JUNE 19, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES JUNE 19, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES































JUNE 19, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
SPECIAL MEETING/REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 19, 2007

The Special Meeting was called to order at 6:36 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, notice having been given with affidavit thereto on file.  The Mayor had previously called a Special Meeting so that items on the Regular Meeting agenda, other than Public Hearings, could be considered between 6:30-7:00 P.M. due to the large number of agenda items.  The Regular Meeting followed immediately after the Special Meeting with no Public Hearings held until 7:00 P.M.

City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT:   Clark*, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
ABSENT:      None

                        *Councilman Clark arrived at 6:45 P.M. and left the meeting at 12:18 A.M.

Also present were City Manager Carolyn Lehr, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Deputy City Manager Carolynn Petru, Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas, Director of Public Works Jim Bell, Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Deputy Director of Finance/Information Technology Kathryn Downs, Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost, Senior Engineer Ron Dragoo, Associate Planner Kit Fox and City Clerk Carla Morreale.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Flag Salute was led by Mayor Long.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

None.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Long announced that the recyclers of the month from the June 5, 2007 Council meeting were Sue Reinhart and Maria Higgins.  He indicated that all winners received a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and he urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Councilman Wolowicz asked that the part of Item 23 that relates to the budget be included with the other budget items.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda as amended with Item 22 presented in conjunction with Item 19, and Item 23 to be taken up immediately after Item 19.  Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered (absent Councilman Clark).

PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

None.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORT:

Deputy Planning Director Pfost provided an update on the Trump National Clubhouse expansion.

Deputy City Manager Petru reported on efforts to coordinate a meeting between the Council subcommittee, Assemblywoman Karnette, Los Angeles Unified School District Board Members, and Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Board Members regarding the School District boundary issues in the Eastview area. 

Councilman Clark arrived at 6:45 P.M.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that he would be out of town on the proposed date for the joint meeting and the Council agreed that if the date could not be changed that Councilman Wolowicz could attend in his place. 

COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, City Manager Lehr reported that the Johnson matter at 58 Avenida Corona was to be agendized in the near future.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, City Manager Lehr indicated that an update regarding girls’ softball fields at Upper Hesse Park were scheduled to be discussed at the second meeting in July.

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Mayor Long requested that Item 8 be removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Councilman Wolowicz requested that Items 7 and 15 be discussed in conjunction with the budget item.

Councilman Gardiner requested that Item 11 be removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration and that Items 8 and 11 be considered immediately after the Consent Calendar.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern received clarification from Deputy City Manager Petru that five of the tax-defaulted lots referred to in Item 14 were fragments of private driveways or private roads on Surrey Lane, in the Portuguese Bend area, and on Via Campesina, which staff indicated there was no value in attempting to obtain them for public use.
 
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar with Items 7, 8, 11 and 15 removed for separate consideration.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

AYES:             Clark, Gardiner, Stern*, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None  
ABSTAIN:      None
ABSENT:       None

*Mayor Pro Tem Stern abstained from the approval of the February 20, 2007 minutes due to his late arrival at that meeting.

EMERGENCY ROAD RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT (1204 X 1404)
Palos Verdes Drive South Landslide (East End) Road Reconstruction
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on June 5, 2007, authorizing staff to proceed with emergency repairs to the roadway along Palos Verdes Drive South within the Portuguese Bend Landslide.
OTHER CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS:
Motion to Waive Full Reading

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.

Approval of the Minutes (301)

Approved the Minutes of the February 20, 2007 Regular Meeting and March 6, 2007 Regular Meeting, with Mayor Pro Tem Stern abstaining from the approval of the February 20, 2007 Minutes.
Adopt Resolution for Residential Street Overlay and Slurry Seal Project (Area 9) (1204 X1404)

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-66, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2006-41, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006-2007, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT OF $75,000 TO THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (CIP) FUND AND THE GENERAL FUND.

Revisions to the Fourth Amendment to the Operating Agreement between the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (1203 X 1411)

Authorized the Mayor to sign a revised, amended Operating Agreement with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) to assign the habitat maintenance responsibility for the portions of the open space lots in the Oceanfront Estates community that are part of the Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) preserve to the PVPLC.

Energy Efficient Lighting Retrofit Contract (1601)  

1) Approved the Specifications and Instructions for Energy Efficient Lighting Retrofit Services; 2) Awarded Construction Contract to Sylvania Lighting Services, Inc. in the amount of $42,574 for the Energy Efficient Lighting Retrofit services and authorize an expenditure of up to $8,500 for possible extra work; and, 3) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the contract with Sylvania Lighting Services, Inc.

