RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
MAY 31, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Clark at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to closed session. At 7:04 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
Also present were City Manager Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru; City Attorney Lynch; Director of Public Works Allison; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Rojas; Director of Finance McLean; Senior Planner Fox; Associate Planner Schonborn; and Recording Secretary Bothe.
City Attorney Lynch led the flag salute.
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark wished City Attorney Carol Lynch a happy birthday that evening.
Mayor Clark announced the name of the recycler winner from the May 17th Council meeting: Mary C. O’Madden; stated that all winners would receive a check for $250, which represented a year of free refuse service; and he encouraged everyone to recycle.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru requested that Council consider the 5-year financial model item before the budget item.
Councilman Gardiner requested that Item No. 10, Preliminary Lomita Station Audit Report, be considered following the Consent Calendar.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Agenda, as amended. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, commented on an unmarked piece of property near the Seaview area; advised Council that the fence at one end of this area was open for public access and noted that she believed this road led into the Portuguese Bend landslide area.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that she had received one request to speak on Item No. 7, Appeal of Case No. ZON2004-00174; and noted that she distributed to Council late correspondence regarding Item No. 8, Weed Abatement Request for Lower Filiorum.
Mayor Clark pulled from the Consent Calendar Item No. 5, Gifts for Parks.
Motion to Waive Full Reading
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Approval of the Minutes
Approved the Minutes of January 29, 2005.
Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote the Council's previous action on December 21, 2004, to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.
Ridgecrest Ranchos Recreation & Parks District Appointment of Lars Skari
Acknowledged the appointment of Lars Skari to serve on the Ridgecrest Ranchos Recreation & Parks District for a term of office until December 2007.
Environmental Investigation of the Nike Missile Site
1) Approved a request from the Palos Verdes Art Center to perform a Site Investigation of the former Nike missile site for potential reuse as part of a community art center; and, 2) Approved the Professional Services Agreement with PSI for the performance of a site investigation study of Upper Point Vicente and authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Long, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
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ITEMS PULLED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR:
Gifts for Parks
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended that Council accept the Gifts for Parks donations and direct staff to prepare letters for the Mayor's signature expressing the Council's thanks and appreciation.
Mayor Clark highlighted the impressive list of community donors for the Point Vicente Interpretive Center; and noted that the remodeling project was well under way and that he anticipated the opening would take place that fall. He noted that additional funds were needed to put together all the exhibits and expressed his belief that the City’s fund raising effort was very creative. Mayor Clark highlighted a generous donation from the family of Maryann and Clifford Evans, who had donated $8,100 to provide a full-sized whale on the Teaching Terrance back patio at the expanded Center; and he sadly noted that Mary-Anne Evans of Rancho Palos Verdes passed away on May 19, 2005 after a long battle with cancer and suffering from debilitating arthritis. He informed the audience that Mrs. Evans was survived by her husband, Cliff, and her children; and stated that this very generous donation by the Evans family would honor the memory of Mary-Anne. On behalf of Council, the City, and the docents, he noted his gratitude and appreciation of the generosity of the Evans family and the other donors.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Appeal of Case No. ZON2004-00174, (Site Plan Review); Land Owner & Appellant: Lenee Barden. Subject Property: 6311 Tarragon Road
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended that Council ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-__, DENYING THE APPEAL AND UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DENIAL OF CASE NO. ZON2004-00174 FOR A SITE PLAN REVIEW.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, expressed her opposition to the staff recommendation; stated that the recommendation denied the appellant her appeal process; and noted that Ms. Barden had indicated she had permits to do this work.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered; with Councilman Gardiner abstaining, due to his absence from the meeting when this matter was first discussed.
Addressing a comment made by Ms. Larue, Councilman Stern advised the audience that no permits were obtained for the balcony enclosure, which was acknowledged by Lenee Barden.
