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City Manager’s Weekly Report – Week Ending Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 24th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

TO: The Honorable City Council DATE: March 19, 2009

FROM: Charles R. Martin, City Manager

cmartin@templecity.us

SUBJECT: CITY MANAGER’S REPORT

Charlie’s Bon Mot: It may be true that the early bird gets the worm –But it’s the second mouse to the trap that gets the cheese.

Highlights

● Monday March 23rd at 6:30 pm, the city will re-open the Concession Stand at Live Oak Park. Help us celebrate; it’s free!

● City is still “on-budget” for this year, but next year may be a problem.

● Council actions at its last meeting.

● The toxins in the storm drains issue has returned.

● City is asked to sign County’s Tolling Agreement.

● Crime rates increasing in many cities, but not in Temple City.

● The City of Lancaster tries a new approach to economic stimulus.

● Recent court cases that could impact city operations.

GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION

1. At the City Council Meeting last Tuesday:

a) The Council said “goodbye” to Cathè Wilson and Ken Gillanders, and seated

Tom Chavez and Vince Yu.

b) Elected Judy Wong as Mayor, and Fernando Vizcarra as Mayor Pro Tem.

c) Extended the contract with the Temple City Tribune through June 30th

for the publication of city documents and community information.

d) Decided to hold a special meeting on Monday evening (3-23-09) at 7:30 for the special and limited purpose of hearing proposals from economic consultants on proposals to upgrade the City’s commercial areas.

e) Will re-study the scheduling of oral communications at City Council meetings.

2. The County of Los Angeles has been sued by persons and organizations interested in the purity and sanctity of the coastline and in particular of the bays and coves adjoining the coastline.

a) The law suit charges that the County has negligently, if not intentionally, maintained its rivers and streams (fed by storm drain run-off) in such manner that the bays unavoidably receive toxins endangering marine life, and imposing certain risks on people using the ocean waters for recreation.

b) The County has only a limited time to answer the complaint, and as one of its defenses would seek to cross-complain against all of the upstream cities cross-charging them with the same negligence or intent.

c) The County feels that it can win this case, but must take action NOW against the cities or face a statute of limitations, and not be able to cross-complain later.

d) A cross-complaint now would require each of the cities to hire special counsel, and file answers to the cross-complaint.

e) The County has suggested, as an alternative, that the cities and the County enter into a “postponement Agreement” waiving (or tolling) the Statute of Limitations until a later date.

f) This would mean that the Plaintiff can proceed against the County in the law suit and the county will defend at its costs. If the County wins, the case is over. If the County loses, the Postponement or Tolling Agreement would then allow the County to sue the cities and the cities would have to defend the lawsuit at that point.

g) It seems to me that this is a good idea, and a team of City Attorneys is working with the County on appropriate language. When the Tolling Agreement is in final form, I shall place it in the agenda for City Council action.

3. The NPDES and TMDL issues have resurfaced.

a) These acronyms are federal programs (augmented by the State) that relate to the need for public agencies to screen, clean, and protect all storm drains from receiving and ingesting toxic minerals and materials or private surface water run-off (carrying toxins) into the drains, thence into the washes, thence into the rivers, and finally into the oceans, where it pollutes and/or poisons the ocean and marine life.

b) These measures impose draconian penalties on cities – in an effort to cleanse the ocean – with fines of up to $10-25K per violation upon a city for failing to grate (and keep clean) the storm drains, prevent public or private contaminated water from entering the storm drains or fail to “hazmat” the filters on the storm drains at regular intervals.

c) We have estimated that the final cost to Temple City will be about $8 million of today’s dollars for construction, plus annual maintenance thereafter. The penalty for non-compliance will be very heavy. We now estimate that this expense is about 5-years away with interim expenses of $800,000 for design, study, and plans.

d) This was the basic reason we planned in advance (four years ago) to build our reserves for this future expense. Our reserves are also for 1) planned improvements in the City’s sanitary sewer system, 2) additional redevelopment projects, 3) Rosemead Blvd. landscaping, 4) meeting the requirements of mandatory housing, 5) economic development of our commercial areas to supplement sales tax revenues, and 6) other capital projects.

e) one other note: you may hear that (because so many cities are broke and do not have the cash for studies or construction) the County may try to pass a parcel tax on all properties in the County – if so, the parcel tax would amount to about $60 per average property, but would end up incurring twice the cost compared to paying cash.

