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April 7th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
TO: The Honorable City Council DATE: April 2, 2009
FROM: Charles R. Martin, City Manager
SUBJECT: CITY MANAGER’S REPORT
Charlie’s Bon Mot: It is better to fail in a cause that will eventually succeed than to succeed in a cause that will eventually fail.
– This Friday: Spring Fling at LOP
– April 11th: Easter Eggs at LOP
– Athens makes a request for help
– Council will meet with School Board on the 16th
– City pension funds in good shape
– We need a writer for the City Manager Reports
– Recent court cases that could impact City operations
GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION (CRM)
1. Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vizcarra informs us that he will not be able to attend the next Council Meeting on April 7, because he will be on vacation. Accordingly, if any item on the agenda calls for (or is important enough for) a unanimous 5-0 vote, please ask that it go over to the 21st. Also, any matter that may result in a 2-2 vote should go over, because a tie vote is a exercise in futility, and constitutes “no action.”
2. A reminder: we are scheduled to meet with the School Board of T.C.U.S.D. on April 16th. The place for the meeting has been changed, and will be held in our City Council Chamber.
The School Board indicates that they will have all five members. Cathy Burroughs will be there, and so will I, if the City Council has not named a new or interim City Manager.
3. Athens will seek to procure emergency State tax-free bond funds to provide for a ways and means to enable its contract-cities to comply with AB 939 without a raise in collection rates. A Councilman has asked that this request be agendized for the next meeting.
4. The City Manager and his Management Staff (Gary Flod and Eva Hauffen of Management Services, Mary Flandrick of the City Clerk’s office, Joe Lambert of Community Development, Chuck Erickson of Public Services, Cathy Burroughs of Parks & Recreation, Monica Molina of Financial Services,) met with new Council Members Tom Chavez and Vince Yu last Monday in a three-hour orientation meeting.
5. We have received the March Report from our insurance carrier (CJPIA), indicating the number of claims filed against the City which remains very low for the third year in a row. Again, the bulk of the claims relate to street trees, broken limbs, encroaching roots, etc., but even these are very low. In general, claims against the City are low enough that I would expect a possible reduction in our premiums.
6. The enclosed newspaper report in the Pasadena Star-News about the City of Pasadena shows the impact of continued deficit budgeting.
a) That city will dig further into its reserves and, in addition, may have to impose lay-offs and salary freezes, if not cuts.
b) Temple City recognized the economic slowdown before many other cities, and instead of spending its reserves, used every means to increase them. Temple City (if it follows the same restraints in the future) will not have to face the economic burdens that many other cities will be facing.
1. You may have seen the article in the Star News relating to how poorly various cities are doing in funding the future pension rights of present and retired employees, and whether those future payments are funded (as required) or are unfunded.
a) The survey showed that most cities have a tremendous unfunded liability ranging from $10 million in Arcadia, $41 million in Monterey Park, and $16 million in Monrovia. The annual retiree medical expense in most cities averages about $500,000.
b) Temple City is much better off than most cities in that our annual retiree medical costs averages only about $100,000 due to the low number of employees and retirees, and we are a contract city, where we contract out much of City services to independent contractors.
c) Our unfunded future liability for pension and pension rights does not have to be determined until the end of this year, but an educated guess would place it around $2-3 million–one of the lowest around. Under IRS GASB 45 regulations, most of that could be funded from the large reserves we have on hand.
d) This is due to our on-going efforts to not get tied up with too many irrevocable pension rights, and keeping the number of employees as low as possible and dealing as much as possible with independent contractors – which can save up to 30 percent on benefits.
[I call your attention to the Hofman case cited at the end of this Report to indicate the validity (under State case law) of the independent contractor concept that I have tried to follow, and the difference of opinion between the California Courts and the current IRS interpretation.
-Different jurisdictions sometimes have different interpretations or regulations, and it is on occasion difficult to comply with the interpretations of all jurisdictions, especially when they are inconsistent.
-Nevertheless, it is my policy to try for all savings, and if sometimes we guess wrong and have to pay a penalty, rest assured we are still a winner in that the penalty is never as high as the 30 percent we saved.]
