PIEDMONT -- The City Council on Monday approved the 2014-15 budget and end-of-year 2013-14 allocations such as $10,000 for renovation at the city-owned portion of 801 Magnolia Ave. so it can be used for summer recreation programs.

The council also approved an increase effective July 1 for miscellaneous employees to pay an additional 2 percent to their CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement System) pension plan.

The council formalized the levy for 2014-15 of the municipal services and municipal sewer taxes. Each of those taxes will be increased 2.58 percent, based upon the Consumer Price Index, Finance Director Erick Cheung said.

The average parcel in Piedmont will see the municipal services tax rise $11, with an overall revenue of $1.7 million from all parcels. The sewer tax will rise $15 for the average sized parcel, for an overall revenue of $2.3 million for 2014-15.

Other fiscal year-end appropriations include an additional $155,000 for legal services, which includes transition to an acting city attorney because of the death of Tom Curry and services related to the hiring of a new city administrator. Another $60,000 appropriation includes payment of accrued vacation to retired City Administrator Geoff Grote and the hiring of new City Administrator Paul Benoit.

An additional $31,000 is needed for the Recreation Department to hire more part-time employees for preschool and day-camp enrollment. Public Works requested fiscal year-end appropriations totaling $105,000 for tree pruning after winter wind storms and emergency sanitary sewer repairs. Another $6,000 was appropriated to the Police Department for outside services such as forensic and fingerprint analysis.

The deficit for the aquatics center is lower than budgeted, so subsidies for the center decreased by about $30,000, from $157,870 to $127,830. A pension obligation debt service fund has been established related to the refinancing of the pension side fund that voters approved in February. The refinance will save the city about $1.2 million over seven years, with the debt repaid by March 2020 at a 2.79 percent interest rate compared to the 7.5 percent that was charged by CalPERS. Amount of the debt is $7.3 million.

The Police Department will receive $100,512 in COPS (Citizens Option for Public Safety) funding to supplement existing police equipment and services. The total COPS balance is $240,146.

"The city of Piedmont is in a financially sound and stable position," City Administrator Paul Benoit said.

The estimated 2014-15 general fund balance is $4,230,099.

"This is due to sound fiscal measures implemented by the City Council, including needed changes to CalPERS retirement plans for post-employment medical benefits for newly hired employees," Benoit said in his report.

"New four-year employment agreements were approved, which maintain pension cost sharing with employees. The budget ensures no reduction in the range and quality of services staff provide."

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