The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Director of Finance/Information Technology McLean.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda. Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Tactical Planning Workshop
City Manager Lehr presented the staff report for the Tactical Plan for 2007. She recommended that City Council should set goals for the next two-year period ending in December 2008 and develop specific strategies with timelines for achieving those goals.
Mayor Long invited comments regarding the report.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to reaffirm the goals of the Tactical Plan and proceed to discuss each one, and modify the name of Goal No. 3 from “Roadway Safety” to “Citywide Traffic and Roadway Safety.”
Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Water Quality and Flood Protection Program
Councilman Wolowicz inquired about the Milestone No. 4 and indicated that he wanted to see the work move forward regardless of the outcome of the ballot initiative and did not want to wait another two years to come up with an alternative plan to fix this ongoing problem.
Mayor Long clarified that Milestone No. 4 should be amended to delete the phrase “assuming the User Fee is affirmed by the voters” and suggested that a Request for Qualifications be sent out by a date certain.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to amend Milestone No. 4 as stated by Mayor Long.
Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Director McLean reminded the Council that the Public Works Department has completed 40 storm drain lining projects to date. He reported that the total funding for the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program is $7.2 million. He reported that these funds will be used for design, research, and the completion of projects. He indicated that $6.1 million has been transferred from the General fund for storm drain projects. He noted that the $3 million General fund transfer proposed to be in the FY07/08 budget was for the McCarrell Canyon project. He noted that sending this project out to bid may take some time.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that the City website be used to show which projects have been funded and the progress the City has made in infrastructure repair.
Mayor Long added that the projected milestones to be reached should be identified on the website.
Councilman Gardiner requested that the milestones successfully reached should also be recognized on the website.
Mayor Long suggested that the staff should bring updates on the construction status and use of funding for the infrastructure programs to Council by July 1, 2008 and noted this information should be placed on the website.
Councilman Clark stated he was concerned that it would be difficult to put into perspective the amount of money that has been spent to date and how those expenditures balance with the entire program.
Councilman Wolowicz reported that if the Storm Drain User Fee was not repealed the City has a $1.2 million revenue source. He stated that in actuality the City has transferred $6 million to date for storm drain repair.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern requested that the Finance Department chart or diagram the expenditures in a way that is easily communicated to the Council and the public.
Mayor Long noted he would like to see the chart or diagram prior to June 1, 2007.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that staff generate a summary report of infrastructure expenditures and get feedback from the public as to whether it is understandable to them.
Mayor Long agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Stern and Councilman Gardiner and requested that staff inform Council as to a projected date for such a report, noting that this would not be an internal checklist but instead would provide information for the public.
Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve
Councilman Clark inquired how the dates were selected for the proposed milestones related to the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve Goal.
Deputy City Manager Petru indicated that the dates were selected as a result of conversations between Director Rojas and the Resource Agencies.
Councilman Clark inquired why the dates had been moved out as far as 2010.
Deputy City Manager Petru stated that she was not certain why the dates were moved, but noted that it would take at least two years to finalize the NCCP documents related to Forrestal and other portions of the nature preserve.
Councilman Wolowicz commented that the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP) had to be in place by 2010.
City Attorney Lynch noted that the PUMP had to be in place before the Council could give final approval for the NCCP. She suggested that perhaps the trigger dates had not started yet because the composition of the PUMP Committee was still incomplete.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he did not understand why the Council could not have a draft of the PUMP before the full report was completed.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that staff highlight in green the areas of existing land purchased by the City and highlight in yellow the property that the City would like to purchase on the NCCP map.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern indicated that the Council agreed on a goal, not a particular plan, to acquire additional land for the NCCP Preserve. He noted that the Council’s original goal was to create a natural preserve and it should return to that goal and not be just a plan to purchase land.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated that the Council goal was to acquire more land, but the milestone was to determine usage of the land.
Mayor Long stated the Council goal was to acquire more land in order to obtain a total of 1,200 acres to be used as a nature preserve.
