M I N U T E S
The meeting was called to order at 7:19 p.m. by Mayor Wolowicz at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Stern, Long, Clark, Gardiner, Wolowicz
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Finance/IT Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland, Building Official Roy Bronold, Associate Planner Kit Fox, and Senior Administrative Analyst Lauren Ramezani.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by City Manager Evans.
U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Daniel Mateik, Jr. was honored with the Salute to Service award. He has served in the U.S. Navy for 15 years, and the presentation was accepted by his family.
Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Football Coach Tony Uruburu was presented a proclamation from the City for his significant contribution to the youth of the community.
Mayor Wolowicz shared information regarding community volunteer opportunities. He stated that the City Council was in the process of interviewing volunteers for the Planning Commission as well as the Finance Advisory Committee, and there were other opportunities that individuals could participate in. He stated that takes an entire community to make a difference. Three volunteer opportunities highlighted by Mayor Wolowicz were the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s Volunteer Days to help restore native habitat, the Rancho Palos Verdes Channel 33 technical and programming internships, and the Los Serenos de Point Vicente’s docent program in interpretive and educational services.
Mayor Wolowicz announced Susan Sheets and John Holland as Recyclers of the Month and urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Gardiner made a motion to approve the amended agenda. Seconded by Councilman Clark.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the agenda was approved as amended.
Elizabeth Kraemer , Rancho Palos Verdes, came before the Council and spoke regarding Hawthorne Boulevard, which she feels is in dire need of beautification particularly with respect to the median strip. She wondered whether recycling funds could be utilized in conjunction with community effort to make that happen.
Councilman Clark reported that in speaking with fellow Councilmen from neighboring cities, he discovered that they were able to get grant moneys to apply to such projects. He stated that in addition to that, the City might be able to institute an “Adopt-A-Street” program.
Councilman Gardiner commented that when he first joined the Council there was a beautification plan in effect, but it was enormously expensive and the money just wasn’t there.
City Manager Evans explained that recycling funds could certainly be directed toward the project if the Council were to decide on such a plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Long commented on the financial challenges that the City was facing and the importance of the work that was necessary on the infrastructure of the streets. He indicated that diverting funds that were being used elsewhere or finding new funds that would be of a magnitude necessary for the beautification of Hawthorne Boulevard was not something that he could see happening at this particular point in time.
Director McLean indicated that a report regarding funding for such a project would be provided in conjunction with the budgetary information to be discussed at the next City Council meeting.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
City Manager Evans had nothing to report at this meeting.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru advised the audience that items previously discussed and continued to a future meeting could be viewed on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Mayor Pro Tem Long requested that Item No. 6 be removed from the Consent Calendar.
Councilman Gardiner moved approval of the Consent Calendar as amended, seconded by Councilman Clark.
The motion to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended, carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Clark, Stern, Long, Wolowicz
EMERGENCY STORM DRAIN PROJECTS
Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain (604 x 1204)
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.
Interim Improvements to Barkentine/Seacove and Other Miscellaneous Drainage Improvements (604 x 1204)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on October 18, 2005, to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to construct interim improvements to Barkentine/Sea Cove and other miscellaneous drainage improvements.
Notice of Completion for the Repair of Four Storm Drains (604 x 1204)
Accepted the work as complete.
Pontevedra Emergency Storm Drain Repairs (604 x 1204)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on December 6, 2005 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Pontevedra storm drain line.
OTHER CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS
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.
Appointment of a Board Member to the Miraleste Recreation and Parks District
Appointed Dr. David Feldman to the Miraleste Recreation & Parks District board until December 2009.
Adoption of Ordinance No. 433 – Generally Requiring Members of City Commissions and Committees to be Residents of the City, and Amending the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (106)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 433, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES GENERALLY REQUIRING THE MEMBERS OF CITY COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES TO BE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AND AMENDING THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE.”
Border Issues Status Report (310)
Reviewed the current status of border issues and provided direction to Staff, as appropriate.
Gifts for Parks (1201)
Accepted the Gifts for Parks donations and directed staff to prepare letters for the Mayor’s signature expressing the Council’s thanks and appreciation.
Grant Agreement Between the City and the California Department of Fish and Game (1203 x 602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-07, THEREBY ACCEPTING A GRANT OF $100,000, AND ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS THEREOF, ON BEHALF OF THE PALOS VERDES PENINSULA LAND CONSERVANCY (PVPLC) TO PERFORM BASELINE STUDIES REQUIRED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE NCCP PRESERVE HABITAT MANAGEMENT PLAN; 2) Executed an amendment to the existing Forrestal Management Agreement between the City and PVPLC to ensure that the PVPLC performs the work in accordance with the DFG-approved scope of work, budget and time frame; and 3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-08, THEREBY APPROVING A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO ALLOW THE $100,000 IN GRANT MONIES TO BE PAID TO THE PVPLC THROUGH THE CITY.
Contract Renewal for Geotechnical Consulting Services (1203)
Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed agreement with Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc. to provide geology and geotechnical engineering consulting services on an as-needed basis to the City for an additional two years.
November 2005 Treasurer’s Report (602)
Received and filed the November 2005 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
December 2005 Treasurer’s Report (602)
Received and filed the December 2005 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-09, 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.
ITEMS REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR:
Approval of the Minutes (301)
Mayor Pro Tem Long directed attention to circle page five in the August 16, 2005 Minutes. He stated that he was dubious that the motion was carried without any discussion at all because if he voted “no” he was sure he explained why he voted “no.”
Mayor Pro Tem Long moved approval of the minutes of August 16, 2005, and September 6, 2005, seconded by Councilman Clark.
Councilman Stern requested separate roll call votes on the minutes since he was not present at the meeting of September 6, 2005.
The motion passed on the minutes of August 16, 2005, with the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Gardiner, Clark, Long, Wolowicz
The motion passed on the minutes of September 6, 2005, with the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner Clark, Long, Wolowicz
# # # # # #
Code Amendment (Case No. ZON2004-00265) To Establish Regulations for The Use of Cargo Containers on Private and Public Property (1203 x 1801)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that a public notice of this item was duly published and no written protests were received. She stated there were no requests to speak on this item.
