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City Manager’s Weekly Report – Week Ending Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

TO: The Honorable City Council                   

DATE: April 9, 2009  

FROM: Charles R. Martin, City Manager – E-mail

SUBJECT: City Manager’s Weekly Report

Charlie’s Bon Mot: If the job is once begun, Never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, Do it well – or not at all.
                                                                    

Highlights

●        Piazza developer to present his new development plan.               

●        Highlights are McDonalds and Fresh and Easy.

●        Council looking for new Commissioners.

●        Picture bleak for Temple City sales tax receipts.

●        Avant Garde Contract for $152,000 is signed, and work has started.   

●        This Saturday: breakfast and Easter Egg hunt at Live Oak Park.   

●         Recent court cases that might impact city operations.

 

GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION

1. The City’s sales tax revenues continue to decline.

a) Of the 535 agencies in California that are authorized to collect sales tax, Temple City ranks 465th in the per capita receipts. Only Bradbury in this general area has a lower per capita receipt.    In the San Gabriel Valley, Temple City’s per capita buying is less than any other city–except Bradbury.

b) Last year, the City received $49 per capita of sales tax receipts, much of this due to the sale of gasoline at high prices. The average in the San Gabriel Valley is $162 per capita, indicating that we are slightly better than 28% of the average – and that means (to me – and ignoring the small purchases by out-of-towners) that 72% of the purchases by our residents are made in other cities..

2. At last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the following actions were taken:

a) The contract with Avant Garde was approved for an estimated $152,000, and the economic team will start immediately with plans and studies to:

1) increase the viability of the commercial centers of the City,

2) improve the City’s sales tax revenue, and

3) to review proposed Redevelopment Projects.   

b) Three additional staff members were added to those attending the Contract 
    Cities Conference in Indian Wells next month.
c) Vince Yu was authorized to attend the International Conference of Shopping   
    Centers (ICSC) conference in Las Vegas, next month.
d) Support for Athens Services to obtain tax-free financing for AB 939 (state
    recycling mandates) purposes was approved.
e) Received an acknowledgement from Chamber of Commerce Director, Linda
    Payne, that her request for $10,000 for the Small Business Administration
    affiliate was a mistake, and she apologized for wasting the City’s funds.
f)  At all future Council Meetings, there will be one 20-minute agenda item at the
    near the beginning for oral communications from the audience on the City Council agenda, followed by the items onthe written agenda, and then another 20-minute section at the close of the agenda.  Such oral communications are limited to five minutes per person

3. The Council is looking for persons willing to serve as a Planning Commissioner or as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner.  Anyone interested should file their name with City Clerk, Mary Flandrick, on or before April 13, 2009.

4. Assistant to the City Manager, Gary Flod, is still acquiring cost estimates/quotes from different contractors for various portions of the work involved with the City Council’s request for televising the City Council meetings.

 

Administration

1.     The Council has not yet indicated when it will be ready to appoint a new City Manager or a temporary Interim Manager.

I have informed the Council that I am willing to cooperate with the new appointee, and that until that new appointment is made, I shall continue to serve as your City Manager, without pay – and I shall continue to write these Reports.
     
2    It is my duty to advise the Council that with the recent budget amendments, we are very close to ending the fiscal year on June 30th with a deficit, instead of the generous surplus we have had for the past three years in which we have more than doubled our reserves.

a) An estimate of our present projection indicates a surplus of less than $100,000, if there are no further budget amendments in this fiscal year.
b) Revenues of this (and almost all other) cities are down.  In light of this, we must try to control spending.

c) Somewhere between 12-15% of our city revenues are from interest income on our generous reserves. If we lose this interest income, the city will be in real trouble trying to meet a budget with more than a 10% reduction in income.

 

Community Redevelopment Agency

1.    The Piazza developer’s representative now indicates that he will file his new project’s plans for the development of the Piazza Project about mid-April.

    a) It will consist of a much modified plan featuring a McDonalds restaurant and a Fresh and Easy grocery store as its lead tenants, with a complete re-write of the Development Agreement leaving out the forfeiture clauses and the existing breach sections.

    b) This would be a substantial reduction in the promised “Piazza” with its 128,000 sq. ft. of high-end shops with three major “anchors” – a change that they justify because on the current economic conditions.

    c) If the Council would be satisfied with this type of development, we can let the process develop through the Planning Commission.  If not, then we should proceed with a settlement conference, and name the two City Councilmembers who would attend.

    d) Vince has asked that the formation of the two Councilmember committee be on the next City Council agenda.  This two-person committee would then meet with Piazza developer, Randy Wang, and his advisors to discuss the proposed development plan changes and litigation settlement.

e) The other alternative is to wait until the developer files a definitive plan with the Planning Commission, and then let the Planning Commission hammer out the details and any changes.   

