M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
OCTOBER 19, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 7:09 p.m. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Wolowicz, Stern, Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Senior Engineer Ron Dragoo; Deputy Planning Director Gregory Pfost; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Minutes Reporter Debra Presutti.
Ashley Hagan, of Peninsula High School, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Gardiner suggested moving Item No. 11, the Traffic Committee Member Appointment, before Item No. 8.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Agenda as amended. Motion carried without objection.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, declared she does not oppose any of the proposed additions and/or modifications her neighbor is requesting to make to her home. She also reminded everyone of the upcoming election on November 2.
Christine Park, Ashley Hagan, and Mona Hampapura, advised they are appearing to request Council’s support of their proposal to develop Youth Council on the Peninsula.
Ms. Park explained, despite the good intentions of school leadership organizations, they are limited in their ability to carry on projects that include the entire youth community of the Peninsula. She indicated they are endeavoring to garner support from each of the Peninsula’s City Councils to promote the development of Peninsula-wide Youth Council, which would encompass several committees, including, volunteering, educational, environmental, and activities. She said they believe this will lead to an increased level of interest and provide youth with opportunities to practice their leadership skills and contribute to the community as a whole. She requested the City Council’s assistance in achieving this goal.
Ms. Hagan indicated the activities committee would like to organize various entertainment events in an effort to bring youth from the various high schools on the Peninsula together to form new friendships and unite the community; the environmental committee would help promote awareness of different environmental issues such as recycling.
Mona Hampapura informed her main goal is to head the education committee and develop a tutoring system for high school and older middle school students as well as to assist with fundraising and idea promotions for the various schools on the Peninsula.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark complimented all three young women, saying their idea is excellent and, if the youth of the community can come together, perhaps the adults can follow. He suggested they assemble some adult advisors to assist them in drafting a charter for their proposed Youth Council.
The entire Council echoed the Mayor Pro Tem’s compliments and acknowledged the young women for their interest and excellent presentation.
Councilman Wolowicz remarked he believes they are on the right track, saying the involvement and interest of young people in any community is ultimately to the benefit of all. He suggested they develop a more detailed proposal and inquired if someone on the City’s staff might be available to assist them in organizing a presentation, which could be brought back for further consideration.
City Manager Evans advised he has spoken to the Recreation and Parks Department and believes assistance can be provided.
Mayor Gardiner noted the main challenge is going to be securing the involvement of all four cities so there is support across the entire Peninsula. He indicated most things worth doing usually take time, and recommended they come back with a more concise picture of how the Youth Council plans to operate and how they will be looking to the City for support, saying Council will be better prepared to assist them the more those things are considered and developed.
Dean Garth, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated in 2002 he attended a City Council meeting to discuss the problem of speeding on Golden Meadow Drive, saying he left that meeting with the understanding the City was aware of the problem. He was subsequently told to obtain a copy of the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program and follow the procedures. He indicated he procured 16 signatures on a petition addressing the matter and returned to the Public Works Department where a gentleman at the counter informed him the City was unaware of any problem. He remarked that any results obtained from the sporadic enforcement employed quickly disappear along with the presence of law enforcement. He urged Council to recognize there is a speeding problem on Golden Meadow and requested action be taken to address it.
In response to questions from Councilman Wolowicz and Mayor Pro Tem Clark, Director Allison indicated the matter has not been brought before the Traffic Committee and declared he will look into the situation promptly.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested it might be helpful for staff to make a presentation on what course of action residents can take if they feel a traffic issue needs to be addressed.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
Mayor Gardiner informed that items previously discussed and continued to a future meeting can be found on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
City Manager Evans advised that staff would like to remove Item No. 6, Amendments to the Competitive Service and Management Personnel Rules, and bring the matter back to a future session.
Councilman Long requested Item No. 3, Engineering and Traffic Speed Surveys, be removed for discussion.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended with the removal of Item No’s. 3 and 6.
The motion to approve the amended Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Long, Clark, Wolowicz, Gardiner
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
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. (301)
Approved the Minutes of the October 5 Adjourned Regular Meeting.