Director Rojas stated that after conferring with the City Attorney, staff’s recommendation was to continue the item to a future date to be determined.
Councilman Clark moved that no action be taken, seconded by Councilman Stern.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Clark reported that he and all of the Council members had participated in a very productive Strategic Planning Session this past Saturday.
Councilman Stern had nothing to report.
Councilman Gardiner had nothing to report.
Mayor Pro Tem Long reported that he had participated in the Mayor’s breakfast on the 20th of January. He stated that he had met with one of the candidates for the Planning Commission, Mr. Cruikshank, at a breakfast meeting on January 12th. He noted that he had attended the Strategic Planning/Goal Session on Saturday with the other Council members.
Mayor Wolowicz reported that the Mayor’s breakfast was held on January 20th, where he met with heads of the various volunteer committees and commissions. He stated that the committees’ and commissions’ progress is monitored in their minutes, and the meeting was simply an exchange of information. He reported that he also participated in the Tactical Planning Workshop on Saturday and he was impressed by how productive it was and how much insight and benefit was gained from input from the public. He stated that reports from that meeting would be forthcoming. He commented that the possible formation of an ad hoc committee to explore conversations with the school board was discussed at that meeting.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Preservation of Equestrian Overlay (Q) Districts (1808)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru distributed late correspondence on this item and reported there were two requests to speak.
Mayor Wolowicz declared the public hearing open.
Associate Planner Fox provided a brief summary of the staff report. He stated that among the duties the City Council has authorized for the Equestrian Committee is the responsibility to advise on the preservation of the City’s Equestrian districts. He reported that in keeping with the assignment, the Equestrian Committee spent many months discussing several ideas regarding the preservation of equestrian activity and horse keeping in the City’s (Q) districts. He stated that there are four equestrian districts in the City that encompass over 1100 parcels of which more than 1000 are larger than the 15000 square foot minimum required for horse keeping purposes by right. He explained that the Development Code establishes minimum areas for keeping horses as well as minimum setback requirements for structures for keeping horses from adjacent residences and habitable areas. He indicated that the Committee’s concern is that when property owners in the (Q) districts construct additions, they are reducing the available area that is necessary to meet the minimum requirement of 400 square feet per animal and the necessary 35 foot setback area, thereby diminishing the number of properties in these districts on which horses can be kept in the future.
Councilman Stern asked if there were any statistics as to how many homes no longer qualify for horse keeping.
Associate Planner Fox replied that those figures do not currently exist.
Councilman Stern inquired if anything beyond the normal hearing process had been done to ascertain the attitude of the impacted residents toward this matter.
Associate Planner Fox stated that there was public notification of the previous Code Amendment when it was before the Planning Commission in 2004, and that there were a total of 7 residents out of 1,100 property owners who spoke in favor or against the proposal.
Councilman Stern noted that there were four or five emails attached to the agenda materials regarding this item and inquired if there had been any additional interest in the matter.
Councilman Clark asked if individuals buying property in the (Q) districts are specifically notified prior to closing that the property carries a restrictive covenant requiring that they maintain an area for equestrian use.
Associate Planner Fox replied that there is not currently a requirement for such notification.
Councilman Clark inquired if there was a legal basis by which they could require such a notification.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that there certainly could be a legal basis for this requirement, but whether it would be a good idea or not is a policy matter for the Council to decide upon.
Councilman Clark indicated that this practice has not been instituted in the history of the City. He thanked the Equestrian Committee for their efforts and the potential options they had brought forward. He inquired if staff had any comments or observations they would like to share on the incentives approach, particularly with respect to the lot coverage incentives and the maintenance of the existing equestrian lots with the appropriate space for equestrian use.
Director Rojas reported that staff has not done an analysis of how those incentives equate and that the concept was new in terms of finding a way to address this issue. He stated that this was a different approach that may be more workable than requiring a certain amount be set aside on a mandatory basis.
Councilman Gardiner asked City Attorney Lynch if the City could require that properties that are currently eligible to have horses retain that eligibility out of concern that over time there will be less and less property that meets the minimum requirements.
City Attorney Lynch replied that the City may do that if the Council so chooses.
Gordon Leon, Chair of the Equestrian Committee, reported that the Committee has been working to come up with a series of incentives and restrictions along with a menu of different options for preservation of the (Q) Districts. He stated that it is the opinion of the Committee that open space is very important to the City and is synonymous with the semi-rural nature of the City, and they acknowledged that development pressure threatens the very existence of these districts. He indicated that the current Development Code favors development over equestrian uses within the (Q) Districts. He reported that the proposal for the development of the Point View project specifically stated that there was no requirement to accommodate the (Q) District, so the entire development has been configured with lots to preclude horse keeping. He stated that development across the City has been in a piecemeal manner, which leads to the loss of the (Q) District. Chairman Leon reported that the Committee proposed three different approaches in order to reach the goal of (Q) District preservation, including development code incentives, code restrictions, and community-wide incentives. He stated that in order to be effective in preserving the (Q) District there needs to be a balance of both restrictions and incentives. Chairman Leon explained three possible incentive scenarios as the following: 1) a lot coverage incentive for horse keeping where every square foot allocated towards horse keeping would not be counted against the lot coverage so that development and hardscape could be added as long as there were no permanent structures placed in spaces allocated for horse keeping; 2) the exclusion of horse keeping facilities and vehicular access areas from the lot coverage percentage calculation; and, 3) to provide incentives for preservation of trails, dedication of trail easements and off-road equestrian access in the (Q) overlay. He stated that the City should take a more proactive role in pursuing and accepting easements from willing homeowners for future trail use.
He reported that the most restrictive regulations associated with horse keeping are the setbacks required from potential buildings on adjacent properties. He stated that prior to 1973 the Code required a 35-foot setback from a neighbor's existing structures. He explained that after 1973, the City changed the requirement to be 35 feet from the neighbor’s setback line. He suggested that the City revert back to the Code in place in 1973 which was in conformance with the LA County Health Code, and that the entire front and rear yards be allowed to be used as temporary horse keeping or pasture area. He stated separation from neighbors could be maintained by providing irrigated screen planting. Chairman Leon showed a diagram detailing the current and proposed horse keeping setback lines.
