CITY MANAGER’S UPDATE
Brian Dossey, City Manager
From the Town of Colma City Council and staff it is our hope that you and your families are safe and healthy.
We know that there are a lot of families that are struggling to make ends meet due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our physical and mental health, our ability to socialize and see our families and celebrate achievements, our livelihood, our economy, our ability to purchase food and pay the bills, and sadly the loss of loved ones. We hope you are getting the vital resources you need. If you are not, please reach out to us at Town Hall or please visit our website at https://www.colma.ca.gov/covid-19/. We are here to help.
The Town of Colma has also felt the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as well. It has affected our ability to bring vital services to the community. We have had to suspend all in person visits to conduct business at Town Hall, hold City Council meetings remotely via the internet, and cancel all in person Recreation programming through the end of summer due to the Shelter in Place Orders, all in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. Our hope is that we can open Town facilities sometime this summer as long as we can continue to flatten the curve and continue to slow the spread of Covid-19. Town staff is working on a re-opening plan, however we want to be sure all visitors and staff can conduct business safely prior to re-opening.
Even though we have had to adjust to how we bring services to the community, we have also transitioned to bringing new services to the community. Over the last several weeks the Recreation Department and Public Works Department have delivered fresh food weekly from the Second Harvest Food Bank to Seniors and populations in need. Currently we are delivering to over 120 households per week. The Recreation Department has also developed on-line and virtual recreation programs on our Town website. https://www.colma.ca.gov/. Summer camp care packages and Senior Luncheon at Home (please see inside) are some of the modifications we have implemented for our summer programming. Please check our social media pages and website for more updates on new programs.
However, the Town is also experiencing the effects of the struggling economy and has had to reduce the programs and services it can offer until our local businesses can operate to full capacity. Currently the Town is facing a $2.3 million operating deficit in FY19-20 and is projecting a $2.1 million operating deficit in FY20-21. As you may know the Town receives approximately eighty percent (80%) of its revenues from sales tax and card room tax. Sadly, Lucky Chances has been closed since mid-March with no timetable as to when they will be permitted to re-open, and a majority of Town’s retail businesses have not been permitted to operate (including auto row) and are just now able to partially open.
Therefore, the Town has had to make some very tough choices; currently there is a hiring freeze, leaving several positions vacant. The Town has also had to cancel almost all recreation programming, including the Community Fair, Summer Concert series, Town Picnic and Annual Holiday Party, postpone most Capital programs, lessen discretionary spending, and are going to suspend this year’s water incentive program in an effort to reduce expenditures.
Furthermore, We hope you can join us in the Colma Conversation at https://www.colma.ca.gov/conversation/. Please take a moment to fill out the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H2PGP3T so you can help us prioritize how we prepare for our future fiscal challenges.
The good news is that the Shelter in Place Order’s are starting to loosen; however, I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and practice social distancing when going outside. That includes wearing a mask in public. Remember it’s not for your protection, it’s for protecting the others around you.
Our hope is that the business community can open to full capacity in the not so distant future and there is not a second wave of Covid-19 in the fall. If the economy can re-open to its full capacity in the next six to eight months, and a second wave does not spread throughout the world, we anticipate a brighter FY21-22.
Thank you in advance for your pursuit in making choices that will help stop the spread of Covid-19, if we at Town Hall can assist you or family with issues that have burdened you during this pandemic, please do not hesitate in reaching out to us, we are here to help!
Be safe everyone.