Weed Abatement Request for Lower Filiorum - An Appeal of the Director's Determination that a Proposed Weed Abatement Action, as Conditioned, is Exempt from the Prohibitions of the City's Coastal Sage Scrub Urgency Ordinance
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended Council ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005- __, THEREBY APPROVING THE PROPOSED WEED ABATEMENT REQUEST WITH CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed her belief that a new/updated biology survey or monitoring effort would be valuable; noted that other jurisdictions directly contract with the consultants that performed this work and did not allow consultants and applicants to communicate with one another; asked that Condition No. 5 be amended to not restrict the inclusion of only species covered by the NCCP – stating that all species should be addressed; and stated that these conditions, as drafted, limited the biologist’s authority to protect various species not on the list and that it was unduly restrictive. She added that the covered species list was too limited, noting that there were other sensitive species throughout the peninsula that need protection. She asked that Condition 7 be amended to direct that the plant surveys occur in the spring, specifically April, May or June. With regard to Condition No. 8, Ms. Sattler stated that the language should indicate "previously disturbed area," believing it was important that there should be 3:1 replacement ratio for the removal of the cactus; and although the immediate area to be impacted would be restored, she stated that the rest of the mitigation should occur in areas as recommended by the City’s biologist.
Councilman Stern noted that the staff report indicated that Edison claimed that it had no crews clearing weeds around the utility poles on the property, but pointed out in the letter received that day from Edison’s attorney Scott Summer, a statement mentioning that Southern California Edison removes these plants as a matter of general practice. He asked staff to clarify this apparent contradiction.
Director Rojas responded that staff had a signed statement from a neighbor stating that weed abatement had taken place on the property in November; noted that staff made a site visit and determined that there clearly were some patches of cactus removed; noted that Edison indicated they did not have crews removing/clearing around its utility poles in November; and that the only way their line crews would remove/clear the vegetation was if they backed their truck in to gain access to a utility pole. He added that the locations where the cactus was removed were not on a road that was ordinarily driven. He reiterated that Edison indicated that while they routinely sent crews out to clear underneath utility poles, they did not have a crew at this location in November.
Mayor Clark observed that it would not be wise to require cactus to be replanted under the utility poles, where Edison might remove it at a later time.
Director Rojas agreed and stated that staff would like to modify the condition to indicate that any cactus be replanted "in the general vicinity of the utility poles, specifically not immediately underneath utility poles."
Councilman Stern suggested that the language be amended to allow the City’s biologist to select the location to replant the cactus.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked staff to respond on Barbara Sattler’s comments regarding Condition 5 and her concern that it would limit the biologist’s authority to protect various species not on the NCCP list.
Director Rojas advised that there were various lists of sensitive species; noted that the Native Plant Society had a list of what it considered to be sensitive; that the state and federal agencies had their own lists; and explained that because of the various lists, staff decided to use the plant list in the City’s NCCP, which included the species that were on state and federal lists, but also included species expected to occur on the peninsula.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she would prefer using a defined list, otherwise, it would be impossible for a biologist to know what plants he/she was supposed to be looking for; and she suggested using the plant list in NCCP plant because it was the guide post of what the City was trying to protect in the proposed nature preserve area.
Mayor Clark questioned whether the language could be modified to include a list of identified plants that the Native Plant Society could provide to the City as an appendix.
City Attorney Lynch responded that she was uncomfortable requiring a property that was not slated to be part of the nature preserve to protect a great number of plants than would be required on properties that will be protected through the NCCP.
In response to a question from Mayor Clark about the property owner’s ability to remove acacia, City Attorney Lynch explained that on properties greater than 2 acres in size, the property owner would have to file an application to do weed abatement and a biology study would have to be done to demonstrate that removal of the acacia would not impact any Coastal Sage Scrub Habitat (CSS) or other sensitive plants or animals as defined in NCCP. She added that there was no flat prohibition against the removal of acacia in the ordinance.
City Attorney Lynch stated that staff supported two very minor clarifications to the conditions suggested in the letter by Mr. Martin of the Sierra Club revising Condition 5 to read as follows: "A qualified biologist selected by the City shall conduct a grassland assessment and rare plant survey in the spring …" and revising Condition 3 to read: "The City proposed weed abatement can be conducted in the presence of a single qualified biologist as selected by the City"
Mayor Clark asked that Ms. Sattler’s suggested language be added specifying to Condition 3 specifying the spring months as April, May or June. City Attorney Lynch responded that this specific language would be included in the condition.
Director Rojas clarified that Condition 7 would be modified to read as follows: "A qualified biologist, selected by the City, shall conduct a grassland assessment and rare plant survey in the spring (April, May, June) after the weed abatement activities are completed. The biologist shall submit a copy of the rare plant assessment …"
Director Rojas noted that Condition 8, Director Rojas would also be revised to read as follows: "…of prickly pear cactus in the general vicinity from where the cactus was removed as determined by the City’s biologist. In no case shall replanting occur under the utility poles."
