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RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
TACTICAL PLANNING WORKSHOP
JANUARY 10, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 9:04 a.m. by Mayor Gardiner at the City Hall Community Room, 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Stern, Long, Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Administrative Analyst Matt Waters; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Minutes Reporter Debra Presutti.
Councilman Long led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda.
The Agenda was approved without objection.
Approve the filing of an Application for Grant Funds to construct the "Outdoor History Museum" on a portion of the Lower Point Vicente property. (Continued from January 6th.)
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the supplemental staff report of January 10, 2004.
In response to Mayor Gardiner’s question regarding differences of opinion between staff and the docents she explained that there are two basic differences; one, being who should be the lead agency controlling the reimbursement of funds for the grant and direction the implementation of the program; and, secondly, what the project descriptions should entail in relation to the placement of various exhibits around the site. She noted that staff has tried to redesign the site plan so the uses are clustered towards the western portion of the site closer to the existing museum and parking lot area, leaving the upper portion of the site, including the dry farming and surrounding area, open and unused as part of this grant application in order to maintain maximum flexibility for future land use decisions.
Mayor Gardiner inquired if the disbursement and control of funds as well as the lead agency and program manager all need to come from the same organization.
Assistant City Manager Petru responded not necessarily, adding that is the desire of the Land Conservancy to control most of those functions in terms of managing the grant and the reimbursement of funds.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 9:09 a.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:15 a.m.
Councilman Stern queried whether clustering the facilities in the application would preclude the City’s ability to spread them out later in the event Council decides to devote more land to the project.
Assistant City Manager Petru replied that the State would not limit the City’s ability in that regard as long as the specified project components are being provided and no funding beyond the amount allocated is requested.
Councilman Stern asked whether there would be a way to rationally divide some of the functions between the City, the docents, and the Land Conservancy in order to create a tripartite application.
Assistant City Manager Petru answered that one entity would need to be the manager of the grant because the funds need to flow through a single party.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired whether there are any regulations associated with the grant that would prevent the City from considering another use for the remainder of the land.
Assistant City Manager Petru responded that staff has seen nothing in the grant materials to indicate that.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his understanding that the Land Conservancy would be willing to submit a letter of endorsement and support in the event they do not participate in the grant application thereby mitigating any negative impact that might be created by their not being a joint applicant.
Assistant City Manager Petru said that, although it is unknown exactly what weight that might have in the eyes of the people reviewing the grant, experience has shown that a more collaborative effort does strengthen the grant application.
Mayor Gardiner requested clarification on how an arrangement might proceed if the project manager was from the Land Conservancy, the City tracked the funds, and a steering committee was formed consisting of the City, the Land Conservancy, and the docents, stating he does not understand why the City would need to relinquish control of the funds since the City will still be involved, even if the day-to-day management is provided by the Land Conservancy. He added that project managers are usually responsible for cost, schedule, and performance as defined by someone else rather than being the determiners of those factors.
Assistant City Manager Petru explained the Land Conservancy prefers, given the myriad projects they are involved with and in order to make this endeavor worthwhile and a meaningful use of their resources, to maintain majority control over the grant, provide the project manager, and manage the funds rather than being involved only in the habitat restoration and the interpretative displays. She added, however, that they would still be willing to subcontract for the habitat restoration if they are not a joint applicant.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted the Mayor’s articulation of a project manager as being responsible for execution and control rather than being the ultimate authority is consistent with his experience, saying there is generally an executive committee or governmental entity that has responsibility over and above the project manager.
City Attorney Lynch indicated the County Board of Supervisors recently authorized the transfer of the site and the fishing access to the City and added the City needs to remain very involved in its development because a deed restriction is currently being negotiated with the Department of Toxic Substances. She stated it is imperative that any excavation or other work done on the site be in compliance with the deed restrictions to avoid problems with any of the regulatory agencies.
Barbara Dye, representing the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy, commented that everything seems to be coming together nicely and, working with the Public Works Department, it is their belief that all the proposed improvements can be done without the need for any excavation, adding that even the archeological dig can be above ground and covered when not in use. She explained the Land Conservancy is currently running the George F. Canyon Nature Center for the City of Rolling Hills Estates and is renegotiating their role to include management of habitat restoration for which the City has just received a grant. She added the Land Conservancy was not involved in the application for that grant but they are managing it. She indicated they are involved with two sets of grants at White Point: the Wildlife Conservation Board Grant of just under a million dollars that goes directly to the Land Conservancy, and a 25 year management agreement with the City of Los Angeles. She noted all work is done consistent with a master plan, a steering committee of interested residents and city staff meets once a month, and anything affecting the site is discussed with city staff as part of their agreement. She said they have other sets of grants where the funding comes directly to them, they clear the work with the entities involved, obtain the bids, choose the contractors, submit the billing to the State, and wait for reimbursement. She explained that sometimes it is more efficient to bring in an independent group to handle the funds in this way.