2. Recruitment is underway with regard to several positions in the City. All of the recruitments should be near completion by late June, and may be finalized by the Council or the new City Manager at that time.
3. We have now received the recommended budgets from each of the City’s various departments, and it is now time for the City Manager to study, cut, paste, and formulate a “balanced budget” for presentation to the City Council.
a) The Council will then hold at least one informal study session (public invited) on the “City Manager’s Proposed Budget,” add to, delete from, and then come up with the “Council’s Suggested Budget,” balanced or unbalanced– as the Council sees fit. We have ended up with a surplus in the last 4 years; hopefully, we may for one more year.
b) That tentative budget will be agendized for a regular City Council meeting, and, hopefully be adopted as the FY 2009-10 Budget before July 1, 2009.
c) Remember, the adopted budget is not cast in stone. We amend the budget many times during the year, as new matters arise, but it does serve as a plan or guideline to indicate whether the City will end the fiscal year with a surplus or a deficit.
d) From time to time throughout the fiscal year, the City Manager will inform you of the budgetary compliance, and estimate the year-end balances.
4. We are studying a growing problem: the hanging of banners across Las Tunas Drive. The Council has been waiving more and more of the “fees for hanging”, placing the costs on the Public Works department and impacting that budget. The Public Services Dept. will be writing more on this subject when it finishes its research.
5. We have received notice that Charter Communications has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for reorganization of its debts. We are not expecting any operational changes at this point.
6. It is my pleasure to report that the morale of the City Employees is at what I consider to be an all-time high. They work well individually, and as a team. They are happy in their work and enjoy each other.
Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)
1. Still no filing with the Planning Commission by Randy Wang with his proposed changes in the Piazza Project.
a) I have sent you a vague suggestion by Randy’s attorney to the effect that with two new Councilmen, it may be an opportune time for another “committee meeting”, whereby two Council Members will meet with representatives from the developer, together with the attorneys from both sides, to discuss possible settlement of the case, and the future of the project.
b) The difficulty with such a settlement conference is which two Council Members to send (those who have been here from the beginning or Council Members who might have an advantage of new thoughts; or one of each). If this can be resolved, I would have no objection to a second settlement conference–if it is based on the representation that new thoughts will be presented and won’t simply be a re-hash of the old. This may be a good idea, unless a majority of the new City Council wants to start from scratch and abandon all of the 2005 Agreement with its favorable clauses.
If there is a desire now to name such a subcommittee as an agenda item, please let the City Clerk know, and we will agendize so that a settlement conference can be held on specific points.
2. No change in the charges and countercharges over the Piazza Project; nothing new from the Court in the civil matter, nor from the D.A. in the G.C.1090 matters.
Community Development & Housing Authority (CRM)
1. Joe Lambert and our paid consultant are working very hard to convince HCD in Sacramento as to the worth of amended Housing Element. So far, we are without success. Nevertheless, the City is hoping for compromise before the end of the year.
The indicated writers have submitted the following items. All have been reviewed and approved (but may have been edited) by the City Manager.
Administrative Department (Assistant to the City Manager, Gary Flod)
1. Quotes for various aspects of implementing City Council meeting videotaping and/or broadcasts are still being compiled. I have met with five to six vendors or contractors to date, and in doing so; I am getting a better idea of the best methodology to implement the project.
a) A staff report will be coming soon to the City Council to get some direction on exactly what the Council would like as a final outcome, i.e.
– live vs. taped delayed,
– video streaming on the internet (live or delayed),
– commission meeting coverage or not,
– permanently installed equipment vs. portable and/or temporary, etc.
b) To a certain degree, any videotaping of meetings will require some modifications to the City Council Chambers, such as improved lighting, installation of temporary or permanent wiring and equipment, and perhaps improvements to the audio system.
c) Of course, none of the necessary improvements or equipment are cheap. We are so close to the new fiscal year, the City Council may want to include the videotaping project with City Council Chamber remodeling improvements, which were budgeted but deferred a couple of years ago?
