The city of Novato welcomes new Assistant City Manager Cathy Capriola to help address a budget situation that has become a $5 million structural problem.

City Manager Michael Frank knew when he took his title only four months ago that the financial crisis would have to be addressed.

“The situation would turn out to be larger than I originally forecast,” Frank said.

Frank is reiterating the sentiments felt through just about every California city: “The California system of funding is broken.”

Although Capriola started last week, Monday marked her first real day. A day filled with meetings turned into night, with just enough time for a late night interview.

Capriola said she did not feel overwhelmed, but is determined to deal with the issues at hand and improve an already great community.

Capriola, who holds a masters degree from Yale, spent 11 years with the city of Citrus Heights.

Frank, who has worked with Capriola for many years, commended her technical skills and welcomed her as a partner.

Capriola claimed the city is facing a 17 percent downsizing on the budget, which equals $5 million.

“Tough issues are facing the community and organization,” Cathy said.

Along with working towards being sustainable environmentally, organizationally and financially, Capriola said the city must address the current lease of City Hall, which accumulates an annual expense of $700,000.

Frank claimed the city could either renovate historic city hall or construct a proposed building which would include solar slate tiles that would be very similar to the original slate tiles.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at