In July 2010, the City Council unanimously voted to place a revenue measure (Measure F) on the November 2010 ballot to maintain vital city services during difficult economic times. Although the FY 10/11 budget was balanced, the ongoing cost for essential City services was expected to be greater than existing revenues. From FY 07/08 through FY 11/12, the City had cut more than $6.5 million dollars, almost 20 percent of the budget. The City eliminated over 51 staff positions, negotiated salary reductions with all employees, implemented cost savings, and dramatically reduced services. Even with these cuts and reductions, the City still faced a deficit of over $1 million that needed to be solved through a combination of revenue increases and expenditure cuts. Without additional revenue, the City was not going to be able to continue the current level of services to the community. The City Council placed the revenue measure on the ballot and gave the voters the choice to tax themselves.
The mission of the Novato Citizens Finance Advisory / Oversight Committee is to provide regular feedback, insight and recommendations and report periodically to the City Council on a variety of financial matters such as financial policies, long-term fiscal sustainability, budget and forecast assumptions, etc. The Committee also shall act as the official Citizens Oversight Committee as required by the Novato transactions and use tax ordinance (Measure F and Measure C).