Ms. Dye indicated that one workable model in applying for the grant would be for the docents and the City to handle it with continued support and assistance from the Land Conservancy, but without their being a co-applicant. She noted another alternative would be to write the Land Conservancy into the grant as the entity responsible for habitat restoration, saying regardless of where the funding is obtained, the grant would be structured to use native plant stock and provide habitat restoration, making them an integral part of the project and supplying a logical reason for them to be a co-applicant. A third alternative would be for the Land Conservancy to be built in as the project manager with the funding going through the City. She indicated, however, this would add a layer of bureaucracy for everyone and is not the most efficient method.
She remarked she is very encouraged by the way everything is coming together in terms of the benefits for inner-city youth who are the key to this grant and added the reason softball fields cannot be included on the property is because they are inconsistent with the grant. She stated the Land Conservancy has scrupulously remained outside any land-use decisions on this property, adding this grant would be structured in such a way that it is conceptual and would allow the City’s projects to go forward.
Mayor pro tem Clark queried who would serve as project manager if not the Land Conservancy.
City Manager Evans replied that after the expansion of the Interpretive Center is completed sometime in early 2005 the City would most likely hire a project manager that very likely could be the Land Conservancy.
Ms. Dye explained the Land Conservancy does not want to be in the grant if that route is taken because the City will have to take bids for that position if they receive State funds.
Mayor pro tem Clark said if that is a possibility why not structure an up-front management agreement which puts the Land Conservancy in as a co-applicant and envisions them in a future management role, thereby avoiding the necessity of the City’s taking bids for the position.
City Manager Evans and City Attorney Lynch both agreed this type of agreement could probably be arranged.
Councilman Wolowicz queried whether this would mean the City abrogates its responsibility as managers of public funds.
Councilman Long stated he has no problem with the Land Conservancy being the project manager, noting once the project management decisions are made he wants to establish that Council retains the ability to review and disapprove any decision that might be in conflict with the City’s other responsibilities, obligations, and long-term interests with respect to the property.
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed, since the City is in the midst of dealing with Federal agencies on deed restrictions, now is not the proper time to deal with the issue of project management. He added once those jurisdictional hurdles have been cleared would be a more appropriate time to envision the project potentially coming under project management by the Land Conservancy.
Councilman Long, noting Mayor pro tem Clark’s concern, asked if it would be possible to structure the grant with the commitment that the Land Conservancy provide project management but, notwithstanding that role, the City would retain control over all decisions and the project manager would follow those directives.
City Manager Evans opined that the Land Conservancy could manage the project, reserving the following five things for the City: 1) approval of the final plan of what goes on the property; 2) awarding the construction contracts; 3) paying the bills; 4) receiving the grant funds into the City’s treasury; and, 5) issuing the notice of completion.
Barbara Dye agreed this is a good solution, adding that a public/private partnership like this will strengthen the grant considerably.
Mayor Gardiner described the project manager’s role as a person or entity given a charter defining the ground rules as well as a cost schedule and performance targets; they, in turn, develop major milestones and brief the oversight body; and, the funds flow through an administrative mechanism. He queried, if the Land Conservancy were written into the grant as the project manager and if a habitat component were also written in, if would this be sufficient to generate their interest and enthusiasm.
Ms. Dye replied they would, under these circumstances, agree to become a co-applicant and it would make total sense for them to do so.
Mike Juneau, as a member of the Open Space Planning and Recreation & Parks Task Force serving on four subcommittees: two on open space, one on athletics, and one on maintenance and improvements, stated he believes this is a great plan because it does not encumber the upper portion of the site, over which many meetings have occurred and various differing opinions have been received. He noted since the Task Force has made no recommendation yet, it would be wise to leave that open for future potential use.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to (1) Adopt from the supplemental staff report of January 10, 2004 Alternative No. 2 with the following conditions:
City will approve the final plan;
City will award the construction contracts;
City will pay the bills;
City will receive grant funds; and,
City will issue the Notice of Completion.
Mayor pro tem Clark amended the motion to include the grant application specify that the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy serve as the Project Manager for the grant and implementation of the project be overseen by a Steering Committee. Councilman Long accepted the amendment.
Additionally, Councilman Long further amended his motion to add that staff include as part of the application the terms of a management agreement with Palos Verdes Land Conservancy by including the following:
The Management Agreement between the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy will:
Include a requirement that major project milestones will be brought back for review and approval or disapproval as the City Council may deem appropriate; and,
Specify that the Steering Committee overseeing the project consider the following items:
a) The revised site plan submitted to the Council in the supplemental staff report.
b) The final placement of the items specified in the grant;
c) The final design of the items specified in the grant
Preserve the City’s right to review and approve any decisions made by the Project Manager that may affect in any way the City's obligations with respect to the land in any manner whatsoever.
Indicate that the City has the right to restrict the project management and the site development for the grant to the area within the red line shown on the revised site plan submitted to the Council in the supplemental staff report.
The motion carried without objection.
Bill Ailor queried if this would include a development plan for the 14 acres embodied on the conceptual plan for the site.
