renewals. Additionally, the Department of Consumer Affairs will waive continuing education requirements for several professions, also for the next 60 days.

Further, the order will extend the Office of Administrative Law’s deadlines to review regular department proposed regulations. The order also extends by 60 days the time period to complete investigation of public safety officers based on allegations of misconduct. Finally, deadlines for trainings, investigations, and adverse actions for state workers will also be extended.

A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here, and the text of the order can be found here.

For the latest on the state’s COVID-19 response, visit covid19.ca.gov.

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COVID-19: County Tax Collector cancels late-payment charges if you miss April 10 property tax deadline

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications and Media, Contra Costa County

The Contra Costa County Tax Collector’s Office understands and shares the public’s concern about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our residents and businesses, and we are committed to helping in any way we can. While we have no legal authority to extend the April 10 property tax delinquent deadline, we can cancel late-payment charges.

  • Existing law R&T 4985.2 authorizes us to cancel penalties and interest on a delinquent payment due to circumstances, such as the pandemic that impacts a taxpayer’s ability to make timely payment. Note the penalty cancellation process will require documentation.
  • Nevertheless, those able to pay should do so online, over the phone, through bill pay at one’s own bank, or by mail.  We will honor the U.S. Postal Services’ cancellation postmark as the receiving day for mail-in payments.  The Office cannot accept walk-in payments.
  • For receipt of payment, a copy of your tax bill with the installment’s payment date is available online in View Bill under Account Lookup. We can mail you a copy as well.

For additional information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions, visit our website at www.cctax.us, or email our office at taxinfo@tax.cccounty.us.

For the latest updates on the impacts of the COVID-19 on property tax deadlines, please refer to the Statement from Russell V. Watts, Treasurer-Tax Collector.

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County elections update: Glover inches closer to victory, 30,500 ballots remaining to be counted

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Manual tally to begin Monday, Antioch School District’s Measure T still too close to call

By Allen Payton

With the latest, Interim Update 3 from the Contra Costa County Elections Division from the March 3rd Presidential Primary posted Friday, March 13, there are still approximately 30,500 votes remaining to be counted in the county.

Supervisor Federal Glover gained on his two opponents and is now less than 0.12% from winning re-election outright. He now has 49.89% of the vote for a total of 20,330 votes. His next closest opponent, County Assessor Gus Kramer has 25.62% of the vote or 10,440 votes, followed closely by Martinez Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley with 24.49% or 9,981 votes.

If Glover doesn’t end up having 50% plus one vote, he will face the second-place finisher in a November General Election run-off.

Three of Six Tax Measures Passing

Three of the six tax measures on the ballot in Contra Costa are passing, as of the latest update.

The election for the Antioch Unified School District’s Measure T school improvement bond, covering the former Mello-Roos District 89-1, is still too close to call. It needs 55% of the vote to pass and currently has 53.13% with a margin of 1,511 votes.

In the Lafayette Measure L school district parcel tax election, which requires a 2/3’s vote to pass, it’s succeeding with 72.6% of the vote and a lead of 4,589 votes.

In the Moraga School District, the Measure M parcel tax election, which also requires a 2/3’s vote to pass, is succeeding with 70.27% of the vote and a margin of 2,731 votes.

In the West Contra Costa Unified School District Measure R school bond election, which requires a 55% vote to succeed, it is passing with 57.3% of the vote and leading the No votes by 8,009 votes.

The Pleasant Hill Park and Recreation Department’s Measure A bond measure, which requires a 2/3’s vote to pass, is failing with only 59.55% of the vote, but leading by 2,463 votes. It needs an increase of 6.12% from the remaining votes.

The countywide Measure J half-cent sales tax for transportation, which requires a 2/3’s vote to pass, was also failing with just 50.6% of the vote, and barely leading by 3,472 votes out of 288,644 counted so far.

Danville Development Referendum Passing

In the Town of Danville’s Measure Y referendum, which will approve the development of 69 homes on 410 acres and requires a simple majority to pass, is winning with 54.26% of the vote and a margin of 1,477 votes.

