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City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week

December 23rd, 2008 by Temple City Tribune

Charlie’s Bon Mot
Most of the stuff
people worry about
ain’t never gonna
happen anyhow.
HIGHLIGHTS

● El Monte employees facing possible pay cuts.
● San Francisco eliminates 400 positions in cutbacks.
● Temple City still “on-budget” despite tough times.
● Still waiting for approval of Housing Element.
● Improvement for Rosemead Blvd. tentatively approved.
● Recent court cases that could impact City operations.

GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION*

1. I’ve enclosed a news article indicating that El Monte may be seeking a pay cut of 15% from its employees in lieu of lay-offs. Many cities in this area are facing similar financial conditions because of a lack of reserves. Most of the cities (as well as the state) simply expended funds as soon as received with no thought of a “rainy day.”

We are informed that the City of Bellflower has just furloughed all employees except department heads for 2 ½ weeks without pay in an effort to avoid lay-offs.

Thanks to the savings effected by the City Council over the past few years, Temple City will not face such problems this year or next.

2. Regarding Temple City’s budget at the end of November, we were 42% into our fiscal year with the following results:

City: General Fund Revenues received: 15.3 %
General Fund Expenditures: 36.9 %
(Expenditures are on target; revenues down about 5%)

CRA: Revenues received: 8 %
Expenditures: 38% %
(Expenditures are on target; revenues are behind. Most
CRA revenue comes from the City; the State took some
$70K to balance its budget.)

3. We are under budget on expenditures; but revenues are beginning to drop because of sales tax declines, a drop on interest rates on reserves, and loss of subventions from the State due to the recession.

In my opinion, we are still well equipped to handle the financial situation, because December- February are our big months for revenues, and that will be a better indicator.

Also remember that our expenditures end on June 30th, but we continue to receive revenues until August. At this point, my best guess is that we will finish the year with no major deficit.

It think that many of our surrounding cities are not in such good shape.

4. The Sheriff’s breakfast (next Wednesday) has been cancelled for December.

Administration (CRM)

1. At the last Council meeting, the Council approved the improvement of Rosemead Blvd. (from the north end to the underpass at the south end) with curbs, sidewalks, widening where appropriate, median strips, landscaping, and irrigation, and lighting.

Pasadena and the L.A. County are already starting to improve the areas to the North, and the City of Rosemead is just starting to take over Rosemead Blvd. from Caltrans to the South. Eventually South El Monte and Pico Rivera will do the same.

The improvements will cost about $6-8 million, depending on the economic conditions, and when finished, will make the intersection of Las Tunas Dr. and Rosemead Blvd. a show place.

The Council approved a contract to consider an assessment district to assess some of the Rosemead frontage a minimum property tax for the benefit they will receive from the improvements. This assessment would go before the owners for a vote before becoming effective. If the property owners do not vote it down, the assessment would go on and be paid through the property taxes of adjacent property owners over the next 30 years.

For decades, the City has not used assessments to pay for improvements that have a special and limited benefit. Most cities facing this type of expense do the work through assessments districts rather than having the general fund (all residents) pay for a local benefit.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)

1. The Piazza people have accepted the City Council’s assignment of the new project to the Planning Commission, and have ask for a January hearing date, or as soon as the prerequisite environmental work has been completed.

2 With regard to the current controversy between the City and Randy Wang over the Piazza, and the charges and countercharges relating thereto – this old poem may be relevant – it’s one of my favorites:.

Be a “builder”, not a “wrecker”

I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave ho, and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam, and the front wall fell.

I asked the foremen: are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you had to build?
He gave a laugh, and said: no indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken years to do.

I thought to myself as I went my way:
Which of these rules have I tried to play.
Am I a builder who works with care
Measuring life by the rule and square?

Am I shaping my deeds to a well laid plan
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or, am I a wrecker, who walks the town-
Content with the labor of tearing down. (Anon)

Let’s all try to be builders, not wreckers – Let’s seek success, not failure – Let’s remember: to be positive, not negative – Let’s remember that charges are easy to make, proof is difficult – and finally remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law, not the local newspaper.

Community Development & Housing Authority (CRM)

1. We are still awaiting word from the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) as to the viability of our new Housing Element. An approval of this document is key to the adoption of the proposed General Plan amendments submitted by the Planning Commission and its task forces..

If we have to change the Housing Element, the Commercial and Park recommendations now being held will probably also have to be amended.
Staff recommends that the Housing Element should be completed first, and there is a deadline fast approaching for that approval.

Thus far, HCD is seeking more housing at 30 units per acre. To meet that criterion, we would have to devote some of our commercial areas to multiple housing, and that change would impact some of the commercial recommendations.

The indicated writers have submitted the following items. All have been reviewed and approved (but may have been edited) by the City Manager.

Department of Parks & Recreation (Dir. of Parks & Recreation Cathy Burroughs)

1. Even with the tough economic times, individuals are still finding the funds to register for the City’s parks and recreation programs.

We must be doing something right since our residents (and other cities’ residents) continue to participate in these “non-essential” programs.

Revenue for the department is approximately $30,700 over the revenues from this time last year (a 13% increase). Attendance in most programs has at least remained the same, if not increased, over last year.

I would like to extend my thanks to parks and recreation staff (full -time and part-time) that plan, organize, and operate all our recreation programs. 2008 has been a very successful year!

2. The mandatory pre-bid conference for the Live Oak Park multipurpose facility (teen center and administrative offices) was held on Wednesday. Fourteen contractors attended the meeting.

