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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 14

Meeting Date: October 24, 2006

Subject/Title: Adopt a resolution to approve funding based on the 2005/06 Fiscal Year budget from the City’s Agricultural Administration Fund to the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust for first six months of Fiscal Year 2006/07

Prepared by: Linda Maurer, Economic Development Manager
Denise Davies, Chief Finance Officer

Submitted by: Howard Sword, Community Development Director

RECOMMENDATION
Adopt a resolution to approve funding based on the 2005/06 Fiscal Year budget from the City’s Agricultural Administration Fund to the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust for first six months of Fiscal Year 2006/07 in the amount of $105,335.00.

PREVIOUS ACTION
• On June 14, 2005, the City Council approved a phased funding approach for the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust. Funding was approved for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2005/06. This approval set forth certain conditions for BALT to ensure future funding for its organization and operation.

• On December 13, 2005, the City Council approved funding for the second half of Fiscal Year 2005/06. Even though the funding was authorized by the Council, BALT did not request funding until May 2006. The current request from BALT is for retroactive funding for the period beginning July 1, 2006.

BACKGROUND

The City of Brentwood initiated the Agricultural Mitigation program and the collection of mitigation fees in 2001 following the adoption of the City’s agricultural enterprise ordinance.

The City began contributing to BALT in Fiscal Year 2003/04.

2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2006/07
Actual Actual Actual Requested Recommended

$ 81,046 $ 175,920 $ 132,265 $ 229,680 $ 210,670

The City Council expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the Ag Mitigation program at their Goal Setting Workshop in June 2005. At that time the Council laid out a work plan to evaluate the Ag Mitigation program and to establish a long-range vision for agriculture in the region that includes all agricultural interests.

Measure L called for an urban buffer along Sellers Avenue with agricultural easements along the east side of Sellers. Measure L would have created a permanent urban boundary with the City agreeing not to provide municipal services beyond Sellers and south of the ECCID canal. Measure L failed in the November 2005 election by a vote of 5,314 to 5,151, resulting in a lack of community consensus on Brentwood’s future urban limit line.

The next City Council will need to consider the issue of agricultural easements and the purpose of the Ag Mitigation program. At the present there is no strategic program to acquire easements that will preclude future urban development. The present revenue source will, at best, enable a checkerboard of easements in areas that are not likely to be urbanized.

The City Council has authorized staff to contract with Economic Planning Systems (EPS) to review the current ordinance and the effectiveness of the Ag Mitigation program. Staff and EPS will be ready to present that information to the Council in a workshop in January 2007.

Policy questions for the Council to consider will include, but not be limited to:

1) Without a strategic plan to acquire easements and establish an urban buffer, should the City continue to fund acquisition of easements?
2) What are the Council’s specific objectives in funding an agricultural mitigation program?
3) Given those objectives, what is the appropriate mitigation fee to accomplish the Council’s objectives?
4) Should measurable outcomes be established to evaluate the Ag Mitigation program?
5) What is the most cost effective way to achieve the Council’s objectives?

The immediate budget item before the Council is a request from BALT to continue their current level of operational funding through Fiscal Year 2006/07. As part of this request, BALT is proposing the following:

1) Increasing the hours of the Executive Director from 120 to 140;
2) Increasing the hours of the administrative assistant to full time;
3) Increasing the salary of the Executive Director by five percent.

To summarize, the current funding request from BALT amounts to $229,680.00, up approximately 10 percent from the previous year’s request of $210,670.00. The majority of the increase, approximately $15,000, is due to proposed increases in personnel expenses as noted above. The remaining increases are spread across other operation line items, including but are not limited to office expenses, consulting costs and enterprise activities.

Given all the policy and program considerations that the future City Council will need to consider in January 2007 regarding the Ag Mitigation Program, staff is recommending against any budget increases in Fiscal Year 2006/07, and is instead recommending funding to BALT for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2006/07 based on their amended Fiscal Year 2005/06 budget. Staff feels comfortable that the six-month funding for the first half of Fiscal Year 2006/07 will provide ample funds to the organization during the program review period.

FISCAL IMPACT
If approved by Council, funding for the first half of Fiscal Year 2006/07 would be appropriated from the City’s Agricultural Administration fund in the amount of $105,335.00. A budget adjustment would not be required as it has been approved in the 2006/07 Operating Budget.

BALT has unspent funds from the contributions received from the City for Fiscal Year 2005/06. The contribution to Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2006/07 will be lowered by these unspent City funds held by BALT as of June 30, 2006.

Attachment:
Resolution
Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust’s Request for Funding

RESOLUTION NO.

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD TO APPROVE FUNDING BASED ON THE 2005/06 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET FROM THE CITY’S AGRICULTURAL ADMINISTRATION FUND TO THE BRENTWOOD AGRICULTURAL LAND TRUST FOR FIRST SIX MONTHS OF FISCAL YEAR 2006/07.

WHEREAS, the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust (BALT) has submitted a budget request for Fiscal Year 2006/07;

WHEREAS, the proposed budget included increases for personnel and other expenses above that of the Fiscal Year 2005/06 amended budget;

WHEREAS, the City Council expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the Ag Mitigation program at their Goal Setting Workshop in June 2005. At that time the Council laid out a work plan to evaluate the Ag Mitigation program and to establish a long-range vision for agriculture in the region that includes all agricultural interests;

WHEREAS, Measure L would have created a permanent urban boundary with the City agreeing not to provide municipal services beyond Sellers and south of the ECCID canal. Measure L failed in the November 2005 election by a vote of 5,314 to 5,151, leaving a lack of community consensus on Brentwood’s future urban limit line;

WHEREAS, the issue of agricultural easements and the purpose of the Ag Mitigation program is one that the next City Council will need to consider;

WHEREAS, given all the policy and program considerations that the future City Council will need to consider regarding the Ag Mitigation Program, staff is recommending against any budget increases in Fiscal Year 2006/07, and is instead recommending funding to BALT for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2006/07 based on their amended Fiscal Year 2005/06 budget; and

WHEREAS, staff believes that the six-month funding for the first half of Fiscal Year 2006/07 will provide ample funds to the organization during the program review period.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood hereby approves funding from the City’s Agricultural Administrative Fund to the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2006/07, based on the amended budget amount from Fiscal Year 2005/06, in the amount of one-hundred and five thousand, three-hundred and thirty-five dollars ($105,335.00).

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 24th of October of 2006 by the following vote:
 

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