Mayor Gardiner replied the first major milestone to come back for decision might be the site development plan.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO 2004-03 APPROVING THE APPLICATION FOR GRANT FUNDS FOR THE URBAN PARK ACT OF 2001 PROGRAM UNDER THE CALIFORNIA CLEAN WATER, CLEAN AIR, SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS, AND COASTAL PROTECTION ACT OF 2002 FOR AN OUTDOOR HISTORY MUSEUM AT LOWER POINT VICENTE PARK.
The motion carried without objection.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 10:01 a.m. and reconvened the meeting at 10:08 a.m.
Mayor Gardiner outlined the purpose of the tactical planning workshop as an occasion for Council members to consider which and how many major initiatives can seriously be undertaken during this Council’s tenure. He noted that deciding what these items are, defining the mechanisms to accomplish them, determining a budget, and regularly monitoring their progress would provide a great opportunity for a focused list of initiatives to move forward.
Mayor pro tem Clark complimented City Manager Evans, Assistant City Manager Petru, and the Staff Directors for their efforts in providing a strategic list of possible initiatives, noting it will be necessary for Council to prioritize five or six of these major initiative objectives and conscientiously monitor their progress in order to bring them to fruition.
Councilman Long echoed Mayor pro tem Clark’s comment, adding he thinks it more realistic to prioritize three of four items, the question being which of these demand policy and decision making of the entire Council as opposed to the attention of staff. He noted he is persuaded that only four items on the list meet that specific requirement.
Councilman Wolowicz agreed that prioritization is imperative but stated there are other items on the list that should be identified for anticipated future action.
Mayor pro tem Clark recommended each Council member list their top five priority goals from the list and proceed with a discussion.
Mayor pro tem Clark identified the five items he considered of major importance as follows: 1) Open space acquisition. He stated by the end of the year the City should acquire the open space for the Portuguese Land Preserve as a mechanism for preserving the quality of life in the community, noting that a 1200 acre preserve ensured that as the pressure to overdevelop continued that piece of land would be taken out of play. 2) A master plan incorporating funding mechanisms to implement infrastructure renewal; 3) A comprehensive plan for how the City’s open space would be used in the future with a specific vision for a civic center at Upper Point Vicente; 4) Implementing the City’s Cable Ed TV Channel, which he stated has tremendous value potential in terms of educating the members of the community and providing on-line informational resources; and, 5) A master plan to deal with safety issues in the community and on the roads.
Councilman Long indicated his priorities as follows: 1) Infrastructure renewal. He opined this is far more significant than everything else because of its urgency and potential impact. He said the timetable needed to work towards March rather than staff’s concept of November, adding that a ballot initiative in a November election would have other issues detracting from it, adding it is imperative to address the issue sooner rather than later. 2) Portuguese Bend open space. He said policy decisions needed to be made by the Council as a whole to determine the size of the problem, how best to approach it, and the preferred solutions. He noted that many of the policy decisions have already been made but that it is important to follow up on them and be available to do whatever else needs to be done. 3) Completion of an open space and parks recreational master plan. He noted his suspicions that this item will require as much of Council’s time or more as the issue of infrastructure renewal, saying a great deal of public input can be expected. 4) Establishing density control on development. He stated the concept of neighborhood compatibility has dealt with many of these issues, opining there is still a need for Council to visualize what the final look of the city should be and make some policy decisions in that regard, adding in his judgment the final look should be similar to what it is now. 5) Control of speeding and traffic volume in residential neighborhoods.
Councilman Stern identified his top five priorities as follows: 1) Develop a master plan for infrastructure renewal and financing. He indicated it is critical to start moving forward, noting that if the issue is to be presented as a ballot initiative he would have to reserve judgment on Councilman Long’s timing idea, saying it is going to be a complicated task to educate the public and, therefore, did not make sense to push it forward too fast. 2) Purchase of Open Space. He stated that although this item was addressed long ago, it does demand continued Council attention because of its importance. 3) Completion of an open space and recreational plan. He noted that many difficult decisions would need to be made. 4) Completion of the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. He commented that, although this item is a done deal to a large degree, staff needs to understand this is something Council wants to see get underway and brought to completion. 5) Control speeding. He opined that Council and the Traffic Committee are out of sync on how best to address this issue, adding it is important to get the Traffic Committee, Council, staff, and the community a little closer together on the same page in this regard. He said Council needed to determine what policies and tools to use to implement solutions and provide these guidelines to the Committee.
In relation to Councilman Long’s statement regarding density control, he observed that when the City was formed there were approximately 38,000 residents and in 1990 the census changed that figure to between 42- and 43,000, saying he would not characterize the issue as critical but something certainly worth focusing on.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented that population experts have predicted with some degree of authority that Southern California will grow by two-fold in the next 15 years, agreeing that advocating a long-term proactive approach to ensure there is not over development in RPV is a worthy goal.
