Peter Cloven

Clayton council continues to refine potential tax measure

Peter ClovenCLAYTON, CA (Mar. 18, 2022) — Thank you for your engagement with last month’s front page Pioneer article about a revenue measure for November’s ballot.

The feedback in my email and voicemail has been tremendous, with the primary questions being “Why can’t we just tighten our belt before raising taxes?” and “Why did we not know about this before it became urgent?” These are tough questions that deserve honest answers.

Why not tighten our belt? In review of past City Council conversations, the council has always sought to live within its means. While our revenues grow at approximately <2% per year, our expenses have grown at approximately 4% per year. Past city councils have adjusted budgets to meet annual revenues.

Clayton’s staff (administrative and police) are paid 20-30% below comparable nearby cities. This has caused recent turnover, which led to challenges to ongoing city services. Finding talented staff is difficult and expensive. Labor accounts for more than 65% of our annual General Fund costs. Reducing staff is not realistic without significant reductions in city services (police, parks, etc.).

While Clayton has an approximate $6 million reserve, budgeting into that reserve is unsound fiscal policy that cannot be sustained; those are not ongoing revenues.

Why Didn’t We Know?

As discussed during a recent council meeting, prior councils saw future financial deficiencies but didn’t want to be premature in requesting funds. While no City Council wants to ask for additional General Fund revenue, the alternative outlook does not allow Claytonians to have the services needed to remain a viable, thriving city.

All City Council members are unified in their desire to find a revenue measure that meets our city’s financial needs. Parcel tax amounts mentioned (e.g., $200 per parcel or $400 per parcel) are preliminary, as we are working with our consultant to gain an appropriate amount and tax vehicle that are acceptable to our residents in order to cover any future shortfalls.

We will find a solution in the next couple months to present to you. I assure you that you will be informed with a unified message that brings clarity. I hope you will participate in the discussions at future council meetings.

Accessing  ‘Balancing Act’

The interactive planning tool “Balancing Act” is available for public input through April 3.

Balancing Act is a great tool to start more engaged conversations with residents about the Housing Element. Please take the time and submit your ideas to the city.

I personally noted parcels that were not included on the map and submitted them to staff for consideration. If you have ideas for parcels not included, I encourage you do the same at

As always, please contact me directly with your questions or comments at or 925-673-7320.