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation, as amended. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Agenda Item No. 10 was considered out of Agenda order.
Preliminary Lomita Station Audit Report
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended that Council receive and file the preliminary audit of the City's contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services with the Lomita Station.
With the aid of a slide presentation, Captain Zuanich presented his report, which included an overview of how units costs were calculated, the level of service provided in the region’s contract with the Sheriff for FY 2005-2006, contract service minutes, cost comparisons with other contract cities versus South Bay police agencies, crime statistics, response times and input received as part of the City’s Global Needs Assessment Survey conducted in 2004.
Captain Zuanich explained that the City’s cost for contract law enforcement services included the proportionate cost of station overhead, departmental support personnel and resources, supplies and related expenses; and he noted that while actual costs would change annually, the categories and elements listed in the report remained constant pursuant to cost determination practices. He advised Council that the cost per deputy sheriff service unit was determined by such things as salaries, employee benefits, overtime, services and supplies, general County overhead, department overhead, Contract Law Enforcement Bureau and mobile digital system outlets (computers in police cars). He indicated that the rates were set by the County Auditor, not the Sheriff’s Department; noted that one deputy working 7 days a week, 3 shifts, 24 hours a day costs $262,376 per year; and that included in the unit calculation was the cost for the deputy, as well as relief deputy, watch deputy, investigators, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, civilian clerical staff, automobile maintenance and replacement, and general County overhead.
Captain Zuanich explained that a formula was used to calculate each city’s share of the regional contract. The formula was based on the number of "incidents" experienced in each city during the prior year, such as calls, assists, details and observations. He indicated that in 2004 there were a total 34,943 incidents; noted that the total region population was 52,482; with a population of 41,2568 RPV made up 81 percent of the population in the regional contract. He stated that the total number of deputy units supplied to the region was 12.8084 – noting that RPV’s portion to be paid in 2005 was 64.52 percent or 8.2646 deputies, versus 62.5 percent in 2004. He pointed out that the 60/30/10 formula used to share the cost of the CORE deputies and traffic deputies between the three cities remained the same from year to year.
Captain Zuanich provided an explanation of "contract minutes"; advised that the number of minutes logged in each city had to stay two percent either side of 100 percent; noted that this number was not always 100 percent because a deputy working in a reporting district may have to leave that district to assist elsewhere. He noted that as of year-to-date, contract minutes were at 101.4 percent for the region. He highlighted a sample copy of a deputy’s daily worksheet, stating that each deputy accounted for the minutes spent per shift, such as in travel time, handling time, report writing, patrol time, incident assignments as well as in which reporting district the activity took place, and noting that all this information was stored in the car computers and automatically compiled in the mobile digital terminal and transferred to Contract Law Enforcement Bureau – not to the Sheriff’s Department. He added that Contract Law accumulated those minutes and provided reports of these minutes to the various stations, which were then reported to the cities. He noted that the Lomita Sheriff’s Station has been successful in making sure that each of the three regional cities has received its fair share of the contract minutes per year.
Referring to an informal survey the Lomita Station conducted of other contract cities in Los Angeles County, Captain Zuanich noted that with the exception of Rolling Hills, RPV had the lowest crime rate in 2004 than any other city in the survey. He explained that the cost for service in Rolling Hills was $75 per resident; that the cost for service in RPV was $77; but because RPV paid the cost of the CORE deputy program up front and was reimbursed later by the other two cities in the region, if the cost was adjusted to take this into account, the actual cost was reduced to $73 per resident, making these services the lowest cost per resident (for a city with a population over 1,000) in the survey.
Captain Zuanich commented on the fact that Part 1 (violent) crimes in the peninsula region had been declining over the past four years and the statistics from the first quarter of the year seemed to indicate that the downward trend would continue in 2005. He also discussed response times and noted that the Lomita Station had an extremely good record of responding to routine calls in less than 30 minutes, immediate calls within 10 minutes and emergency calls in less than 7 minutes in 2004, compared to the County standard of 60 minutes, 20 minutes and 10 minutes, respectively.
Captain Zuanich referred to the independent resident survey conducted at the request of the City’s Open Space Task Force in 2004 and pointed out that 12 percent of the City’s residents surveyed believed it was necessary to increase public safety and traffic control; noted that Council was taking steps in this direction by implementing the increased traffic controls on the Palos Verdes Drive East Switchbacks during the summer months; and added that the independent survey indicated that residents were very satisfied with the law enforcement services provided by the Sheriff’s Department.