City Attorney Lynch agreed and stated that the Council was still in compliance with that goal.
Mayor Long stated he would like the goal rephrased to state that it is Council’s goal to add additional acreage to the Preserve from willing sellers and to reform the milestones to achieve the results as quickly as possible.
The Council members agreed that this Tactical Goal should be revised such that the milestone dates are accelerated as much as possible.
Roadway Safety Goal
Councilman Clark indicated that the Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission had just joined the meeting.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to allow the Traffic Chair to join Council at the dais and to discuss the current status of traffic issues.
Ava Shephard, Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission, reported that existing speed humps were becoming an issue with some of the residents. She inquired if the removal or change in appearance of speed humps could be considered a beautification project.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to revamp the City’s traffic enforcement program to move to a completely regional model, thereby eliminating the City’s dedicated traffic deputy and folding this position into the regional contract with the two adjacent cities.
The motion failed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Mayor Long
Councilman Clark reported that there was a proposal by the League of California Cities to address the use of electronic technology at traffic light locations as a method of traffic enforcement. He stated that he would like to see the City of Rancho Palos Verdes participate in the pilot program.
Mayor Long stated that he believed controlling the speed on Palos Verdes Drive East (PVDE) was more important than placing cameras at signalized intersections.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated that he thought it important to complete projects currently underway in the City before taking on a new proposal. He expressed concern that government takes too long to move forward, and stated he believed it was premature to take on the proposal suggested by Councilman Clark.
Councilman Clark stated that he did not understand why the City of Rancho Palos Verdes could not be a pilot city for the new traffic calming technology. He reported that the pilot program has been enormously effective in other cities.
Mayor Long stated that the traffic problems associated with PVDE went way beyond traffic control measures.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if there were a specific plan for PVDE. He asked if the Tactical Goal could be modified in such a way as to allow the Traffic Safety Commission to modify the way in which these problems were evaluated.
Mayor Long suggested that the Traffic Safety Commission should work on the problems on PVDE as its first priority within the calendar year, instead of spending $30,000 to propose using new technology just because other California cities were doing so.
City Attorney Lynch suggested examining the entire issue and noted that it was not possible to formulate an answer until more data is gathered.
Mayor Long suggested that Councilman Clark amend his motion to include that the first milestone be for the Traffic Safety Commission to work on the traffic related issues and problems on PVDE to be completed prior to considering the use of new technology this calendar year.
Councilman Clark and Councilman Gardiner accepted the proposed amendment to the motion.
The amended motion passed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
Civic Center Master Plan
Councilman Wolowicz suggested the modification of the words “Girls’ softball fields” in Milestone No. 2 to “softball fields.”
Deputy City Manager Petru explained that the design of the softball fields was specifically per girls’ softball standard regulations.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he would like to meet with School District personnel and the Parks and Recreation staff of the City of Rolling Hills Estates and the City of Palos Verdes Estates to see what could be done collectively with the parks in the Peninsula area.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that he would like to meet with the Palos Verdes Girls’ South Bay League to find out if they have the financial ability to construct the fields or not.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the location of the mound on the field is what determines if the field meets regulations to be a multi-use field.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated that consideration should be given to develop a community softball field at Upper Hesse Park that the City pays for; he did not oppose a privately funded project but believes that it will probably need to receive assistance from the City; and wanted to make sure the field was built to the standards for a girls’ softball field. He moved to reorder the milestones for the Civic Center/Active Recreation Tactical Goal and prioritize the projects so that Milestone No. 3 becomes the first milestone to be following by Milestone Nos. 4, 1 and 2.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that if the Palos Verdes Girls’ Softball League could not raise enough private funding, then other funding would need to be used. He indicated that beyond the City working on infrastructure projects, he would like to see more positive movement on this Tactical Goal. He noted that 2 years ago the Council agreed to pursue development of a new Civic Center. He expressed that he would like to see it become a reality opposed to an idea and noted it should be included in the Vision Plan.