Councilman Stern queried if measuring 35 feet from the neighbor’s existing house for the horse keeping areas would not potentially put the neighbor who would like to expand his house in a position of invading the 35-foot setback. He asked if the neighbor should be denied the ability to build onto his home because of the location of the horse keeping pasture or stable.
Chairman Leon suggested that there would be a number of options in dealing with that issue in an amicable manner, but stated that the person who puts their horse keeping facility in first is in the driver’s seat. He stated that there would be a number of Code issues that would need to be worked out with staff.
Chairman Leon explained additional Code incentives including the following: 1) the allowance for an 800 square foot barn structure as an additional accessory building that could be used as a barn for horse keeping but could be easily converted to a pool house or activity room; 2) the allowance of a dedicated access easement for adjacent property owners so instead of having the required ten-foot access to the horse keeping area, one neighbor could have five feet and the other neighbor five feet; and, 3) the allowance for multiple property owners to establish easements across property lines to be able to meet their setback requirements for horse keeping.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he was willing to listen to the presentation, but that at the end of it he intended to request that Council send it back to the Planning Commission and staff with a charge to bring forward something that can be voted on. He stated he was willing to preserve horse keeping without penalizing anyone that is already in the system without the required setbacks.
Councilman Clark agreed that he fully supported the sentiments of Councilman Gardiner. He stated that it was clear that the Equestrian Committee has put a great deal of thought and consideration into very constructive ideas and suggested that Council ask for input from the Planning Commission and staff to analyze and bring forward considered recommendations so that the Council can move effectively forward.
Councilman Stern expressed appreciated for the PowerPoint presentation but said Council cannot craft the solution to this. He articulated the issues under consideration as being the following: 1) there is value in retaining equestrian facilities; and, 2) landowners should have some degree of flexibility with respect to their property. He continued that these issues have to be balanced but there was not a constructive plan before Council in order to move forward. He stated he would like staff’s guidance in an analysis to measure the consequences of the changes proposed and the trade-offs of the different incentives.
Mayor Pro Tem Long commented that the issue before Council was a creeping change but that it was also linked to the broader issue of mansionization on non-horse properties. He stated that the ultimate question was what we want our neighborhoods to look like and that the Equestrian Committee would like to preserve the equestrian flavor. He stated that Council was not equipped to go through each of the alternatives and suggested that the Planning Commission should take up the issues with direction from Council to try and find a way to maintain the equestrian nature of equestrian neighborhoods while maintaining the balance of other property owners in that area who do not have horses and would like to develop their properties. He cautioned against setting arbitrary rules that put one neighbor or another in the “driver’s seat” and stated this subject was more complicated than it first appeared.
Mayor Wolowicz stated that he appreciates the whole host of items in the Committee’s recommendations, but his concerns revolve around the two following issues: 1) the protection of property owners’ rights from being impeded upon; and 2) the preservation of existing equestrian rights. He indicated there was substance to what was being presented and he would like to see proposed alternatives that might make the project work in its entirety.
Councilman Gardiner moved that the issue be remanded to the Planning Commission and staff to take the Equestrian Committee report as a point of departure to develop a suitable mix of incentives and Codes, harmonize them and bring them back to the Council with the purpose of maintaining the equestrian neighborhoods as equestrian.
Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the motion.
Councilman Clark stated that he supported the motion and expressed his preference that the incentive approach be taken rather than the more restrictive hammer approach. He stated that previous Councils had spent countless hours reviewing the (Q) District sections of the Development Code and suggested that the Planning Commission and staff should revisit the thought and rationale behind the Code changes as they work through the analysis of the recommendations.
Councilman Stern indicated that he would like to see a motion that would come up with a program that creates an environment to preserve the equestrian zone and explained candidly that he did not understand how the incentives were real incentives. He was skeptical that an incentive would be effective that would eliminate or reduce the desire of the property owner to build a nice home on a nice lot. He stated he did not have a preconceived notion as to the reasonable best approach to achieve the goal, nor would he know if he could buy into the plan in the end result, because of the competing interests to be understood. He indicated that he thought it was a worthy program to pursue and he hoped that the Planning Commission and staff could devise a plan to achieve the goal of preserving the equestrian zone.
Mayor Wolowicz stated that he understood the incentives to be of several types and would like to have the benefits analyzed by staff and the Planning Commission.
Councilman Gardiner reminded Council that incentives should be considered but the charter should be to preserve the equestrian neighborhoods.
Mayor Pro Tem Long reiterated that the ultimate goal would be to achieve the goal of preserving a particular neighborhood.
Councilman Clark responded to Councilman Stern’s concerns about incentives by reminding Councilman Stern that he previously encouraged the Council to express their points of view to bodies going into matters so that the Committees have some perspective on the desired outcome.
Councilman Gardiner thanked Chairman Leon for his presentation because it helped him formulate the motion on the floor.
Mayor Pro Tem Long invited Chairman Leon to continue with his presentation if he so desired.
Chairman Leon replied that his goal was to have the plan taken to the Planning Commission with adequate policy direction from the City Council and that goal had been met.
Charlene O’Neil, Rancho Palos Verdes, presented a letter from the Palos Verdes Horseman’s Association in which they stated that at the heart of the issue was the idea of neighborhood compatibility and that certain neighborhoods have been historically equestrian friendly and have attracted homeowners sharing the common values of such communities. She stated that such residents are concerned about the preservation of trails, easements and open space; are concerned about the environment and enjoy the social interactions that come from shared interests; and, are not troubled by neighbors complaining of the noise, smells or droppings associated with horses as such neighbors are in the same position or if not, understand the nature of the neighborhood. She continued that there were only a few areas remaining in Rancho Palos Verdes where the horse keeping tradition continues and encouraged a plan to preserve the Equestrian Overlay (Q) districts.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 8:55 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:06 P.M.
Site Drainage Review Procedures for New Construction (1203)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru introduced the item and stated that she had one request to speak on the item.