In conclusion, Captain Zuanich expressed his belief that the City’s $3.1 million contract for law enforcement services was a bargain when compared to surrounding South Bay cities. He added that RPV’s crime rate was very low compared to other contract cities and that the station’s response times were the envy of other Sheriff’s stations and outside agencies. Captain Zuanich stated that he was proud of his station’s accomplishments and the consistent high quality of service they provided for the lowest cost possible.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked what decisions and policies the Council could make that would assist the Lomita Station in keeping crime rates low in the City.
Captain Zuanich stated that even though his station had limited staffing, they were able to leverage their available resources to respond to problems in the community, but noted that because of limited staffing, the Station tended to be more reactive to specific problems.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the Sheriff’s Station used or had considered programmatic funding, where instead of budgeting by categories, such as number of deputies and patrol units, a certain percentage of the budget would be allocated for traffic enforcement, a certain percentage for patrols, etc. He mentioned that one of Council’s major goals was to improve traffic enforcement/safety, and questioned what percentage of the $3.1 million contract with the Lomita Station was used for traffic enforcement. He suggested that, when appropriate, available resources from one part of the budget could be reallocated to another activity in order to address problem areas. He explained that Council tended to think in terms of what activities the Sheriff’s Department performed instead of the specific resources (i.e. types of personnel) used to get the work done.
Captain Zuanich stated that traffic enforcement continued to be a high profile problem on the peninsula; but explained that the Station’s patrol deputies focused on to responding to Part 1 (violent) and Part 2 (property) crimes rather than on traffic enforcement, but added that while on patrol, deputies were still required to observe and cite for traffic issues. Highlighting the statistics, he stated that the crime rates in the City were low as a result of the department’s current system, especially its visibility in the community while patrolling, and expressed concern that shifting the patrol deputies to traffic enforcement would jeopardize the Station’s ability to respond to the other issues.
Councilman Gardiner asked if some of the Sheriff’s resources could be reallocated in a manner that wouldn’t cause other performance indicators to deteriorate and questioned if the City needed to provide additional funding in order to achieve the goal of improving traffic safety.
Captain Zuanich pointed out that the Station was able to meet the City’s request for additional traffic patrols on PVDE by reassigning the traffic deputies and the CORE deputies while school was out of session for the summer, as well as directing the regular patrol deputies to focus on this area of the City as well. He noted, however, that this was only a temporary shifting of resources and could not be sustained over an extended period of time.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz commented on the feasibility of reallocating some of these services where there was a need for additional units; and suggested that with the Sheriff’s help, Council could decide programmatically where additional units were needed, noting that Council may need to take separate action to establish that objective.
Captain Zuanich expressed his strong reluctance to manipulate the existing allocation of the patrol deputies and reiterated that the Station’s staffing was very limited.
In response to a question from Councilman Long, Captain Zuanich expressed his belief the existing patrol services were adequate and that he did not see a need to increase them. He stated, however, that traffic services were sorely inadequate, noting a need for more support in the P.M. hours and on weekends. He stated that once the CORE deputies went back to their regular assignments at the schools in the fall, speeding on PVDE would resume. He stated he was able to make minor adjustments to patrol assignments, but that he did not have the staff resources to support a major shift, as had been suggested by the Council.
Mayor Clark requested that the Sheriff’s Station continue to provide the City in the future with the same statistical analysis comparing the City’s crime rates to the other contract cities. Highlighting the low crime rate in RPV, Mayor Clark questioned if the cost per resident shouldn’t decrease as well, pointing out that a lower crime rate meant that there were fewer calls for service, which should translate into a lower cost for law enforcement services overall.
Councilman Stern pointed out that RPV’s costs were lower than any of the other contract cities included in the Sheriff’s survey.
Mayor Clark restates his question to ask if RPV’s cost per capita was a function of the population of the City, regardless of the number of calls for service that were received each year.
Lieutenant Herrera responded that the survey did not take the number of calls received into consideration and only looked at the cost per resident in each of the contract cities. He pointed out that RPV was a large city with 13.5 square miles; noted that there was the equivalent of one deputy covering approximately 5 square miles each day; and that in order to keep the response times and crime rates low, RPV would need at least that many units per square mile. He added that RPV paid for approximately 8.2 of these 24-hour cars; that the 8.2 units RPV paid for included regular patrol units and two dedicated traffic enforcement units; and that in a deputy’s slow time, they also performed traffic enforcement duties. He added that for deployment and efficiency purposes, this system had worked the best for the Sheriff’s department.
