Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

Town of Los Gatos
Measure A - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Shall the measure proposing an ordinance replacing the Town's current Finance Committee and Sales Tax Oversight Committee with a Finance Commission that would advise the Town Council on financial, budgetary and investment matters, including but not limited to, the Annual Budget, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, capital expenditures, sales tax revenue and expenditures, and other recommendations as the Town Council directs, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Robert Schultz, Town Attorney

 

Voter approval of Measure "A” would amend the Los Gatos Town Code to disband both the Council Finance Committee and Sales Tax Oversight Committee and establish instead a Finance Commission consisting of seven (7) members - five (5) voting citizen members and two (2) nonvoting Council Members, (one of which would be either the Mayor or Vice Mayor), with each Council Member appointing one Citizen Appointee for a four (4) year term.

 

.      The Town of L.os Gatos currently has a Council Finance Committee consis.ting of five (5) members- t w o  (2) council members as voting members an d three (3) citizen members as nonvoting  members, appointed by t he Town Council. The function of the current Council Finance Committee is to serve as an advisory committee to the Town Council regarding the Town's investment policy, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the unfunded pension employment benefits and new and increased revenue sources. The purpose of the current Council Finance Committee is not to advise on regular or routine financial administration, the Town's budget or spending priorities, nor to become involved in other than the financial impact of the projects /programs they are asked to review.

 

Voter approval of Measure "A" would create a new Finance Commission that would serve in an advisory capacity to the Town Council and increase their duties and responsibilities in regard to the review of Town finances, including but not limited to: the Annual Budget, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, capital expenditures, the revenue and expenditure of Measure G Sales Tax, and making recommendations about the Town's financial budgetary and investment matters and operations related thereto to the Town Council and any other Town department, agency, committee, commission or other body as the Town Council directs.

 

 

 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

 

Do you believe the Los Gatos Town Council could benefit from expert financial and operating advice provided by five highly qualified town residents with significant private sector experience?

 

If your answer is"Yes" then join us in voting Yes on_.

 

Total net government spending by the Town increased by72'6 between 2015-2019. Do you feel like the services you receive from the Town are 72'6 better than they were 5 years ago?

 

We need to pass this measure to improve our financial oversight and get our fiscal house in order.

 

 

 

Most elected officials are not financial experts nor do they have a financial background.  Measure A will let highly qualified Los Gatos residents with extensive professional experience in business, economics, or finance lend their expertise in an unpaid advisory role to the Town Council.

 

 

 

The existing Finance Committee charter prohibits advising on the Town's annual budget and excludes citizen appointees from voting. It needs to be replaced.

 

Measure A takes the best practices of other cities in California that have a history of strong fiscal management, by creating a volunteer Finance Commission that will provide important guidance to the Town Council in its budgetary decisions, fiscal policies, and fiscal priorities.

 

 

 

Los Gatos has a deep reservoir of experienced talent. These individuals will bring new and innovative thinking to increase effectiveness and transparency. Whether or not their advice is acted upon, remains the Council's decision.

 

This measure does not take away any legal authority from the Town Council, which is accountable to voters regarding budget and fiscal decisions. The proposed measure simply increases the number of qualified residents who provide advice to the council in making those important decisions, and without any additional cost to taxpayers.

 

 

 

Please vote Yes on Measure_ to help protect the future fiscal stability of Los Gatos.

 

 

 

— Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

 

The Town Finance Commission initiative is unnecessary and bad government. Please vote against it.

The proposed Commission would be formed in the dark, not elected by you. Shockingly, individual council members would each name one Commissioner with no transparency as to why and without further approval of the full Council. The initiative omits critical appointment safeguards. It requires NO PUBLIC---

-- application;

-- vetting of qualifications--or disqualifications;

-- interview; or

-- debate about suitability.

That's bad government inviting cronyism and corruption.

 

Commission members would be appointed for four years with accountability to no, one; the initiative inexplicably exempts the proposed Commission from the provision that allows removal of Commissioners by three-fifths of the Tow-n Council.

 

The initiative exalts the wrong expertise. Government finance and corporate finance are different. Corporate executives are obligated to seek profits for shareholders. Our Town’s stakeholders aren't after financial returns. Town policy must reflect the diversity of our


stakeholders generation."


interests and never be profit-driven, or as the initiative puts it "to maximize fee


 

 

The proposed Commission would not be merely advisory; it would have pocket veto authority over expenditure of the Los Gatos Sales Tax. The initiative is worded to make Commission review of proposed expenditures of that tax a prerequisite to such expenditures; withholding that review would

 

prevent the expenditures.

 

 

 

The initiative creates a bloated bureaucracy that could hijack the professional mission of the award-winning Town finance team. It would establish requirements for written reports and unnecessary counter reports wasting time and effort.  Nimble responses to emergencies like pandemics, wildfires, earthquakes, or the completely unexpected could be thwarted by the new layer of unaccountable bureaucrats.

 

Los Gatos has excellent financial management and already taps the wealth of experience of its residents for financial matters. No initiative is needed to accomplish either.

 

— Registrar of Voters
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