Adding a new department head is not something "I take lightly," Rich said."I believe this is necessary to make technology a priority as council has said it wants it to be," he said, referring to one of the council's top three goals that was confirmed Tuesday. The others are pedestrian and bicycle mobility and the preservation and expansion of the city's tree canopy.
Mountain View is "a very highly educated, high-tech community," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga. "We have all these startups coming to us, saying, 'This is the technology we are developing, do you want to beta test it?' We haven't had a lot of time to to see what works for us. That's what I would envision this IT person to be — on the cutting edge of what's going on in the world."
The city's current in-house information technology department is managed by finance director Patty Kong, who would perhaps have more time to generate revenue for the city, noted council member Mike Kasperzak.
Among the other jobs Rich proposes to add are a half-time communications coordinator for his office, an associate civil engineer, an associate city planner, a plan-check engineer, an assistant building inspector, a financial analyst for the finance department and an office assistant for the building department.
The new jobs come as the city projects budget surpluses in fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
"This is the first year we're not projecting a deficit for next year, so we feel good about that," Kong said.
Rich noted that Silicon Valley's economy is leading the country out of the recession, and "I would argue we are leading Silicon Valley." The result is a projected $4.6 million rise in revenues from hotel taxes, property taxes and sales taxes for the city next year, while expenses rise by only $3 million in the proposed $98 million general fund budget.
It is projected that $3 million will be left over at the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.
The surpluses will to be used to fund reserves and many of the the new positions Rich has proposed (which will also receive funding from other sources) as well as $375,000 in firefighter overtime pay and $85,000 to continue the city's popular "Energy Upgrade" program, which provides energy audits of people's homes in order to help residents reduce energy use.
Council members also supported $533,600 in other budget increases, including $90,000 in increased funding for janitorial services, $74,600 for new computer hardware and software, $40,000 to help meet increased demand for aquatics programs, a $44,400 increase for supplies and staff at the teen center, $63,500 to enroll another 80 kids in city-run summer camps, and $60,000 for new youth and adult classes run by the city.
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