Following are the estimated number of ballots that remain to be counted as of Friday, March 13.

500          Other

29,200     Provisional

800          Conditional Voter Registration

30,500     Total Estimate

Manual Tally

Beginning Monday, March 16 the Elections Division will conduct a manual audit of ballots cast in the March 3rd Presidential Primary. The public is invited to observe the count.

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Want to serve on the county’s Treasury Oversight Committee?

Friday, February 28th, 2020

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking an individual with sound knowledge and experience in the field of public and private finance to serve on the Treasury Oversight Committee (Committee) in the Public Representative Seat #3.  To be considered, candidates must be County residents, may not be employed by an entity that has contributed to the reelection campaign of the County Treasurer or a member of the Board of Supervisors in the previous three years, may not directly or indirectly raise money for the County Treasurer or a member of the Board of Supervisors while a member of the Committee, and may not work for bond underwriters, bond counsel, security brokerages or dealers, or financial services firms with whom the County Treasurer does business, either during his or her tenure on the committee or for one year after leaving the Committee. (Government Code §27132.3).

The Committee meets at 3:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month following each quarter at 625 Court Street, Room B001, Martinez, CA 94553.  Each meeting lasts approximately one hour.  The Committee’s duties include reviewing and monitoring the County Treasurer’s annual investment policy, and ensuring an annual audit is conducted to determine the County Treasurer is in compliance with Government Code §§27130-27137. The annual audits, meeting agendas and minutes of the Committee are available online. Members of the Committee receive no compensation for their service.  The Board of Supervisors will appoint the selected individual to complete the four-year term on May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2024.

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900 or by clicking on the following link: Application Form.  Applications should be returned to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553 no later than Friday, March 27, 2020 by 5 p.m.  More information about the Treasury Oversight Committee can be obtained by calling Russell Watts at (925) 957-2888 or visiting the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Treasury Oversight Committee webpage.

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Antioch School Board places $105 million school facilities improvement bond on March ballot

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Will benefit schools and affect properties in former Mello-Roos District

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wed., Nov. 13, 2019 the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to place a $105 million bond on the March 3, 2020 ballot to pay for improvements to schools in the former Mello-Roos District. The annual cost is estimated at $60 per $100,000 in valuation. So, owners of a home valued at $500,000 will pay $300 per year. Resolution 2019-20-17 Ordering a School Bond Election in SFID No. 2

The bond measure requires a 55% vote of approval to pass and if passed, will raise an average of $7,000,000 annually for 36 years.

“This makes sense. It just makes sense. As a new homeowner I’m a bit scared by the tax,” said Velma Wilson, who was the only member of the public to speak. “I think it’s really good what Antioch High has done with Measure B. So, to see those bonds doing what they’re doing…and our schools with their upgrades, I think this is really good for our school district. Kids like to go to school with good facilities.”

The board also voted 5-0 to approve a resolution creating the facilities district. AUSD Formation of SFID No. 2

The resolution reads as follows:

“The Antioch Unified School District has formed School Facilities Improvement District #2 in the area of Antioch previously impacted by Mello Roos assessments. The Mello Roos District was dissolved in 2016. The Mello Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 provided funds for the District to build schools during a period of rapid growth within Antioch Unified School District. The Mello Roos assessment helped pay for the construction Carmen Dragon Elementary, Diablo Vista Elementary, Jack London Elementary, Lone Tree Elementary, MNO Grant Elementary, Black Diamond Middle School, Dallas Ranch Middle School, Orchard Park K-8 School, Deer Valley High School, and Dozier-Libbey Medical High School.

This bond measure placed only before the voters in SFID#2 will provide funds to improve and maintain all of the schools within the former Mello Roos area. The funding will be provided over eight years with priorities set by the school board and monitored by an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

The Improvements shall consist of projects which: renovate classrooms, update school safety and security systems, improve technology, energy efficiency, upgrade science labs, modernize schools, and repair and replace roofs, and to qualify for state matching funds.

To meet all identified school facility needs, the District may complete projects using a combination of funding sources. These sources may include joint-use funds, contributions, developer fees, state and federal funds and any other available funds.