Administration (CRM)

1. We now have the budget figures through February, the eighth month of the fiscal year – or we are now at the two-thirds (or 67%) point of our General Fund Budget:.

City Revenues 71 %

City Expenses 60%

This is somewhat remarkable with the recognition that our revenues are down by at least 5% due to decreasing sales tax revenue, decreasing interest rates and decreasing tax receipts.

Our expenses are up by about 5% with the increase in attorney fees due to the costs of outside counsel and the Piazza controversy – now approaching $150,000 – offset in part, because for the last three months, I have been working as a “volunteer” City Manager and City Attorney.

Overall, with our conservative spending, it still looks like we may end up with a balanced budget or very close to it. FYI, the revenues come in sporadically; while the expenditures are more steady in nature.

2. April and May are the budget months. I have asked whether the City Council wants the new City Manager to handle the budget chores or whether I should stay on long enough to finish the job – and if so, for free or for pay.

i) Unless there is some other direction by the City Council, I shall at least start on the formulation of next year’s estimated revenues and expenditures. I also need to know when I should turn back the car I have been driving and whether I will be representing the City and attend the Contract Cities Conference at Indian Wells and the monthly City Managers’ meetings.

These remarks are intended to be helpful in easing out my 44 year tenure.

ii) Incidentally, the Contract Cities Seminar at Indian Wells is one of the more important and educational conferences–replete with classes, legal issues, and networking opportunities. If you are able, you should attend. The conference starts on May 14th, and ends on Sunday, May17.

a) I had anticipated submitting a balanced budget, but if the Council (as indicated) is going to retain a new City Manager, a new City Attorney, a new economic advisor, televise its meetings, and add some additional staff members (estimated cost: at least $800,000/year), there is going to be either a commensurate cut in other personnel (or in the non-personnel items) or a spending of some of the City’s reserves (set aside for specific and major capital items (such as the NPDES and TMDLs mentioned above, and expected to be spent within the next 5-8 years). It is always possible to fund these capital
projects through bond issues, but that requires a two-thirds vote of the electorate, and if approved, means paying double over the 20-30 year bond issue.

b) Remember, existing personnel account for approximately 73% of our $10 mil General Fund Budget (city personnel, benefits, and the L.A. Co. Sheriff Dept. contract – our police department). A small amount of this may be reimbursed out of the $2 milionl Special Fund Budget (gas tax and other state and federal subventions). Our total budget is $10 million of discretionary General Funds and $2 million of Special Funds (which must be spent for designated purposes.

c) That leaves only 27% or approximately $2.7 million of general funds to “play with” and pay for the new $800,000 items. This 27% includes items such as insurance., departmental programs, utilities, capital items, general overhead, and reserves.

d) If we add ±$800K (or a 12% increase) in new expenditures to next year’s Budget, then that $2,7 mil will either:

1) have to be reduced by ±30%,

2) we will have to adopt an un-balanced budget by spending some of the reserves we have built up for long term scheduled capital expenditures, or

3) we will have to cut a commensurate amount from the 73% personnel budget or roughly six positions.

e) I understand that it is the intent of the Council to approve the estimated ±$800K increase, and we will prepare the recommended budget accordingly – together with our best opinion of where the commensurate cuts should come. The final “balancing” will of course be determined by the Council, but it is the duty of your financial staff to submit a balanced budget. If we are going to have a deficit budget, that is a City Council, not an administrative, prerogative – unless you authorize incursion into reserves, in advance.

f) The other alternative is to try to increase revenues. Unfortunately, the City Council under Prop 218 cannot increase existing (or impose new) taxes (such as a utility tax) without a vote of the electorate – 50% plus one at a regular election for taxes that may be used for general purposes; 2/3rds if the taxes are for specified purposes. Fees may be increased based on a mail-in ballot, but fees are limited to paying the cost of the service, and if the fees exceed the costs, they are “taxes”. In my opinion, this may be a difficult time to get the affirmative vote of the taxpayers – and deficit financing is usually a downward spiral with a limited life.

