City Attorney

General Government

FY 2021-22 Budget

Department Description

The City Attorney's Department is part of the General Government Function and its main funding source is the General Fund (11).

The City Attorney:

  • Provides legal advice to the City Council, City Manager and staff in identifying legal options and strategies for implementing and achieving the goals, policies and objectives of the City Council.
  • Attends meetings of the City Council and other advisory committees, as needed.
  • Meets regularly with City Manager and staff to discuss proposed programs, policies and activities.
  • Prepares or reviews all resolutions, ordinances for consideration by the City Council and all contracts for the Town.
  • Monitors and disposes of pending claims involving potential tort liability.
  • Represents the Town in significant litigation matters involving the Town or manages the representation provided by outside counsel.
  • Interprets the law for Council Members and staff and renders formal legal opinions.
  • Provides training to Council Members and staff on ethics, Brown Act and new laws.
  • Provides general legal advice and opinions to the City Council and staff regarding all relevant municipal law matters.

The City Attorney’s mission is to provide legal advice and support to the City Council and staff to aid them in carrying out their responsibilities.


The Town contracts for City Attorney services through a retainer.

Revenue Summary

City Attorney operation is entirely funded by General Fund revenues.

Expenditure Summary

The FY 2021/22 Budget of $312,500 includes $30,000 for the online codification of the Colma Municipal Code and $285,000 for general legal services from the City Attorney and the outside counsel. The online codification project was budgeted in FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 but was postponed. This project will enhance transparency and simplify the maintenance of the Town’s codes and regulations.

The $285,000 budget for general legal services is based on historical trends plus contingency. The Town's Legal Services fluctuate depending on the types and complexity of the business undertaken by the City Council. A small contingency is built into the general legal service budgets to ensure adequate appropriation.

The department is part of the General Government function and the department expenditures are fully supported by general taxes and fees. Legal services linked to a specific permit issue are billed directly to the permit and the corresponding revenues and expenditures are recorded in the Planning Division (410).

Expenditure by Categories

Expenditure by Funds

Reasonable Accommodation

Upon request, this publication will be made available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Any person with a disability, who requires a modification or accommodation to view the document, should direct such a request to Pak Lin, Administrative Services Director, at 650-997-8300 or Please allow two business days for your request to be processed.