Traffic Engineering Services Contract (1204 X 1502)

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Case No. ZON2005-00536 (General Plan Amendment, Coastal Specific Plan Amendment, Zone Change, Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 67532, Coastal Permit, Variance, Grading Permit [Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5], Height Variation Application [Lots 3, 4, and 5], and Environmental Assessment) and ZON2006-00180 through 00182 (Height Variation for Lots 3 through 5); Property Owner: Dana Ireland; Site Address: West of Nantasket Drive, between Beachview Drive and Sea Cove Drive [APN:7573-014-013] (701 X 1203)

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Contract for Building and Safety Services (201)

Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a professional services agreement with Charles Abbott Associates Inc. to provide building inspection and plan check services to the City.

Extension of View Restoration Mediator and Arborist Professional Services Contracts (1806)

1) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a professional services agreement with the View Restoration Arborist, Mr. David Hayes, for professional arboriculture services in an amount not to exceed $2,000 annually for two (2) years; and, 2) Authorized the renewal of the existing contract with the City’s View Restoration Mediator, Ms. Coleen Berg, for an amount not to exceed $40,000 annually for an additional two (2) years.

Contract Renewal for Geotechnical Consulting Services (1203)

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Extension of Contract Service Agreement for On-Call Biological Consulting Services (1203)

Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute an extension of the professional services agreement with David Magney Environmental Consulting to provide on-call biological consulting services on an as-needed basis to the City for an additional one-year period.

City Maintenance Contract Extensions (1204 X 1405 X 1407 X 701)

Approved a three-year extension on the contract for Sidewalk Grinding to Central Coast Surface Grinding, Inc. (CCSG).  Approved one year extensions on the contracts for FY07-08 for the following companies: Republic Electric for signal maintenance, Hardy & Harper for roadway maintenance, TruGreen Landscape for roadside and park and trail maintenance, West Coast Arborist for tree maintenance, and Nationwide Environmental Services for street sweeping.
 
Purchase of Tax Defaulted Property (950)

Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to sign an Agreement to Purchase Tax-Defaulted Property for a 0.17-acre vacant parcel located at the end of East Crest Road, adjacent to the Federal radar dome facility at San Pedro Hill.

2.5% @ 55 Employee Retirement Formula Resolution of Intention (1202)

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-67, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.

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Items Removed from the Consent Calendar:

Case No. ZON2005-00536 (General Plan Amendment, Coastal Specific Plan Amendment, Zone Change, Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 67532, Coastal Permit, Variance, Grading Permit [Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5], Height Variation Application [Lots 3, 4, and 5], and Environmental Assessment) and ZON2006-00180 through 00182 (Height Variation for Lots 3 through 5); Property Owner: Dana Ireland; Site Address: West of Nantasket Drive, between Beachview Drive and Sea Cove Drive [APN:7573-014-013] (701 x 1203)

Mayor Long inquired if it was necessary to have a full denial of this project with the applicant returning to the Planning Commission for consideration.  He noted it was his recollection that the Council did not intend for the applicant to start over again but rather to have the Planning Commission take another look at the existing application and changes the applicant might be willing to make.

Councilman Clark reported that he had previously abstained from the item and recused himself from Council Chambers.

City Attorney Lynch reported that staff had struggled with inconsistent Council direction but had concluded that Council granted the applicant the option to pursue the project under the existing Commercial Recreation designation with the possibility of a Bed and Breakfast component or similar establishment.  She stated that staff’s understanding was that the Council denied the application of the change of zoning to RS-4 because they felt it was too dense, but decided that RS-2 or RS-3 zoning was appropriate.  She added that the resolution could be amended if staff’s understanding did not reflect Council’s intent.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that it was not his intent that the applicant should have to start over and pay the fees again.

Planning Director Rojas clarified that the review process would be essentially the same whether the project was remanded back to the Planning Commission or denied, except for the payment of new fees.

City Attorney Lynch suggested Council deny the project without prejudice as RS-4 zoning would be allowed with a smaller scale project.

Members of the Council indicated that their issue with the project was density and Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked that staff, in that context, suggest how to fold in a quasi-neighborhood compatibility analysis.

Planning Director Rojas pointed out that to perform a neighborhood compatibility analysis that involves properties in different zoning districts would require an amendment to the City’s neighborhood compatibility guidelines.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that if the applicant made the project less dense it would match the current policies and guidelines.

