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An open letter from Napa City Manager to our community and employees
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An open letter from Napa City Manager to our community and employees

As we continue to weather another month of changing orders from the state level, I am continually impressed and enheartened by the perseverance and strength of our city, its residents, and our Napa staff.

As things continue to shift, the city has been working diligently to adjust our budget to fit our new reality while having as little impact on staff and residents as possible.

So far this fiscal year, we have made $12.7 million in budget cuts across departments. We have transferred $2.9 million to our General Fund from other spending areas and may also transfer up to $3.65 million of our reserves this year to cover nearly $20 million in projected revenue reductions.

In an effort to create additional expenditure savings, we entered Fiscal Year 2020/21 with 32 frozen staff positions and anticipate holding additional positions vacant throughout the year. As an example, the city has chosen to refrain from filling the Director of Parks and Recreation position following the retirement of longtime director John Coates.

Instead, we will shift the department to fall under the oversight of Vin Smith, Director of Community Development, with employees reporting directly to their current managers.

These shifts mean that Napa is having to do more with less, but they will allow us to preserve the funds that would be spent on additional salary and benefits packages and use them to continue other city operations. We’re pleased that our current situation allows us to avoid cutting more programs and services (such as parks and recreation) at a time when people need them more than ever.

While these cuts are helping, they do not close the gap in funding that we will have to contend with over the coming years. More changes will have to be made, but please know that our leadership team wants to be as transparent as possible about these budget decisions -- both with our Napa residents and our staff.

In line with these transparency efforts, we are pleased to launch our updated budget webpage, which details exactly where our 2019/20 and 2020/21 projected budgets are falling short, what the city has done so far to address these shortfalls, and provides links to commonly asked budget-related questions.

All this information is laid out in several easy-to-digest infographics that we hope make the sometimes complex budget information more accessible. As circumstances change, we will continue to update the information on this page and in the infographic so that you may stay informed.

Additionally, we have taken the information from this budget page and infographic and turned it into a social media series that we have been releasing twice weekly since early July. We have recently ramped up our social media efforts in order to provide timely and relevant information related to COVID-19, and will continue to do so moving forward.

We encourage our residents, staff and anyone with an interest in the goings-on in Napa to follow our social media channels. You can find us on Facebook (City of Napa - Local Government), Nextdoor, Instagram, and Twitter (@CityofNapa).

Finally, in a bit of good news, the City Council recently approved a spending plan for the $975,000 the city of Napa was granted as part of the CARES Act. These funds will help us to enhance our current tenant protection programs, offer local businesses assistance with costs related to COVID-19, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for our front-line city employees, transition our staff and infrastructure to a virtual work environment, and more.

I am grateful that we will be able to use these funds to support both our Napa community and our staff, and I thank the City Council for their guidance and support on how to distribute these funds.

I would like to close by saying how grateful I am for the community we have, from our internal staff who have been working so hard to keep the city in operation, to our residents who have shown so much care and enthusiasm for the preservation of their city. We are facing challenges unlike any we’ve seen in recent history, and I am proud to work alongside all of you to preserve this special city that is Napa. Thank you for all you do.

Steve Potter

Napa City Manager

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