Mayor Gardiner explained that he took a very pragmatic approach when selecting his priorities by not regarding things that are already underway as major new initiatives and not including those items where the deliverable is paper, choosing instead those items that will immediately impact the community’s residents. He presented his priorities as follows: 1) Speeding control; 2) City Educational Channel; 3) Storm drains; and, 4) Sewers. He indicated that although storm drains and sewers are both infrastructure items, he had listed them separately because he believed they are fundamentally distinct projects with different milestones, funding, and timing parameters. He indicated that in order for these last two items to be brought to fruition, there needed to be incremental funding, time, and effort set aside in a specific charter rather than these things being lumped together with the myriad other items being addressed by the Public Works Department.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that a policy decision needs to be made on whether to continue trying to implement this on a cash-and-carry basis out of the general fund or if some debt financing needed to be undertaken.
Mayor Gardiner commented that Finance Advisory Committee and staff have worked on this, adding there should be one person whose job it is to determine exactly what is needed, distill the pertinent information, and formulate some plans to allow Council to make decisions.
Mayor pro tem Clark, noting Mayor Gardiner’s conventions in developing his list, said he takes issue with his having ruled out those things he considered ending up as paper, adding, the civic center, for example, is not a paper product but ultimately an actual construct.
Mayor Gardiner responded he believes there is not enough money to attempt completion of a civic center at this point. He clarified his definition of "paper products" as essentially being items that do not require project managers, separate budgets, milestones, tasks, and time lines to measure progress. In relation to open space, he said Council could listen to suggestions, receive reports, consider them, and make decisions.
Councilman Long noted that the open space issue is perhaps a paper product, perhaps not, saying at the end of the day Council will have to prioritize from many different ideas and take appropriate action when funds becomes available.
Mayor Gardiner agreed that would happen, noting it is not his intention to minimize the importance of anything. He reiterated he does not regard the open space issue as a major initiative which required creation of a budget and putting in place a project manager but rather as something Council would do in its normal course of business.
Mayor pro tem Clark restated he does not believe Council should limit its objectives to strictly project management initiatives.
Councilman Stern said while he appreciates the distinction being made, he agrees that the goals being defined need not preclude a "paper product" which in essence might be the master plan of a vision Council needs to determine how best to implement.
Councilman Long suggested reconciling this discrepancy by prioritizing initiatives as those things that are absolute necessities, for instance storm drains and sewers, saying even though the funding is not actually in place, Council needed to take the first step toward delivering renewed infrastructure and implicit in that decision was making that item a high priority. He indicated that by assigning priorities along this guideline, those things that rise to the level of a necessity become initiatives and those things that fall below that criterion are things that Council should still devote time to even though nothing may actually be done.
Mayor Gardiner commented this distinction was helpful because it defined an initiative as something that Council formulates, funds, and delegates to someone to implement and the other items such as open space decisions, pursuing the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve, and finishing the Point Vicente Interpretive Center are things that are presented as paper for Council to process and make decisions on.
Mayor pro tem Clark again advanced the idea of not limiting strategic and tactical initiatives to strictly project management issues, preferring Council take leadership in envisioning what things are of importance to the community and the future of RPV. He mentioned one of the reasons the previous Council established the Open Space Task Force was to allow residents and staff a considerable amount of time to review what potential options exist and be part of the decision-making process. He indicated he would rather this Council not dispense with ideas such as the possibility of a civic center but instead lay a foundation with a vision and a mechanism in which to achieve such goals in the future.
Mayor Gardiner indicated his desire to resolve this difference, saying he would include making key policy decisions such as those on open space and density to his list of priorities, adding, however, he still considered these items things Council addressed in the normal course of business.
Councilman Wolowicz identified his top five priorities as follows: 1) Pursuing grant money. He stated the City should be pursuing grant searches which might assist in financing things such as infrastructure repair and renewal, saying there is great potential for grant money and, if done correctly, different parts of the Peninsula might be eligible to receive grants. 2) Open space acquisition. He noted that while everyone recognizes the importance of this it has not yet been completed, saying there are problems such as a lack of clarity on issues related to the NCCP and a projected financing shortfall. He stated that an entire meeting should be devoted to implementing a plan on how to deal with this issue. 3) Anticipation items. He commented that there are a number of items Council should anticipate which should be discussed and dealt with at each one of the four breakout sessions planned for the year. 4) Traffic and speeding control. He indicated Council needed to set some policies and provide direction to the Traffic Committee to effectively begin to deal with this problem. 5) Management of the City’s finances through the budget process. He stated between the time the budget is prepared and the CAFER is released there are no monitoring milestones showing actual expenditures versus budgeted amounts. He mentioned he has noticed three or four major items that are a bit beyond the grasp of the budget, adding he would like to implement a mechanism to periodically measure financial activity in comparison with the budget.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented, in reference to Councilman Wolowicz’s anticipated items, that no one included in their list of objectives how Council would deal with the inevitability of more funds being cut out of the City’s budget in the face of rising costs in pension plans, health insurance, et cetera and suggested devoting a Council agenda item to this topic.
Councilman Wolowicz stated the budget pressures were going to be his fifth item but that he opted for implementation of a monitoring process as a related topic instead.
City Manager Evans indicated it came as no surprise that all five Council members chose infrastructure financing and the problem of speeding as their most important issues, adding the Open Space Park and Recreation Master Plan and acquisition of open space, which four members mentioned, are also very high on staff’s agenda as well.