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to deny the project without prejudice and remand it back to the Planning Commission with the stipulation that the applicant would not be required to pay additional fees and that he attempt to design a project that would address the concerns of the Council.    

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Councilman Clark returned to Council Chambers after discussion of this item. 

Contract Renewal for Geotechnical Consulting Services (1203)

Councilman Gardiner noted that it had been ten years since the City had sent out a bid for the contract for geotechnical consulting services.  He stated he was not happy with the current service or the presentation made at the Landslide Moratorium workshop.

Staff and Council discussed the contract renewal.  Director Rojas explained that Zeiser Kling had presented a short report at the workshop at staff’s direction and explained that the technical difficulties experienced there were not the fault of Zeiser Kling.  He reported that City staff has worked with Zeiser Kling for many years and they are pleased with the day-to-day work product of the firm.  He indicated that Zeiser Kling staff is very knowledgeable of the City’s requirements and has, over the years, made procedural changes to facilitate processes for residents.
                                                                                   
Mayor Long stated that he favored renewal of the contract with Zeiser Kling as he indicated there was value in the knowledge the firm had regarding the issues of the area and value to continuity.  He reported that he was pleased with the independent advice of Zeiser Kling even in the face of concerns of the community, noting that every geologist at the workshop reaffirmed the City Geologist’s opinion despite much pressure from community members.  He noted that changing consultants would send a message that the City wanted to hear only what they wanted to hear, rather than the best professional advice.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he disagreed that changing consultants would send such a message and indicated that he wanted clear, science-based information from the geologists. 

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, City Attorney Lynch explained that Mr. McLarty and Mr. Tofani, both experts in the Monks’ case, were not at the Landslide Moratorium workshop since the City wanted to insure that their independence was not compromised.

Councilman Wolowicz acknowledged that reliability on a day-to-day basis was important.  He indicated he was not satisfied with the presentation at the workshop and pointed out the necessity of a succinct presentation that was understandable to the community.  He agreed that an RFP should be sent out, so that residents realize the City is not complacent.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to approve the staff recommendation.  

Councilman Wolowicz moved to amend the motion to ensure that the contract went out for RFP by June 30, 2009.

Councilman Clark pointed out that it was not fair to promise something for future Councils.

Councilman Wolowicz withdrew the amendment.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to authorize 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.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            Gardiner
ABSTAIN:      None
ABSENT:       None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Amendment to Revision "BB" to the Trump National Golf Course (1411)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and no written protests were received and there were no requests to speak on the item.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that the developer had planted trees along the western side of the driving range which violated the conditions of the project.  He indicated that the developer must either remove the trees or amend the conditions of the project.

Councilman Gardiner stated that the trees should be removed immediately as they were blocking the ocean views of several of the residences in the area.

Deputy Planning Director Pfost reported that the request for a permit for the trees as well as the flagpole would be considered at the July 17, 2007 City Council meeting.

Councilman Wolowicz requested that the developer be present at that meeting.

Council Members expressed concern regarding the developer’s trend of asking for approval of projects after-the-fact and Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested that the developer have the trees removed by the July 17, 2007 City Council meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the public hearing to the July 17, 2007 City Council meeting.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Code Amendment (Case No. ZON2006-00082): An Amendment to Title 17 (Zoning) to Preserve Opportunities for Future Horsekeeping in the City’s Equestrian Overlay (Q) Districts) [Continued from May 1, 2007] (1801 x 1808)

City Clerk Morreale reported that the public hearing was continued from May 1, 2007, late correspondence was distributed prior to the meeting, written protests were included with the staff report, and there were ten requests to speak on the item.
    
Responding to Councilman Gardiner, City Attorney Lynch advised that Mayor Pro Tem Stern and Councilman Gardiner should recuse themselves from the discussion of this item and leave the dais, and they did so.   

Associate Planner Fox provided a summary staff report.

Warren Sweetnam, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he believed the current system worked well, but if changes had to be made he indicated the current Planning Commission proposal was reasonable, and he did not want to see mandatory restrictions as he felt they would decrease property values.

Ray VanDinther, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed support for the staff recommendation noting that there was an advantage to preserving horsekeeping in Rancho Palos Verdes and maintaining a semi-rural lifestyle in an area totally overtaken by concrete and bricks.  She stated she was disturbed by the use of the word “mandatory” by a small group of people to make residents think they had to keep a horse.