Director Rojas gave a brief explanation as to how this issue arose. He explained that after last year’s winter storms there was a slope failure on Ms. Maron’s property, which was related to sub-standard drainage on a neighboring property. Staff and the City’s Building Official looked into the matter and determined that the City’s Code requires drainage to be reviewed when there is a proposed addition on a property. He explained that it appeared the drainage issues were not reviewed and addressed when the addition was approved on the upslope property from the Maron’s property. He noted that the drainage situation that exists on the Maron’s and the neighbor’s properties was very old, predating the City’s incorporation, and would not be approved by today’s standards. He stated that from staff’s perspective there was not a need to amend the Code because there is a drainage review process already in place.
Councilman Clark stated he visited the Maron’s property last year and found it perplexing that the drainage from the upslope property literally drained through her property, which is a fundamental flaw that predates the City’s incorporation. He inquired if the City would have required an alteration in the drainage system of the upslope property, with respect to the records that indicated the City did not follow through on the review of drainage improvements.
Director Rojas indicated that the City would not have required the entire drainage system to be redone, only that the new addition would have to drain elsewhere.
Councilman Stern said he understood from staff’s perspective that the apparent error was essentially a human error, but not necessarily a Code problem, in not recognizing that the addition needed alternative drainage. He stated that he was inclined to agree that the Code did not need to be amended, but asked if there were a way to tighten up the review process so that this type of error could be avoided in the future.
Director Rojas stated that there is a two-step review process in the plan check review where this should have been caught; first, the inspector should have caught it on the plan and second, in the field verification. He indicated that perhaps because the addition was 463 square feet it somehow sailed under the radar on this process.
Councilman Stern inquired if there was a reasonable procedure or process that staff would recommend to minimize the likelihood of human error.
Building Official Roy Bronold commented that there could be better training for staff, which is being carried out presently. He stated that there are certain things that may fall below the radar screen due to the scope of project or change in staffing, but that there are certain critical issues in the City and drainage is one of them, so he has made this a priority in the plan check process.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that the area related to human errors is receiving increased attention and although training is important, one tool being incorporated to overcome human error is that of the use of checklists. He suggested looking into the research and using checklists to assist with plan checks.
Tina Maron, Rancho Palos Verdes, distributed a letter to the Council and reported that the problems associated with her property have been going on for over one year without anyone accepting accountability for the situation and if human error was to blame, responsibility for that needed to be accepted. She explained that her neighbor, Mr. Powell, had a 463 square foot home addition, concrete patio, and an above ground spa was reviewed, approved, and permitted according to the City’s Building Codes. She reported that the addition inundated the existing undersized drainage system and consequently damaged the slope area in her backyard and caused flooding on her property. She explained that for twelve months she was assured that Mr. Powell’s addition complied with the Building Codes and storm water drain management and that her situation was a civil matter. She reported that she appearance at the October 22, 2005 City Council meeting where she explained her situation and suggested a Code amendment. She stated that per the staff report, it was the opinion of the Building Official that drainage runoff from the Powell’s addition should have been directed to an approved location and not allowed to cross adjacent properties or feed into the existing deficient drainage system. Mrs. Maron stated that she understood the situation to be that City staff made an error and that the City Attorney said that the City does not have to fix it. She requested that the City Council direct staff to correct the six-year-old error that resulted in the shared property slope failure during the 2005 winter storms, which affects five properties. She inquired as to the purpose of extensive detailed Building Codes comparable to other coastal cities if they are not enforced correctly. She inquired if she were intentionally misled or if City staff was just not knowledgeable in the Building Codes.
Mayor Pro Tem Long asked if in a situation like this where a correction should have been written at the time of the addition but wasn’t, the City could make this correction retroactively.
City Attorney Lynch stated that since the permit had been finaled for six years, the property owner would most likely not be amenable to that process, and it could likely generate litigation.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he was not suggesting taking this action now especially when only one neighbor involved has been heard from. He stated that this seems to be a classic case of a private nuisance that may have to be addressed by the property owners in that manner.
Councilman Stern reported that it was helpful to have a greater understanding of this situation, because if it were a problem with a weak code, that could be fixed by a manner of legislation; but if were a problem associated with human error in the review, a plan should be in place to reduce the human error factor as close to zero as possible. He inquired if Mr. Powell had been heard from in this entire process.
Director Rojas reported that Mr. Powell submitted a letter with a survey indicating that the slope failure was not on his property and that it was Ms. Maron’s problem to deal with.
Councilman Stern stated he would like to hear from staff as to what City remedies, if any, there might be for this situation, assuming City error was involved.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that last year’s December and February winter rains were highly unusual and so the issue of causation would be another matter involved in this situation.
Councilman Gardiner stated that this might be a question for closed session, but stated that it did not seem right to him that Ms. Maron should have to initiate a lawsuit if the City made a mistake. He explained that it appeared to him there were two things that have to be fixed; one was the drainage system and the other was the slope that failed.
Mayor Pro Tem Long pointed out that action should not be taken without hearing from Mr. Powell and that he felt it was not appropriate for items like this to be brought before Council without both property owners being present. He moved that the issue be continued to closed session for discussion, seconded by Councilman Gardiner.
Councilman Clark inquired if Mr. Powell was notified of the item being on the agenda.
Director Rojas stated that he should have received a copy of the staff report.
Mayor Wolowicz inquired if in the inspector’s original file there might be notes stating why they did or did not do something.
Building Official Bronold explained the field inspection process, which involves an inspection and written corrections if needed. He stated that in this particular case, there should have been questions asked in the field about the drainage system, especially if they were tying into an old drainage system; and that those questions may have been asked and answered, but that there are no notations in the file indicating that one way or the other. He reported that since he has been with the City he has directed inspectors to document more in writing for clarification.
Mayor Wolowicz inquired as to the absolute criteria in square footage of a proposed addition that would initiate the review of drainage on a site.
Building Official Bronold stated that the Code does not have a square footage specification as to when engineering kicks in except for in the Interpretive Handbook of the Uniform Building Code. He explained that discussed in the Handbook were gray areas and where it would be appropriate to have engineering. He stated that 400 square feet was developed in the Code because most garages are 400 square feet and that there should be a closer look taken at the impact of storm water runoff off of a structure that size.
