The Silicon Valley Voice

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Electric Rate Increase Approved, City Finances Improving

Tuesday’s Santa Clara City Council meeting brought welcome relief from the fractious and quarrelsome meetings that characterized the last two years. Not only was there virtually no disagreement among council members, they made evident efforts toward restoring collegiality on the Council.

The Council approved the new Silicon Valley Power electric rate schedule beginning Jan. 1, 2023. Residential rates will increase 8% per month — about $4.40 a month for average residential customers. Chief Electric Utility Officer Manuel Pineda noted that these increases are driven by a 25% increase in electric transmission rates and a 36% rise in natural gas transmission rates.

Final 2021–2022 General Fund Financials

The good news is that revenues came in higher than expected.


“The three big parameters for [general fund] revenue – property tax, TOT [Hotel tax], sales tax – are showing up-trends,” Finance Director Kenn Lee reported.

General fund revenue grew 2% last year to $242 million. Sales tax revenue increased $700,000 to $57 million, property tax $6 million to $74 million, hotel tax $8 million to $11 million. Expenditures dropped about 5%  — $14 million.

The bad news is that general fund expenditures ($263 million) outpaced revenues by nearly $20 million. The City benefited from $23 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID relief funds, but that money is now spent. The City is using reserves and other one-time funds to close this year’s gap, but the deficit is forecast to continue into next year. The budget stabilization reserve is currently $41 million.

CalPERS’ 6% loss in 2021 and 2022 will also cost the City money and reduce the pension stabilization reserve fund.

Q2 Stadium Authority Financials

Year-to-date Santa Clara Stadium Authority (SCSA) revenue stands at $30.9 million, while expenses are $21.3 million. The Stadium Authority has also received $12 million from seat licenses, $3.5 million from naming rights and $13 million in facilities rent.

There were 36 non-NFL events so far this year, which have brought $2.5 million into the City’s general fund. This number of events already tops the last pre-COVID year, 2019-2020, when there were 28 events. Five non-NFL ticketed events to date have brought $4 million in net revenue to the Stadium Authority. Half of that ($2 million) goes to the City’s general fund as “performance rent” — an average of $400,000 per event. The City also received $460,000 from ground rent and $69,000 from senior and youth services ticket fees.

Santa Clara Station Area Advisory Task Force

After a lengthy discussion about whether both a husband and wife can serve on the same committee, Council approved Jonathan Evans’s appointment to represent the Old Quad Residents Association (OQRA) on the Santa Clara Station Area Advisory task force — Evans’s wife is also a member. Council members agreed that having multiple members of a single household wasn’t problematic, but also agreed that the task force didn’t have broad enough representation from the community.

“If we look at the intersection of Old Quad Residents Association and the members of the task force, the OQRA already has significant representation on the task force,” said Council Member Kevin Park.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor asked about outreach to the community about serving on the task force, noting that she didn’t know anything about this until it came to the Council agenda. The Council voted to add four members to the task force to represent the business community, the Portuguese Hall, transportation advocates and an additional at-large member. The City will advertise the openings and make appointments early next year.

The Council also directed the city manager to look for parcels the City can purchase in the Tasman East development area to provide additional parks for the new housing that will be built there. In addition, 1,500 new housing units have been added to the project.

Consent Calendar Spending

  • Suarez & Munoz Construction Inc. $691,977 four Fairway Glen Park restroom construction project.
  • FBD Vanguard Construction Inc. $3.9 million for public right-of-way ADA improvements.
  • Shape Inc. $421,460 for sewer lift station wastewater pumps.
  • Pump Repair Service Co. $289,960 purchase an installation of new pump and motor at water well station 23.
  • Capital Corridor Joint Powers Authority $426,620 reimbursement for design-related costs for protecting are relocating City utilities.
  • GTT Americas LLC $1.5 million for internet services for Silicon Valley Power for 10 years.
  • Fluoresco Services LLC $112,486 for new way-finding signs and maps at Levi’s Stadium.
  • Contract Extensions for Davey Tree Surgery Company ($2.6 million), Advanced Chemical Transport Inc. ($400,000), Koffer Electrical Mechanical Apparatus Repair Inc ($200,000), DKS ($66,700), Kinley-Horn ($66,700), W-Trans ($66,700).

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