The specific projects authorized to be financed with bond proceeds are as follows. The projects are authorized to be financed at all current and future sites within SFID#2.

  • Update aging classrooms and District facilities to support high quality instruction.
  • Upgrade electrical, communications, safety and security systems.
  • Replace heating ventilation and air conditioning units as needed.
  • Upgrade plumbing and renovate restrooms.
  • Repair/Replace roofing systems.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Improve accessibility to sites, classrooms and upgrade playgrounds (ADA).
  • Repair and replace floors
  • Test foundations for seismic standards and upgrade as needed.
  • Renovate, modernize and/or remodel kitchen, food service and multipurpose spaces.
  • Update and improve athletic fields and facilities.
  • Make the necessary changes to improve drainage systems.
  • Update technology infrastructure and computer equipment (paid for within its useful life).
  • Replace old classroom desks, chairs and other necessary furniture.
  • Remodel, replace and refurbish classroom interiors.
  • Replace all exterior walkway damaged canopies.
  • Add exterior lighting to improve campus safety.
  • Reconfigure parking areas to improve traffic flow and student safety.
  • Remove or replace aging portable buildings and classrooms with permanent construction.
  • Install dual pane windows to improve ventilation.
  • Replace underground infrastructure.
  • Install or repair playground equipment and play surfaces and structures.
  • Acquire and/or upgrade fencing to improve school safety.

Other Projects

  • Remove hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead, etc., where necessary.
  • Address unforeseen conditions revealed by construction/modernization (such as plumbing or gas line breaks, dry rot, seismic, structural, etc.).
  • Other improvements required to comply with existing building codes, including the Field Act, and access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Necessary site preparation/restoration in connection with new construction, renovation or remodeling, or installation or removal of re-locatable classrooms, including removing, replacing, or installing irrigation, utility lines (such as gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, sewer lines, and communication lines), trees and landscaping.
  • Rental or construction of storage facilities and other space on an interim basis, as needed to accommodate construction materials, equipment, and personnel, and interim classrooms (including re-locatable classrooms) for students and school functions or other storage for classroom materials displaced during construction.
  • All work necessary and incidental to specific projects described above, including demolition of existing structures.
  • Paint the interior and exterior of buildings.
  • Repair and replace damaged and uneven paving and concrete.
  • Provide classroom furniture and equipment as needed.
  • Improve school building safety and security.”

A request was made to Superintendent Stephanie Anello for a map of the new facilities district which was not included with the resolution. To see if your property is affected, please check the following report of parcels with streets listed in alphabetical order: Parcels for Proposed SFID 2

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Supervisors form committee to consider half-cent sales tax measure for Nov. 2020 ballot

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized the community service of CERT C-8 on Tuesday. Currently consisting of 70 members, supervisors recognized the organization that is known to dispatch volunteers to train senior care staff, serve as Amateur Radio Operators, Red Cross Shelter workers, traffic control and join the Contra Costa CART. C-8 has helped to get Spanish Cert out to many areas of the county. The program is called Listos. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

Demand NuStar Energy safety probe before Crockett plant is reopened following fire

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, Contra Costa County Supervisors voted 4-0 to create an ad hoc committee to explore the feasibility of placing on the ballot a sales tax measure. The committee will consist mainly of union leaders, county agency heads and nonprofit organizations leaders.

On the vote, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover was absent.

At the recommendation of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who serves on the Finance Committee, proposed the establishment of a citizen-based ad hoc committee to study a proposal that could wind up on a ballot for county voters to decide on perhaps by the November 2020 general election.

In California, the maximum sales, use, and transactions tax rate is 9.25 percent. That includes a statewide base sale and use tax of 7.25 percent and up to 2 percent for local district transaction and use taxes.

Current projections for annual revenues for a countywide transaction and use tax are one half cent $93 million and quarter cent $46.5 million. Current projections for annual revenues for an unincorporated area transaction and use tax are one half cent: $8.32 million and one.

