At the June 2 Galt City Council meeting held over teleconference and zoom, 18 residents expressed their concern over the current social climate and approved the annual budget.

Director of Finance Clare Tyson gave a presentation on the city budget for the coming two years. She said the most important thing about the budget is that it’s balanced. However, later in the meeting, she said all would depend on how finances stand up to the COVID-19 impact.

The city expects a drop of 2% in sales tax, a drop of 25% in Transient Occupancy Tax; refuse franchise fees are also expected to drop, as are business licenses due to business impacts. Close to 75% of the city’s budget comes from taxes.

The Galt Market has already been negatively impacted and Tyson said it might take years for it to recover.

City fees for home builds and businesses went up a modest 2.45% on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The next item on her list was the Capital Improvements.

Over the next two years, Tyson said the city plans to rehab the police department exterior. Walker Park will get new restrooms, more parking spaces, shade structures for the soccer/football fields through grant dollars. Hauschildt Park will also get improvements. A long-range plan for the Walnut Avenue overpass will be in the works over the next five to seven years.

Utility Capital Improvements are slated for the replacement of the Old Town water main, a rehab on the Kost Road water treatment facility, a lift station wastewater rehab, the Oberlin Way/Trudy Way wastewater replacement and the Field 18 wastewater treatment plant.

City revenues for 2020-21 are just over $50 million with expected expenditures just over $40 million.

City Council members approved the budget 5-0.

City Council also approved a deferral for the loan taken out by D&S Development on the Brewster Building. According to Tyson, the city loaned money from redevelopment funds from the state so the company could make improvements beginning in 2008. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant owners asked for a rent deferral, which D&S granted. So, the city followed suit.

Council also approved a rent deferment to Blue Dog Distributors who occupy a city owned building. They will pay 50 percent over a few months and have a year to pay the difference back.

City Council Procedural Guidelines were also on the agenda to be discussed, but dropped for another meeting so council members could attend the high school parades.

During public comment 18 residents expressed their concern over the current social climate and local comments from Galt residents of racial bigotry on the Friendly Neighborhood Galt Facebook page. Judyth Hernandez’ comments via email were the first in the long list of emails concerning the issue. The other 17 letters on the subject were carbon copies with just the names changed.

“ ... There have been numerous calls to action about forming a militia,” wrote Hernandez. “… User Odin Young’s call to action post, ‘in light of recent events I’m forming a militia. Message me if you want to join.’”

Hernandez said she feared these groups might escalate violence when and if protestors came to Galt. She asked council to put the issue on the next agenda to see what could be done.

According to Hernandez, another post on the site was from Matt Woodward of stick people being run over by a car and the caption read, “All Lives Splatter ...”, which she said was a play on words to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

City Clerk Tina Hubert also read five comments that came after the last council meeting concerning opening Galt. Four urged council to open businesses; one from Tara Wilson asked that they use caution and have a plan before opening up more businesses.