3. Assembly Bill 479 would increase the State Diversion mandate to 60% by January 1, 2015 and 75% by 2020; require businesses to arrange for recycling services; and require local jurisdictions, by January 1, 2011, to adopt a mandatory commercial recycling ordinance.

This bill would also increase the State waste disposal surcharge from $1.40 per ton to $3.90 per ton after January 1, 2010, and provide $2.50 of that fee to local jurisdictions on a per capita basis, subject to certain restrictions. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Mike Mohajer of the Task Force at (909) 592-1147.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)

1. Still no application from developer Randy Wang to the Planning Commission for his revised plan for the Piazza.

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 Management Services (Assist. to the City Manager, Gary Flod0

1. Replays of Temple City’s 65th Camellia Festival Parade held on February 21, 2009, will be aired on Temple City’s Government Channel 55 (Charter Communications Cable TV) everyday from March 17 through April 20, 2009, at every third hour (i.e. at 6:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., and 12:00 midnight). The program is approximately one hour and five minutes long.

Department of the City Clerk (City Clerk, Mary Flandrick)

1. The next quarterly meeting of the City Council and School District Board is scheduled for Thursday, April 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the District Office. The remaining dates are: July 16th in the Council Chambers and October 15th at the District Office.

2. A Notice of Vacancy will be published in The Temple City Tribune for one position on the Planning Commission and one position on the Parks and Recreation Commission. It will also be posted on the City’s website. Anyone interested may pick up an application at the City Clerk’s Office.

Both Commissions consist of five members appointed by the City Council. Applicants must be residents and qualified electors of Temple City at the time of their appointment and remain so for their entire period of service.

Department of Parks & Recreation (Director, Cathy Burroughs)

1. The grand re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated and expanded concession stand at Live Oak Park is set for Monday, March 23rd at 6:30 p.m. We hope all Council members will be able to join us on Monday. The public is invited to participate as well with free hot dogs and sodas.

The concession stand will be turned over to the Temple City Amateur Softball Association (TCASA) on Tuesday for their use. The TCASA will operate the concession stand from March 24 – April 24. The Temple City American Little League (TCALL) will take over from April 25 until at least June 13. The AYSO and Temple City Youth Football will be operating the concession stand in the fall.

2. At the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Councilman Yu referenced the high amount of change orders for the Live Oak Park Concession Stand. Staff agrees with Councilman Yu that there have been an inordinately large number of change orders for this project; however, we are not completely surprised by them.

●There are two reasons why this project has had more change orders than is considered normal. First, we decided to try to speed up the project, to lessen the impact to the youth sports organizations, by soliciting bids and awarding the contract, before the construction documents had been completely approved by the County’s plan checkers.

a) We did not believe there would be any major changes to the plans from the department’s that had not already provided their approvals since this facility was not significantly different from others that architects had recently designed.

b) In hindsight, this was not a wise decision. Many of our change orders occurred due to changes to the original plans as required by the County. Additionally, one County plan check department lost the plans that had been submitted requiring re-submittal after the project had begun.

●The second reason the concession stand project required a high number of change orders was due to the fact that this project was a renovation of an existing building and not a demolition and new construction.

a) Staff advised the City Council at the time the decision was made to expand and renovate the old concession stand, that due to unexpected conditions that may be encountered in the field, additional costs could be required.

b) Since we did not have any “as built” plans for the old concession stand, this proved to be true in several cases. Wiring, pipes, conduit, etc. were not located where staff and the architects presumed they would be. Changes had to be made in the field for these unforeseen conditions, as well as to bring the existing structure up to current regulations.