Mayor Wolowicz stated that interpretations in absence of other evidence have strong weight towards determining what is acceptable unless there is in fact a specific code that has a flaw in it.
Councilman Gardiner reported that early in his service on the Council he was able to address a drainage problem for a resident and he queried how often this type of problem arises and suggested that the City needed to take a look at this issue.
Mayor Pro Tem Long commented that he agreed with an earlier comment by Mayor Wolowicz that the receipt of a staff report with the subject line “Site Drainage Review Procedures for New Construction” would not have particularly alerted Mr. Powell as to the necessity of his being present at the City Council meeting. He stated that he had no problem with the motion to obtain additional information for action in the future, but he did not wish to make a decision or take action without hearing both sides of the story on this matter.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that it was more legally viable to cause someone to correct something during the construction process than it is six years after the project has been completed. She stated that there are other possible remedies to the situation that she will outline in a confidential memorandum to Council for discussion in closed session. She reiterated the issue of causation, which may or may not bear on the situation.
Councilman Stern clarified that his request to understand the potential remedies in no way implied that he believed that the slope failure was necessarily caused by the drainage problems. He stated that when he spoke of human error, he meant only that the City would have required a different drainage plan. He wants to know what can be done, if anything, to correct the drainage problems.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru asked for clarification on the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Long clarified the motion to be to ask staff to bring back a report to a closed session for ways of addressing the issue and to respond to the questions posed by Council.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered
Consider Changes to Westside Pilot Area Border Streets (1301)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that late correspondence was distributed on this item and there were no requests to speak.
Interim Director Holland gave a brief staff report that in January of 2005 the City Council approved a pilot three-cart automated solid waste program in two areas of the City, one on the East side and one on the West side. He stated that the one on the West side of the City was the subject of discussion and the purpose of the program was to obtain first-hand experience and knowledge to see how an automated collection system would work. He explained that when the pilot programs were set up, the intention was to minimize inconvenience for the residents, so the collection days, frequency of collection, and the monthly rates in the pilot areas were not changed. He reported that at the same time that our city was implementing the pilot program, the City of Rolling Hills Estates changed their waste hauler from BFI to Waste Management, switched to an automated 3-cart program and changed to a once a week pick-up schedule where all trash collection in that city is made on Wednesday. He explained that due to this change there was a problem with collection schedules resulting in increased truck traffic and containers and carts on the curb more days per week on the border streets of Browndeer Lane and Elkridge Road. He stated that residents of both cities have expressed concerns regarding the issues of the number of days trucks are in the neighborhoods, the noise level and the street aesthetics. He reported that there has been discussion regarding these issues and a subcommittee meeting was held between the two cities. He stated that there were three options to be presented to Council to address these issues.
Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani presented the three options to address the concerns as the following: 1) To make no changes and leave the area as is, which would affect approximately 500 homes, with the trash on the Rancho Palos Verdes side of the street being collected on Tuesday and Friday, and the trash on the Rolling Hills Estates side of the street being collected on Wednesday; 2) To change the service on the two border streets of Browndeer and Elkridge, affecting approximately 75 homes, with collection of trash, recycling, and green waste on Wednesday and trash only on the Rancho Palos Verdes side on Friday; 3) To change the service on several streets adjacent to and including Browndeer and Elkridge, affecting approximately 165 homes, with collection of trash, recycling, and green waste on Wednesday and trash only on Friday.
Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani explained that the advantages to Option One were collection days and rates would not change, but the disadvantages would be that there would be collection trucks on the streets three days a week, and collection containers could be on the street for up to five days a week. She explained the advantages to Option Two would be that the streets would be more aesthetic with fewer containers on the streets, homes would have more uniformity on collection day, and there would be less truck traffic and noise. She indicated the disadvantages would be that Rancho Palos Verdes residents would have to adjust to a new trash and green waste collection day, trucks would be on the streets three days a week, trucks would have to traverse Browndeer and Elkridge on Tuesdays to service the adjacent streets, and the spacing between collection days would be changed. She reported that Waste Management could easily accomplish the necessary changes within one to two weeks and residents would have to be notified of the changes prior to that. She explained the advantages of Option Three would be that there would be fewer trucks in the area, less wear and tear on the streets, less truck noise, the streets would be more aesthetic with fewer containers, and there would be a larger area with collection uniformity between Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. She stated the disadvantages would be similar to those in Option Two with a larger number of residents being affected by the changes. She reported that Waste Management could make the necessary route changes after resident notification.
Councilman Stern stated that he understood the problem arose because of the change that Rolling Hills Estates made with their trash collection service. He inquired if there had been any discussion with Rolling Hills Estates and the common service company regarding the possibility of the residents of Rolling Hills Estates in the impacted area to essentially be serviced under the Rancho Palos Verdes contract.
Administrative Analyst Ramezani replied that when the City’s subcommittee of Mayor Pro Tem Long met with the subcommittee of Rolling Hills Estates, that possibility was proposed but Rolling Hills Estates was not interested because they did not see the need to change a twelve-year program in light of a shorter-term pilot program.
Councilman Stern stated that the concern as he saw it was that there would be a great deal of trash collection traffic on the streets because the initial trash collection would be on Wednesday and then a mere 48 hours later the trash trucks for Rancho Palos Verdes residents would be collecting again. He indicated that this option did not make much sense and inquired if there had been much thought given to consideration of a once-a-week collection plan.
Administrative Analyst Ramezani stated the advantages to changing Rancho Palos Verdes to a once-a-week collection would be that the Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates residents would be on the same schedule resulting in fewer trucks in the neighborhood, the streets would be more aesthetic, there would be less noise, less pollution, and less wear and tear on the streets. She stated the disadvantages would be that the residents would lose one trash day, there would be two different schedules and collection frequencies for the streets within the Westside pilot area, and there would be differences in trash collection between the East and West sides of the City. She explained that there are rate differences between Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates; Rancho Palos Verdes has unlimited trash collection twice a week while Rolling Hills Estates’ rates are based on the size and number of trash cans.