Mark Jacobowitz, Palos Verdes Peninsula Horsemen’s Association, representing 500 members including many Rancho Palos Verdes residents, reported that they supported the amendment as they believed a mandatory restriction was necessary.  He pointed out that the area was being eroded each time a property was built in a manner that made the property incompatible for equestrian purposes, and over time horses would not be allowed in the area.

Bonnie Fine, speaking on the behalf of the Smith Family Trust, stated that she did not support mandatory provisions.  She indicated support of voluntary provisions noting that improvements and better access to trails would add to horsekeeping in the area and stables were more user friendly than keeping horses on residential property.  She explained that residents should be able to develop property as they wish and reported that the Planning Commission concluded there was no evidence that horsekeeping had been lost in the area.

Responding to Mayor Long, Ms. Fine indicated that she was not aware of plans to subdivide the Smith Family Trust property and noted that it would depend on who was building as to whether the property would be kept for horsekeeping.

Anna Chu, Rancho Palos Verdes, supported the staff recommendation for controlling overdevelopment of the equestrian overlay district as she saw a need to maintain the small pocket as an equestrian zone of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Michael VanHillat, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted he did not want to see a mandatory restriction imposed in the equestrian zone and suggested that the Planning Commission make decisions on an individual project basis.  He questioned the logic of having those Council Members who live in the area having to recuse themselves.

Doug Maupin, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that the Equestrian Committee came up with good solutions regarding the importance of eliminating the 35 foot setback on equestrian properties, which allowed more useable space on lots and encouraged horsekeeping.  He stated that there were many opportunities for horsekeeping without making it mandatory. 

Gordon Leon, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that the proposed modification to the setback requirements of 35 feet would be a tremendous help for maintaining horsekeeping in the equestrian district; and reported that the Equestrian Committee had been actively working on the trails to provide an effective network of trails to support the equestrians in the area.

Richard Bara, Rancho Palos Verdes, clarified that the original proposed Code Amendment language would only affect projects of new construction, reconstruction, tear downs, rebuilds, and major reconstructions; but opposition letters and petitions implied that every property would be affected.  He indicated that many requirements were gradually compromised out and staff was recommending consideration of only new subdivisions, which equated to approximately 209 properties being affected.  He explained that there had been much discussion regarding how many horses were currently in the area.  He stated the issue was not how many horses were now present, but instead, how many there were 10 years ago and how many there would be in the future.

Madeline Ryan, Rancho Palos Verdes, inquired whether the Council wanted horses in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes or not, and noted that the only way to ensure the continuance of the equestrian “Q” zone was through restrictive measures.  She reported that four properties in the last three years engaged in lot line adjustments, which resulted in the loss of zoning for the keeping of horses for those properties.  She suggested that homeowners who want to use every inch of their buildable space should be required to apply for a variance to be heard before the Planning Commission so that the City can measure what it is losing.  She pointed out that the City did not keep records specific to equestrian areas lost, but stated it was important to preserve the equestrian “Q” zone as the forefathers had intended, by adopting more stringent codes.
 
Kay Bara, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that she hoped the Council would work towards the adoption of more firm restrictions in the future noting that square footage restrictions have been used effectively by other cities.  She commented that much money and effort was being put into the open space preserve, but soon there would be no horses on the trails. 

Michael Cotter, Rancho Palos Verdes, President of the Road Association, noted that most people were not happy about restrictions being placed on their properties in order to accommodate horses and expressed concern about the homeowners with small houses who would not be able to increase the square footage of their homes.

Lynne Amano, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed hope that the Council would preserve the horsekeeping areas of the City.

Dave Wall, Rancho Palos Verdes, pointed out that the proposed legislation did not address the topography of the lots and he saw that as a serious defect.  He objected to the proposal and cited safety issues created by pedestrians, cyclists, and horses on Palos Verdes Drive East.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to approve the staff recommendation. 

Councilman Wolowicz commented that slightly misleading phrases had created misunderstanding in the community.  He noted that he did not support changing the rules for property owners after-the-fact, but did support the concept of incentives and hoped the new regulations would give people incentives to follow the rules.  He indicated that the legislation would resolve the issue and noted that the City had made a commitment to open space and had provided opportunities for horses. 

Councilman Clark stated that the proposal before Council made sense and that the time and effort of the community, the Equestrian Committee, the Planning Commission and staff had paid off with the proposal of a voluntary and incentive driven approach to address the issue.  He commented that only time would tell as to whether the community wanted an equestrian “Q” zone or not and suggested amending the motion to add a sunset of five years on the Code change so Council could review the matter to see what impact it has had on the community at that time.