● We want to assure the City Council that staff scrutinizes and analyzes all change orders very carefully before approving them.

● Even with all the change orders, this project is still within the budget approved by the City Council.

[CRM note: we watch and monitor all change orders very closely. This was a unique case in that it was a reconstruction of a volunteer built building with no construction plans or “as built” plans whatsoever. It was recognized at the start that snags might well develop, but the history and re
tention of the volunteer building was given high priority and importance by the Council over those “unknowns” – even so. we came in under total budget, as established by the Council]

3. Four youth basketball teams are participating in the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation – San Gabriel Valley tournament this week – boys and girls “B” (5th – 6th grade) and boys and girls “C” (3rd – 4th grade). Temple City is hosting the boys “C” division at Oak Avenue.

4. The City Council is being asked to select our Outstanding Older American for 2008:

Attached to this report is information for each nominee, as submitted by the individual/organization that nominated them. Requests for nominations had been publicized for several months in the City’s quarterly newsletter and in the local newspapers. Council members are asked to submit their recommendations to me by next Thursday, March 26th. The Older American selected will be recognized at a City Council meeting in May, as well as at the County’s recognition event.

Department of Community Development (Manager, Joe Lambert)

1. The now defunct Temple City batting cage facility at 9955 Lower Azusa Road is in the process of being demolished, permits were issued this week for the demolishing of all structures on the property.

The Planning Commission approved a new commercial building at this site in February 2008. The proposed building would have a mixture of uses, as the applicant is proposing to have both professional and medical offices, and would have a gross floor area of 6,060 square feet.

2. Earlier this week we issued a business license for a new business called “Pet’s Choice Grooming” at 9576 Lower Azusa Road.

3. The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2009.

Department of Public Services (Public Services Manager, Chuck Erickson)

Division of Public Safety (Public Safety Officer, Bryan Ariizumi)

1. The Crime Statistics Report for the week of March 8 – 14, 2009, is included with this Manager’s Report.

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

1. You will recall that last year the City of Vallejo declared bankruptcy and the issue in those Chapter IX Proceedings has been whether the Bankruptcy Judge had jurisdiction to modify the union contracts entered into by the City.

The Judge ruled this week that such jurisdiction does in fact exist, and that the union contracts are subject to modification by the proceedings. The decision will be appealed, but if it stands, many cities may be more anxious to file bankruptcy to escape from onerous or unwise union contracts.

2. Cases of the week:

Stockton v. Marina 88 CR3d 909: In a condemnation action, the Resolution of Intent must include a plan for development that is specific enough to inform the condemnee and the public of the specific intended public facilities and purposes – generalities such as a “mall: or “commercial center” will not do, nor will a number of possible alternatives.

Rohr v. Salt River Project (9th Cir. ___ F.3d ___): an insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic qualifies as an individual with a disability – reversing Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 and Toyota v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 – and must be reasonably accommodated in his job functions.

Santa Fe Springs v. Foxz (non-pub # B206517): Against an argument that it is unconstitutional to restrict an adult Biz to an industrial zone, and to not self-study secondary impacts, or to provide an inadequate number of sites – the Appeals Court sustained the ordinance, based on the presumption of validity. 2009 WL 41633

Avila v. Continental Airlines ___ Cal.App.4th ___: an employer’s knowledge

that an employee had been “sick,” and had a brief visit to the hospital was not sufficient for the employer to conclude the employee was a qualified individual with a “disability.” under ADA.

Maldonado v. Morales 2009 WL 453526: OK for city to ban off-site billboards.

Greene v. Marin Co. 2009 WL 607405: Prop 218 fee elections must maintain voter privacy rights, and not identify the voter.