2. The Public Services Department is in the process of analyzing their costs to hang and take down street banners, which has become an ever-increasing drain on department resources.
a) Averaging somewhere between two-three banners per month (i.e. four to six setups-one to hang and one to take down for each banner), the gratis hanging of banners for non-profit organizations (including T.C.U.S.D.) in town has become a major diversion from the tree crew’s primary function of trimming trees.
b) Add banner hanging to putting up, taking down, and maintaining the tree lights along Las Tunas Drive, one has to wonder when does the tree crew find time to trim trees?
c) While setting up a fee for the work would recover some of the costs, it doesn’t get any more trees trimmed. A fee, if routinely waived, doesn’t accomplish anything
[CRM: and may well be prejudicial against those still being charged}
d) Ideally, organizations should be required to contract with the private sector to hang their banners, and leave the tree crew to only hang the city’s own banners.
e) The Public Services Department will be presenting a staff report with recommendations to the City Council when they have completed their study.
3. As forewarned, Charter Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 27, 2009, in New York, which means they intend to stay in business, but will use bankruptcy as a means to reorganize their debts. They have assured the City that Charter Communications will continue to operate as usual without any disruption of services.
Department of Parks & Recreation (Director, Cathy Burroughs)
1. The City’s annual Spring Fling, for youth from 10 – 14 years of age, will be held at Live Oak Park this Friday, April 3rd. Included in this year’s event will be dance contests, night hunts (for candy and prizes), games and raffles. Based on previous year’s attendance, we expect close to 300 youth to attend.
2. For the younger children, the annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held at Live Oak Park on Saturday, April 11th. Thousands of pieces of wrapped candy and candy-filled eggs will be up for grabs beginning at 10 a.m. For those arriving early, breakfast will be served beginning at 8 a.m. at a cost of $5 per person. Beginning at 9 a.m. free spring crafts will be available.
Department of Community Development (Manager, Joe Lambert)
1. Regarding the Housing Element: we have received preliminary comments from the State regarding our first draft in late 2008 and in January of this year the housing consultant and I digested the State’s comments.
a) In late January I sent a memo to the State reviewers to address their concerns, and two months later, I am still awaiting clarification so we can finalize our responses to the State.
b) After we address the State’s comments, we will incorporate the changes into the draft Housing Element, and then we will bring the amended draft Housing Element before the Planning Commission.
c) Our strategy is to re-send the Housing element to HCD for another review, at which time they will have another 60 days to review the amended draft.
2. The 9,000 square foot industrial warehouse building located at 4523 Cloverly Avenue is finally finished with construction. Their certificate of occupancy is pending on some minor issues. This building was permitted back in 2006 and due to issues with the property owner, construction proceeded slowly. None of the delays were due to City codes or requirements. Nevertheless, the building is now complete and the site is no longer a nuisance.
3. Last Wednesday through Friday, I attended the League of California Cities, Planners Institute Conference in Anaheim. It was a worthwhile and informative conference, and touched on several pertinent issues including: Housing Element law, inclusionary housing, and permit streamlining. It was also an excellent opportunity for me to network with officials from other cities. This conference is budgeted annually for the Planning Commissioners and the department head (me) to attend. None of the Planning Commissioners was able to attend this year.
Department of Public Services (Manager, Chuck Erickson)
1. Metro will approve the Technical Advisory Committee recommendations by the April 17, 2009, deadline, and process on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
Technical Advisory Committee Process Approved:
On March 26, 2009, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board Directors approved an interim deadline of April 17, 2009, for cities and the County of Los Angeles to submit required paperwork to Caltrans for ARRA Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) funds.
a) The interim deadline was recommended by our Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in its process for implementing the 75-day Los Angeles County deadline to obligate up to $315 million of flexible federal RSTP funds from the ARRA of 2009 to Cities and the County of Los Angeles for eligible transportation capital projects.
b) In summary, local jurisdictions that meet the April 17th deadline will be allowed to compete for any unobligated funds on a first-come-first-serve basis based on their population share until May 18th.
d) The Board also allowed eligible jurisdictions after April 17th to add projects into the Program (Metro.Net database), if they can be expeditiously amended into the TIP. These projects must be entered between the week of April 20 through April 24, 2009.
