12/01/2015 Council Preview – Minimum Wage

Things get busy as we try to wrap up the year. We start the evening with a closed session for the City Manager’s semi-annual performance review. This is followed by a study issue to go over issues related to a potential utility users tax increase. We’ve been talking about a UUT increase for several years now, for a couple of reasons. First, the “base” of our UUT is very narrow as compared to what most other cities do, meaning certain utilities don’t get taxed at all (certain telephone services and some other stuff). Second, our actual UUT rate is below that of other cities around us, which has an impact on our revenue. So we’ll be discussing what, if anything, can or should be done about that.

Our general meeting starts with the swearing in of the boardmembers and commissioners that we appointed at our last meeting.  The consent calendar is pretty minimal due to the holiday – four second readings of ordinances and a redevelopment agency thing. That one’s kind of complicated, but I’ll give it a shot.  As part of RDA dissolution, the state Department of Finance is claiming that the City of Sunnyvale owes $14 million that our RDA transferred to the City of Sunnyvale as part of its repayment of the City’s $90+ million loan decades ago.  The City disputes that, and we’ve filed suit to keep the money.  But because of some additional state legislation, we have to fully resolve the dissolution of our RDA before the end of the year, or else we never get a “finding of completion”.  With one of those, we can get back some other money that we’re entitled to.  And if we ultimately prevail on the $14 million, we’ll get it back anyway.  It has no impact on our budget, since we set that money aside as soon as it was called into question, which is why staff has this as a consent item.

Item 2 is likely our big one – consideration of raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018. The proposed approach is to phase it in in a way similar to what Mountain View just adopted.

Item 3 is one I’ve been pushing for for a few years now – using our reserves to convert all of our streetlights to LED fixtures. The market and available rebates have changed since I was elected, and staff estimates the pay-back period for such an effort at 5-7 years.

Item 4 has us changing the paid time off and paid medical leave provisions for classified unrepresented employees.  This is an effort to standardize our benefits and matches changes made in recent MOUs with some of the bargaining units.

Item 5 has us applying the results of this year’s salary survey to PSOA and PSMA employees.  The survey’s results were 3.18% increase for PSOs and 3.23% for PSMA members.

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