Engineering And Traffic Speed Surveys. (1502 x 1204)
Removed from Consent Calendar. See below.
Slurry Seal Of Palos Verdes Drive East. (1404 x 1204)
(1) Approved the Plans and Specifications for the construction of the Slurry Seal of Palos Verdes Drive East Project; (2) Awarded a Construction Contract to Roy Allen Slurry Seal, Inc. in the amount of $158,630, for the Palos Verdes Drive East Slurry Seal Project, and authorized staff to spend up to $19,000 for possible extra work; thereby approving a $177,630 construction budget; (3) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with Roy Allen Slurry Seal, Inc.; (4) Awarded a contract to Harris and Associates, for the Construction Management and Inspection services in an amount not to exceed $ 28,000; and, (5) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with Harris and Associates.
Second Amended and Restated Joint Powers Agreement with the South Bay Cities Council of Governments. (1505)
Approved the Second Amended and Restated Joint Powers Agreement between the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) and the Seventeen Agencies set forth in Exhibit A of the agreement.
Amendments to the Competitive Service and Management Personnel Rules. (1202)
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to remove this item from the agenda. Motion carried without objection.
Resol. No. 2004-91:Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-91, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
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Resol. No. 2004-92: Engineering and Traffic Speed Surveys. (1502 x 1204)
Councilman Long indicated it appears no speed limit had been established for PV Drive South between Seacove and Hawthorne Boulevard and requested an explanation of what changes have actually been made.
Director Allison explained the Resolution establishing speed limits on various streets within the city is a cumulative document that is updated every five years. He noted in this case all that is being changed is the speed limit around the Crestwood Elementary School so, rather than prepare an individual resolution, it has been added to the cumulative document which reflects all the current speed limits.
Councilman Long requested a description of how the speed limits on arterials are set.
Director Allison advised the California Vehicle Code indicates speeds limits must be set at a reasonable speed; the City’s traffic engineer uses a radar gun to measure the speed of a certain number of vehicles; the average speed of the 85th percentile of those vehicles is generally accepted as a reasonable speed limit; this number is then used to determine the speed limit in that area. He indicated changes could be made in certain instances such as an unusual roadway condition, but that is the general procedure followed for any non-residential streets.
Councilman Long inquired what, if any, speed level adjustments have been made in the last five to ten years.
Director Allison responded not much has been changed in the last ten years with the exception of a correction being made to a discrepancy in speed limits traveling in opposite directions on a segment of PV Drive South a couple years ago.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark asked why there are two different speed limits on PV Drive East.
Director Allison replied the difference originates from a speed study done in 2004.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if each of the prevailing speed limits has gone through an action similar to the one being taken in this instance.
Director Allison answered a speed survey was performed for each.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt staff’s recommendation of a 15 mile an hour zone around Crestwood Elementary.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark queried if Council has actually addressed the speed limits on PV Drive East represented in the current document.
Director Allison indicated Council took action perhaps a month or two after the July 2004 date indicated.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Clark, to amend the pending motion by adopting the staff recommendation and addressing the issues of any gap of speed limits on PV Drive South and the level of difference through the landslide area along with the reason for different speed limits on PV Drive East.
Mayor Gardiner advised, if speed limits are going to be discussed and manipulated, there should be some basis for doing so which permits them to be brought forward in a context so they can be addressed in a more systematic manner.
Councilman Stern spoke against the amendment and noted, while these are certainly concerns to be answered, there is no basis to include them as part of a motion to address a specific 15 mph speed limit. He suggested having staff provide backup information in the Friday report.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark inquired how much time has elapsed since the matter of speeds on each of the city’s streets was brought before Council and the public, saying he would like to adopt the main recommendation but would like staff to present to Council a comprehensive review of speed limits throughout the city.
Councilman Long agreed, saying this issue certainly merits the public’s hearing and understanding. He indicated support for the recommendation but noted there appears to be a situation where a portion of PV Drive South may have no speed limit and other speed limits within the city raise questions. He remarked, while it is true any Councilman could obtain these answers privately, some questions warrant going through the process publicly and this item crosses that threshold.
