Napa City Council to invest in city projects amid financial rebound

With a strong rebound of tax revenues this past fiscal year as local tourism has returned and the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts, the Napa City Council on Tuesday is poised to reinvest millions of dollars more from that financial boost into existing city projects. 

The investment coincides with the end-of-year financial report for fiscal year 2021-22, which will be presented to the council Tuesday evening. At the meeting, the council will vote on how to allot a projected $12.4 million in available unassigned fund balance. City staff is recommending the council vote to use $5.3 million for various city needs, and to place the remaining balance into the Capital Improvement Program Facilities Reserve, per the city’s fiscal policy. 

Recommended investments include adding another $1.5 million for the Highway 29 undercrossing project, an effort to build a bicycle and pedestrian path in an area between Coffield Avenue and California Boulevard that runs beneath the four-lane freeway. That’s the largest infrastructure project the city is planning to construct this fiscal year, with construction slated to begin in the spring, public works director Julie Lucido has previously said. 

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Staff also recommends another $1 million go toward the city’s fleet replacement reserve — the city is working to replace its gasoline-powered fleet with hybrid or electric vehicles — and for $1 million more to replenish the fire apparatus replacement reserve, in order for the city to have enough funding for vehicle replacements.  

“The prices of new vehicles continues to increase at a pace even higher than current inflation, and the difficulty of obtaining new vehicles from the dealerships has caused delays that result in the City having to pay higher prices,” the staff report notes. 

Additionally, staff calls for $500,000 to replace the city’s land management software, among other investments. 

When developing the current 2022-23 budget, Napa — along with several other cities in Napa County — decided to dedicate resources in the current budget year to staffing up, after cutting staff and freezing positions early in the pandemic. The city is also dedicating more funding toward housing, homeless services and climate change response in the current budget year than in past years. 

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is adoption of California’s 2022 Building Code Standards and a report on the city’s Equity and Inclusion Plan as it relates to city employment.  

Hundreds of children, parents and the young at heart dressed up for downtown Napa’s annual trick-or-treat stroll.

You can reach Edward Booth at 707-256-2213.

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