CLAYTON, CA (Mar. 15, 2023) — In 2008, the city of Clayton entered into a Master Use Agreement with the Clayton Business & Community Association (CBCA). Under the terms of this agreement, essentially all fees established by the city’s Master Fee Schedule for events held in town were waived.
This included fees for temporary use permits, street use, noise permits and all fees associated with using The Grove park. This fee waiver applied to the annual Art & Wine Festival, Oktoberfest, tree lighting and, later, the Rib Cook Off. Direct support costs for things like police services, maintenance services and use of certain city equipment like barricades and cones were still being charged on a cost recovery basis.
While this may have been appropriate at the time of execution, in our current environment, we need to ensure we are doing an exhaustive review of our activities to enhance fiscal sustainability.
The City Council recently took action to terminate and renegotiate the agreement with the CBCA. This action is not a reflection on the great work done by the CBCA, but rather it is the result of an effort to ensure the city is reimbursed for the costs incurred when events are held.
It is fairly routine for cities to charge a fee for use of its facilities, and Clayton is no different. We have a Master Fee Schedule that outlines the fees associated with the various uses of city resources.
While direct labor costs for police and maintenance were paid under the terms of the agreement, overhead, other staff time and the cost for use of city facilities were waived. This includes things like the rental of The Grove park, temporary use permits, noise permits, special event permits and street closure fees.
In aggregate, based on our current fee schedule, these fees could sum to approximately $7,500 per event. But with the agreement that was executed in 2008, the CBCA was exempted from paying these fees that make the city whole for its costs.
I maintain and will reiterate that the CBCA is a fantastic organization that adds a tremendous amount of value to the residents of Clayton. By hosting several events throughout the year, they are able to use the income generated to donate back into the community.
In the past, the CBCA has generously donated not only to local non-profits and businesses, but also to schools, scholarship programs, and directly to the city for things like benches, the Grove gazebo, and sponsorship of events, among other activities. These are great things, but they should not exempt someone or a group from paying their fair share in order for the city to recover its costs.
The commitment I made when re-elected was that I would not seek any tax increase without first exhausting all options to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies – raising taxes should be a last resort. Right now, the effort is focused on cost reduction through efficiency and elimination of unnecessary work, including efforts relating to energy efficiency, discontinuing service contracts that don’t provide sufficient benefits and even closing City Hall to the public one day per week to provide staff time to focus.
On the revenue side, we have begun a more robust analysis of our investment portfolio to ensure we are achieving the best possible yields in this high inflationary market. Later this year, we will be examining the city’s Master Fee Schedule to ensure the amounts being charged reflect the costs incurred for various services. When it comes to fees, one thing stood out, and that was the agreement between the city and the CBCA.
As a result, the council voted to terminate the existing agreement effective July 1, 2023, and to renegotiate a new agreement. This provides sufficient notice, aligns with the city’s fiscal year so budget planning could incorporate any relevant changes, and provides enough time such that a new agreement could be reached with CBCA so that we can maintain efficient operations of the city, and the city could recoup its costs.
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