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May 22, 2015

Concord unveils ‘good news’ budget PEGGY SPEAR

Concord Pioneer

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, the City of Concord was looking at a

TIM GRAYSON

MAYOR

Economic development drives new budget The Budget Workshop held during our recent Concord City Council meeting was an encouraging glimpse at our economic present, but owing to the recent recession concerns are still being raised about our economic future. I want to present some factual material that I hope will allay some of those fears. Once again, thank you to the citizens of Concord for giving us the cushion of Measure Q. You bought us time to develop and enhance our economic development program so that we can recover from the effects of that recession, the dissolution of our Redevelopment Agency, the “creative ways” the

See Mayor, page 14

KidFest marks Silver Anniversary this weekend in downtown TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer

The area’s longest-running annual family event, Bay Area KidFest, returns this weekend presenting its Silver Anniversary edition in Downtown Concord as part of the three-day Memorial Day holiday. KidFest has been under the direction of event producer Jay Bedecarré since 2010. Bedecarré has a long history with the City of Concord, who, for 25 years,

Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget that was hanging by a thread, with future threats of huge cuts to services and programs if new revenue streams weren’t found in the next year. Thanks to a resurgent econ-

omy — and especially the voters of Concord, who overwhelmingly extended Measure Q, the half-cent sales tax, in November — the two-year spending plan unveiled last week at the Concord City Council meeting was a

breath of fresh air. “Sometimes, it’s hard to stop and reflect on some good news,” said City Manager Valerie Barone. “This is good news.” While the new bi-annual

FY 2015-16 Preliminary Budget General Fund Revenue by Category Without Measure Q Charges for Services, Licenses & Permits $7.7M 9% Business License $3.1M 4% Transient Occupancy Tax $5.8M $2.7M 3% 7%

Total: $81.3M Other $6.1M 8%

Franchise Fees

Property Tax $22.5M 28%

Total: $93.9M

Including Measure Q Charges for Services, Licenses & Permits Business License Transient Occupancy Tax $2.7M 3%

$7.7M 8%

Other $6.1M 6%

Property Tax $22.5M 24%

$3.1M 4% $5.8M 6%

Franchise Fees Sales Tax $33.4M 41%

This graph outlines the revenue sources streaming into the city of Concord for Fiscal Year 2015-16, without the aid of Measure Q. At $33.4, sales tax is 41 percent of the total. It is slated to increase in coming years as Concord plans to rely more heavily on its economic development.

Measure Q $12.6M 13%

Sales Tax $33.4M 36%

This graph highlights city revenues for Fiscal Year 2015-16 with the addition of Measure Q funds, which will help support the general fund, economic development marketing, park improvements and supplemental improvements for capital projects.

budget is status quo, with 89.1 million in spending in Fiscal Year 2015-16 and 88.5 million in FY 16-17, the budgets reinstate a 30 percent “rainy day” fund, about $29 million or about four months operating costs. Of those budgets, $7.8 million is from Measure Q in FY 15-16, and $7.5 million is from Measure Q in FY 16-17. “We are returning to our prerecession status,” says Barone. “But we still must be conservative, which is why we have a ‘status quo’ budget.” But we will be able to make progress in infrastructure needs and unfunded liabilities, something we haven’t been able to do in the recent past.” The budget workshop was the first of three that the council will hold prior to the state’s deadline of adopting a budget by July 1. The next one is at the council meeting on June 9, and

See Budget, page 7

Source: City of Concord

Source: City of Concord

Simulated disaster drill tests CERT skills If a major disaster had hit Concord last Saturday, the safest place around would have been Todos Santos Plaza where more than 100 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainees and graduates gathered to test their skills in various simulated disaster scenarios. The event drew CERT volunteers from Brentwood, Pittsburg, Antioch and Martinez as well as from the Concord CERT. In bright green vests and hardhats, the responders participated in exercises simulating medical triage with search and rescue, fire suppression and communications. At the “cribbing” scenario, volunteers worked to shore up a collapsed building by creating a temporary wooden structure to support the weight while rescuing people trapped underneath. The work is tedious and exact and one

Tamara Steiner/Concord Pioneer

CERT TEAM MEMBERS CHECK ON THE STATUS OF THE THREE “ VICTIMS” they just pulled out from under a collapsed building as part of the multi-city drill last Saturday in Todos Santos Plaza.

mistake could bring the whole structure down on the victims. These are the skills that will be most needed in a major earthquake, the most likely disaster sce-

nario to strike the Bay Area. Concord resident, David Pintado, is a CERT Safety Coordinator and led his team through the communications and damage

assessment exercise. “I want to create a consciousness in my neighborhood of what to do in a bad situation.” Pintado was the safety coordinator for Heald Col-

lege before it closed last month. Many volunteer for the training out of a sense of self preservation. Debbie Martin of Brentwood heard about the CERT training from her Next Door neighborhood website. “My husband and I are concerned. We want to know what to do in a disaster.” CERT training includes 20 hours of instruction and takes six weeks to complete. Volunteers are trained what to do in a major disaster, for example an earthquake, flood or terrorist attack. They learn the techniques of fire safety and fire suppression, light search and rescue and the basics of medical triage. For more information about upcoming CERT training sessions, go to www.cityofconcord.org/CERT, contact the Concord CERT program at Info@ConcordCERT.org or call (925) 603-5933.

‘Grown Women’ celebrate Juneteenth in dance

See KidFest, page 7

Among the many free attractions this weekend at Bay Area KidFest in Concord is the Kent Family Circus, performing at 12 noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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KARA NAVOLIO Correspondent

Tonya Marie Amos and her father Morris Amos dance in a moving performance to Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.” Alan Kimara Dixon

Tonya Marie Amos is a successful Concord businesswoman, a former professional dancer and a community volunteer. But she is most proud of a show she produces each year that brings people of all ages, races and cultures together to celebrate African American history. Since 2009, Amos’ non-profit Grown Women Dance Collective stages “Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars: A Juneteenth Celebration Through Dance.” The

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show, held June 20-21 at the California Theatre in Pittsburg, is a multi-media celebration of the positive contributions made by black Americans. It brings together former and current professional dancers and music by such influential artists as Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. The dance performances are intermixed with readings of poetry and a slide show of African American history from slave ships to the Civil Rights Movement through current day. Amos’ inspiration for the

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show stems from seeing a lack of Juneteenth Celebrations in the Bay Area, and especially in Contra Costa County. In Texas, where her ancestors were once slaves, it is a state holiday. Juneteenth is known as the day, 150 years ago, that slaves in Texas heard the news that slavery was over. The proclamation was read in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. That was more than two months after the Civil War had ended and two and half

See Juneteenth, page 20

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May 22 Concord Pioneer 2015  

May 22 Concord Pioneer 2015