Mayor Candace Andersen delivered the annual State of the Town address Thursday afternoon, which highlighted the town's fiscal conservatism, accomplishments and ongoing projects.
"We truly have a community with great character; I don't just mean the quality of our downtown," Mayor Andersen said during her speech at the Crow Canyon Country Club. "It is so heartwarming to see our neighbors look out for each other."
Andersen began the speech by discussing taxes, revenues and expenditures resulting from various projects and planning throughout the town. The town of Danville expects to receive approximately $10.7 million in property taxes and $3.5 million in sales tax this year. Along with building and planning services, which are tracking slightly ahead of last year's budget, Andersen noted that increasing tax revenues are key economic indicators.
The town received $29,060,860 in revenue (36.9 percent of which came from property taxes) during the 2011/2012 financial year and used 55 percent of its approximately $26.7 million in expenditures on police and maintenance services. Danville spent $661 per person last year, significantly less than other Tri-Valley cities such as San Ramon ($921) and Pleasanton ($2,657).
Officials were then able to transfer nearly $3.4 million to the town reserves, which, at minimum, hold 20 percent of general fund operating expenses.
"We've been very careful over the years, even prior to the downturn, of keeping a reserve," Andersen said, noting that the town takes great care in ensuring public monies are used in the safest investments.
Andersen also highlighted changes to the town's community redevelopment agency, which was dissolved by the state on Feb. 1. The town's successor agency and oversight board, which will be in place by May 1, will be charged with paying off debt owed by the CDA. The agency owed the town approximately $8 million.
Although Danville's redevelopment agency is gone, Andersen said the town has made great strides in its business, market, infrastructure, workforce and organizational development projects. Among those programs are the business concierge service to promote and ease the entry of new business, façade improvement grants and the beautification of North Hartz Avenue, as well as the creation of the iGATE informational hub in Livermore.
"We have the opportunity to develop programs at high schools and colleges," Andersen said of future iGATE training programs. "We can help businesses have their workforce local instead of outsourcing."
Danville also has several large development projects, including the 2030 general plan, underway throughout town. While residents await construction of a mixed-use property on the site of the Danville Hotel, Andersen said grading on the 96-unit Elworthy West development will begin this spring. The property consists of 459 rural acres south of San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Sycamore Valley Road; more than 95 percent of the property is set to remain open or with additional trail access.
"Because of the desire to retain open space…we've encouraged projects to cluster on the valley floor," Andersen said.
Danville's largest project remains the $8.2 million Veterans Memorial Building, which is set to open on Saturday, April 28. Among its 52 active capital improvement projects, the town also has plans to improve street lights and place wayfinding signs downtown.
Andersen closed the address with statistics from the Danville Police Department's annual report, which will be available to the public beginning April 3. Last year, 677 cases were reported to DPD, 341 of which were closed. The department has a 50 percent closure rate, up 7 percent from the previous year.
The mayor encouraged residents to communicate with the town via email updates, Twitter or Facebook. Town Information Officer Geoff Gillette recently posted information the Express' Town Square forum describing various ways to stay informed.