While he was very impressed with the City’s low crime statistics, Mayor Clark remarked that it was clear to him how the rate formula that determined the amount the City paid for law enforcement services was related to crime levels.
Captain Zuanich asked Mayor Clark if he was suggesting that because the Sheriff’s has done a good job of keeping the crime down in RPV, that the cost for service should go down proportionately.
Mayor Clark affirmed that Captain Zuanich had correctly summarized his question, and stated that in most businesses, the more efficient and effective their operation, the lower the costs should be to conduct that business. Mayor Clark suggested that Council, staff and the Sheriff’s Department devote another forum to reviewing how the rate formula was developed and how the formula was used to determine the service rates charged to the City each year. He questioned if the rate formula included deputy pensions, and if so, what the growth was in that pension rate.
Captain Zuanich stated that the rate formula does include deputy pensions as part of the contract overhead; advised that he did not have any information that evening on the exact pension rate; and mentioned that the County Supervisors were looking into whether contract cities should be paying a larger share for all additional regional services, such as helicopters, police dogs, arson investigations, and SWAT.
Mayor Clark stated that he was aware that many California cities were facing higher than expected pension costs for their safety personnel and noted that he did not see in the report the relative proportionality cost of retirement benefits and where that rate was headed in the future.
Captain Zuanich advised Council that the Sheriff’s deputies paid a portion into their own retirement fund and noted that there would not be a large increase in deputy retirement benefits because that had not negotiated as part of the current contract.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he was mostly concerned with tackling the problem at hand, which was traffic; and questioned if there was enough flexibility in the system to move some of the existing resources to address this area, while still maintaining enough resources to combat crime.
Because of some sensitivity concerning traffic discussion, Captain Zuanich noted a need to have further discussion in another forum; and stated that it would be a big mistake for any captain to reduce patrol services in order to increase traffic services. He reiterated that patrol deputies also observed traffic and wrote tickets, and that all deputies were proactive in traffic matters. He stated that some flexibility was possible, but not at the expense of the routine patrols that have kept the City safe, as evidenced by the extremely favorable crime statistics.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the Sheriff’s Department had data that indicated crime increased when patrol units were shifted to other assignments.
Captain Zuanich stated that there were no such statistics because it was rarely done.
City Manager Evans mentioned that the City had data indicating that increasing the number of citations issued had no correlation with the number of traffic collisions.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned what could be done to improve RPV’s traffic enforcement index and to lower the number of traffic accidents.
Captain Zuanich explained that a study was conducted approximately two years earlier where an area was saturated with officers writing traffic tickets in order to determine if issuing more tickets would reduce traffic collisions; and he advised Council that the study indicated the number of traffic collisions increased, concluding that because the officers were already in the area, more reports were taken as a result of the police being present. He added that in the next quarter, fewer tickets were written and the number of traffic collisions went down – pointing out that this statistic bounced back and forth in just about every quarter included in the study. He stated that deputy visibility was what made people slow down and drive less recklessly; and that when officers were not present, motorists returned to speeding almost immediately.
With regard to deputy pension costs, Councilman Stern pointed out that the City was not obligated on any of these pensions; stated that if the Sheriff’s pensions increased dramatically, the City had the option of taking a different direction in providing law enforcement services for the community. He stated that it had been shown to be more economical to contract with the Sheriff’s Department instead of the City supporting its own police force. He added that the cost of the Sheriff’s contract had gone up slowly over the years.
City Manager Evans stated that FY 05-06 would be the first year that the Sheriff’s contract had increased by more than 3 percent in the last 10 years.
Captain Zuanich stated that his department was ready to be as flexible as possible to try and accommodate the City’s concerns and that he was amenable to discussing this matter further with staff and Council; but reiterated that he was very reluctant to reallocate the regular patrol units because he believed that the current deployment schedule was serving the City very well.
Councilman Long stated that the City must be mindful of the Captain’s professional judgment as to what was discretionary and what is not; noted his opposition to shifting the regular patrol units to traffic enforcement at the expense of reducing response times – stating that he would not be supportive of jeopardizing essential services for traffic enforcement. He expressed his belief $73 per resident was a very low fee for the residents to pay for police protection; but stated that if something more could be done without impacting vital services, he would support that effort, and that he was also supportive of providing traffic enforcement.
