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City Beat    Engage Morgan Hill… Be Part of the Conversation          By Maureen Tobin, Communications & Engagement Manager T * Includes property tax revenues for Santa Clara County Central Fire District he City of Morgan Hill has recently initiated an extensive outreach and engagement process with the Morgan Hill community. Named simply and appropriately, “Engage Morgan Hill” is a conversation about services, funding and priorities. The focus of this process is both educating and engaging the community regarding what services the city provides, how City services are provided, and the funding sources/options for services as we look toward the future. Additionally, Engage Morgan Hill will provide a deeper understanding of the City budget, finances, revenue sources and expenses. While educating the community, the intent is also to listen to and provide an opportunity for the community to be part of the decision- making progress to ensure the City’s fiscal sustainability in the future. The City of Morgan Hill provides high quality service for a low cost. In fact, comparing Morgan Hill to other cities in the County the City of Morgan Hill collects the lowest taxes per capita of any other city. The City has been very thought- ful in the way we deliver services so that we have been able to provide our residents more with less. We have been able to do this in a variety of ways, including: • Keeping our staffing lean (The City of Morgan Hill currently has lower per capita staffing than we did 10 years ago). • Innovative partnerships with organizations like the YMCA to provide recreation services, Cal Fire to provide fire safety, and Silicon Valley Clean Energy to provide energy resources alternatives. • Attracting the best and the brightest to work for Morgan Hill not because we pay the most, but because we have a reputation of being innovative and team oriented. • City employees share in paying for pension cost increases and new employees having reduced pension benefits. • Actively and successfully pursuing grants. • Smart economic development guided by the Economic Blueprint. Despite the City’s efforts, just like all California cities, we have challenges ahead: • After deferring maintenance of City facilities and roads during the recession the City has a lot of catching up to do. • Despite reductions to pension benefits, the City won’t see the savings for many years while minimum wage, health insurance, and legacy pension costs keep increasing. • New legislation and regulations are taking away local control. • Over 82% of the City’s Discretionary General Fund Expenses are dedicated to police, fire, and street maintenance services. In order to meet the challenges ahead we need to come together as a community, share ideas, educate ourselves, and make informed decisions about how to move forward for a sustainable future. The City of Morgan Hill invites you to be engaged, learn the facts, share accurate information, and be part of the solution. Engage and be part of the conversation. For more information visit EngageMorganHill.org 38 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN june/july 2019 gmhtoday.com