Councilman Wolowicz proposed amending the motion to include directing staff to return with a more comprehensive report including a map and other background information.
Councilman Long withdrew his previous amendment.
Mayor Gardiner suggested it would be more appropriate to have the Traffic Committee investigate the issue of speed limits and report back in a more systematic manner.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to ADOPT RESOLUTION 2004-92, ESTABLISHING A 15 MPH SPEED LIMIT WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT ON CRESTWOOD STREET, GENERAL STREET, AND BAYEND DRIVE NEAR CRESTWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
The motion passed without objection.
City Manager Evans stated that staff would look into the questions raised and compile a booklet including all the speeds from the various surveys, saying further questions, if any, can be agendized as individual segments.
Appointment of Member to the Traffic Committee. (106 x 1502)
Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated three of ten candidates applying for a position on the Traffic Committee were interviewed earlier in the evening and remarked a number of tremendously talented residents have applied for this single opening. He recommended continuing the item until everyone expressing interest has had the opportunity to interview before Council.
Councilman Stern suggested when the matter is brought back that it be agendized broadly enough to include a discussion of the charter of the Traffic Committee.
Councilman Long stated he was delayed in traffic and was unable to be present for the evening’s interviews and encouraged the applicants to feel free to contact him directly. Following Councilman Stern’s suggestion, he noted he previously requested staff explore the possibility of changing the Traffic Committee into a Traffic Commission, which would change their charter considerably.
Mayor Gardiner recommended the City Manager bring back some alternatives, i.e. no change, move in the direction of creating a commission, broadening the charter, et cetera, and the pros and cons of each.
Councilman Wolowicz advised that postponement of the matter is not a negative reflection on the qualities of the evening’s candidates but rather Council’s decision is made much more difficult by the high quality of people that have been interviewed.
Mayor Gardiner characterized the postponement as a mechanism for providing the best vehicle possible for those people to apply their extraordinary talents to in dealing with some major challenges.
City Manager Evans stated that staff would investigate what other cities are doing in this regard and would provide something comprehensive to Council after the first of the year.
Councilman Stern suggested the Mayor and City Manager devise a more detailed proposal for the next meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated he would like to be involved in that process.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, that
(1) Interviews be continued to November 3 to interview the three candidates who could not interview on this date; (2) Staff to prepare alternatives and options re Traffic Committee’s charter.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:09 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 8:16 p.m.
Cox Communications Hearing Regarding the March 2004 Notice of Non-Compliance. (Continued from the September 21meeting.) (605 x 305)
Councilman Long recused himself from the matter and left the Council Chambers.
Mayor Gardiner opened the Public Hearing.
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff memorandum of October 19, 2004 and indicated that Mr. Art Yoon, of Cox Communications, was available to answer any questions.
Councilman Wolowicz requested information on the data verification process and inquired if an audit of Cox’s posted response time compliance has been performed by an independent agency.
Assistant City Manager Petru indicated Cox provided the response times data. If the Council wanted to verify the data provided by the cable operator, an independent advisor would have to be hired to perform any investigation of those numbers.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if there was any regulatory oversight of companies such as Cox.
City Attorney Lynch advised the Public Utilities Commission is the regulatory oversight body.
Councilman Wolowicz requested the City obtain information from the PUC regarding any audits or reports on Cox’s performance in Southern California and, more specifically, the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Councilman Stern indicated the required standard for response to customer calls is set to be within 30 seconds and queried if there is any explanation for Cox’s precipitous drop in response times in 2003, asking if there was one particularly disastrous month.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that a month-by-month examination showed there were a couple very bad months, September 2003 in particular. She indicated that Mr. Yoon may be able to supply information on the cause of the decline.
Councilman Stern asked if there is any data indicating how much more than 30 seconds was actually taken, saying a couple seconds is not really a big difference in this instance and knowing exactly how much time elapsed would be material.