Mayor Gardiner returned the conversation to Councilman Wolowicz’s idea of grant searches, saying it is a very interesting idea and queried the possibility of Council’s establishing an office within the City to focus specifically on grant writing; the goal being that a sufficient number of grants would be written, applied for, and received, with an administrative fee taken off each grant so the office would be self-sustaining and self-funding out of the monies received.
City Manager Evans indicated staff has probably applied for more grants than Council is aware of, saying they do subscribe to various grant newsletters and are aware of what is available. He noted storm water quality grants were routinely applied for but are never granted because they are in competition with other projects such as Ballona Creek that have far more merit. He explained most grants were issued to implement programs which the City is then expected to continue such as building homeless shelters or providing services for disadvantaged youths, adding there are not many grants that are designed with the specific needs of affluent coastal communities like Rancho Palos Verdes in mind.
Mayor Gardiner noted the benefits of this discussion, saying setting goals and objectives consume a tremendous amount of time. He suggested that whatever objectives were determined as a result of this meeting, decisions should be made whether the item required a budget, where those funds will be obtained from, who would responsible for implementation, what milestones were expected, and that the item should then be attached to the calendar because everything done heretofore would be wasted without follow up.
Councilman Wolowicz recommended setting a meeting in six months to check progress.
Mayor Gardiner said he would prefer to check progress quarterly to which Mayor pro tem Clark suggested quarterly reports with a mid-term review.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 11:30 a.m. and reconvened the meeting at 11:45 a.m.
(1) Vision Statement: Postponed further consideration; left status quo. (2) Values: Postponed further consideration; left status quo.
Mayor pro tem Clark observed that the vision statement is very long and complicated and included components that he considered well below the vision for the City.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to postpone further consideration for the moment, saying it was not urgent and should be left in place until such time as Council decided to change it. Motion carried without objection.
Mayor Gardiner encouraged Council members to contemplate how they would like the goal statements worded, taking into consideration whether they should be written abstractly or more concretely. He submitted the more concrete they were, the more achievable they are, but that they also become narrower.
Council discussed the following goals for the years 2004-2005:
Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance:
Proposed Tactical Plan
GOAL: Develop Financing Methods for Infrastructure Maintenance
Councilman Stern stated infrastructure should be the top priority but not be defined so concisely that there is no allowance for learning as Council moves through the process of implementation. He indicated there is a tremendous need to get a handle on the City’s infrastructure in terms of storm drains and sewers, their financing mechanisms, and what was needed to adequately maintain them, adding he is uncomfortable defining much more than that until a determination is made on how best to proceed.
Mayor Gardiner opined the wording of the goal statement action plans should specify to some degree projected outcomes in terms of timelines.
Mayor pro tem Clark proposed when the objectives of the year are decided at the end of the meeting, they should be published on the City’s website.
Councilman Long suggested allowing for some latitude in the time lines by prefacing them with the caveat that Council is setting these goals with very ambitious timetables in mind which may be delayed in order to gather additional information and public input. He reiterated the need to take action on the infrastructure and to gear that around a March 2005 rather than a November 2005 election where he believed it might be obscured by other issues.
City Manager Evans noted there may be a problem with that since a law was recently changed, requiring that any financial measure placed a on a ballot by a public agency must coincide with a general election.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that the Elections Code establishes election dates every year and, depending upon the type of fiscal measure being proposed, some could be held on any general election date specified in the Elections Code and others must be held on the same election cycle as a City Council election, saying depending on what is being proposed, there are limitations. She indicated she would verify whether the legislature has changed this in the last year.
Councilman Long said he would prefer the concept of having the election date earlier not necessarily to rush the topic but to have it on a date independent of Council member selection which he believed would cloud the issue.
City Attorney Lynch explained that option might not be available because it may specifically be tied to that election and reiterated she would verify the law governing this.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated the action on this item was for the City Attorney to validate the options in terms of a potential ballot initiative for infrastructure financing.
Councilman Long indicated the first task was for the City Attorney to inform what the election date options are other than November ’05 and based on those options, the City Manager and staff should then present alternative schedules based on those options. He added once the alternatives are known, Council could examine them and determine how much time was needed for each item.
City Manager Evans noted staff’s opinion that a consultant should be hired to provide advice on some of these matters.
Mayor pro tem Clark opined if debt financing is used as the mechanism for infrastructure renewal there must be advocacy programs instituted to familiarize and educate the taxpayers.
Director McLean indicated there is an infrastructure financing team composed of Finance Advisory Committee members, key members of staff, consultants, and the City’s financial advisor; they have already concluded it to be in the City’s best interest to retain a public information consultant now in order to learn the issues and guide the financing team and Council on how best to proceed with the public information process in light of there being four different infrastructure types, each of which may require different revenue sources and financing methods.
Council members wrestled with the semantics involved in properly wording the proposed objectives.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to formulate and present a comprehensive plan to renew infrastructure by July 1, 2005.
