The Los Gatos Town Council approved a $35.3 million fiscal year 2012-13 budget Monday evening that preserves all municipal jobs and services.
By a 4-0 vote, with one abstention from Councilman Steven Leonardis, the Council passed its operating fund that even extends weekend hours at the new Los Gatos Library 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. on Sundays at a cost of $65,000.
In February, the Council had voted to extend the library's hours by three hours on Saturday, opening earlier at 10 a.m., rather than 1 p.m. and closing at 5 p.m. on the busy day. Sunday hours had been set 1-5 p.m. The additional hours were supposed to be in effect until June 30.
This week, however, the Council, responding to increased library services needs on Sunday, gave patrons one extra hour on Sunday by allowing the facility to open at noon, instead of 1 p.m. and closing at 5 p.m.
Leonardis' abstention was related to wife Mary Leonardis serving as president of the nonprofit organization Arts Docents of Los Gatos and the group, along with other arts programs, received funding from the Council in the amount of $8,000.
To make up for the loss of revenue caused by the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency and decreased sales tax revenue from Netflix, the Council is considering raising certain department charges such as building, planning and alcohol-serving restaurant conditional-use permit fees. The proposal, however, will be heard by the Council during its June 18 meeting.
In other news, Los Gatos Community Development Director Wendie Rooney explained that the 5.2-acre old County Courthouse property on the northwest corner of Knowles and Capri drives has been identified as one of five so-called affordable housing overlay properties where low- to mid-income housing can be built.
While the state requires the town to provide its fair share of affordable housing, Rooney said that more environmental analysis is needed at the sites, including the courthouse site, delaying approval of any housing projects for four to five months.
KT Properties, which has entered into an agreement to buy two parcels at the site totaling 3.4 acres for a housing development, has expressed its desire to move forward expediently with its application, understanding that it will be responsible for the site’s environmental review and other standards.
The council unanimously approved separating the review process for the site from the other affordable housing properties in town.
By a 4-1 vote the Council also continued discussion to a later date on an amendment to the town's zoning code to incorporate the state's so-called density bonus program, which encourages developers to build affordable housing.
The Council asked staff to look at other jurisdictions with similar policies to develop a policy that best fits the town.
“Through researching other jurisdictions that have similar programs, we found that if we make our affordable overlay zones consistent with state density bonus law, that we can then say they are equal to or better than the state density bonus law provisions and we can preclude applying the density bonus law to these sites,” Rooney said.