Mayor Long stated that he wanted to keep the focus on specific goals and milestones, and wanted to keep the discussions of the softball fields and the Civic Center separate. He asked for specific questions regarding the milestones.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if the baseline study for the Civic Center project included a utility study, noting that he understood the sewer did not work well at the site.
Deputy City Manager Petru replied that there have been problems with the sewer lines at the Civic Center, but they were currently being investigated for repair.
Councilman Clark stated that staff should be directed to review the Master Plan for the Civic Center site and return to Council with a report on vision of the entire project.
Deputy City Manager Petru reported that the Annenberg Vision Plan included the area encompassed in the Civic Center Master Plan.
Mayor Long and Councilman Clark discussed whether or not the City should proceed with the Civic Center Master Plan or wait until the Annenberg Vision Plan was completed.
Deputy City Manager Petru indicated that the Annenberg Foundation was funding the preparation of a Vision Plan for all of the open space and parks along the City’s coastline, including conceptual alternatives for development at specific nodes, including the Civic Center, as well as considering the enhancement of trail connections and linking of City properties.
Councilman Clark commented that he did not want to wait forever for a site plan of the Civic Center to be completed.
Mayor Long stated that he would like staff to bring back a report regarding the Annenberg Vision Plan, their timetable, and an alternative site plan for the Civic Center that excludes the Palos Verdes Art Center proposal.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to accept the milestones for this Tactical Goal, with modification to the milestone regarding girls’ softball. He noted that Milestone Nos. 2 and 3 should be used to facilitate the staff’s report back to Council and if it is determined that the Girls’ Softball League cannot raise the funds necessary for the two fields, then staff should create a design for Upper Hesse Park that can be used by the general public.
Mayor Long amended the motion to clarify that staff was to update Council on the timetable for the Annenberg project.
Without objection to the amended motion, Mayor Long so ordered.
City Attorney Lynch noted that the Annenberg Foundation should be notified that the discussions regarding the Palos Verdes Art Center lease had been suspended and that the site plan for the Civic Center should be modified to include an alternative with this component of the project removed.
Mayor Long stated that the City has not determined that the Palos Verdes Art Center project is completely out of the realm of possibly moving forward, but that the Palos Verdes Art Center is considering other site alternatives. He continued that the Annenberg Foundation needs to know that the City accepts the plan conceptually, but that more information is needed in order to move forward.
Recess and Reconvene
Mayor Long called a brief recess between 10:17 A.M. and 10:28 A.M.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated that he perceived the goal has been decreased in importance based on the new milestones stated within the goal.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if Milestone No. 4 was related to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) training.
Deputy City Manager Petru responded that was correct and stated further that City staff, fire personnel, and sheriff personnel have already completed NIMS training during the last year.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if the NIMS training at the management level was similar to the SIMS training that the Council received previously.
Deputy City Manager Petru answered in the affirmative.
Councilman Gardiner inquired about Milestone Nos. 1, 2, and 4.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the intent of Milestone No. 1 was to better prepare the public for disasters, No. 2 was to better assist in responses with the radio tower and No. 4 would provide necessary supplies in order to sustain emergency operations until help or assistance arrived.
Mayor Long indicated that small steps towards emergency preparedness were important so the Council would know what to do in case of an emergency. He suggested that the City consider whether it should provide enough water and supplies to sustain the residents until help could arrive.
Councilman Clark noted that the community should be able to see the City’s emergency plan on the website, including a master plan for evacuation, instead of just stating that the Council had gone through NIMS training or erected a radio tower.
Deputy City Manager Petru acknowledged that the City’s website is to be updated, but noted that fixed evacuation routes should not be posted, as these are incident specific.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that staff should update the City’s emergency plan to comply with NIMS and provide the City Council with training to be familiar with the plan.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, that the Council should confirm this Tactical Goal and the milestones as listed with the addition of a fifth milestone to improve communication with the public regarding the City’s emergency preparedness programs. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Eastview School District
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, that a milestone should be added to this Tactical Goal to allow Eastview residents to be able to vote in the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District (PVPUSD) School Board elections.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that there should be a milestone to attempt to set up a meeting with the President of the PVPUSD Board to discuss this goal.