Mayor Pro Tem Long disclosed that he lived on Browndeer Lane in the area that would be affected by this, that he had been serving as the Council’s appointed one person subcommittee, had met with staff and Council members from the City of Rolling Hills Estates, and agreed that the discussions had been accurately summarized by Ms. Ramezani. He clarified that the trash collection problems in his neighborhood have always existed because there were a total of eight trucks servicing the area on two days. He indicated that the residents in the area had hoped that since the two cities were going to have the same company collecting trash, there might be a rational approach to the consolidated of trash collection in the neighborhood, but that is not happening. He reported that trash collection was now occurring with seven trucks on three days. He stated that the City of Rolling Hills Estates did not want to convert to the collection days of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes since that was a pilot program. He indicated that the proposal was made to Waste Management to change to collections on Wednesday and Saturday, which would result in the same spacing of collection days, but Waste Management responded that there were a number of reasons that would not work, one of them being a labor shortage. Mayor Pro Tem Long explained the options to be the following: 1) to leave the situation as it stands with seven trucks on three days; or 2) to make changes on Browndeer and Elkridge only. He stated this option would make things worse in that the extra trucks would still need to traverse Browndeer and Elkridge in order to collect trash on the remaining four streets in the area. He reported that from his perspective, either nothing should be done or the entire area of seven interfacing streets should be changed at all once to a logical trash collection plan.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that the way he understands it, Rolling Hills Estates caused the problem by shifting the day initially and they are not willing to work with Rancho Palos Verdes. He stated he was not in favor of making any changes until the City found out what the residents would like to do.
Councilman Stern stated that it was a noble goal to try to rationalize the system and minimize the inconvenience to all concerned, and he agreed with Councilman Gardiner that before doing anything he would want to figure out what rational options there might be particularly given the limited number of households involved. Councilman Stern agreed that a survey of some sort should be sent out to the affected property owners and stated that the fact that Rancho Palos Verdes has a pilot program has nothing to do with the trash collection issue being discussed.
Mayor Wolowicz stated that he was troubled by the inference that Waste Management was throwing up some impediments on this issue. He inquired if the same service could be provided to the entire 165 homes in the area.
Administrative Analyst Ramezani replied that Waste Management has agreed that the same trash trucks and the same containers could be used for trash collection in the cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that what Mayor Wolowicz was suggesting was the reduction of trash collection in that entire area to once a week service in order to coordinate with the trash collection of Rolling Hills Estates. He stated he was not certain what the response of the residents would be to once a week but suggested a survey could be sent out on this issue.
Councilman Gardiner requested to hear a spokesperson from Waste Management regarding the issue of Saturday collection was not feasible.
Susan Moulton, Director of Public Sector Services for the LA Market area from Waste Management, stated that it was Waste Management’s intention to find solutions to the situation on Browndeer and Elkridge for both Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes. She explained that in the new contract with Rolling Hills Estates, that city found it attractive to have their entire City serviced on one day. She explained that prior to obtaining the Rolling Hills Estates’ contract, the drivers and laborers for Waste Management were off on Wednesdays and once they obtained the contract for Rolling Hills Estates Waste Management was able to maximize labor and utilize the laborers five days a week. She reported that at present Waste Management does not have the labor, in order to service on Saturdays, since there are strict regulations as to the maximum number of hours the drivers are permitted to work. She indicated that in order to service the pilot area on Saturday, a large portion of the City would have to be re-routed, which was not something the City chose to explore.
Councilman Gardiner inquired how many trucks it would take to pick up trash from 165 homes.
Ms. Moulton replied it would take one truck three to four hours to collect each commodity.
Councilman Gardiner inquired how it was possible that Waste Management could not provide one truck and one driver to facilitate a Saturday pick up that would take three to four hours.
Mayor Pro Tem Long echoed Councilman Gardiner’s question.
Ms. Moulton stated that Waste Management would be willing to go back and evaluate the collection of trash only at the 165 homes.
Councilman Gardiner moved that Waste Management and staff work together to find one truck and one driver truck to facilitate a Wednesday/Saturday collection schedule.
Councilman Stern clarified that the plan would be for a Wednesday collection of trash, green waste, and recycling and a trash only collection on Saturday for only the 165 homes on the seven streets. He stated that he supported the motion.
City Manager Evans raised the issue that the residents in the affected area should be polled as to their acceptance of the proposed collection changes.
City Councilman Stern amended the motion so that the 165 homeowners would be notified before changes were made to find out their preferences.
Mayor Pro Tem Long commended Ms. Moulton for clarifying the misunderstanding regarding the collection service and commended Waste Management for the manner in which the pilot program had been handled in his neighborhood. He added that the survey yielded very positive results and that the residents in the neighborhood have been impressed by the quality of the trash carts and the quality of the service.
Mayor Pro Tem Long clarified the motion to include the following: 1) direction to staff to confirm the availability of Wednesday/Saturday collection service; 2) survey the 165 affected property owners within the Westside Pilot Area; and, 3) report back to Council for further instruction.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
Residential Solid Waste Contract Options (1301)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that late correspondence was distributed on this item and there were no requests to speak.
Councilman Stern moved to approve staff recommendation which directed the Residential Trash/Waste Hauling Contract Ad Hoc Committee to work with staff to evaluate and develop options, with input from City Council and the public, for future contract negotiations and service alternatives.
Mayor Wolowicz stated he had not received responses to questions that he had directed to staff.
Interim Director Holland indicated he had not received the questions.
Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the motion and added that he would like to see the Ad Hoc Committee explore the idea of regionalizing the waste-hauling contract with Rolling Hills Estates with the goal of providing more logical service in each of the border areas.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he did not know how regionalizing could be reconciled due to the fundamental differences in the contracts for Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.
Councilman Clark indicated his support of the motion. He stated that the Ad Hoc Committee needs to work with staff and he was an absolute advocate of the competitive process in looking for the best deal for the residents.
Mayor Wolowicz stated he would like to see included in the staff report the answers to the following: 1) how long the existing contract with Waste Management has been in place; 2) what the City’s history has been with the major waste-hauling companies; 3) what the reasons were behind the prior selection of Waste Management; and, 4) does the City retain a record of complaints regarding waste-hauling companies that operate in the City; and, 5) what additional features might be offered by other waste disposal companies keeping in mind the unique terrain in some portions of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Councilman Gardiner inquired when Waste Management won the current contract, if it was through a competitive bid and what the rate on increase has been per year.