So far, the ad hoc committee will study several potential tax scenarios. Current projections for annual revenues for a countywide transaction and use tax area:

. 0.50 percent (1/2 cent): $93 million

. 0.25 percent (1/4 cent): $46.5 million

Projections for annual revenues for an unincorporated area transaction and use tax are:

. 0.50 percent (1/2 cent): $8.32 million

. 0.25 percent (1/4 cent): $4.16 million

Mitchoff said she is promoting the sales tax ad hoc committee because she frequently hears from constituents why Contra Costa County does not have a sales tax while other counties like Alameda, San San Mateo, Santa Clara and others do draw additional revenues for county services from a sales tax.

The ad hoc committee will be led by stake holders, not supervisors, Mitchoff said. “We want all comers at the table,” she said. “This will be a difficult lift.”

“This is a huge opportunity,” said Sean Casey, executive director of the nonprofit organization First 5. “16,000 families could benefit from this in Contra Costa County.”

Demand NuStar Energy Plant Safety Probe

Also during their meeting, the Supervisors demanded that county officials confirm that operators of the fire damaged NuStar Energy plant in Crockett not resume operations until its fire and hazardous materials safety measures have been completely reviewed and upgraded by state and federal authorities.

“I want updated progress reports on your investigations,” demanded Board Chair John Gioia, whose District 1 covers the Crockett refinery location where the fire erupted from a tank filled with ethanol at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15. The fire spread, catching a nearby tank also containing ethanol. Some 250,000 gallons of ethanol were destroyed in the fire.

The blaze forced county authorities to call a Shelter in Place in the Crockett area. Interstate 80 was closed for six hours. The incident was officially over at 8:10 p.m. when I-80 was reopened to traffic by the Highway Patrol, said Contra Costa County Director of Hazardous Materials Randy Sawyer.

“At the end of the day, the incident was contained, “said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard. “No other tanks were destroyed. No other materials were discharged.”

Broschard told supervisors it was through the fire fighting resources of NuStar Energy and several other refineries that were able to promptly respond to the fire site to assist CCCFPD in extinguishing fire. Those refineries – Shell, Chevon, Phillips 66, Tessoro, and Marathon – supplied foam that the county fire district did not have to adequately extinguish the blaze, said Chief Broschard.

Chief Broschard said at this time there is no known cause for the fire including whether arson may have been a factor.

Gioia made it clear to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Broschard and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Program Director Randy Sawyer that he wants a thorough investigation completed before “there is a reopening” of the NuStar plant.

Supervisors heard from eight speakers, all critical of NuStar and its safety track record.

NuStar spokesperson Mary Rose Brown told the Contra Costa Herald via an emailed message:

“We absolutely agree, and we are working closely and cooperatively with CalOSHA and other regulatory agencies on detailed plans to ensure that the facility is safe to operate before it is reopened. We also are continuing to work in very close cooperation with all applicable local and state regulatory agencies to investigate the root cause of the incident so that we can take whatever measures are required to ensure the continued safety of our employees, contractors, neighbors and the community. We worked over the weekend to pump liquids out of the incident area and CalOSHA and local fire investigators accessed the area today (Tuesday).”

County resident Carl Davidson suggested that the NuStar plant incident may have been triggered by a seismic event since the facility is located on the Pinole fault and the fire erupted after seismic events were reported in the Pleasant Hill area the previous day.

Twenty-five-year Crockett area resident Isabella Izzi said the board of supervisors and regulators should clamp down on NuStar for this environmental violation and future violations by requiring the refiner to provide hazmat masks to all residents of Crockett. “The Board of Supervisors should make it clear that it will deny any new expansion at that refinery,” she said.

Dan Torres, a representative of an industrial fire sprinkler installation union, questioned the quality and reliability of the fire sprinkler system installed at NuStar.

At the end, Chair Gioia asked that updates on the NuStar fire will be reported at the Public Safety Committee that he chairs.

In other business, the supervisors:

-Approved a $240,000 contract to Concord Yellow Cab, Inc. to provide non-emergency taxicab transportation services for Contra Costa Regional Medical center and Contra Costa Health Center patients for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The county pays taxicab service for patients unable to transport themselves to medical appointments due to medical conditions, including physical disabilities, patients who have verifiable seizure disorder or patients who have received medications which has or could impair their mobility.