Councilman Clark moved to reverse the order of milestones regarding the order of holding of the following meetings hosted by Assembly Member Betty Karnette, such that the first meeting would be with representatives of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the second meeting would be with representatives from PVPUSD.
Mayor Long stated that the first meeting was to be held before May 30, 2007, with LAUSD and the second meeting was to be held before June 30, 2007, with PVPUSD. He suggested that a third milestone be added regarding meeting dates with the respective school district presidents and boards.
Mayor Long stated that even though there was no date certain for pursuing a school district boundary adjustment through the County process, the Council would like to see a draft of the proposed boundary change.
A roll call vote on the amended motion reflecting the following:
AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
City Grant Requests Budget Policy Issue
Deputy City Manager Petru presented a staff report regarding the City grant requests for the next two fiscal years and explained a handout outlining the various requests and the grants awarded in the last two years. She noted there was one additional request for an unspecified amount from the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District. She explained that staff had attempted to contact the Kiwanis Club, which had requested a grant for the first time last year, but did not obtain a response from them this year, and had entered a zero on the chart next to that organization. She concluded that the City had a total of $41,250 for grant funding, whereas last year the grant amount was $34,300.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired what the specified criterion was for the award of grants; if the organization must provide a financial statement or tax return; and, if the dollar amount of administrative costs towards salaries was identified by the organization.
Deputy City Manager Petru indicated the criterion was that the organization must have non-profit 501(c)3 status and that they must provide evidence of that to the City prior to funding.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if providing a City Grant to an organization with 501(c)3 status would be considered a gift of public funds.
Mayor Long opened the floor for public comments regarding City Grant requests and informed the speakers that because the Council had previously received their written proposals they would have three minutes to answer questions rather than restate their request for grants.
Deputy City Manager Petru noted that she had 11 requests to speak on this item and she had received a request from the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay to speak first, as their representative had another meeting to attend.
Gary Brumfield and Mary Kaleta Oksenkrug, Animal Lovers of South Bay, stated that they care for the feral cat colony at White Point and Eastview parks and attempt to reduce the colony of cats through sterilization and adoption where possible and keep the area clean. They noted that they would like to use the funds to educate the public to spay and neuter cats and to help stop the dumping or abandoning of cats at local parks, which is occurring at an increasing rate.
Councilman Clark inquired if their focus was mostly on cats or if there was any work done with dogs.
Ms. Kaleta Oksenkrug stated that the dogs were taken care of by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). She noted that Petco awarded the Animal Lovers of South Bay organization $1,400, but the organization’s veterinary bills alone outweighed the Petco donation.
Councilman Clark noted that the amount requested was $800 and he suggested that Animal Lovers of South Bay request grants from local veterinarians as well as Petco, to cover the cost of veterinary bills and pet food.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the requested grants to the following organizations for the following amounts:
Animal Lovers of South Bay - $800
A roll call vote reflected unanimous approval.
Robert Miller, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, stated that their organization was a non-profit organization and the only orchestra in the area that did not have administrative costs. He noted they operated solely on a volunteer basis and explained that they have applied to the City of Rolling Hills Estates for a grant, but had yet to hear from them. He requested a grant in the amount of $750.
Councilman Clark noted that the South Bay was comprised of 16 cities and asked if the orchestra had members from all of the cities in the South Bay area.
Mr. Miller explained that their orchestra included members from all South Bay cities except Torrance, which has its own orchestra and funding. He added that they supported the Palos Verdes Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark to approve a $750 grant to the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Marilyn Katherman, Dance Peninsula Ballet, thanked the Council for the grant monies received for FY07-08.
Rick Paares, Harbor Community Clinic, reported that they currently operated Monday through Thursday, but hoped to begin offering services on Fridays in the month of July, and so were requesting additional funding for that reason.