Division of Public Safety (Public Safety Officer Bryan Ariizumi)
1. The Crime Statistics Report for March 15 – 28, 2009, is included with this Manager’s Report.
2. On Wednesday morning, a Traffic Law Enforcement Task Force conducted a pedestrian decoy operation at the intersection of Lower Azusa Rd. & Doreen Ave.
a) The task force consisted of motorcycle units from the Sheriff’s Department, Alhambra PD, Monterey Park PD, San Gabriel PD, and San Marino PD. Plain-clothes deputies were walking back and forth across Lower Azusa Rd. while the task force monitored approaching vehicles. Vehicles that failed to yield to the pedestrians were issued citations.
b) The operation lasted approximately three hours, and 215 citations were issued, with eight vehicles being impounded for driver’s license violations.
Office of the City Attorney (City Attorney, Charlie Martin)
1. I expect that this will be either my last or next-to-last City Manager’s Report, and starting in the next week or so, an Interim City Manager or someone else will write this Report.
a) I have served as your City Manager on this occasion for a term of four years, and for another three years on prior occasions.
b) I have enjoyed writing the Report (all 208 issues with their bon mots), and I have appreciated the many kind words that members of the public have written or called me to compliment the content and style of the Reports.
c) It may or may not also be among the last reports written by me in connection with my position as City Attorney, calling your attention to recent case law impacting city operations, while maintaining one of the lowest incidents of court action against any City. We really have only been involved in one lawsuit in my 44 years, and that is the current one involving the Piazza – an enviable record.
d) I have been your City Attorney for a total of 44 years, and have enjoyed every moment of it even though for the past 3+ months, I have served without any pay. If I am to stay as your City Attorney for a while, I would like to get back on the payroll.
e) Time marches on – and change is inevitable. I shall do my best to make the transition with no hitches.
2. Cases of the week:
Ramirez v. Buena Park DAR 4527: an arrestee has a right of privacy against a pat-down search unless there is a reasonable-man suspicion based on observable facts that he is armed and dangerous and that there is a need for self- protection. An arrest based on public drunkenness (alcohol or drugs) is not per se such reasonable suspicion – thus no qualified immunity
Hofman v. Co. Yuba DAR 4584: Closed session evaluations of employees (or independent contractors who serve as “officials”) are OK under the Brown Act, and if the Council waives its right to micromanage to such an independent contractor, and will be satisfied with the final result only, an independent contractor may serve as e.g. a chief executive officer or City Manager, and may be so evaluated in closed session even though he is an independent contractor. This, despite 51 A.G. Ops 235 because a court is not bound to follow A.G. Opinions, and may disagree with them. See: 18 CA3d 988, 991.
Nelson v. Avondale MN1845: An ADA applicant may not be entitled to a home occupation or other zoning matter
These City Manager’s Reports are compiled each week by the City Manager as a Report to the City Council of the week’s activities. It is intended to be a fair report from the City Manager, but is not intended to bind the City Council or any of its members to any particular statement or report. Opinions (in italics) are those of the City Manager or staff, and are not intended to reflect any position on the part of the City Council or any of its members.
In Monrovia, a city of nearly 36,929, the council lowered travel budgets by $1,100. Now, council members have $13,166 each per year to spend on travel and other community-promotion efforts. [Editor’s note: That’s a total of almost $66,000].
During the 2007-08 fiscal year, Monrovia council members spent a total of $33,649 on travel.
In West Covina, a city of nearly 105,000, council members spent nearly $20,000 in travel to cities across the country to attend conferences during the 2007-08 fiscal year.
[The Council in Temple City this year budgeted $26,325 for its conferences and conventions – the bulk of this has gone for conferences sponsored by Contract Cities or the League.]