-Approved a $1.97 million Public Works Department contract with Debri-Tech, Inc. to provide on-call assistance with trash and abandoned waste cleanup and removal for the Contra Costa County Watershed Program for the program October 15, 2019 through September 30, 2022.

-Approved the issuance of $85 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bond by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority for the Fairfield Hilltop LP, a California limited partnership, to provide for the financing of the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 322-unit multi-family housing development known as Hilltop Commons Apartments located at 15690l Crestwood Dr.

 

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Antioch Council votes to support 2020 county transportation half-cent sales tax ballot measure, expenditure plan

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

$3.6 billion plan will provide $1 billion to East County, including an additional $1.6 million per year for local roads in Antioch

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday night, Oct. 22, 2019, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to support placing a second countywide, half-cent sales tax for transportation on the March 2020 ballot, as well as the associated expenditure plan. The measure is expected to generate $3.6 billion in revenue over the next 35 years. If passed, it will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will overlap the county’s current half-cent sales tax for transportation for 14 years. See plan, here: Draft 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan

“We have support from all the cities in the county, except for Antioch and one other city. We still need two-thirds of the voters to approve the plan in order for it to take effect,” said Hisham Noeimi, Director of Programming for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, who provided the presentation. “Despite our success our work is not done, yet. We still have four of the 10 most congested corridors in the Bay Area.” See presentation, here: 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan Presentation

The other reason for the ballot measure is the housing jobs imbalance in the county, he explained.

“If we can bring jobs to housing rich areas, like Eastern Contra Costa County, that will help. We added 350,000 people over the last 20 years which has put strains on our transportation system. We expect to add another 350,000 people over the next 35 years.”

“The TEP (Transportation Expenditure Plan) attempts to provide the funding for all these needs…with a focus on green modes of transportation, like transit and bike, and growth management,” Noeimi continued.

The cost is estimated to be about $50 to $75 per household on average per year.

He said that $1.6 billion focused on major road improvements.

“The remaining $2 billion will be spent in your communities, coming back to the cities to improve your local streets, and improved transit services…to make it cleaner, more efficient,” Noeimi stated. “There is funding to attract jobs to East Contra Costa. There is also funding to improve air quality.”

“It was developed with sub-region equity in mind. So, for East County that’s about 28% of the $3.6 billion that will come back to East County.

“At the Authority we recognize we can’t widen our way out of the problem. That’s why funds will be spent on transit, what we call green transportation. Most of it will be spent along the major corridors in East County, Highway 4, 242, Vasco Road, the road to Byron Airport…” he said.

“Right now, Antioch receives $1.5 million per year for local roads and transportation. If it passes, the city will receive another $1.6 million per year,” Noeimi shared.

“With the TEP, over the next 35 years we will be able to reduce green house gas emissions by 7%. The TEP is more than funding. New policies include improving growth management, making transportation more efficient and our roads safer,” he concluded.

Councilman Lamar Thorpe asked about the Growth Management Plan asking, “Are you talking about the Urban Limit Line?”

“Yes,” Noeimi replied.

“I didn’t understand it this way, but would the county Urban Limit Line supersede our Urban Limit Line?” Thorpe asked.

No. Antioch has its own voter approved Urban Limit Line,’ Noeimi said, then referred to “hillside development. Ridgeline protection. If you have one of these conditions and have a policy to address them, then you mark the box.”

“We’re asking the cities to adopt a Vision Zero Policy, to make our streets safer for all users,” he added.

Thorpe responded, “So, again, getting people out of cars, getting them on bikes in a suburban community.”

TriDelta Transit will get $110 million out of the $392 million in the program, Noeimi shared

“You said something about the cities and a checklist. The return to source money…is conditioned upon the cities meeting their growth management plan. They have to submit a checklist to the CCTA every two years. That just carries that same procedure. If they don’t meet the checklist are the return to source funds withheld?” Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked.

“Yes,” Noeimi replied. “That hasn’t happened in the last 30 years.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts asked about the ferry service to Antioch included in the plan.