Councilman Clark asked what the present funding sources were for the Harbor Community Clinic.
Councilman Clark commented that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes was comprised of 41,000 residents, whereas the City of Los Angeles had millions of residents. He suggested that the Harbor Community Clinic consider requesting funding from the City of Los Angeles.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Mr. Paares stated that about 6% of Rancho Palos Verdes residents were served by the organization.
Catherine Grove, H.E.L.P., explained that her organization provides education and counseling for the elderly and their families; provides a “listen and help” program where emails, calls, and advice is given to residents; and, provides referrals to area services to meet individual needs. She indicated that as the Administrator of the organization she received a salary, but the people that answered phones and provided services to the community did not receive salaries.
Larry Weeks, Palos Verdes Symphonic Band, stated that the band has existed for 35 years and is excited to be attracting new members. He explained his organization was requesting a $1,200 grant to help cover the musician’s stipends and the updating of the music library. He added that the City of Rolling Hills Estates awarded them a grant of $1,000, but the City of Palos Verdes Estates had declined to award a grant.
Kathy Gould, Executive Director, Palos Verdes Library District, indicated that their initial request for the PV Library Annex was $10,000. She explained the PV Library Annex project as a joint venture between the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District (PVPLD) and the Freedom For You organization which provides youth services including games, movie nights, and other youth activities. She explained that the Library Annex has direct operating costs of $95,000, which includes $23,000 for security costs, rent and utilities; and with a receipt of $5,000 from private donations. She indicated the award of a grant would help support equipment purchases and the maintenance of that equipment.
Councilman Clark stated that he was receptive to the organization’s request, but had concerns regarding the amount of money requested in light of the fact that the PVPLD has private donors that support not only the Annex but the library as well.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if a number of the youth that participate in the program are “latch key kids.”
Ms. Gould replied that most of the youth are “latch key kids” that need after school programs and outlets where they can stay out of trouble and have supervision in a controlled environment. She noted that the Annex as well as the main library provides this service to the community.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Ms. Gould stated that the space they currently occupy is sufficient and the City of Rolling Hills Estates has insured them that the owner of The Village shopping center where the Annex is located will provide the same space allotment as a component of the Master Plan for the Peninsula Village Overlay project.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Ms. Gould indicated that they were confident that their lease would continue for one to two years at its current location. She reported that the PVPLD’s annual budget is roughly $6 Million and that it serves 500 to 600 kids weekly during the peak hours of 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and clarified that the grant request before Council was solely for the Annex operations. She noted that the Annex as a part of a public institution does not solicit funds from the parents of the children who attend because they want to make the site available to all who need the service.
Councilman Clark inquired if the organization planned to function in a manner similar to the Y.M.C.A. or the Boy’s Club.
Ms. Gould indicated that they were formulating some programs similar to those entities and noted that they did not currently have an affiliation with either the YMCA or the Boys’ & Girls’ Club.
Responding to Councilman Clark, Ms. Gould stated that most of the youth that come to the Annex seem to be too old for day care and too young to drive.
Ken Dyda, Peninsula Seniors, thanked the City Council for their support.
Jim Paterson, South Bay Chamber Society, thanked the City Council for their support.
Jann Hamilton Lee, South Bay Family Healthcare, reported that they currently have 4 clinics in operation located in Inglewood, Manhattan Beach, Carson and Gardena, and they provide free medications, pre-natal care, health education and community support services. She noted they were requesting $5,000 from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the grant would be spent on direct care of those residents, with no associated administrative costs.
Responding to Councilman Gardiner and Councilman Clark, Ms. Lee explained that the grant monies would go directly to costs incurred by residents of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes which is tracked by address and zip code information.
Connie McFall, S.H.A.W.L., thanked the Council for their continuing support.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he would recuse himself from the vote on the grant for the South Bay Youth Project because his wife provides independent contractor services for that organization.