Mayor Gardiner requested the second performance audit provide data that can be readily translated into a format answering these questions, saying the shape of the distribution is important information.
Mr. Yoon indicated Cox Communications had a call center system that attempts to provide reciprocity for emergencies nationwide in the event of natural or other disasters. With respect to the compliance numbers in 2003, he explained September was a very bad month with the occurrence of both wild fires and hurricanes, noting all four major cable companies experienced a similar drop in their numbers as a result. He stressed in subsequent quarters Cox has been in compliance and stated they will work with staff to devise a more comprehensive format for future presentation of their numbers.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if Cox has received Federal sanctions in Southern California.
Mr. Yoon replied they have received no sanctions whatsoever, noting cable is one of the most regulated industries in the country. He indicated Cox had received superlative rankings from PC World magazine and J D Power and Associates, and they are very proud of their record.
Councilman Stern recommended Cox indicate in their reported data any anomalies such as the ones which occurred in September and asked for an explanation of the 12-month average of approximately 78 percent.
Mr. Yoon indicated high-speed Internet cable is a very new field, not only to customers but also to the technicians providing service. He stated long before they were advised by the regulatory bodies, Cox decided their numbers were unacceptable, fought to address the matter, invested a significant amount in training, and hired much more personnel to deal with the situation, adding their numbers have since reversed back to the high standards they have been applauded for industry wide.
Mayor Gardiner asked if Cox currently has the ability to discern between video and Internet services when compiling their data and why they are not required to report by city boundaries.
Mr. Yoon replied a number of reporting improvements are in the works. He explained the industry standard is to report only for a particular service area, noting their Orange County system contains 17 cities all reporting a single number to the local franchise boards. He indicated most of the major cable companies have the same reporting standard.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if the City received customer complaints and, if so, what the trend has been during the last three years.
Assistant City Manager Petru responded the City does receive complaints and the trend has been downward, or fewer complaints, since the cable system was ungraded in 2000.
Councilman Wolowicz recommended placing something on the scrolling public announcement board informing residents, if they are unable to resolve a problem with their service after contacting Cox, they can register comments with the City.
Mr. Yoon indicated they would be happy to comply with whatever Council directs in that respect and noted the information is already on their website as well as on the bills customers receive from them.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to (1) Receive testimony on the status of Cox Communications’ Notice of Non-Compliance and continued discussion of any remaining noncompliance issues to the Second Systems Performance Audit which will be agendized for Council consideration before January 15, 2005; (2) Mr. Yoon to provide reports, if any, to the City that Cox has as a result of audits; (3) Can City get copy of report that Cox has to file with PUC re Internet service.
The motion passed without objection.
Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 123 [Appellant: John Zaccaro]. (Continued from October 5th meeting.) (1806)
Confirmed that Saturday, November 13, 2004, would be a suitable date to meet at the subject properties; continued the matter to that date.
Neighborhood Compatibility Code Amendment: ZON2004-00331 (Citywide). (1203)
Mayor Gardiner declared the Public Hearing open.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark, noting that many tract homes were built with a breezeway between the house and detached garage, questioned why the proposed change does not include unroofed breezeways.
Planner Mihranian explained the rationale behind this differentiation was that adding two walls to a roofed structure would most likely not cause an adverse impact in terms of neighborhood compatibility; whereas an open space exceeding 250 square feet between two structures with no roof could have an impact to the character, and should therefore have to go through neighborhood compatibility.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark opined that categorical logic was flawed and queried why a single-story residence that does not change the roof line, is within 16 feet and not particularly visible from the street would be required to go through neighborhood compatibility.
Planner Mihranian indicated it would depend upon the distance between the two structures. He stated, if the direction is to establish that as an exemption, and the structures are within the same roof plane, you would then need to consider what determines an adequate separation, adding there are cases where the detached garage may be 30 feet away from the house, creating a significant enclosure to exempt.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark remarked there are many homes with a breezeway of 10 feet or less between the garage and the home and, if the notion is to clean up the Code and Neighborhood Compatibility, refinements should be made based on experience and such minor exceptions should be captured.