Contract Cities: President’s Message
My dear colleagues and friends; it is an honor and a pleasure to continue to serve you as your California Contract Cities President. With only one and a half months until the Annual Municipal Seminar and the Installation of new officers, I have been reflecting on the Administrative year that is nearly gone now. I am comforted by the caliber of the leadership that will follow me. I remain confident that our CCCA will continue to prosper in the years to come. We have had quite a lineup of meetings and addressed many important issues since the beginning of the 2009. • January: During our Annual Sacramento Orientation Tour we addressed the legislature head on. In partnership with the ICA we did not back down and held true to our message “Do not balance the budget on the backs of local governments”. This message and our cities emerged from Sacramento victorious when a budget was passed at the end of February with no dollars being taken or “borrowed” from local governments. There is no doubt that the financial environment and outlook for our cities may be challenging, but we are ecstatic that local government monies were not put on the table to balance the state budget in the end. We accomplished our goal in Sacramento and I thank you on behalf of the entire association. • February: This month’s historic meeting between all city government associations in the state was especially near and dear to my heart. We welcomed my colleague and my Mayor Judith Mitchell from the city of Rolling Hills Estates as the newly sworn President of the League of California Cities. Judy is one of the most gracious and competent council members I know in the entire state. She is well qualified to lead our older sister organization. She will meet and exceed every expectation as the leader of our League.
50th Annual Municipal Seminar
Our 50th Annual Municipal Seminar takes place May 14-17, 2009. Again, it is being held at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in the City of Indian Wells. The Registration Packet was mailed out the beginning of February and is available for download on our website here. This year’s theme is “Exploring Solutions to Preserve Our Cities”. Our program is full of great information that can be very useful during these tough economic times. Our speakers are highly qualified experts in the respective fields. Key note speakers, representing Disney and Magic Johnson Enterprises, will share innovative tips about creative, public/private partnerships that have helped cities generate needed revenues. Our desire is to provide you with a program and sessions that offer quality solutions to help your community sustain and improve its current service levels and move forward with positive outcomes in the future. To view more information about this year’s Annual Seminar, just click here. Once there, you will be able to download all available registration materials including the Tentative Program. While all speakers have been invited and changes are not likely, we reserve the right to make the necessary changes based on speaker availability. We will update this program as changes occur. The Installing Officer for Saturday night’s Installation Banquet is Los Angeles County Supervisor, Michael Antonovich and Bill Fujioka, the Los Angeles County CEO will be the Master of Ceremonies. We are hopeful our newly appointed United States Secretary of Labor, California’s own Hilda Solis, will be able to join us. In an effort to accommodate each of our member cities and VIPs in attendance, special seating arrangements will be made for the Installation Banquet. We urge you to begin considering your city’s attendance and determine the number of seats you will actually require for the banquet. The attire will be business casual with a safari theme. Please no shorts, tank tops or jeans. Banquet Table Sign-up is Friday, May 15 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm only. Tables will be reserved accordingly. In an effort to make the banquet enjoyable for all our adult guests, we ask that those with children under 12 years of age take advantage of the children’s program offered during the banquet. The Day Camp is a wonderful outing for young children to also enjoy the fun of being on an adventurous, safe safari. Thursday’s Safari-Contract Cities Style buffet by the pool is a fun-filled, family welcoming, and networking event. There will be delicious food, and a steel drum band playing for your enjoyment. On Friday and Saturday, the lawn just east of the pool area will house informative state of the art CSI exhibits that you won’t want to miss. We’ll close out Saturday night with a bang up fireworks show. Each year we anticipate a bigger, better seminar. This year’s Annual Municipal Seminar will be no exception. I am looking forward, not only to this amazing event, but also to serving this association as resident over the next administrative year. See you in Indian Wells!
Legal City/County Contracts Committee
This year the Legal/Contract Committee tackled a monumental issue. We were tasked by the President and Executive Board to address the multi-million dollar charge made by the County of Los Angeles to the Contract Cities’ Liability Trust Fund arising from criminal conduct committed by a Deputy Sheriff outside of contract cities. A Deputy had raped three women. In prior years, when a Deputy Sheriff had committed criminal acts, the Sheriff treated the matters as a liability of the County. Unlike the prior situations, in this multi-million dollar case, the County chose to charge our Liability Trust Fund the cost of the multi-million dollar settlement.
The Committee recommended the engagement of legal counsel to provide analysis and to advise CCCA respect to the matter. While there has been no resolution, efforts to negotiate an acceptable solution with the County are ongoing.