Councilman Clark recused himself from the vote on the grant for the S.H.A.W.L. organization.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the $5,000 grant for South Bay Family Healthcare for care of Rancho Palos Verdes residents. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Long, for a reconsideration of the grant to the Animal Lovers organization, increasing it by $200 to $1,000. The motion passed, with Mayor Pro Tem Stern dissenting.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to approve the grant of $10,000 to the PVPLD Annex.
Council discussion of the PV Library Annex ensued with discussions of support for the project, suggestions that PVPLD might consider a partnership with the YMCA and/or the Boys & Girls Club for additional funding, and an inquiry regarding a possible invitation to an Annex board meeting.
A roll call vote on the PV Library Annex grant reflected unanimous approval.
Recess and Reconvene
Mayor Long called a lunch recess from 12:26 p.m. to 1:06 p.m.
Budget Policy Issues Workshop
Director of Finance and IT McLean presented the Revenue Alternative staff report and explained that the Finance Department has prepared a matrix to facilitate the discussion of revenues, expenditures and income. He addressed revenue alternatives from the matrix and indicated that staff’s recommendation was for the City to implement a cost-based fee increase in FY07-08 of 10% and at least a 50% increase in the rental rates of the Multi-Purpose Room at Point Vicente Interpretive Center (PVIC) as well as the review of rental rates of other City facilities.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that the annual Sewer Fees assessed by the County are not sufficient to set aside monies for a preventative sewer line replacement program. He noted that he was troubled that the City owns the deteriorating infrastructure and inquired if a sinking fund should be created to establish a systematic sewer line replacement program.
Director McLean replied that the City does own the sewer infrastructure, but cautioned that Director of Public Works Bell was not present at this meeting and noted he was the only staff member who has had direct conversations with the Los Angeles Sanitation District on this topic.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if residents would receive an increase in the annual Sewer Fee from the County. He requested a report from the Public Works Department on the status of sewer maintenance and the related costs of repair.
Director McLean replied that the only way to know would be to inquire of the County directly.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if the City was restricted as to the amount of rental rates it could charge at PVIC.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that there was not a restriction since a rental fee would not be a cost-based fee and the service provided was not a mandatory service.
Recreation Services Manager Holly Starr reported that she checked comparable rental rates at other South Bay beach cities and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes was 40% below the average rate that is being charged.
Councilman Clark noted that the purpose of PVIC is not primarily as a profit center, but noted that the rental rates should be raised to be more in line with surrounding communities.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that since the site is being rented out, it will have some wear and tear and noted that the City should capture revenue for at least refurbishing the facility when it is needed.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if there could be a 2-tier fee rate schedule, one for residents and one for non-residents.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that there could be a differential in rental rates, but since the City of Rancho Palos Verdes received some grant monies for the facility the differential in rental rates could not be too high.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that based on the potential prospect of losing the Storm Drain User Fee in November 2007 and a share of the City of Rolling Hills Estates’ sales tax in 2010, he proposed to direct staff to seek a recommendation from the Finance Advisory Committee and staff as to how revenue will be made up as shown on Circle page 5, Items 3 and 4 of the staff report.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to reorder the agenda and consider the issue of Employee Compensation and Pension before continuing with discussion of Revenue Alternatives.
Employee Compensation and Pension
City Manager Lehr presented the staff report and discussed the desire of the Council to pay employees a competitive rate in order to attract and retain the expected level of staff talent. She indicated that she had reviewed the personnel costs and considered the costs and savings proposal for the FY07-08 report. She reported an annual cost savings of as much as $170,000 if the City were to bring the Building Safety inspection services in-house and noted that Finance staff was suggesting the refinance of the side fund liability for the pension fund which would realize an additional annual savings of $20,000. She reported on the FAC recommendations of a change in the pension plan from 2% at 55 to a 2.5% at 55 formula with a cost of $64,000; the adoption of a defined contribution post retirement health care account to bring the employee benefits package to the mid-range level of comparable cities. She noted that the FAC recommended a current salary survey be performed, since the last survey was performed in 2002.