“The funding can be used for WETA (the Bay Area’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority) or privately-run service, the landing platform,” Noeimi explained. “The money in Antioch could be used for that.”

Mayor Sean Wright then said, “The three-to-one leverage ratio is huge. The way that works, we use the money to start the planning process. Then we go out looking for…the state and federal funds. That’s what CCTA has been able to do.”

“Some of this money is coming back to East Contra Costa for economic development, trying to create jobs, here. A study has shown that if we were able to take 10% of the traffic on our freeways and reverse it…the Bay Area would go green, meaning our highways would no longer be red,” he stated.

Following the presentation, the council then considered the matter for a vote on a separate item on the agenda.

During public comments, Adam Alexander spoke in favor of the adoption of the TEP, saying, “As a training coordinator, representing the Carpenters Training Fund. I’m here to support the TEP…with the inclusion of the joint labor management apprenticeship training program.”

Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commissioner and recently announced city council candidate, Dwayne Eubanks spoke next.

“I want to speak out in support of this amendment…with the inclusion of a BART extension stop at Somersville,” he said. “Contra Loma Somersville is our core corridor. You have all that businesses there. Why don’t we have a stop there? Hillcrest isn’t the center of town. It’s probably too late. But I had to put that out there.”

The council then voted unanimously to approve the resolution supporting the half-cent sales tax Transportation Expenditure Plan and to place it on the March 2020 ballot.

 

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Supervisors review proposed $3.7 billion budget, discuss potential new tax

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Supervisors were presented Tuesday a proposed $3.69 billion budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 that sparked dialogue among supervisors of potentially developing a new tax source in order to support the county’s growing service needs, especially in the areas of health, medical, employment and human services.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget consists of $1.7 billion in county imposed general fund revenue that is approximately the same level of local tax revenue budgeted for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year. State and federal funds make up the other $2 billion in budget revenue.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to instruct county administrator David Twa to present the budget for adoption at its May 7 meeting. Vice chair Candace Andersen of Danville was absent at the time of the vote.

“After several years of relative stability, we now enter a period of needing to adjust our county budget to meet challenges due to uncertainties to countywide revenue streams (especially in the Health Services and the Employment & Human Services departments), compounded by sharply rising wage and benefit costs,” County Administrator Twa wrote in his 2019-2020 budget presentation. CCCo Budget Presentation 19-20 Draft

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year county officials plan to wrap up labor negotiations with the Physicians and Dentists Organization that represents workers in the Health and Human Services and at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Clinics, the District Attorney Investigators Association, the Deputy Services Association and the In-Home Supportive Services Association.

Even in a good economy, Contra Costa County employees find themselves underpaid on average 5 percent to 8 percent of what their counterparts earn at similar jobs in the Bay Area. Supervisors listened to a number of speakers representing the county’s health care system, Contra Costa CARES, that the county needs to boost salaries of its healthcare workers 8 percent if it expects to retain employees.

For next fiscal year, county medical director Anna Roth proposed that the supervisors approve a 3 percent cost of living adjustment, designate $135 million in county general funds, count on $1.6 billion in revenues, but expect expenses of $1.8 billion. The department plans to expand the West County Behavioral Health Center next year, she said.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill upon noticing a projected a combined general fund deficit from health services and human services of at least $30 million.

Noting how other Bay Area counties like San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo can adequately pay county workers because of additional tax revenues streaming in from property and sales tax sources, board chair John Gioia of Richmond said, “Other counties have robust tax revenue resources. We don’t have that.”

“You say we need more money,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “We have to be creative.”

Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher said to balance her department’s budget for 2019-2020 she will have to eliminate 67 positions. For next fiscal year, EHS will have 1,904 fulltime positions in order to operate its diverse operations such as Adult Protection Services that has undergone some criticism for alleged financial abuse of its clients.

Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston has proposed a $7 million increase for salaries and benefits for his 685 sworn officers and 350 non-sworn personnel. For next fiscal year, the sheriff plans to hire three additional sworn officers. Planning for a proposed 128 bed mental health facility for the West County Detention Center in Richmond is back on track after being sidelined for rising construction costs, mostly related to steel tariffs.