Mayor pro tem Clark queried why staff’s position in its proposed tactical plan regarding the infrastructure was that it would take until July 1, 2005 to arrive at the point where the final infrastructure renewal plan would be presented for approval.
City Manager Evans explained the storm drain master plan update and the initial phase of the sewer investigative program needed to be completed first.
Director Allison further explained that two separate companies are working on each of those two elements, saying the sewers are going to take longer since this is the first time the City has performed a comprehensive review of them. He indicated there is a great deal of information gathering involved and those contracts are in place to perform videotaped surveys of the sewers. He clarified that a contract for the sewer investigation videotaping was awarded late in 2003, saying it did not occur as soon as staff had hoped. He noted as far as the direction of the schedule, some aspects of the investigation needed to be performed in the context of weather, saying rain is needed to determine if the sewer leaks and, since rain generally occurs in the period from January to March, the July date is realistic in terms of being able to compile measurements and data to complete the survey.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented the community has become considerably more informed at a very non-detailed level about this issue in light of some of the campaigning at the last Council election, adding that many people are now looking at this Council and waiting for some type of action to be taken. He stated that if this was a realistic milestone schedule of events, the community needed to be informed on how things are proceeding.
Mayor Gardiner remarked that would be the first time the community will actually see an initiative with a date on it; so in that sense, they would see action is being taken. He noted that if the process is going to be accelerated, additional funds would have to be provided to hire someone to focus specifically on this item since this is just one part of the many projects and responsibilities the Public Works Department attends to in the regular course of business.
Councilman Long inquired whether the date could be moved up if Council were to provide a budget to enable an increase in the manpower available to deal with this specific item.
Director McLean replied that it is not just a matter of available manpower. He explained that once the sewer investigation program is completed a period of 60 to 90 days would be needed to convert the costs into a financial model, which may suggest dedicated revenue sources as well as the use of long-term financing. He noted the July 31 target date for completion really only enables 60 days to return with the long-range financing, creating a very tight window. He added the preference would be to present the plan to the Finance Advisory Committee and allow them to weigh in on the matter before providing it to Council.
Director Allison also responded that both contracts are now with consultants and are staffed appropriately and there is really no external force that can be put in place to expedite the matter.
Councilman Long suggested a joint meeting with the Finance Advisory Committee to provide the benefit of their input while keeping the pace moving.
Council members discussed whether providing more resources to accelerate the project might negatively impact the quality of the outcome.
Mayor Gardiner remarked that in the general course of things, it is expensive to buy time and the question becomes is it worth the expense to buy that time.
Councilman Long said there is also a question of whether the same quality work product is yielded and queried of Directors Allison and McLean whether they are, in fact, moving towards completion as quickly as possible and if providing additional resources to accelerate the process would cause them concern regarding quality control and centralization of the work product.
Councilman Long recommended staff keep a very watchful eye on this project and, if it is determined that a deadline could be hastened with additional resources or, on the contrary, if it appeared unlikely a deadline could be met because a support staff member has been lost or more time was needed because quality control was being impacted, make that information available to Council so they could consider providing additional resources.
Mayor Gardiner suggested Council should decide how they preferred to be briefed on progress and what they would like to see in the way of reporting.
Director McLean remarked that in a June 2003 staff report presented when the City’s financial advisor was retained it was suggested that an initial workshop take place in February 2004. He proposed subsequent workshops to offer updates on items such as the timing of the storm drain master plan, the sewer investigation, and the activities of the infrastructure financing team, noting this information could also be provided at a City Council meeting.
Mayor Gardiner advised it is not a good use of time to hold repetitive workshops and suggested instead that Council be briefed on milestones.
Mayor pro tem Clark opined that the first workshop on this matter was certainly needed and inquired when Council would be required to make decisions on specific approaches to debt financing.
City Manager Evans explained the only action item at the workshop would be to approve a contract to hire a consultant to provide public outreach, noting the intent of the workshop was basically to bring all five Council members to an equal information point. He answered that no financing decisions would be required until after the sewer master plan had been completed and the costs are known.
Councilman Long noted that historically workshops are useful tools not only for informing Council but educating the public as well. He described his interest in understanding how the City got into this current infrastructure situation, potentially facing tens of millions of dollars of cost with essentially no money in the bank to address it, saying he would like to begin his tenure being educated and knowing how to avoid being in this type of situation in the future.
Councilman Stern remarked while he considered it a worthwhile goal, he believed it was unrelated to solving the problem, adding he did not find it necessary to understand what went wrong in the past in order to determine how to move forward. He agreed he would also like to learn from past mistakes but viewed that as a separate issue. In terms of the proposed workshop, he suggested that if the idea is educational, why not have a 20-minute presentation at one of the regularly televised Council meetings where the public is likely to benefit as well.
After listening to discussion related to the workshop, Mayor pro tem Clark agreed that it probably is unnecessary.