2.    Nothing new from either the Civil or Criminal court actions.

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

 

Administrative Services

(Assistant to the City Manager, Gary Flod)

1.    On the short-term, it looks like initially manned cameras on tripods will be needed to tape City Council meetings for tape delayed viewing later in the week.  Any video tape effort will require some modifications to the City Council Chambers, such as improved lighting, wire and cable installations, and perhaps improvements to the sound system.  Elimination of manned cameras on tripods and/or live broadcasts will require more extensive Council Chamber modifications.  I still meeting with contractors to get additional quotes on the various aspects of the project.     

Department of Parks & Recreation (Director, Cathy Burroughs)

1.    Remember, the City’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held Saturday, April 11 at Live Oak Park.  The event will begin with a pancake breakfast at  8:00 a.m., hosted by the SuperSTARS Drill Team. 

a) For the second year in a row, Entenmann’s Bakery has donated the baked goods for the breakfast. 

b) The hunt, for candy and prizes, will follow at 10 a.m.  Children will be divided into separate hunt areas based on age.

c) If it rains, the Hunt will be cancelled, but the breakfast will proceed, regardless

2.    The County Health Department finally signed off on the Live Oak Park Concession Stand improvements this week.

 

Department of Community Development

(Manager, Joe Lambert)

1. Through the years, we have had steady interest in our Façade Improvement Program. 

a) Recently, interest seems to be at an all time high, perhaps because of the economic downturn.  Although we have had several interest participants for this program in the past few months, we have been warning them that the funds for this program are on a “first come, first serve” basis. 

b) Our current annual budget for this program is $175,000, but it may be reduced slightly for the coming fiscal year to help balance the budget.  If the Council would like to keep this program at its current funding level, let us know.  This program is entirely funding with General Fund monies.

2.    On April 14, 2009, the Planning Commission will consider two public hearing items:

A.    ZV 09-1732 – A Zone Variance to allow the construction of a second unit while maintaining the existing nonconforming garage for the residence located at 5827 Kauffman Avenue.

B.    CUP 09-1734 – A Conditional Use Permit to allow the establishment of a bail bonds business at 8837 ½ Las Tunas Drive.  (This site is in the C-3 zone and this is exactly the type of location Staff had in mind when the Code was amended last year to conditionally permit bail bonds in the C-3 zone.)

 

Department of Public Services

(Public Services Manager Erickson)

Division of Public Safety

(Public Safety Officer, Bryan Ariizumi)

1.  Last Thursday and Friday, the City, Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, and TCHS held the “Every 15 Minutes” assembly at Temple City High School.  The 2-day event focused on the fact that every 15 minutes in the United States, someone is killed in a drunk driving incident.

a) On Thursday, 22 students participated in the program.  A student was removed from class every 15 minutes to symbolize their death. 

b) A traffic collision re-enactment was also presented to the junior and senior class on Temple City Blvd.  All students involved in the program were taken to the Embassy Suites for a retreat.  During the retreat, the students were prohibited from contacting any family and friends.

c) After the assembly on Friday, the students were reunited with their family and friends.  It was a very emotional 2-days for the students, their family and friends.  It is with great hope, that the students of TCHS learned and remember a valuable lesson when it comes to drinking and driving.

2. LA County Public Works recently completed the biennial inspection of bridges located in Temple City. 

a) There are 12 bridges located in Temple City and all but 1 bridge requires some type of repair.   However, none of the required repairs have an impact on public safety. 

b) The County rated 6 bridges as being in good condition, 5 as satisfactory and 1 as fair.  Approximately $130,000 has been budgeted this year for bridge repairs.  The County is currently repairing some of the bridges.  The remaining repairs will be budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year.

[CRM note: Remember: we have been warned. corrections should follow within a reasonable time – we don’t want a bridge collapse]

3.    The Crime Statistics Report for March 29 – April 4, 2009, is included with this Manager’s Report.

 

Office of the City Attorney

(Charlie Martin, City Attorney)

 

1. Cases of the week:

Corona v. Naulls 83 CR3d 1: A zoning Code (or specific plan) may be made item by item as permissive uses, and may state that any use not specifically permitted is presumed to be “not allowed”.  Since the Code here did not specifically allow marijuana dispensaries, such use is automatically dis-allowed, and unauthorized operations are a nuisance per se – and may be summarily abated.

