Foster City Budget
I have taken the time to meet with each of our City Department heads, including Edmund Suen, our capable Financial Services Director. My MBA complements my experiences in managing technology solutions resulting in lifetime revenues of $500M and my small business acumen where Building Kidz Franchisees enjoy profitability that outpaces the industry average by 2:1. I am comfortable studying budgets, evaluating the impacts of environmental business factors, and I am familiar with budget preparation processes.
As a City, we are in a wonderful, even envious financial position today.
But, here too, there are areas where I believe change is needed as we are projecting structural deficits over the next 5 years.
We have four very important evaluations we need to make to help us ensure a sustainable future: management of the unfunded pension liability, the levee project, restoring our parks, the Recreation Center, and the Wastewater Plant Project. We must keep a focus on expenses for these projects to ensure we remain in a strong financial position for years to come.
Management of the Unfunded Pension Liability
Some residents believe we should pay down the unfunded pension liability at a higher rate annually than what is required to minimize the interest payment on the outstanding balance. It sounds like the prudent thing to do. And I believe it would be the right thing to do, if I believed the state would do the right thing in the case of CalPers collapsing. If CalPers collapsed, would we get credit for the additional payments we have made or would we get stuck “holding the bag” along with everyone else? This is something we need to discuss as a community and decide.
Will the levee be completed within budget? What is the real cost of the levee with interest on the $90M bond? And, what are the chances that we won’t have bulldozers and tractors sitting on the side of Beach Park if we run into issues? Do we have the necessary funds and strategies in place to see us through this scenario? We need to minimize spending on the levee until the best methods and timetables are clear. I am confident in our City Manager, Jeff Moneda, and our Public Works Director, Norm Dorais. I know Jeff and Norm will keep a close eye on the project to minimize overruns. And, I will be there to help them.
Restoring Our Parks
What is the total cost of restoring our parks? Jennifer Liu will be presenting the plans soon…how much of the cost have we actually covered in our projections? This is something we need to look at.
And as for the Recreation Center, we know that BTA is preparing three Conceptual Alternatives which we will learn more about on October 18th. The center needs to be rebuilt with an eye for activities, appearance, and access while maintaining costs. How much will it cost? $40M? How will the cost of this project be funded? What do the project timelines look like?
Additionally, we as residents will be paying for our portion of the Wastewater Plant Project through our monthly bills. Will there be a bond taken out to cover these costs that the residents will pay back through increased charges? If so, what happens if there are work stoppages and cost overruns?