Mayor Gardiner suggested Council members be provided some reading materials to bring them up to date and that a City Talk be produced to run on Channel 3 or Channel 33 when that begins broadcasting to inform the public. He reiterated the value of Council time, saying he is jealously guarding time in Council meetings for decision making since that is uniquely what the Council does.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted the benefits to either approach, saying while City Talk is great not many people tune in to it; however, Council meetings generally have a large number of residents who follow them, adding that a short, consolidated presentation at a meeting would provide maximum leverage in his opinion.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated that quite an extensive presentation on the infrastructure was made by staff and Finance Advisory Committee, saying the idea of providing a 20-minute presentation to the City Council was very appealing especially if done after Finance Advisory Committee has had an opportunity to synthesize the presentation so it would address all the points just discussed.
Mayor Gardiner recommended making the presentation during the time allotted for the City Manager’s Report on the agenda.
Mayor Stern proposed agendizing the item and providing a slide-show presentation, saying the public has a reasonable expectation that Council is going to be addressing this, it had been presented to them and discussed, and some level of work has already been authorized. He remarked in the near future the residents may be asked to vote on something that is going to cost them money, adding the more that is done now, even if only in 20-minute segments, to illustrate the problem and how it is being addressed will provide a tremendous public education benefit to the community.
Councilman Wolowicz commented that given the financial magnitude of this one particular issue it does seem to eclipse everything else.
Mayor Gardiner agreed with the benefit but again questioned the appropriate vehicle for providing information to the public, reiterating he does not view City Council meetings as seminars but rather as decision-making forums. He noted that an amazing number of people do watch City Talk and there are a variety of other media that could be utilized to inform the public such as the City’s Newsletter and the website.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to formulate and present a comprehensive plan to renew infrastructure by July 1, 2005 as follows:
1) By March 31, 2004 the Public Works Director should complete an update of the Storm Drain Master Plan.
(2) By July 31, 2004 the Public Works Director should complete the initial phase of the Sewer Investigative Program.
(3) By September 30, 2004 the Infrastructure Financing Team should present a tax/fee/assessment/bond/loan proposal for the financing of street/storm drain/sewer maintenance to the City Council and the Finance Advisory Committee at a public workshop.
(4) The City Council would direct staff to proceed with selection of a public information consultant to advise the Infrastructure Financing Team and the City Council with the development and implementation of an educational program, citizen surveys and other community outreach programs to design successful ballot initiatives, assessment districts or other funding mechanisms. Staff should make a recommendation to the City Council regarding the selection of a public information consultant along with a proposed budget adjustment as soon as possible.
Motion carried without objection.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 12:56 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 1:23 p.m.
Citywide Traffic and Parking:
Proposed Tactical Plan
GOAL: Control Speeding in Residential Neighborhoods
Formulate and Implement an action plan on/or before September 30, 2004.
(1) By March 30, 2004 the City Council and the Traffic Committee should meet jointly to discuss and agree on a plan for the control of speeding in residential neighborhoods.
(2) By June 30, 2004 the Traffic Committee would recommend to the City Council a plan to address traffic calming issues in Eastview.
(3) By September 30, 2004 the City Council should provide the necessary funding to implement approved plans and direct staff to proceed with the approved measures.
Councilman Long opined when the issue was stated as speeding control and citywide street safety, it was stated too narrowly because volume in residential neighborhoods is as much a problem as speeding.
Councilman Stern and Mayor pro tem Clark commented this did not mean that volume is not an issue but that you cannot necessarily change the volume into residential neighborhoods because people were generally going there to visit, drop their kids off at school, et cetera.
Mayor pro tem Clark remarked that speeding was only one function of safety on the City’s streets. He recommended scheduling a meeting with the Traffic Committee to discuss comprehensively what policies should be focused on to deal with safety and from that meeting Council would provide priorities and direction to the Committee.
Councilman Long reiterated his point that by defining it as "safety" a judgment was being built in that narrows the term, adding he believed there were significant traffic problems within the city that are not issues of safety but of volume and excessive street parking. He suggested broadening the term to citywide traffic problems, adding parking is related to volume because it is an issue of cars arriving at a destination without an appropriate place to be.
Council members again grappled with the semantics involved in properly wording the goal statement and proposed objectives.
Councilman Stern raised the concern that a "citywide solution" most likely did not exist and recommended one thing that should be resolved at the joint meeting was how best to tackle the problem, whether by dealing with it on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis or some other mechanism.
Mayor pro tem Clark remarked in his experience most cities that have dealt with the problems of traffic, volume, et cetera in residential neighborhoods have had to be site specific to resolve the problems.
Councilman Wolowicz agreed that it was best to start by geographically classifying the areas and then identifying the problems.
Mayor Gardiner noted that he approached it from a different perspective, saying that if sheriffs were delegated to write tickets for speeding offenders, he guaranteed the problem would be solved.
Councilman Long inquired how much it would cost and how long it could last to employ that type of enforcement, saying if there was no associated financial cost, where would the reduction in policing take place.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested there were approaches other than regular uniformed officers performing the enforcement such as community enforcement.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt the action plan elements and milestones proposed by staff.
Mayor Gardiner inquired whose responsibility it would be to provide what promised to be a very substantial report to Council by September 30th.