Mayor Long supported the motion and wanted mandatory language included for lots to be subdivided.  He noted that he believed incentives would not work in the long run nor did he believe that zoning regulations should be voluntary.  He cautioned against letting people build to the maximum possible on their lots, citing Manhattan Beach as a negative example of such building, and pointed out that other areas like Palos Verdes Estates had (Floor Area Ratios) FARs in order to limit development.  He noted that some people in the community wanted to preserve open space, which includes the open space around their homes, and expressed concern that the line would become blurred over time and that restrictions should not be limited to the “Q” district.

Councilman Clark stated that a Council subcommittee was established to deal with neighborhood compatibility to eliminate the unintended consequences of gradual overdevelopment by analyzing the impact on neighborhoods and residents.  He noted that a maximum square footage provision was removed because it was inequitable to residents.  He stated that the proposal was a reasonable approach to amend the current Code in the equestrian district and to give incentives to promote the retention of equestrian use and horsekeeping, but it was not mandated, which was an aspect many residents opposed.

Mayor Long clarified that the previous square footage limitation was not dependent on the size of the lot which was the aspect that made it inequitable and observed that Palos Verdes Estates had a FAR limit.  He supported the motion though he believed it to be ineffective as it would not succeed in preserving open space because a FAR had not also been created.

City Attorney Lynch noted that since a mandatory component was being added to the language that was not in the proposed ordinance, the item should be continued so that particular language could be added.

Mayor Long moved to amend the motion to add the language under Other Possible Suggested Language section.

The amendment died for lack of a second.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to amend the motion adding the provision of a sunset in five years to reflect on the impact of the Code amendment to the community. 

The motion failed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark and Mayor Long
NOES:            Wolowicz 

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 460, AS AMENDED, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING CHAPTER 17.46 OF TITLE 17 OF THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE (CASE NO. ZON2006-00082) TO ESTABLISH REGULATIONS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FUTURE HORSEKEEPING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CITY’S EQUESTRIAN OVERLAY (Q) DISTRICTS, thereby adopting Addendum No. 16 to Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration (EA/ND) No. 694 and approving the Planning Commission’s recommended ‘Q’ District Code Amendment (Case No. ZON2006-00082).

City Attorney Lynch suggested a minor edit to the ordinance, on Circle Page 6, so that it read “ … the following incentives shall be offered to encourage compliance with …” which was accepted by the maker of the motion.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

AYES:             Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None 

Recess and Reconvene

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 8:43 P.M. to 8:57 P.M.

Councilman Gardiner and Mayor Pro Tem Stern returned to Council Chambers.

Councilman Wolowicz clarified that all the budget issues would be discussed simultaneously to be immediately followed by discussion of the item regarding Channel 33.

Adoption of the City Budget and Employee Salary Ranges for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 (602 X 1202)

City Manager Lehr provided a summary staff report.

Deputy Finance Director Downs provided a presentation on the Five-Year Model.

Responding to Mayor Long, Public Works Director Bell explained that the proposed funding plan for the paving maintenance of arterial roads was to move from 0 to 9%, which maintains the average standard range. 

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Finance Director McLean reported that the growth of property tax revenue has been reduced from 6% beyond 2007-2008, but that the County of Los Angeles had provided information reflecting an expectation of growth of property tax revenue during the 2007-2008.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern commented that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes was not like the rest of the Los Angeles County and did not have the same amount of [property] turnover as the County.

Councilman Wolowicz received clarification that numbers in the two-year budget document and the five-year model were basically the same with a $15,000 difference.  He observed that significant assumptions were included and the ripple effect would be enormous. 

Responding to Mayor Long, Public Works Director Bell stated that the Council had been provided a plan to keep the roads intact and explained that staff had also considered a plan to bring the roads up to optimal condition in six years which would require additional funding of $350,000 annually.

Finance Director McLean reported on pending legislative actions that could include transportation funds, some of which could be allocated to Rancho Palos Verdes, and might enable a reassessment in the near future by Public Works staff.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern indicated that residents expected good quality roads and he questioned why staff did not recommend something as part of this budget and in the Five-Year Model that allocated $2 million towards road maintenance.

Public Works Director Bell explained pavement indexes, noted that the standard could be changed in the future, and commented that he supported pursuing external funding for paving and road maintenance.

Councilman Gardiner and Mayor Long discussed methods to determine whether the City would be in a better position to pay now or pay later.