Business licenses must also state specific sales or services and cannot be lumped under generalities such as sales and services of goods. City may revoke if surprised that marijuana is dispensed. 2008 WL 2916627

Christensen v. Park City Mun. Corp., (10th).No. 07-4273): An artist’s may recover  against a city for violating his First Amendment rights by requiring that he obtain a license to display his own “expressive” art works in a public park – as free speech. However, the city officials sued in their individual capacities were entitled to qualified immunity

The Fifth Day v. Bolotin DAR 4681: although an unlicensed contractor may not recover for his construction services, the independent Construction Manager may.

Nelson v. Avondale MN1845:  An ADA applicant may not be entitled to a home occupation or other zoning relief just because he is temporarily disabled from going to his office

K.J. v. Arcadia Unified DAR 6095: A claim against a public agency must be filed within 6 months of the injury, but if the discovery is belated due to special circumstances such as undue influence or being lied to, then the start of the 6 months is delayed until Plaintiff knew or should have known.

Council Calendar

Disclaimer: 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.

 

Exhibit #1

“California City News is sensing trepidation across state and local governments this week. 
On the local level, one region’s city managers see city pay scales tilting downward, while the state’s biggest city could drop up to 3,000 jobs in the coming months.
Up in Sacramento the state could be eyeing a CalPERS reserve fund for help with the bottom line, and the Guv appoints a tough auditor to oversee stimulus funds.  Could be a good time to brush up on the FAQs of the
ARRA.
A major daily questions its hometown’s policing of rowdiness (and they’re not alone), while an even bigger pest hits the Central Valley. 
And finally, in a bit of good news, voters across the U.S. are anteing up for the local libraries — read how residents will pay more for free books!” –CaliforniaCityNews.org

Exhibit #2

“On Monday of this week the Board of Directors of The League of California Cities held a special meeting to consider a position on the upcoming special election measures on May 19, 2009. Like everyone else in the state, a healthy debate is going on amongst cities about the role of our state government, it’s size, efficiency (or lack thereof) – but, perhaps most importantly, its growing incapacity to deal with its own problems as an institution, let alone our problems as a state.

The Leagues board ultimately decided to support the measures (for more info on all the measures read here). It was a difficult decision, and one CCN agrees with – here’s why:
First, we feel compelled to point out why there’s plenty of reasons not to like this package. There’s a massive tax increase that will undeniably harm the state’s economy at a time when the federal government is pumping dollars into the economy to keep the entire system afloat. We haven’t heard enough about why these two policies are at odds with one another and that’s a shame. One hand is throwing billions of dollars at the economy while the other is pulling it out – bad government at best.

Not a single state worker was laid off as a result of this budget wrangling. Not one. Really? We understand the gravity of lay-offs, especially during these difficult economic times, but can we honestly say that every state worker on the payroll is needed? That we’re working at maximum efficiency? Of course were not – that’s a laughable notion that undermines the entire credibility of the package being put before the voters. This couldn’t (and isn’t) happening in city government, where lay off announcements are common place, and it shouldn’t be happening in state government.
Second, CCN doesn’t buy the arguments that this is bi-partisanship at work. Nor do we buy into the idea that because all of the "BIG 5" negotiators are cordial that this is somehow the system at work the way its supposed to be. The system did not – and does not – work. Let’s quit with the the act of trying to convince voters that that is what’s at work here.

So why does CCN commend the League Board for doing the right thing?
Well, because frankly the passage of these measures will mean the greatest protection for cities. That’s the bottom line. The fact that its also good politics is a bonus.
It is impossible not to consider in this debate the greater advantage for city revenue protection that will result if these measures pass. A smaller budget gap means a less likelihood of a borrowing from city general funds or outright raids on redevelopment dollars. If that’s the primary, or sole consideration, and it should be for leaders of a local government association, then there is no other position that can be taken.

Sure, these measures don’t do much to save the state. People are way past believing that. Its a tax increase for a government that can’t control its spending – let’s not deny that either. We completely respect the arguments as a taxpayer, Californian, worker, employer, etc…that these measures aren’t good for the state.
But as a city representative and advocate – we feel there’s no other way to stand on these measures but to support them  – The League of Cities Board should be commended for showing leadership.”  -CaliforniaCityNews.org

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