The Healdsburg City Council will be considering water and wastewater rate increases and, among other topics, the approval of an ordinance approving a military equipment use policy for police services at its next meeting on Monday, April 18.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held in person at Healdsburg City Hall and via Zoom.

Reports and presentations

The Monday meeting will kick off with the reading of a proclamation recognizing April as Volunteer Appreciation Month.
Healdsburg firefighter Dean De La Montanya will have his badge pinned during a ceremony and the fire department will also provide the annual fire department update, including an update on vegetation management.
Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay will provide a water supply update and an affordable housing update.

Old business

Fiscal year 2022-23 and 2023-24 budget development update
According to the agenda item report, the purpose of this report is to provide a status update on city budget activities completed to date, including budget goal status; a summary of community input; and a review of next steps in the budget cycle.
The City of Healdsburg operates a two-year budget cycle. The current year budget cycle ends on June 30, 2022.
City finance staff have gathered input from city department heads and consultants and are in the process of creating a draft of the budget for each fund and a draft for the general fund and the community services fund will be ready for council review for the May 9 special council budget meeting.
The next two-year budget, for fiscal years 2022-23 and 2023-24 is on schedule to be adopted in early June.
Regarding community outreach, earlier this year, the city launched its budget simulation which allowed residents to create and balance a city budget and submit their concept to the City of Healdsburg. Residents had until April 10 to complete the simulation.
According to the agenda report, the city received 371 responses.
Additionally, “City staff, in partnership with Corazón, held three public workshops to discuss the city budget. Corazón provided Spanish translation and laptop devices, and attendees were able to complete the budget simulation and ask questions of city staff as they filled it out. City staff has also met with and presented to seven different stakeholder groups.”
Water and wastewater rates
By motion, the city council will consider accepting the 2022 water, wastewater rate study as the basis for proposing multi-year rate increases and will consider directing staff to prepare and mail, as required by law, a notice of public hearing to be held on June 21, 2022.
In March, the city council was presented with an overview of the city’s water and wastewater fund financial outlook and with a proposal for water/wastewater rate increases.
The need to increase water/wastewater rates is three-fold. Due to the drought and subsequent water conservation, there is insufficient revenue. Additionally, the water departments’ debts continue to consume roughly 19% of the annual operations budget and there is an outstanding need for costly infrastructure work to address old water pipelines.
As a result, it is recommended that the city increase the overall level of water rates:
-July 2022 Utility Billing 2%
-July 2023 Utility Billing 8%
-July 2024 Utility Billing 8%
-July 2025 Utility Billing 5%
–July 2026 Utility Billing 5%
The following wastewater rate increases are proposed as follows:
-July 2022 Utility Billing 8%
-July 2023 Utility Billing 8%
-July 2024 Utility Billing 7%
-July 2025 Utility Billing 6%
-July 2026 Utility Billing 6%

New business

Changing reserve policy
The first item in new business is the recommended action of adopting a resolution updating the reserve policy for the water and wastewater funds and adopting a resolution updating the reserve policy for the lighting and landscaping assessment district.
If approved by council, the resolution would revise the water fund and wastewater fund reserve policies to be 25% of operating expenditures, instead of operating revenues and include a $1,000,000 capital reserve for each capital fund.
If approved by the council, the resolution for the lighting district would update the lighting and landscape assessment district fund reserve policy, from 75-100% of annual budget to 50% of annual operating budget, according to the agenda item report.
Military equipment use policy
Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Assembly Bill 481 requires legislative bodies to adopt ordinances approving military equipment use policies before law enforcement “can continue to engage in specified activities related to the use of what the state legislature has now defined as ‘military equipment’ in Government Code §7070,” according to the agenda report.
The Healdsburg Police Department currently has some equipment that qualifies as “military equipment” and engages in public safety activities in collaboration with other local
jurisdictions, which will be prohibited within 180 days unless an ordinance meeting the requirements of the government code is adopted.
To view the agenda for the Monday, April 18 meeting, click here.

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