I welcome your feedback and comments on any issues relating to Burlingame. Go to the Contact form to send your message. I will get back to you promptly.
Report a Power Outage
It is critical for us to be able to provide PG&E with an accurate report of outages and their impact on our community. If you have experienced an outage, please enter the details in the Power Outage Form. You can also use this form to report tree trimming and customer service problems.
Burlingame finances are in excellent shape. Council members from other cities often tell me that they wish their cities had the healthy reserves, booming shopping areas and sound financial practices that we have.
Evidence of our city’s financial health includes:
Much of the credit goes to our excellent finance director, Jesus Nava, who routinely wins awards for our city's financial reporting practices; and ot our outstanding economic development coordinator, Patricia Love, who helps attract new businesses and serves as an ambassador to existing businesses. We also have a City Council Subcommittee on Economic Development whose members (Ann Keighran and Jerry Deal) visit regularly with business owners to listen to their ideas and make sure they are happy.
To make it easy for people to build new projects in Burlingame, our Community Development director, Bill Meeker, arranges one-stop meetings that allow developers to get all their questions answered by various departments at one time. In addition, as Mayor, I am communicating with the executive directors of our hotels and largest businesses to make sure our city is meeting their needs. I’m also sharing a handout called “Try Transit” that encourages local workers to use public transportation with free tickets and cash payments to those who carpool. I recently welcomed a delegation of CEOs from China and encouraged them to consider doing business here.
It wasn’t always like this. For many years, Burlingame balanced its budget one year at a time. About a year ago, the City Council decided to take a long-range look at our past budgets and began forecasting future budgets on a six-year cycle. We discovered that our revenues during the past 10 years have increased an average of 2 percent per year. Going forward, we are banking any revenues greater than 2 percent in four reserves: an economic stability reserve (to cushion against future ups and downs in revenues so we don’t have to cut jobs and services), a catastrophic reserve (to help during major disasters such as acts of terrorism), an unfunded liabilities reserve (to cover retiree medical costs) and a contingency reserve.
The advantage of this conservative approach is that we will be able to withstand the roller-coaster ride of the economy; we won’t have to cut staff and services based on a single year’s budget. Once these reserves are funded by a set amount each year, we will set aside funds for long-range capital improvement projects, such as a new Recreation Center.
In setting budget priorities, I focus on maintaining services to the public and the jobs of those who provide them. We have not laid off a single city employee during the past five years. We have downsized government through attrition and by working collaboratively with employees and getting them to agree to contribute more during these difficult economic times. We have been able to make government more efficient and less costly by sharing services and management with other cities, and we are exploring more ways to do so. Citizens are very engaged in the budget process and offer many helpful ideas.