Councilman Gardiner stated that if verification of the numbers can be done and staff is content with the plan, he was in favor of it.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that he agreed with Councilman Gardiner and suggested looking at other opportunities for cost savings across the board on an ongoing basis and as part of the Management Audit.
Deputy City Manager Petru reported that evaluation of cost savings was being performed on an ongoing basis and cited the conversion of the View Restoration staff from contract to in-house employees as an example of cost saving measures that have been implemented.
Councilman Clark stated that he was definitely in favor of the defined contribution post retirement health care program in light of the rising costs of health care.
Councilman Wolowicz reiterated that he was not in favor of cancelling the defined benefit employee pension plan for existing employees, but expressed concern with defined benefit plans in general. He indicated that there are continuing discussions at the State level regarding the reform of the State employee pension plan and the State legislature is proposed to take a position on the matter by January 2008. He noted that historically unfunded vested defined pension benefit plans have been problematic for major corporations in the United States. He stated that he was in favor of the defined contribution post retirement health care program as presented, but was not certain he was in favor of both the post retirement health care program and an enhanced pension plan.
Mayor Long stated that it clouded the focus to bring in the decision to go in-house with the Building Safety inspection services with the change to the pension plan, because the two were not related. He indicated it also clouded the focus to discuss the actions the State may take in the future. He noted that the real question focuses on the rationale of comparing the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to other cities regarding employee retention.
The Council discussed various aspects of the CalPERS employee retirement plan.
Director McLean indicated that CalPERS has implemented a smoothing formula over 15 years to minimize volatility in employer contribution rates. He explained that although the employer rate would not fluctuate from year to year, the number of employees might which would affect the yearly cost to the City.
Mayor Long commented that he found the charts included in the staff report to be confusing and indicated that he believed the formulas should not have been mixed.
Councilman Clark noted that on circle page 21 of the staff report the Finance Advisory Committee’s (FAC) recommendation for the employee pension and post-retirement health care plan was discussed.
Director McLean explained the different options that were presented to the FAC and noted that the 2.5% at 55 formula with a 2% salary contribution by the employee was the option that was chosen by the employees and is what is being proposed to City Council.
Mayor Long inquired how the 2% salary contribution opposed to a 7% salary contribution was chosen.
John Bartel, City pension consultant, explained that the employees chose the plan based on the comparative study that was presented to them.
Kit Fox, Karen Peterson, Matt Waters, Holly Star, Gina Park, and Nancie Silver, City employees, spoke in favor of the proposed employee pension and post-retirement health care plan.
There was Council discussion regarding the issues related to employee pensions and a post-retirement health plan.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to vote separately on the pension, post-retirement health care plan, and salary survey.
Councilman Wolowicz moved to amend the employee pension plan to include the highest three years of employee salary to be considered in the formula. The motion died for a lack of a second.
Councilman Wolowicz moved to adopt any change made by the State of California pension plan to the City pension plan. The motion died for a lack of a second.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the FAC recommendation of a 2.5% at 55 with a 2% salary contribution by the employee.
A roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor Long
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the FAC recommendation on the post-retirement defined contribution health care plan. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the FAC recommendation on the Salary Survey. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to refinance the side fund liability and use the excess in the Employee Benefit fund balance to pay down the debt before refinancing the balance of the debt. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Recess and Reconvene
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 3:09 p.m. to 3:23 p.m.
Director McLean presented information regarding the FAC’s recommendation to consider providing health benefits for the part-time employees.
Mayor Long suggested that staff contact the City’s insurance broker to see what is feasible and report back to Council.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he supported the FAC’s consideration of providing health benefits for the part-time employees.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that staff be directed to consult with the City’s broker and to conduct a survey to see if other public entities are providing health benefits to their part-time employees.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to direct staff to contact the City’s insurance broker on health benefits for part-time employees and report the findings to Council for consideration.
A roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
Employee Compensation Budget Policy Issue
Deputy City Manager Petru presented a brief staff report. She explained that the City adjusts employees’ compensation within established salary ranges, each of which has a cap. She explained that out of 49 full time employees, 10% of them have reached that cap and cannot receive a merit increase, but could receive a bonus for exceptional performance. She reported that the City uses a salary range pay scale instead of a stepped pay scale like most cities.
Mayor Long restated his understanding of the staff report as the following: the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment is 3.5%; staff was recommending a 7% merit pool and a 1.5% bonus pool; and that of the 7% merit increase, 3.5% of that amount is for the CPI adjustment.
Responding to Councilman Clark, staff indicated that the City does not provide employees with an automatic pay increase for the cost of living.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he was not prepared to make a decision without knowing how the City of Rancho Palos Verdes compared to other cities of a similar size and characteristics.
Director McLean suggested that Council review the FAC report as the information was contained within that document.
Councilman Clark indicated that an annual adjustment to the salary ranges was to keep the City’s salaries competitive, relative to the cost of living. He moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Bonus Pool of 1.5% to a maximum of $60,000.
Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to direct staff to look at whether the CPI adjustment should be automatic rather than part of the merit pool and compare what other cities are doing in this regard; and to look at whether the total merit pool should be 7% or some other amount. A roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to review the full benefits provided to employees to be considered over the next year. A roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, and Wolowicz
Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to defer the one-time capital projects until the Budget Review session in May. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, for a reconsideration of the motion, so that staff be allowed to describe each capital project so that it can be discussed at the May 29, 2007 Budget Review Workshop. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Revenue Alternatives Budget Policy Issue
Council’s discussion returned to the Revenue Alternatives Budget Policy Issue.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to increase the City’s cost-based fees by 10%, not including any parking fees. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to direct staff to increase the rental rates at PVIC by 50% and maintain a 2-tier rate system for residents and non-residents; and to review rates at all other similar City facilities, excluding any parking fees, and bring back a recommendation on all rates to Council. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to postpone the discussion debt financing until after the November 2007 General Municipal Election. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to receive and file the remainder of the FAC’s report on revenue alternatives.
Councilman Clark moved a substitute motion, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to direct staff to bring back to Council this calendar year a discussion of the revenue options for Grandview Park. A roll call vote reflected the motion failed:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz,
Due to the failure of the substitute motion, Mayor Long declared that the original motion passed without objection.
Pavement Management Program Budget Policy Issue
Deputy Finance Director Downs presented a brief staff report. She reported that the Public Works Department staff recommends funding the arterial pavement program primarily with Proposition C revenue, and funding the paving maintenance of Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) in the Portuguese Bend landslide area primarily with General fund monies. She stated that the City would like to keep the pavement index at a “very good” rate of 82%.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the staff request to primarily fund the arterial pavement management program at the current index using Proposition C and other State and Federal funds, and to use General funds to pay for the PVDS landslide road repairs. Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Deputy Finance Director Downs stated that the paving of Hawthorne Boulevard was included in the $1.2 million Proposition C fund.
Responding to Councilman Clark, staff indicated that the City of Rolling Hills Estates prohibits the use of large trucks on Crenshaw Boulevard within its jurisdiction.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to bring back other pavement management issues regarding City streets and the Terranea project until the Director of Public Works would be available during the budget process.
Management Audit Budget Policy Issue
City Manager Lehr indicated that the City of Rolling Hills Estates recently performed an organizational audit. She explained that the City of Rolling Hills Estates paid $35,000 for an incremental study, but staff estimated a fully comprehensive study would be in the range of $100,000 to $120,000.
Councilman Clark noted that he wanted a Request for Information (RFI) done for a fully comprehensive study of the entire City, not an incremental or piece-meal study.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, City Manager Lehr stated that the study would address the issue of the appropriate level of City staffing.
Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to direct staff to bring back to Council more specific information regarding the costs associated with an incremental or comprehensive study. Without objections, Mayor Long so ordered.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to adjourn the meeting at 5:30 p.m.
/s/ Thomas D. Long
/s/ Carla Morreale