Councilman Gardiner noted his support for continuing this topic to another forum; stated that the City should decide to either do nothing with traffic enforcement, rearrange some of the programmatic activities of the Sheriff’s Station, or put more money into the budget to address this problem. He noted his support for a programmatic shift without damaging any other essential performance indicators – stating that the City needed to know whether this was possible and what it would take to make it possible.
Councilman Long stated that any discussion concerning the possible shifting police service should be done in a public forum.
Mayor Clark suggested that a workshop be scheduled with the Lomita Sheriff’s Station leadership, all Council members and staff to work through some of these topics in a different forum; and noted the importance of fully understanding the issues associated with the City’s single largest annual budget expenditure.
Captain Zuanich invited Council to visit the Lomita Station and to accompany the officers on a ride-along so they could see firsthand the daily activity of a patrol officer.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to accept and file the report. Without the objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Border Streets Trash Collection Sub-Committee
Director Allison presented the staff report and the recommendation to establish a Council ad hoc sub-committee to coordinate with the City of Rolling Hills Estates on trash collection issues along border streets between the two cities.
Mayor Clark suggested that Councilman Long and Mayor pro tem Wolowicz serve on this subcommittee.
Councilman Long accepted the invitation to serve on the subcommittee. He advised his colleagues that his neighborhood had gone from eight trash trucks in two days involving two different companies, to currently having one company doing the same method of pickup with seven trucks in three days; and noted his hope that this could be reduced to four or five trucks in two days.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz expressed his belief it would be more advantageous for a Council member who was participating in the automated trash collection pilot program to serve on the subcommittee; and stated that he would not object to serving as an alternate.
Mayor Clark concurred with Mayor pro tem Wolowicz.
Councilman Gardiner stated he was participating in the pilot program and had experienced minimal difference between the two collection systems; and questioned why these changes were being made when the existing program had worked well for many years.
Councilman Long stated that the trash truck activities had long been a problem for his neighborhood and commented on the possibility of better coordination between RPV and RHE regarding the designated trash service days. He stated that seven trucks in three days was no improvement and addressed the need to work with the trash hauler and RHE on improved coordination.
City Manager Lynch noted that the City could not contract beyond its jurisdictional boundaries, but indicated that a cooperative effort aimed at better coordination could be worked out with the other cities on the peninsula.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved staff recommendation, seconded by Councilman Stern, to create the ad hoc committee and to assign Councilman Long to serve on the committee.
By way of a friendly amendment, Mayor Clark requested that Councilman Long, in addition to working with RHE concerning trash collection on the borders, also provide Council with a status report on how the new automated trash collection system was working for RHE.
There was no objection to the friendly amendment. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered the passage of the amended motion.
At this point, City Manager Evans asked that the City Attorney’s Report be presented since the City Attorney needed to leave early.
No objection was noted.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that Council conducted a performance evaluation of the City Manager and City Attorney; with respect to the item for 7460 Alida Place, she noted that Council gave further direction to the City Attorney’s Office; with respect to the negotiations on the open space purchase, she indicated that there was no discussion or action on this item and that the matter would be brought back at a future date.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 9:14 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:24 P.M.
Five-Year Financial Model
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru distributed late correspondence to Council on this item.
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended that Council receive and file the 2005 Five- Year Financial Model, including the recommendation by the Finance Advisory Committee presented at the end of the report.
Mayor Clark commended the Finance staff for the excellent summary.
Director McLean stated that the 2005 five-year financial model started with the proposed budget for FY 05-06 and then highlighted some of the key assumptions: included in the model. Compared to the 2004 the five-year financial model, Mr. McLean explained that staff had excluded any expenditures for sewers. With respect to property taxes, he stated that when the 2004 model was prepared, the City was in a transition year where some of its vehicle license fees revenue was transformed into property tax; and noted that it would be very difficult to arrive at a good estimate of property tax revenues for FY 04-05. He stated that staff was bringing a budget revenue adjustment to Council for FY 04-05 of approximately $190,000 for increased property taxes revenues; and noted that a key assumption in regard to the budget for FY 05-06, as well as the model in later years, was the change in property taxes revenues, noting that the previous year, the increase in estimated property tax revenues was 3 to 3.5 percent. He stated that for the budget of FY 05-06, staff was estimating that property tax revenues would increase by approximately 6.5 percent from the prior year; and that in the second year of the model, FY 06-07, staff was reflecting an increase of property tax revenues of approximately 3 percent and 2 percent for each year thereafter. In the 2005 model, beginning with FY 06-07, he noted that staff was expecting a restoration of property tax revenues of approximately $350,000 -- a restoration of property tax revenues to the City for the year just about to end, FY 04-05; and noted that for the next year, FY 05-06, the City had contributed about $350,000 of property tax revenues to the state as part of the resolution in the state budget crisis for those two respective years, FY 04-05 and FY 05-06. He added that those revenues were reflected in the model starting in FY 06-07 as being restored.