Planner Mihranian advised that if the addition was less than 250 square feet, it would be exempt.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark stated he did not know what was magic about 250 square feet, noting the Chair of the Planning Commission, indicating he would be in favor of increasing it slightly, questioned whether that is the number the Commission should choose.
Councilman Stern commented the proposed amendment may need some changes, but it is a good first effort and he sees no problem.
Councilman Wolowicz agreed the amendment is a step in the right direction, noting the Planning Department or the Planning Commission considers such breezeways part of the build-out space of a residence and in some manner that in and of itself would place them in the position of being reviewed.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark remarked he has received a number of very positive comments on the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook from members of the community. He inquired if the outreach program implemented to ensure that real estate brokers and the community at large are aware of the handbook has been successful.
Planner Mihranian replied that the word on neighborhood compatibility is definitely out, saying his experience at the Planning Department counter has been that people are referring to the handbook, Realtors have informed their clients about Neighborhood Compatibility requirements, and other jurisdictions have even contacted the City regarding it.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated the refinements to the Neighborhood Compatibility Code Section have been skillfully thought out and well worked between staff and the Planning Commission.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to (1) Review the proposed draft code amendment language that proposes to establish exemptions to the Neighborhood Compatibility review process and direct staff to prepare the appropriate ordinance for introduction at the November 3 meeting. (2) Hearing continued to November 3 for introduction of Ordinance. (3) Staff to consider area of concern discussed re "uncovered" breezeway.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Long, Clark, Wolowicz, Gardiner
City Attorney Lynch requested the Public Hearing be continued; saying staff was seeking Council’s feedback to ascertain that everyone’s input and direction was captured and that the ordinance be introduced at the next meeting.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:55 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:01 p.m.
City Attorney Lynch reiterated the ordinance would be introduced at the next meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated he remained unconvinced that unroofed breezeways should not be included as an exemption above 250 square feet.
Councilman Long called a motion to cut off debate.
The motion to cut off debate carried four to 1on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Long, Wolowicz, Gardiner
Mayor Gardiner continued the Public Hearing.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Long indicated he would omit many things, saying another Council members attended some of the same events so he would rely on them to cover those.
Councilman Long met with Commissioner Wood of the Public Utilities Commission to discuss undergrounding among other things. He stated the question why utilities cannot be required to pay for undergrounding was asked, saying the answer seems to be, if the utilities pay, in all probability it will become part of the rate base and residents will wind up paying anyway. He also inquired why residents should be required to pay for under grounded utilities, which then become an asset of the utility, saying he has requested a letter be prepared to address this question. He indicated his understanding of the PUC’s policy is that rates for all utilities must be set as low as possible and providers are expressly forbidden from accumulating funds to replace worn out infrastructure, saying he found this a very shortsighted policy, which he hopes someone will take steps to change.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark attended the fall Community Leaders’ Breakfast on October 16, saying the presentations by San Diego’s Fire Chief Jeff Bowman and Councilman Jim Madaffer provided an outstanding forum. He indicated the topic at hand was lessons learned from the San Diego fires of 2003, which burned thousands of acres, and hundreds of homes, noting several community leaders said afterwards it gave them from both a community and residential perspective on things to do to prepare for such an event.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark and City Manager Evans met with Jim Stahl, General Manager for the Sanitation District, and discussed the potential use of Eastview Park, saying Mr. Stahl indicated a willingness to explore the possibility of its short-term use by the City over the next five years for youth recreation such as girls’ softball.
Councilman Wolowicz attended the following meetings/events: August 19th the Waste Management Local Representatives Luncheon and a site inspection with the developer of 3200 PV Drive West; August 30th, with the City Manager and other elected officials of RPV, met with Dana Rohrbacher; September 7th visited a view restoration site; September16th meeting of the Palos Verdes Transit Authority; October 1st and 2nd the California Contract Cities meeting where there was a very significant presentation on water; October 12th met with Rabbi Maglanic regarding proposed land use at Crestridge and Crenshaw; October 14th, with Councilman Long, the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year ceremony honoring MaryJane Schoenheider for her contributions to RPV and the entire Peninsula.