With $44 million proposed for the District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Diana Becton plans to increase staffing in the human trafficking unit by $1 million. The DA Office has 222.5 positions on the payroll of which 102 are attorneys, 33 are investigators, 17 are victim/witness experts, and 70.5 are administrative support.

A $3.7 million project at Buchanan Air Field is one of the big tasks on drawing boards for the Public Works Department next fiscal year, department director Brian Balbas said, but the biggest challenge is retaining staff. With a $254 million budget and 545 employees, Balbas said his department is hampered by a high turnover rate of more than 20 percent when workers find better paying jobs at other counties or in the private sector. “The focus for 2019/2020 will be in recruitment and retention,” he told supervisors.

Public Defender Robin Lipesky said in addition to handling 6,900 misdemeanor cases, 3,747 felony cases, and 450 bail hearings, her department handled 600 Stand Together Contra Costa legal consultations, a new duty of her department. Citing a decline in the county’s juvenile population and a decline in the juvenile hall population, the department plans to cut 22 juvenile justice positions, she said.

Supervisors Salary Ordinance Approved

On a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Candace Andersen of Danville and Diane Burgis of Brentwood casting the dissenting votes, supervisors approved an ordinance that will raise their salaries at an established percentage, 65 percent of the annual salary of the Office of Superior Court Judge, effective January 1, 2021.

Effective June 30, each supervisor will earn a monthly base salary of $9,736.75, equivalent to an annual salary of $116,841.

From July 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019 supervisors will each earn an annual salary equal to 60 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge as prescribed by the state legislature. Supervisors will receive another salary boost effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 at a base of 63 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. A third and final salary hike equal to 65 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge in Contra Costa County would go into effect after January 1, 2021.

In addition to the pay increases, each supervisor will receive reimbursement for “reasonable expenses incurred in the conduct of such office” and “eligibility for an eighty-five-dollar monthly contribution to the county’s deferred compensation plan in the same manner as other exempt management employees.”

Each supervisor will also receive an automobile allowance of $600 per month and, in addition to the automobile allowance, mileage at the rate per mile allowed by the Internal Revenue Service as a deductible expense, for all miles driven by the supervisor on county business outside that supervisor’s district.

Supervisors OK Revised WCCTAC Transit Mitigation Fee

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved revised property transportation mitigation fees developers in unincorporated parts of the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee area of El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo that have been in place since 1997.

No one spoke either in favor of or in protest against the fees that are assessed to go towards construction of transportation projects.

Since the inception of the WCCTAC transit mitigation fees in 1997, $11.6 million has been raised to help alleviate transportation impacts from residential, commercial or industrial development, said John Cunningham of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

Revenues from the transit mitigation fee cover 19 percent of the construction costs of transit projects in the WCCTAC area. Some of those projects include $9,672 towards a $50,903 San Pablo Avenue complete streets project, $156 for the I-580/Harbour Way Interchange pedestrian and bicycle access improvements, $10,175 for the Hercules Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, and $20,749 for capital improvements to the I-80 Express Bus Service.

Accessory dwelling units are exempt from the revised transit mitigation fees that will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will increase or decrease every July 1 thereafter based by the annual percentage change in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index for the San Francisco Bay Area for the 12 month period ending with the February index of the same year in which the increase or decrease will take effect

The new WCCTAC transit mitigation fees are multi-family residential, $5,439 per dwelling unit; senior housing, $1,469 per dwelling unit; hotel, $3,481 per hotel unit; retail/service, $6.59 per square foot; office, $8.12 per square foot; industrial, $5.56 per square foot; storage facility, 0.76 per square foot; and other, $7 per square foot.

Red Cross Community Services Award Recipients

As a consent items, supervisors adopted resolutions honoring Bryan Canty of Antioch as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Good Samaritan Award, Samantha Barhouse, also of Antioch, as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Disaster Service Award, and the San Damiano Retreat Center of Danville, as the recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Community Service Award.

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