Director McLean stated that in the 2005 model was the inclusion of approximately $6.9 million, spread over five years, of residential roadway repairs throughout the City – noting that this had a significant impact on the model net General Fund revenues over General Fund expenditures. In addition, he added that the model included the 16-month emergency storm drain repair spending plan that City Council approved on March 15th; and advised Council that this spending plan included $2 million being transferred to the Water Quality and Flood Protection Enterprise Fund as well as an additional million dollars to be spent through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) fund.
Director McLean stated that at the budget workshop held in February 2005, Council looked at a rough draft of the budget which showed General fund revenues, less expenditures, which created a deficit of about $200,000; and then on March 15th, Council authorized an expenditure for FY 05-06 of approximately $600,000 for storm cleanup and to initiate some interim storm drain projects on an expedited basis. For FY 05-06, with the $600,000 being subtracted from reserves, he advised that staff was looking at a decline of General fund reserves for FY 05-06 pursuant to the proposed budget of about $600,000 to $700,000; in addition, that the 2005 model, consistent with prior years, did not include any Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues from the proposed Long Point resort hotel project. Based on the assumptions just described, beginning of FY 05-06, he stated that staff was expecting the General fund reserve at the end of the current fiscal year to be approximately $11.2 million; that based upon the proposed budget presented that evening, he stated that General fund expenditures, including transfers to other funds, would exceed General fund revenues by approximately $750,000; therefore, at the end of the next fiscal year, he noted that staff anticipated General fund reserves would be reduced to approximately $10.4 million. He mentioned that the excess of General fund revenues over expenditures varied significantly year by year through the duration of the financial model, primarily due to the peaks and valleys experienced with the implementation of the City’s pavement management program. Based on the assumptions described, Director McLean stated that staff predicted that General fund reserves would probably decline to approximately $7.2 million by the end of the fifth year, compared to the 50 percent reserve fund policy, which would call for approximately $8.1 million. He mentioned that this model did not include any additional expenditures for major capital projects, other than the pavement management program, such as sewers or storm drain expenditures over and above that which was already in the model or expected to be spent from the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program, namely, the $2 million that Council authorized on March 15th.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that this model be received and filed because the FY 07-08, FY 08-09 and FY 09-10 projections were beyond what Council could reasonably rely on at the current time and pointed out that Council would be going into detail on the models for FY 05-06 and FY 06-07 during the review of the draft two-year budget.
Councilman Long recalled that Council had only authorized $3 million to be spent on the storm drain program
Director McLean clarified that Council had authorized $3 million on March 15th, but the budget already included $1 million, bringing the total allocation to $4 million from the General fund reserves to be spent on the storm drain program.
Addressing Councilman Long’s inquiry regarding the County’s part in maintaining sewers, Director Allison explained that the County had indicated that it would repair any sewer problems the County discovers.
Councilman Long questioned when staff would include the projected revenues from Long Point project in the model.
Director McLean stated that those figures would be included when the certificate of occupancy was granted for the hotel, and he noted that staff had projected approximately $5 million in annual revenue from the Long Point resort.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked for further clarification on the upward trend in pension costs and whether this had been built into the 5-year model.
Director McLean explained that the cost of pensions/retirement was based on a combined contribution rate of 19 percent for FY 05-06 and FY 06-07; that it was expected to taper off thereafter; and noted that staff anticipated that the overall contribution rates would decline by at least a couple percentage points during the last three years of the model.
City Manager Evans expressed his belief that employee pension programs would be scaled back and the method of contributions would change in the future.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt staff recommendation to receive and file the report. Without exception, Mayor Clark so ordered.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 9:48 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:53 P.M.