City Manager Evans replied a decision will be made on that as a result of the meeting scheduled to take place before March 30th when the Council and the Traffic Committee discussed how to strategize the issue, adding his opinion is that a consultant would need to be hired.
The motion carried without objection.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 2:39 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 2:46 p.m.
Portuguese Bend Open Space Properties
Proposed Tactical Plan
GOAL: Purchase the Portuguese Bend Open Space Properties:
Mayor Stern commented that if there is one thing that has been in the works for a long time, it is this issue. He stated the bottom line is it is very unclear when the State will be in a position to address this, adding he was reluctant to fail on a date that is out of Council’s control.
Mayor Gardiner agreed, saying since the timing is largely out Council’s hands it was best to continue what had already been set in motion.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to Continue to aggressively pursue Federal, State and local funds for the purchase of the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve as follows:
(1) By July 1, 2004 the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement will complete the Draft NCCP, EIR and Implementation Agreement for presentation to the City Council.
(2) By July 1, 2004 the PVP Land Conservancy will have a local commitment of $6 million.
(3) By July 1, 2004 the City Council will have a commitment of $2 million of County funds.
(4) By September 1, 2004 the Implementing Agreement/State Funding package will be negotiated.
(5) By October 1, 2004 the City Lobbyist will have a commitment of $17 million of State Funds.
(6) By November 1, 2004 the funding package for the land acquisition will be complete.
(7) By December 1, 2004 the City will acquire the properties.
Motion carried without objection.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to amend the language by adding the word "aggressively" to the above motion. Mayor pro tem Clark accepted the language.
The motion carried without objection.
Open Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan
Proposed Tactical Plan
GOAL: Complete the Open Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan
Councilman Wolowicz queried if a presentation had been made to the City Council discussing the NCCP in detail. He mentioned he had some questions regarding control and management of the land and noted that once the land goes into the preserve it basically does not come back out, wondering if this issue has been discussed at the Council level.
Mayor pro tem Clark replied the NCCP has been presented to Council but it was quite some time ago.
Director Rojas responded that a summary of the draft plan was also made touching on the issues of what land goes into the preserve, for how long, and the cost of management.
Mayor pro tem Clark remarked that missing from the title of this goal was the development and implementation of a civic center which he considered an integral piece of this master plan. He reiterated that one major objective for this Council’s term should be to create a workable vision for a new civic center for RPV.
City Manager Evans replied that because it dealt in part with Upper Point Vicente it had always been implied that the civic center is an integral part of this master plan.
Councilman Stern noted that while he recognizes the property does have City Hall on it, his view has been that the Task Force is addressing the recreational use of the land rather than a civic center.
City Manager Evans clarified the plan the Task Force presented included two alternatives for a civic center; one, a remodel of the existing facility and the other the construction of a new facility.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to revise the language as follows: Publish Council-adopted Open Space Parks & Rec. Master Plan including a Civic Center Plan. (Date of accomplishment pending outcome of January 20th meeting.)
(1) On January 20, 2004 the Task Force will present a status report to the City Council.
(2) By June 30, 2004 the Task Force will present a draft Master Plan to the City Council.
(3) By December 31, 2004 the City Council will approve a Master Plan and direct staff to recommend phasing of the plan.
The motion carried without objection.
Follow-Up Items on Goals:
Staff to issue quarterly reports on goals.
Staff to update milestones and decision making milestones for goals.
Meet on Tuesday, June 29th to review goals.
Determine what election restrictions are for placing measures on the ballot.
Staff to place this information in website with caveat that the Council has adopted an ambitious schedule which may be influenced by outside factors beyond their control.
Mayor Gardiner observed that Council had completed the list of goals they wished to elevate for special attention this year, emphasizing that this did not mean the other items on the list would automatically drop off but would continue to be addressed under normal conditions.
Mayor pro tem Clark recommended setting a date for the mid-term review and proposed the fifth Tuesday in June be used as a review of Council’s ‘03-’04 goals and objectives.
Councilman Stern suggested Council members note all fifth Tuesdays occurring this year on their calendars – March, June, August, and November -- and try to set them aside to be used for meetings and discussion as needed.
Other Items of Discussion:
Disposition of the City-owned Tyler house.
City Council and staff travel policy.
Reimburse for actual expenses incurred; Agendize.
Consideration of changing from a General Law City to a Charter City.
City Attorney to include information with Friday Administrative Report.
Employee compensation guidelines.
Consider during 04-05 budget process.
Appropriate level of the general fund reserve and operating budget.
Ideas for generating additional operating revenues.
Agendize Western Avenue Commercial/Revenue.
Agenda Format: Future Agenda Items.
Remove list of items from agenda; instead, put in the Friday Administrative Report.
Ad Hoc Committees:
Mayor Gardiner remarked that given the diversity and talents of the various Council members marvelous progress had been made at the meeting. He commended everyone for their patience and focus.
Adjournment: Adjourned at 3:15 p.m. to Monday, January 12th at 10:00 a.m. for a meeting at the State Capitol with Assembly member Alan Lowenthal for discussion of legislation of interest to the City.