On Feb 28, 2017, Mayor Butt presented the State of the City. The power point presentation is attached (2017 State of the City) and can also be found at the City webiste:
- City needs to increase revenues or it will have to cut services
- Reasons for increased costs – growing pension and retiree health care costs. This is due to a lower projected rate of return on investments.
- Per Karina Iofee, Bay Area News Group (02/28/17) “according to CalPERS, the state retirement agency, retirement expenses could exceed $70 million in the next four years, making up 41% of the City’s general fund, a trend replicated in other cities. An estimate by a financial consultant in fall 2015 determined that Richmond needs to shave approximately $15 million off its expenditures by 2021 to stay in the black. If not, it will likely have to cut jobs and reduce vital services such as libraries, recreational programs and street improvements.”
- Per Mayor Butt, “If the city focused as much on collecting money as it does on spending money, we could increase revenues by millions each year.”
- Mayor posted new sources of revenue include focusing on businesses that are operating without a business license – approximately 2000 businesses, csoting the city at least $1 million in revenues.
- “Anecdotally, I’ve heard that we have hundreds of marijuana cultivation businesses but we’re permitted for only one,” per Mayor Butt
- New developments are in pipeline, however slow to break ground.
- Warehouse vacancies at 2%
- New businesses – Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Brothers Lighthouse Beers, Benoit Casper Brewing Company, Riggers Loft – 2 wineries and a cider company.
- Office vacancies at 20%.
- Homicides are up from 11 in 2011 to 24 in 2016 – 71% are shootings of men between 15-30 years of age. Most are gang related.
- More homicides are being solved by the RPD per Lt. Tan.
- A Rent Board is being established in the City. New Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction Law in place – restricts rents from being increased by more than 2% of CPI each year, and, bans landlords from evicting tenants without a valid cause. This is being challenged by California Apartment Association which cites that it is unconstitutional and violates property owner’s rights.