LiveWire — February 2020

Posted on February 3, 2020


Brian Dossey, City Manager

 I would like to start this month’s article by recognizing our Colma Police Department.  On this past Christmas Eve our Police Department received a phone call from a resident who was new to the area, didn’t know anyone, and was feeling lonely.  The officers responded to the caller’s residence to check on him, and seeing that he just wanted some company, the officers invited him to join them at the Police Station for a Christmas Eve dinner.  During their dinner and learning more about the resident, the Police Department discovered that he was in need of a TV.  A day later, the Colma Police Department donated at TV to this resident in an incredible act of kindness.  As you all know, they say it is better to give than receive during the holidays, and this is one of those cases where it is ultimately true.  Congratulations to the Colma Police Department, you are clearly the finest Police Department in the County.

At the January 16th Special Meeting, City Council and staff held a workshop closing out the 2017-2019 Strategic Plan and reviewing the Town’s Draft 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.  City Council reviews the Strategic Plan every year with staff ensuring goals and priority programs are met.  Areas of study and review include; Resiliency, Operations, Economic Development, Community and Capital.  The future poses many challenges for the Town, and Council has set a plan that will address many issues that we’ll be faced over the next several years. Top priorities for the Council is to continue neighborhood police patrols and crime reduction, attract and retain new and local businesses, increase revenue streams, maintain streets (repair potholes) and sidewalks providing greater accessibility, and offer more community based programs.  If you would like to hear more on the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan, please attend the February 13, 2020 City Council Meeting or visit

With budget season right around the corner staff will be working to implement Strategic Plan programs set by the City Council.  While some programs are in progress, additional funding may be needed for the Police Department to respond to crimes at the local shopping centers where they spend approximately 60% of their time.  Funding may also be needed to enhance street (pothole) and sidewalk repair, including the residential areas.  Also in the next 5-10 years, the Town plans to invest $10-$15 million to improve and rehabilitate major roadways within the Town.  If the improvements are delayed, the costs of major construction could rise to $20-$29 million.  Over the next several months staff will be working on strategies to generate additional revenue to help fund these programs.

Please join us at 6:00pm on February 13th for the Mayor’s “State of our City” address at Town Hall.  This event will include a presentation from the Mayor on Town projects, programs, finances and economic development.  The presentation will be followed by cake and coffee prior to the start of our regularly scheduled meeting at 7:00 pm.  Once again, we hope to see you there.


Pak Lin, Administrative Services Director

February marks the beginning of the budget process. This is the time the Finance Department, in partnership with all Town departments, starts looking at revenues and expenditures outlook for the new fiscal year. So, let’s test your knowledge of Colma Finances. Here are some of the commonly asked questions. For more information, please visit or meet with our Administrative Services Director Pak Lin. Call 650-997-8300 to set up the appointment.

What is the largest revenue source for the Town? Sales tax revenue continues to be the number one source of revenue for the Town of Colma. With projected revenues of $11.5 million for the year, sales tax revenues represent 64 percent of total anticipated revenues for the year. For the Town, sales tax revenue fluctuates with auto sales.
Is there a cap on the total sales tax rate? Yes. The current cap, set by the State of California, is 9.75 percent. The current sales tax rate in Colma is 9.25 percent – with 6 percent to the state, 1 percent to the city, and 2.25 percent to the county. The last 0.5 percent of sales tax will go to the agency (county or city) that gets voter approval first.
What is the largest expenditure for the Town? Personnel costs are 64 percent of the total budgeted operating and debt expenditures. It includes employee salaries, benefit and retiree benefit costs. This is the typical ratio for agencies with a police or fire department. It is worth noting that the $11.3 million personnel budget includes $1.0 million contributions to the Town’s pension and other retiree benefits trust. The 115 trust fund is recognized by the IRS as an irrevocable trust and the money transferred into the trust can only be used for pension or other retiree benefit (OPEB) costs.
How much does the Town have in rainy day funds? The Town has set aside $14.2 million as general emergency funds, $1.6 million in capital, $0.5 million for vehicle replacement, and $4.8 million into the 115 trusts mentioned above. It’s important to remember that the $4.8 million in 115 trusts can only be used to pay for pension and OPEB costs.

View the rest of the February edition here: LiveWire

Close window