Councilman Wolowicz noted with great pleasure that he presented Rancho Palos Verdes’ "State of the City" address October 15th, saying it was quite a privilege and an honor to speak on behalf of the City; October 16th attended the Community Leaders’ Breakfast.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated on August 31 he attended the funeral of Victor Vidugiris, his neighbor of 28 years, and honored him for his many noteworthy contributions to the community at large during his lifetime. He also declared with extreme delight that he and his wife were present on September 12th at 2:45 a.m. to welcome the arrival of their first grandchild, Marina Mercedes Wolowicz.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Annual Holiday Reception. (1101)
City Manager Evans presented the staff memorandum of October 19, 2004 and confirmed that in the past few years there has been at least three or four thousand dollars left in the travel budget, noting he did not include the upcoming trip to Washington D.C. which would drive the budget up significantly if several Council members decide to attend.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark remarked the Mayor’s gesture to offer his portion of the travel budget was quite magnanimous and his idea of creating a higher quality event is certainly meritorious, saying, since there are reserves in the budget, he would prefer to use that money.
Mayor Gardiner declared it is an occasion to celebrate and show gratitude to the staff, residents, and volunteers of the community.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to select December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesse Park; increase the budget for the reception with funds to be taken from the travel budget.
Councilman Long spoke in favor of the motion but noted he does not support the concept of taking regular expenses out of the City’s reserves. He indicated, that being said, the amount is negligible and the reasons are justified and merit doing.
Councilman Wolowicz agreed the amount is immaterial but preferred what the Mayor proposed, saying he would rather take the money from a category that would make it expense neutral. He indicated he believed allocating the extra $2500 from the travel budget into the expense category would be more appropriate.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark reminded there was the monumental event of a case involving the City being heard at the United States Supreme Court in the coming year, saying at least a couple Council members will be interested in being present for this important and historic occurrence. He indicated although this will take place next calendar year, that it is still part of this year’s travel budget.
Councilman Long favored Councilman Wolowicz’s more consistent and methodical approach, saying ultimately what remains in the travel budget would not be enough if two or more Council members decide to attend the matter in Washington, D.C. so that portion of the budget would likely need to be amended and considered on its own merits.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark agreed there should be consistency when dealing with budgetary matters but noted there are many items that come before Council where the reserves are utilized and the question of where within the budget funds could be transferred from to make it a revenue neutral expenditure is not asked.
Councilman Long remarked he would not be concerned with taking funds from the reserves for things such as the Interpretive Center, but he does have a problem using them for regular expenditures.
The motion passed without objection.
November 2, 2004 City Council Meeting. (307)
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to reschedule the Tuesday, November 2, 2004 City Council meeting to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3, 2004.
Report on the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan Study. (1402 x 901)
Director Allison presented the staff memorandum of October 19, 2004 and introduced Senior Engineer Ron Dragoo, who conducted a PowerPoint presentation.
Councilman Stern queried how confident staff was that the samples taken are representative of the entire system.
Engineer Dragoo answered they are fairly certain the results are close, noting samples were taken in diverse areas, i.e. hilly and flat terrain, macerated regions, areas with custom homes, et cetera.
Councilman Stern, indicating this is the first time in the City’s 30-year history that a master plan had been implemented to deal with the sewer system, said it is probably wise to plan for the future and inquired about the useful life of the system and its parts and what might be anticipated in the years to come.
Engineer Dragoo replied the life of a clay sewer system is approximately 50 years, noting there are clay pipes in the city that are far older with an average of about 54 years. Based on the observations from the video, he indicated the system needed to be cleaned but otherwise appeared to be in very good condition with minimal spalling or broken pieces of pipe as might be expected in a system this old.
