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Galt Herald

Council OKs Chamber Promotions Funding

May 29, 2024 02:39PM ● By Joe Wirt
By Matthew Malone
News Editor

GALT, CA (MPG) - Galt City Council on May 21 approved the first part of an agreement with the Galt District Chamber of Commerce, which the parties say will promote and support local businesses. In a move related to the Measure Q sales tax, City Council also designated a portion of General Fund money for the Parks and Recreation Department.
The memorandum of understanding lays out $115,000 in programs to be funded by the city and operated by the chamber.
The overall price tag comprises $80,000 for a mural program in Old Town Galt; $15,000 for quarterly business-marketing workshops; and $20,000 for tourism-related publications, such as city maps and Galt-branded posters and stickers. Galt will pay the chamber in two installments of $57,500 on July 1 this year and July 1, 2025.
City Economic Development director Amie Mendes said the city and chamber will meet every other month to review actions under the contract and the chamber will give semiannual reports to City Council on its progress and spending.
The memorandum of understanding is one of several initiatives proposed by an ad hoc committee consisting of chamber and city representatives.
The proposals stem from a request by the chamber to receive $500,000 in COVID-19 relief money left over from a small-business grant program set up by the city, with the goal of creating a Galt tourism program. The committee developed the current set of initiatives as a starting point. Besides the memorandum of understanding, the city is also considering grant programs for local businesses; Mendes said these programs will be presented at future meetings.
“I think from where we started to where we landed, we’ve listened to our chamber members, the community, direction from Council and I think that we have come to a place where we’ve been able to address a lot of concerns that have been brought to us,” said Kat Seabolt, the chamber’s community relations director.
Councilmember Jay Vandenburg, who served on the committee, said he appreciated that the chamber “listened to everybody,” including business owners, during negotiations, expressing his support for the agreement.
Councilmember Kevin Papineau agreed. Papineau, the other City Council representative on the committee, said discussions had started out “bumpy” but he praised the current proposal.
“I think this is great, and I look forward to it growing and moving on,” Papineau said. 
Vice-Mayor Rich Lozano commended the cooperation between the city and chamber. 
“It’s so good to see that now the city and the chamber can come together and have an understanding and provide the businesses in this community the opportunity to enhance their businesses, enhance Galt and the economic development of Galt,” Lozano said.
Mayor Paul Sandhu said the programs will benefit the city by helping businesses grow.
Councilmember Shawn Farmer asked that the chamber “be mindful” to prefer local businesses as it buys the promotional material. Seabolt said the chamber has a policy to seek services from members before looking elsewhere.
Farmer praised the combination of features in the chamber’s proposal.
Galt resident Chris Brossman, who voiced skepticism of earlier program versions, said during public comment that “this is the first version of the proposal that I could fully endorse. And, as a citizen, I think the partnership with the chamber makes good sense for the city, and when you look at the outlay of cash on this, it’s really chump change.” 
Resident Bonnie Rodriguez said an Old Town mural project had been considered about 16 years ago but never came to fruition. Multiple community members would be “ecstatic” that the idea has been revived, Rodriguez said.
City Council authorized the memorandum of understanding by a 5-0 vote.
P&R Funding Formalized
To ensure that funds from the Measure Q sales tax add to the Parks and Recreation Department budget rather than replace it, council members passed a resolution setting aside a percentage of General Fund spending for parks and rec.
Finance director Matthew Boring said the contribution would be a percentage of the actual spending from the most-recently audited fiscal year, minus one-time line items and especially volatile expenditures.
Using fiscal 2022-23 numbers, a 5% contribution would be about $773,000 and a 6% contribution would be $928,000
City Council’s decision regularizes yearly General Fund contributions to the Parks and Recreation Department that made up the difference between that department’s revenue and spending.
Farmer supported the 6% contribution. He asked how the adjusted General Fund spending, called the “General Fund base,” has trended over time. Boring said it would probably increase as personnel costs go up.
Other council members agreed on a 6% contribution.
City Council will have discretion to modify the contribution by a majority vote. Council members said this would allow the city to respond to changing financial conditions. In public comment, Brossman supported the 6% figure but said he was “still going to be guarding those dollars.”
Council voted 5-0 in favor of the resolution with the 6% contribution.
Other Business
In other business, City Council recognized Sunshine Food Pantry director Faye Gaines for her work providing food for families facing hunger. Gaines also received a 5 Over 50 Award from Sacramento County. Lozano named “servant leadership” as one of Gaines’ qualities, saying, “Her quiet and loving demeanor belies her fierce, tenacious advocacy for those in need.”
As part of the consent calendar, City Council established a formal rotation schedule for the seat that Galt shares with the city of Isleton on the Sacramento Transportation Authority board of directors. 
The city of Galt has held the seat for the past 10 years. Under the new agreement, the cities will alternate in the seat every two years.
 Isleton will appoint the representative for 2025 and 2026.