Administrative Analyst Ramezani replied that the contract was awarded through the competitive bid process, and that the increase has averaged 2% to 3% for the past couple of years. She added that if the City extended the contract, the rate adjustment mechanism would stay the same.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that it might not be worth the effort to go out to bid as the City may end up with something more expensive, especially since the service provider has been meeting the needs of the residents.
Councilman Stern stated that he agreed with the value of a competitive bid process, but that he has been pleased with the very low rate of increase over the years. He clarified that the purpose of his motion was to consult with staff about what options should be considered, including the extension of existing contracts.
Councilman Clark indicated that there were many factors to access affecting the competitive marketplace. He commented on the fact that many contracts currently include a requirement to convert to more environmentally friendly trucks.
Mayor Pro Tem Long agreed that there was some value to researching the best price that one can reasonably expect to obtain for the current level of service for a City our size with our specific needs.
Councilman Stern inquired if a consultant should be retained to help the subcommittee and Council understand the industry and the different options available.
City Manager Evans suggested that would be a good idea, but it could be expensive.
Councilman Clark suggested that a Request for Information be sent out to seek which companies are interested in this business base asking for qualifications, relevant experience and features they could offer in the competitive process. We could then hold an industry day where the City would invite the individual contractors who expressed an interest in for one on one dialogue in order to clarify the capabilities and special features available.
City Manager Evans suggested that Council refer it to the Ad Hoc Committee and let them come up with a proposal for a plan.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk read back the motion as the following: Direct the Ad Hoc Committee to work with staff to develop options with input from the City Council and the public for future contract negotiations and developing alternatives including the notion of regionalizing the trash contract in order to rationalize the border issues.
Mark Blackburn, President of Universal Waste stated that Universal Waste Services appreciates the opportunity to service the more challenging locations in the City, including Portuguese Bend, where backyard service is necessary and cart service would not work. Mr. Blackburn suggested that there might be value in having a representative from Universal Waste Services and Waste Management on the City’s Ad Hoc Committee.
Councilman Stern stated it would not make sense to have any particular company on the Ad Hoc Committee but he encouraged input and insight from any company one who could provide it.
Mayor Pro Tem Long and Councilman Clark echoed the sentiment that they would not be in favor of companies being involved in the City Ad Hoc Committee.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the motion passed.
CLEEP Fund Expenditure Request (1206)
Councilman Stern moved the waiver of the staff report and moved in favor of the staff recommendation, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he was pleased to see the City of Lomita would be participating in an effort to regionalize traffic enforcement, which he strongly supported.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
Water Quality and Storm Drain User Fee Issues (604 x 1204)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru introduced this item and explained that it was added to the agenda by way of being continued from the Tactical Planning Workshop held on February 4, 2006. She stated that she had no requests to speak and that she had redistributed as late correspondence the staff report from February 4, 2006.
City Manager Evans introduced a brief staff report where he stated that the conditions of the storm drain system had changed since the storm drain master plan was completed. He reported that last year’s storm season aged the system five to ten years in the space of three to four months, with the failure of many lines that were not anticipated to fail as soon as they did. He stated that the plan to perform video inspection of old corrugated pipes in order to create an inventory of the pipes had revealed that in 80% of the cases the pipes were ready to collapse and have to be repaired immediately.
Councilman Gardiner stated he felt it would be prudent to wait to see if there were enough signatures collected to make this an issue, rather than spend discussion time on the matter tonight.
Councilman Stern stated he disagreed on the basis that the public needs to understand the current information that is available.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that the information be placed on the website and that certainly the public understands that if $30 million was taken away, these projects would not be completed.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated he was inclined to agree with Councilman Stern in terms of at least getting the wheels turning to get the information and he would direct the infrastructure team to begin developing a financial analysis as that would be needed anyway. He stated the public will need to be advised, regardless of the status of signature gathering, that the amount of repair needed will be larger than the $30 million originally anticipated; alternative sources of revenue anticipated to arrive in 2008 and 2009 will not arrive until 2010 or later; and, video inspection of the pipes was revealing a worse scenario then anticipated. He reminded Council that his preference had been to set a fee that would have been approximately twice the level of what we now have, on the rationale that the initial information was not a complete picture of the status of the storm drain system.
Mayor Wolowicz stated he was alarmed at the dollar mark that the emergency storm drain repair had reached and the data that indicated the lining costs were also exceeding that which was originally anticipated. He stated that he would like the Finance Department and Finance Advisory Committee to look at the numbers again and project the scope of the work needed and the necessary funding.
Councilman Gardiner stated he would support systematically laying out the projects that seem to be the most cost-effective to fund and identifying the funding stream for them to be matched over time. He indicated it may be more cost-effective to do lining and prevent further deterioration of hot spots than to do some mix of programs.
Councilman Clark stated that the storm drain user fee was passed this past summer predicated upon a plan of 30 years and 38 proposed projects, excluding priority three projects. He inquired if based on the continuing evolution of knowledge regarding the condition of the storm drain infrastructure, the City has the flexibility to move in and out of play particular projects based upon the current assessment of what needs to be done over time, or if the City was fixed in terms of the projects that were originally identified.
City Manager Evans stated that the intention has always been that the Master Plan would be a flexible document that would be updated regularly as new information has been obtained.
Councilman Clark inquired if the revenue stream that property owners are contributing to could be applied to the most current set of prioritized projects and needs as deemed appropriate.
City Manager Evans replied yes, but that the Finance Director would certainly say that would mess up the cash flow that the storm drain user fee was built around.