City Manager Evans advised the system was installed well and consisted mainly of vitrified clay pipe which did not deteriorate like metal or plastic pipe, saying there are clay pipes in existence that are a hundred years old and still in good condition. He stated a regular program of inspection and maintenance would help prevent hairline roots from infiltrating and damaging the system, providing an almost indefinite life span.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark asked how that coincides with the average life span of approximately 50 years.
City Manager Evans explained the 50-year number is the system’s design life, i.e. a house has a design life of 30 years; a computer, 3 years.
Councilman Wolowicz requested clarification of the County’s role in maintaining the system at a $300,000 annual rate, saying there is some question as to the services they have actually performed and will continue to provide.
City Manager Evans indicated it is very difficult to ascertain what been done in the past since the County has a district spanning a huge area similar to that of cable television, noting they are only able to separate their data into districts not individual areas.
Councilman Wolowicz declared that is significant information to have because it is incumbent upon Council to decide whether there is sufficient general income, reserves, or some combination from which to fund this without having to turn to the City’s residents for additional money.
City Manager Evans remarked he did not believe the County keeps the kinds of records needed to make this type of determination. He indicated that many months of negotiations will be required to settle this matter, saying the best approach now is to devise a program of maintenance, have them videotape and clean the entire system over the next five years, make any necessary repairs, and continue to respond to overflows and breakages.
Councilman Wolowicz requested an explanation of the $26.6 million figure for lining.
Engineer Dragoo explained that number represents what could be done if every fine root and minuscule crack were rectified by lining, saying staff does not anticipate doing that but merely wanted to bring to Council’s attention the "gold-plated" approach to maintenance and repair of the system.
Mayor Gardiner remarked the $300,000 is a one-time expense to clean the system out and asked what is anticipated to ensure the system stays in good repair.
Councilman Long indicated the videotaping and cleaning would have to be performed on a periodic basis, although not at the same level since the system has basically been neglected for some time, and said he would like to examine the contract with the County.
City Manager Evans stated "County" is a misnomer; that RPV is actually contracting with a sanitation or County Maintenance District to video and clean the entire system once every ten years for $70,000. He indicated another $70,000 would have to be allocated to perform the service every five years as recommended by staff.
Councilman Long inquired if the City can withdraw from that District.
City Manager Evans answered probably, but it would not be easy.
Councilman Long and Mayor Gardiner recommended the numbers be separated into annual and ongoing costs.
Councilman Stern remarked the report is very good as presented with funding for the program currently available in the City’s reserves, but Council needs to know and appreciate if the $300,000 will be needed for a recurring annual program.
Councilman Long asked if there was some mechanism to project future repairs so funds could be set aside not only for cleaning and maintenance but to build up a reserve so years from now money is available for necessary repairs. He commented even with improved maintenance there is going to be some level of failures over the next ten to twenty years.
Mayor Gardiner concurred, saying there is a formula for roads, sewers, storm drains, et cetera: the cost to repair them, the cost to maintain them, and the money to be set aside to replace them as the need occurs.
Director Allison indicated staff is working towards making these types of determinations by attempting to fully understand what the District is doing, saying there are many questions.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark stated one of the components needed as the City moves forward on this is a public education program to inform the community that the costs being collected from individual property owners is not representative of what is actually required to maintain the system.
Mayor Gardiner suggested this might be something to broadcast on a City Talk program once Channel 33 is up and running.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated further information on the lining issue
should be presented to Council because the associated costs are significant and the City needs to build in an early warning system to be able to anticipate them.
Mayor Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Clark, to (1) Receive and file the report from the Director of Public Works regarding the Sanitary Sewer System Master Plan Study; (2) staff to find out what the City’s contribution to the Sanitation District is spent on; and, (3) staff to build an early warning system in the sewer plan re necessity of installing lining. Motion carried without objection.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch indicated Councilman Long was delayed in traffic and was not present during the closed session at which no action was taken.
Mayor Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 10:21 p.m. to November 3, 2004, at 6:30 p.m., to interview candidates for the Traffic Committee.
/s/ Larry Clark
/s/ Jo Purcell