|Back To Agenda||Print Page|
TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DENNIS McLEAN, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
DATE: DECEMBER 19, 2006
Consider whether to establish an Oversight Committee for the Water Quality and Flood Protection program during 2007 and transfer certain responsibilities from the Finance Advisory Committee to it.
At its meeting on March 7, 2006, the City Council directed the Finance Advisory Committee (the “FAC”) to perform the following tasks regarding the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program:
1. The FAC shall annually review a status report regarding storm drain projects, especially the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program. The review would include a comparison of budget v. actual accounting of the previous fiscal year, the User Fee rate model for the forthcoming year and perhaps a recommendation regarding the User Fee rate for the forthcoming year. Staff expects that the review will begin in early 2007 with a report forwarded to the City Council for the required noticed public hearing in June 2007 to set the Fee for FY07-08. The review would coincide with the FAC’s review of the 2007 Five-Year Financial Model that will include the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program. Staff expects that the FAC’s review of the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program may require 2 or 3 meetings.
2. The FAC shall review the Financial Analysis prepared by Staff and its consultants regarding the fiscal impact of the potential loss of the Fee and forward their comments and recommendations to the City Council. Staff expects that the FAC’s review of the Financial Analysis may require 2 or 3 meetings during a compressed period of time.
At their September 5, 2006 meeting, the City Council received and filed the City Clerk’s Certification that the Petition to Repeal the Storm Drain User Fee (the “Fee”) qualified for the ballot for the City’s next regular municipal election on November 6, 2007.
At the September 19, 2006 City Council meeting, Mayor Long indicated that he and Councilman Gardiner had discussed the idea of exploring alternatives to the current storm drain user fee and were interested in working together to develop a proposal for consideration by the City Council. Except for the discussion regarding the formation of an Oversight Committee contained in the Staff Report, Staff has elected to defer reporting about all other policy considerations regarding the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program (i.e. a shorter sunset of the fee) while the Mayor and Councilman Gardiner continue their discussions.
An Oversight Committee would serve to ensure that the Fee collected from property owners is spent pursuant to the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program. If the City Council elects to form an Oversight Committee, it should transfer the responsibilities assigned to the FAC and described in 1 and 2 above to the Oversight Committee.
Alternatives and Considerations:
Staff encourages the City Council to consider several issues regarding the formation, conduct and timing of an Oversight Committee, including:
- An Oversight Committee would be required to follow the Brown Act, including noticed public meetings and the preparation of minutes.
- The number of members and the term that they shall serve on the Oversight Committee. Staff encourages a committee of 5 or 7 members. Staff also believes that members should serve a mix of 2 and 4 year terms during the duration of the Fee.
- Whether or not current members of the FAC should serve on the Oversight Committee.
- Whether or not the City Council should appoint the members of the Oversight Committee with or without an application and interview process.
- Whether the Public Works and/or Finance and Information Technology staff should serve the Oversight Committee as a liaison.
- The amount of time that will be necessary to educate Oversight Committee members about its purpose and the engineering and financial details of the Program.
- Staff time of ten to forty hours would be required for each committee meeting.
Staff is concerned that it may not be feasible to establish an Oversight Committee for 2007. Staff believes that the process for accepting applications, conducting interviews, making appointments and conducting the initial formation meeting would not be completed before April 1, 2007. The timeline would allow only 2 months to review the Program prior to conducting the public hearing for setting the Fee rate in June 2007. Staff recommends the following:
- The FAC should continue its role as described in 1 and 2 above; and
- The idea of the formation of an Oversight Committee should be included in any ballot proposal that the City Council may place on a ballot on or before the November 6, 2007 Fee repeal ballot measure. If an Oversight Committee is not established pursuant to a vote of the people, Staff would agendize the establishment of an Oversight Committee for the November 20, 2007 City Council meeting.