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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Alameda County, CA February 7, 2012 Election
Smart Voter

Margaret Fujioka
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Piedmont


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Piedmont and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. Are you in favor of multi-year budgeting for the City? Please explain your reasons.

I believe multi year planning is important. The City has a significant investment in capital assets that needs to be monitored and protected. Multi year planning will allow the City to evaluate and prioritize the assets that need upgrading, to estimate the cost of such upgrades, and to plan for such capital outlays. The allocation of funds will depend on the overall condition of the City's budget and a recognition that revenues fluctuate from year to year.

2. Recent issues in the city have created tensions and polarized the community. As a Piedmont City Council member what would you do to foster civic engagement and dialogue?

I will continue to listen to all viewpoints with an open mind, communicate with citizens in a respectful way, and encourage others to do the same. I will continue to bring a thoughtful, common sense approach to making decisions that are in the best interests of our entire community and do so in an inclusive and collegial way.

3. The 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee made several important recommendations to the Piedmont City Council and requested action before renewal of the parcel tax. List three of the requested actions and state what position you would take on each if you were on the Piedmont City Council.

The City Council voted to implement 2 of the Committee's recommendations: 1) Placing the Sewer Tax on the Feb. 7th ballot, and 2) Deferring placement of the Parcel Tax on the general election ballot until June or November 2012. The Council is thoughtfully and prudently considering other recommendations and has adopted a time-line for action. The Committee stated in its report that the first and primary issue that must be addressed by the City Council is employee benefits. The City is currently in negotiations with employee labor units, which negotiations are in closed session pursuant to State law. I am hopeful that we will reach an agreement that will be fair to employees and the City alike.

I have consistently taken a fiscally prudent approach to reducing labor costs, and I support increased employee contributions to benefits and a two-tier benefit system for new employees.

4. The ballot measure in February asks for a 50% increase in the Sewer Tax. This will cost homeowners several hundred dollars per year for the next ten years. Do you support or oppose the Sewer Tax measure?

The Municipal Tax Review Committee unanimously recommended the City impose the Sewer Tax. I agree. It is necessary to meet the regulatory requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency, will provide residents with more efficient sewer functioning, decrease the risk of costly and potentially damaging problems, and minimize runoff of sewage into the Bay.

5. Employee fringe benefit costs currently equal 53% of the City's salary budget, up from 33% in 2006-2007. As a Piedmont City Council member would you vote to cap fringe benefit costs at their current level or allow them to continue to increase as a percentage of salary? Why or why not?

Given that the City is currently in negotiations with employee unions, it would not be appropriate for me, as a sitting Council Member, to address how I would vote. I will continue to work to reach an agreement with employees that is, hopefully, fair to employees and the City alike.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' answers are presented as submitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: January 16, 2012 02:00
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