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

There are some serious changes pending in the laws regarding trash pick-up, for example:

“a) On behalf of the Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force, attached is the Task Force’s letter of concern to Assembly Member Blumenfield, regarding Assembly Bill 473. AB 473 would require an owner of a multifamily dwelling, defined as a residential facility that consists of 5 or more living units, on and after July 1, 2010, to arrange for recycling services that are appropriate for the multifamily dwelling, consistent with state or local laws or requirements, including a local ordinance or agreement, applicable to the collection, handling, or recycling of solid waste. .

b) On behalf of the Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force, attached is the Task Force’s letter of support to Assembly Member Brownley, regarding Assembly Bill 68. Assembly Bill 68, on and after July 1, 2011, prohibit a large supermarket, pharmacy, or convenience food store with over 10,000 sq. ft. from providing a single-use carryout bag to a customer unless the store charges a fee of not less than $0.25 per bag at the point of sale. The bill would provide certain exemptions, and allow the retail establishment to retain a portion of the fee. 80% of funds collected by the state would be available for grants to local government on a per capita basis for litter prevention activities.

c) If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Mike Mohajer of the Task Force at (909) 592-1147.” –CaliforniaCityNews.org

Exhibit #2

“The City of Lancaster has initiated what looks like a pretty aggressive and innovative stimulus program that city officials believe will generate a $110 million economic impact to the City and its surrounding region. The package approved by the council late last month is comprised of five main elements: Merchant Assistance; Hospitality Industry Promotion; Public Infrastructure Construction; Developer/Broker Assistance; and New City Revenues.

The first program to be rolled out is the “Vehicle Registration Rebate Program,” under which persons (resident or non-resident) purchasing new vehicles at the Lancaster Auto Mall can have their vehicle registration fee rebated by the City. The rebate program is expected to spur $21 million of sales at the Lancaster Auto Mall.

A step further, the city has also issued $30 gift cards redeemable at city shops and restaurants. That effort has grabbed some national headlines, read about it in Fox Business or the Antelope Valley Press.

A Developer/Broker Assistance Program, scheduled to begin in late Spring, calls for the city to dedicate $100,000 toward additional commissions for brokers who find tenants for currently vacant industrial, office and retail building space.

“While most California cities are cutting spending and restricting development, we’re in a unique situation in that we absolutely know that when this recession ends, we will grow… If you’re a business in Lancaster, we’re really partners with you. We’re changing the way we deal with businesses,” said Mayor Rex Parris in a city issued press release.

More information regarding Lancaster’s Local Economic Stimulus Package can be obtained at shoplancaster.org”. –CaliforniaCityNews.org

Exhibit #3

“The hearing on the merits of CRA’s lawsuit against the State of California was held on March 13 before Judge Lloyd Connelly in Sacramento Superior Court. No decision was rendered at the conclusion of the hearing, and it is clear that a decision will not be handed down this month. It will likely be sometime in April when a ruling is made. Regardless of which side prevails in Superior Court, we expect the decision to be appealed.

Judge Connelly is aware of the May 10 payment due date for transfer of agency funds to ERAF, and he agreed to hearing a motion to stay such payments from being made on April 30, if necessary. Therefore, CRA renews its recommendation to redevelopment agencies not to make ERAF payments before the May 10 due date and to await further advice from us following the April 30 hearing.

For more information on the CRA’s lawsuit against the State of California, visit our website, www.calredevelop.org, under Information where we have set up a CRA Lawsuit Information webpage.

Thanks to several of you for sending us examples of public projects that would have been negatively impacted by SB 93 (Kehoe) had it been law at the time they were built. Please be sure your State Senator receives a letter detailing the effect of this legislation on public projects within redevelopment project areas.

The bill is pending on the Senate Floor and could be voted on at any time. We continue to work with Senator Kehoe on the amendments CRA recommended that would address only the situation Senator Kehoe has given as the reason for introducing her bill. We will keep you posted on developments with this legislation” –CaliforniaCity News.org

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