Director McLean stated that in the staff reports associated with the user fee, the idea has always been that as the master plan was updated and emergencies arose, the rate model would change. He indicated that there was some merit to carrying out the beginning of the plan as designed for up to three years in order to enable comparability for the ratepayers. He added that there has already been a transfer of $472,000 to the Water Quality/Flood Protection Enterprise Fund for storm drain lining, which would go a long way in enabling the engineers to carry out some of the immediate priorities.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he thought the Council had heard only half of the puzzle so far and that first and foremost, the Council needed the information of how far the expenditures were anticipated to deviate from the original plan. He reminded the Council that $86 average storm fee was set on the supposition that it could sunset after 30 years even though the repairs or lining would only last 30 years; the plan was premised on the idea that Priorities One and Two Projects were only going to cost what they were estimated with relatively small contingency allowances; and, there was no allowance for Priority Three Projects. He stated that the City was presently faced with unanticipated repairs including $600,000 worth of emergency repairs to storm drains that have been videoed and potentially millions of dollars of liability for problems on Western Avenue, neither of which were in the storm drain master plan. He stated that he agreed with Councilman Gardiner in that the scope of the problem be identified as best as it can be. He indicated that the Priority Two Projects may have to be cut back and there would be a considerable delay in the receipt alternative revenue sources anticipated from the Terranea Development, which increases the need to get a better handle on the anticipated financial gap. He stated that the Council collectively made an error in judgment in calculating the fee and should have taken a leadership role to encourage the public to support a higher fee since it is now apparent that there will be a financial gap based on the current information available.
Recess and Reconvene:
Mayor Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 11:27 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:34 p.m.
Councilman Stern stated he felt the Council has a very important responsibility to the public. He reported that the Council educated the public regarding the repair of the failing storm drain system and the public was asked to voluntarily fund the program through a user fee, which they approved. He continued that it was Council’s responsibility to keep the public well informed about all aspects of the program, not only what was collected and how it was spent, but also where the City was according to the plan, so the public sees that the Council was doing what they intended to do. He read from the staff report, which indicated that since the adoption of the program, approximately 10 emergency storm drain projects had been discovered and that a recent inspection of 80 storm drain facilities revealed that more than 80% of them needed to be lined or replaced. He explained that Don or Barry, or any other resident, had every right to file a petition to ask the voters to take action on a matter, although he found it disturbing from the standpoint of orderly democracy that they chose to do so just three months after the City had a vote. He stated that he did not believe any system was well served when it basically was not clear from day to day if it could go forward or backward, but he felt it very important that the public be apprised of the situation with the storm drains and the anticipated expenditures for their repair.
Councilman Stern moved to adopt staff recommendation Nos. 1 through 5. He noted that staff had projected an estimated, but not verified, cost of a special election to be approximately $100,000 if the petition qualified with 15% of resident signatures. He inquired if staff were able to provide an update to that earlier estimate.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that she arrived at that estimate based on the fact that when the City consolidated with the County the cost of an election was approximately $50,000. She explained that a special election would entail running the election on a stand-alone basis, where arrangements would have to be made for polling places and poll workers. She indicated that a conservative cost for a special election would be $100,000, but reiterated that figure had not been verified with the County.
Councilman Stern inquired if the petition qualified with a mere 5% of the last gubernatorial election vote, the election would be held in November 2007 and combined with other elections, so the cost estimate would be closer to $50,000.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru confirmed the estimate of $50,000 for that type of election.
City Attorney Lynch explained that there was ambiguity regarding the cost of an election due to the fact that there was no way to know when the signatures might be submitted.
Mayor Wolowicz inquired if the adoption of the first five items would pretty much get the process started in order to resolve the problems that have surfaced.
Director McLean stated that the approval of the five items would dovetail with the plan that was laid out by the Director of Public Works at the Tactical Planning Workshop, including an update of the master plan of drainage in approximately 2008. He stated that some of the specifics regarding cost would take some time to fine tune based on the continued video inspections, but that a framework of estimates need to be established for the Five-Year Financial Model.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he believed there should be one plan and one fund where projects are rotated in and out of the plan. He suggested that the project should be started with a baseline and changes should be documented so that the revisions and timeline are clear. He stated that two plans and two funds would cause confusion.
Mayor Pro Tem Long further explained that funds coming in from the user fee should be accounted for separately from what the City contributes from the General Fund, so that it is easily understood how much additional funding being put in because of new factors.
Director McLean explained that the property owners were to pay $86 per ERU based upon a program that was explained to them, and the City should do its best to demonstrate how actual expenditures compare to estimates, and when and how the projects are completed. He indicated that as video inspections continue there would be additional necessary projects discovered that would require General Fund monies. He stated that the intent was to enable clear reporting and accountability of the monies in the Enterprise Fund for the anticipated projects, maintenance and linings.
Councilman Stern stated that he believed it was very important to account separately for the money that comes in from the user fee, because this money was earmarked and has a limited purpose according to the ordinance adopted by the residents. He stated that it was clear the City would be supplementing the storm drain projects with additional funds and that it was important for the public to also be able to see an accounting of those funds.
Director McLean stated that the auditors have encouraged and endorsed the approach of maintaining two separate funds.
Mayor Wolowicz clarified for purposes of conversation that he understood that $4.8 million in costs have been incurred and $2 million had been moved to the Water Quality Fund to date. He stated that in his analysis, he had added up the additional costs that appear to be coming down the line and realized that thus far there was only one source of revenue supplying that fund, which was the General Fund. He explained that he added additional lining costs, additional permanent repairs, and land acquisition costs and considered the two revenue sources that would kick in at some time in the future, which were the user fee and the transient occupancy tax for Terranea. He explained that up until that time, the delta between the total costs and projected revenues was the General Fund whose reserves have been decreasing. He continued to explain that there were not separate one-year, five-year or thirty-year plans, but that they were all just different segments along the line.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he wanted assurance that in creating this fund, they were not creating trapped funds in the Enterprise Fund that could not be used for a new list of project items as they arose.
Director McLean and City Attorney Lynch assured Mayor Pro Tem Long that this fund would not be restricted in that manner.
Councilman Gardiner further clarified the concept of the combined report, which would allow for the tracking of which projects were funded by which monies.
Councilman Stern reminded Council that he had a motion on the floor to approve staff recommendation Nos. 1 through 5.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
City Manager Evans stated he was in receipt of lists of suggested future agenda items as a result of the Tactical Planning Session from all but one member of Council.
Mayor Wolowicz stated he would submit his list to the City Manager by the end of the evening.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken in Closed Session.
Councilman Long moved to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Stern.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared the meeting adjourned at 12:09 A.M.
/s/ Stefan Wolowicz
/s/ Carolynn Petru