Adoption of the City Budget and Employee Salary Ranges for Fiscal Year 2005-2006
The staff report of May 31, 2005 recommended that Council 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53, APPROVING THE CITY BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005-2006; 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-54, ESTABLISHING SALARY AND HOURLY RANGES FOR COMPETITIVE AND MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEE JOB CLASSIFICATIONS; 3) Review the Utility Users Tax analysis and determine the Utility Users Tax is necessary, and the current rate of 3% be maintained; and, 4) Review the Golf Tax analysis and determine the Golf Tax is necessary, and the current rate of 10% be maintained.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk advised Council that late correspondence (an updated budget schedule) had been distributed to Council earlier that evening and notice of the public hearing had been duly published.
Mayor Clark indicated that Council and staff had worked through the major components of the two-year budget in a number of workshops and that a majority of the issues had already been worked out at these prior meetings.
City Manager Evans confirmed that Council had conducted several budget policy workshops, wherein staff was given direction on various issues; he highlighted the issues that were addressed by Council, such as employee merit increases and bonuses, increasing Council’s automobile allowance, additional community outreach programs, residential slurry program, various discretionary one-time expenditures items, City Clerk vacancy, Sheriff’s services, etc.; advised that Council provided staff with direction to finalize the budget using the figures Council had already looked at and to prioritize the remaining capital items that didn’t get included in the Council’s one-time expenditures; and he noted that each department submitted their budgets for review and adjustment. City Manager Evans stated that approximately $1,000 was left in the operating surplus – noting that Council recently approved $14,000 in Student and the Law classes provided by the Sheriff’s Department at the local high schools. He added that this budget showed a reduction in the General Fund reserves of $750,000, attributing that to $605,000 for storm drains and the $150,000 for replacing the safety rails at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center and Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his belief that the report indicated that the City was operating in a balanced manner and noted he was prepared to support this budget proposal.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz invited City Manager Evans to recommend any projects that should be included in the FY 05-06 City Budget.
City Manager Evans recommended including resurfacing of the Civic Center parking lot and adding on to the Planning Department’s conference room in the FY 05-06 Budget. He estimated these two items would cost approximately $46,500.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt the resolution approving the FY 05-06 Budget, as presented, including an increase in General Fund expenditures of $46,500 to resurface the parking lot at City Hall and to expand the Planning Department’s conference room.
Councilman Long pointed out that the resurfacing of the parking lot and maintenance of the Planning Department conference room were maintenance items rather than one-time capital improvements; and pointed out that in some respects, the City was still spending more than it was taking in. He added that in the five-year model, over the entire term of the 5-year model, the one-time expenses identified would cause a 1/3rd decrease in funds, ultimately cutting the General Fund Reserves in half; but that being said, he stated he would still support the proposed FY 05-06 budget because it was lean as it could possibly be.
City Manager Evans noted for Mayor pro tem Wolowicz that the new Planning Technician position was still included in the budget and that it would probably not be possible to increase the planning fees enough to completely fund that position.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark thanked staff for working with Council on putting together a fiscally sound package.
City Manager Evans stated that staff would like Council to adopt the salary resolution; to make the findings on the Utility Users Tax and Golf Tax analysis; and to consider whether Council would be interested in funding any of the equestrian-related improvements, even though no cost estimates had been prepared at that point in time. He stated the equestrian community was very concerned about Palos Verdes Drive East and the adequacy of equestrian trails along this corridor, the difficulty for equestrians in crossing the street – noting that a traffic signal would cost approximately $120,000 - and indicated that the suggestion to install some kind of barriers along PVDE to protect the rider/pedestrian and to separate traffic would also be a relatively expensive project. He stated that if Council felt there was some merit in these types of projects, it should direct staff to prepare some cost estimates.
Mayor Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, that the current Utility Users Tax rate of 3 percent be maintained; that the current City Golf Tax of 10 percent be maintained; and to adopt the resolution establishing salary and hourly ranges for competitive and management employee job classifications. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark asked to defer the discussion of the Equestrian Committee’s recommendations to another Council session where members of the public could be present.
Councilman Stern suggested that representation from the Equestrian Committee should be present at that meeting to explain what was being requested.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to direct the Traffic Safety Commission to review the Equestrian Committee’s recommendations and report back to Council.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz clarified that the intent of his motion was for the Equestrian Committee to coordinate discussion of these matters with the Traffic Safety Commission.
The motion was amended to direct the Traffic Safety Commission to work with the Equestrian Committee and staff to review the Equestrian Committee’s recommendations as they relate to safety issues where vehicular traffic and equestrian uses interface along Palos Verdes Drive East and to report back to Council.
Without exception, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Mayor Clark declared the meeting adjourned at 10:25 P.M.