Some were contractors that had submitted bids previously, some were new contractors. As the City Council may recall, we rejected all bids as they were significantly over the approved budget, and are now rebidding the project with deductive alternates. The deadline to submit bids is January 6th.

3. Winter Camp will be held next Monday and Tuesday and the following Monday and Tuesday (December 22, 23, 29, 30) at Live Oak Park. Activities have been planned for elementary aged youth as well as our teens.

Dept. of Community Development (Community Development Manager Joe Lambert)

1. A few months ago, I met with Robert Moran of the County’s Chief Administrative Office (CAO) regarding the feasibility of creating a new redevelopment area along Las Tunas Drive.

At that time, Mr. Moran was hesitant in giving me a concrete answer as to the chances of creating a successful redevelopment area. He did indicate that most of Las Tunas is not physically blighted, but some of the commercial vacancies (in existing buildings) could help boost our chances of creating a new redevelopment area. Vacant properties such as the Alpha Beta site, and occupied properties, such as the Ralph’s and Rite Aide, however would be difficult to include in a redevelopment area. In addition, residential properties, such as on Sultana Ave. or Rosemead Blvd. would be difficult to include in a new redevelopment area.

Back in October, I asked Mr. Moran to send me a memo or e-mail with his general findings and I just heard back from him earlier this week. Although I received nothing in writing, Mr. Moran verbally expressed his initial findings:

– That there is some economic blight on Las Tunas.

– That certain properties should be excluded, such as vacant properties and thriving properties such as Ralphs and Rite Aide.

Basically, he confirmed his “off the cuff” reaction from our meeting back in October. It seems that our next step is to hire a redevelopment consultant to do a study and survey of the feasibility of a “Las Tunas” redevelopment area. The consultant can also provide alternative economic development strategies that do not include a redevelopment area.

We have several RFP’s for these services in my office. I think it is time to hire one of the consultants and get started on this issue.

2. Regarding the Piazza, it is my opinion that the applicant should submit a new “Planning Application” and apply for a Conditional Use Permit. This will make their revised submittal official and will start the official processing of their revised plans.

The environmental consultant used for the original project (EDAW) is of the belief that the revised project will require a new Mitigated Negative Declaration. One new environmental factor that must now be considered by State law is “global climate” impact. This was not required back in 2005-2006, but will have to be included this time. Additionally, the traffic/parking study, and shade/shadow study will have to be redone.

Department of Public Services

Division of Public Safety (Public Safety Officer Bryan Ariizumi)

1. The Crime Statistics Report for the week of December 7 – 13, 2008, is included with this Manager’s Report.

2. Temple City avoided potential problems with the past winter storms as no notable damage was reported. Staff monitored the storm drains on streets with known flooding problems.

3. During the winter months, the City purchases sand for sandbags for Temple City residents. The sand is delivered to the Fire Department, and this year they constructed a new sand pit in front of their station. The new sand pit allows easier access for Temple City residents to fill their sandbags.

4. The Public Services Department would like to wish that everyone has a Happy Holiday!

Office of the City Attorney (Charlie Martin, City Attorney)

1. Recent Court cases of interest:

McClatchy v. District (9) 272 F3d 1145: a Council member’s privacy rights must yield to the public’s right to know; so accusations of criminal conduct (baseless or not) or with regard to conduct impacting his public service, candidacy; or injury to reputation do not trump sunshine laws, and accordingly must be disclosed.

U.S. v. AMC DAR 17816: While the ADA law provides that cities and other providers must accord users full and equal enjoyment of facilities, that does not mean that the provider must reconstruct its facilities to so provide.

S.F. v. Coyne DAR 17947: In condemnation, an owner with no on-going business on undeveloped land cannot claim damages for business good will

Jennifer v. L.A. Unified School DAR 17960: a school (or city in loco parentis such as a Rec program) has a duty to protect special participants from bullying and harm by others.

Starbucks v. SupCt (Lords) MN 6624 An employer may not ask prospective employees about their use of marijuana more than two years before the application..

City Council Calendar

*This City Manager’s Report is 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 of the prior week, 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.

Exhibit #1
“California City News will continue to post as many city employment related stories during these difficult times as possible. Job cuts, often the cuts of last resort, are typical of cities in distress and often provide a glimpse into a cities budgeting priorities that we feel our readers might find useful.
“In today’s, San Francisco Chronicle its reported that nearly 400 city employees will lose their jobs in February as part of $71 million in cuts announced Tuesday by Mayor Gavin Newsom.
“The mayor’s plan also includes $17 million in cuts to public health, affecting programs that help the mentally ill and homeless people. A separate proposal from Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin suggests an additional $8.5 million in possible cuts, including $3.9 million from the Fire Department budget.
“Employees losing their jobs will be told on Friday but will work until February. An additional 313 vacant positions will be eliminated. The city currently employs about 28,000 workers”. -CaliforniaCityNews.org
Exhibit #2
Red Light Cameras Invalidated? Who will cry for the red light cameras? Not us, and not the Appellate Courts… though a recent decision that could invalidate the camera’s contracts could cost cities millions.
There’s been a long running legal battle over whether the firms that operate the cameras can charge on a per-ticket basis. This raises concerns from some camps that the camera operators are unduly incentivized to catch California motorists, er, red handed.
In 2004, the legislature mandated that all photo enforcement contracts must be flat rate. Appellate Judge Robert J. Moss did not believe a contract in place with the City of Fullerton follows the “letter or spirit” of that mandate, and has invalidated a Fullerton woman’s ticket that could impact over 40 California cities with similar contracts.
Red Light cameras are already under fire across the state, as they’re not only highly unpopular but often unenforced and potentially even unsafe.

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