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Infrastructure Funding News

Posted on: November 9, 2023

Infrastructure Funding Study Committee’s October 24 and November 8 Meeting Recap

November 8 Infrastructure Funding Study Committee

On July 17, 2023, the Mill Valley City Council appointed the temporary Infrastructure Funding Study Committee to review infrastructure reports, weigh funding options, and shape a recommendation that will help the City Council navigate the infrastructural challenges of the next 10 to 15 years, with a keen focus on safety, sustainable development, and enhancing residents' quality of life. The Committee is tasked with vetting and making a recommendation on how to best achieve a reliable funding framework to support our continued need for robust infrastructure as well as the overall safety of the community. 

Mayor Urban Carmel and Vice Mayor Stephen Burke, serving in an advisory capacity as non-voting Council liaisons, are closely following the Study Committee's progress. Mayor Carmel emphasizes the committee's integral role, stating, "Our infrastructure committee exemplifies Mill Valley's spirit, encompassing a breadth of experience from all corners of our town—East to West, including a dedicated Library Trustee, members from the Parks and Recreation and Emergency Preparedness Commissions, and even an insightful youth representative. These 15 committed residents are volunteering their diverse skills to address our shared challenges with a focused strategy for sustainability and public safety."

"They're tackling the critical issues head-on," he continued. "From mitigating fire and flood risks to enhancing our quality of life. Their rigorous analysis and strategic planning are laying the groundwork for how we prioritize and execute vital projects, all while steering our community towards a safer, resilient, and sustainable future."

As the Municipal Service Tax, approved by Mill Valley voters in 2016, nears its expiration in 2027, the pursuit of new funding avenues becomes critical. This tax has been pivotal for street maintenance and fire suppression activities, such as vegetation removal, as demonstrated in the most recent report on the parcel tax measure. The report details the diligent application of taxpayer funds to infrastructure improvements, noting that Public Works paved over 80 streets in the past year, and fire officials coordinated the removal of over 640 tons of vegetation from Mill Valley fire-prone neighborhoods. 

Study Committee Progress and Next Steps

At their meeting on October 24, Study Committee members received an in-depth presentation from Craig Hill of NHA Advisors about various revenue resources, including the following:

Sales and Use TaxDocumentary Transfer and Real Property Transfer TaxLocal Cannabis Tax
General Obligation BondRevenue BondsSpecial Tax/Assessment Bond
Transaction and Use Tax Community Facilities District/Parcel TaxLocal Government Fees/Charges
Business TaxConstruction/Development TaxDevelopment Impact Fees
Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel/lodging tax)Utility User Tax General Fund Obligation

Study Committee members discussed the different opportunities and evaluated the levels of voter approval needed, the potential revenue each could generate, and their impact on the City’s finances. The committee also considered the equity impacts, discussing which members of the community would most likely feel the impacts of each revenue measure. General Obligation Bonds, Sales Tax, Real Estate Transfer Tax, and the MST/Parcel Tax emerged from the meeting as the most promising revenue-generating vehicles, prompting the committee to request a more detailed discussion. 

At their November 8 meeting, Study Committee members received a presentation from Leslie Bloom of NHA Advisors on the four key tax measures, detailing revenue projections, analysis of the City's property tax profile, and financing revenue requirements. The Committee discussed the next steps in their recommendation process and unanimously confirmed the need for infrastructure improvements in the range of $150-$180 million. They also discussed their intention to begin deliberations at their next meeting on their recommendation to the City Council.

The November 15, 2023 meeting will be held in the Creekside Room of the Mill Valley Public Library from 6:00-8:00 pm. Community members are welcome and encouraged to attend all meetings of the Infrastructure Funding Study Committee. 

Please click here for more information about the Infrastructure Funding Study Committee

Questions or comments may be directed to:

Linn Walsh
Senior Management Analyst
Phone: (415) 388-4863

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