Staff and the Council discussed whether appeals were cost recoverable and Finance Director McLean reported that a Cost Fee Study conducted about three years ago showed a rate of recovery of about 30% of the City costs.  He estimated that the City had increased the cost recovery of appeal costs up to approximately 10-15%.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the City was allowed to recover out of pocket expenditures.

Councilman Gardiner received clarification about hours allocated to the Finance Advisory Committee; ongoing and one-time expenses; transient expenses; and assurance that there was not double counting on the General Plan Update which would probably end within the next three years.
 
Responding to Mayor Long as to the annual savings of reduced overtime, Deputy Finance Director Downs explained that quite a bit of overtime was not being claimed and most overtime was not paid, but was instead being taken in compensation hours.  She indicated that the 2007-2008 Budget did not include a large decrease in the amount of overtime compared to previous budgets and noted that much overtime was claimed by exempt employees.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern was troubled by the observation of the underreporting of actual overtime work. 

Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern with the decrease to the budget for street repairs.

Deputy Finance Director Downs explained that the 2006-2007 budget of $5 million for pavement included carryovers from previous years.
 
Public Works Director Bell explained that in the past there had been some missed years on paving and the arterials were not maintained properly, but that the model had been adjusted to provide for more of a long term present value projection for residential roadways.  He summarized some of the history of the arterial maintenance and suggested that there could be other methods and funds available to bring the arterial standards up to a higher level. 

Councilman Wolowicz commented on the uncertainty of the City receiving funding from the State.  He posed several questions to Deputy Finance Director Downs who explained that Sheriff figures in the Five Year Model were based on 5% increases and that the 2007-2008 budget would get them to full costs for the newly added traffic enforcement deputies.  She indicated that expenditures were not separated out in the Five-Year Model, but they had a blending assumption.  She explained that non-employee expenditures were anticipated to increase at a rate of 3% each year with 3.25% applied to all expenditures to allow for a higher rate of increase for personnel costs; the City Attorney reduction was due to a decrease in lawsuits; and increases to employee benefits included the enhanced pension benefits formula, the additional employees, and the 7% merit pool for 2007-2008.

Mayor Long requested the staff reports be presented for the next two items, the Traffic Engineering Services Contract and the 2.5% @ 55 Employee Retirement Formula Resolution of Intention, that are being considered in conjunction with the Adoption of the City Budget & Employee Salary Ranges for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 and the 2007 Five-Year Financial Model.

Traffic Engineering Services Contract (1204 X1502)

Public Works Director Bell provided a brief summary staff report.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Public Works Director Bell explained that the budget proposal included only base costs for traffic engineering services.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern received clarification that staff had been reactive in terms of the utilization of the traffic engineer and that there was not an overall proactive game plan to identify problems and solve them before they occurred.

Public Works Director Bell reported that due to community pressure, there had been more concentration on neighborhood quality improvement objectives and projects, which displaced proactive work on safety issues and the opportunity to spend time in the pursuit of grants.  He suggested that staff could return with a menu of future objectives to see what components the Council was interested in.

Mayor Long suggested the possibility of the Traffic Safety Commission reviewing methods to systemically improve safety on Palos Verdes Drive East.  He received clarification that such a component was not currently included in the budget.

Public Works Director Bell emphasized the importance of examining the safety issues and objectives related to Palos Verdes Drive East and formulating a plan of action.  He pointed out that working with the community on design efforts clearly required extra funding.  He estimated that a more detailed initial investigation of safety issues would cost about $15,000 and that more work was needed to present a better overall design package to the City Council, but indicated that it was reasonable to adopt the budget with staff working on a plan as to the best methods to move forward.

Deputy Finance Director Downs explained that money had been allocated in the Fiscal Year 2007-2008 Budget to accomplish the objectives but staff had not yet determined whether they would prefer to hire a full time associate engineer to cover traffic safety issues or use contract services to achieve that goal.

Councilman Wolowicz received clarification that the money was allocated in the budget for either a full-time position or a consultant, but not both, and any necessary budget adjustment could be requested.

2.5% @ 55 Employee Retirement Formula Resolution of Intention (1202)

Deputy City Manager Petru provided a brief staff report.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Finance Director McLean indicated that moving from a 2% at 55 retirement formula to a 2.5% at 55 retirement formula would increase the City’s costs and add a future obligation. 

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Deputy City Manager Petru indicated that the Present Value of Benefits totaling $962,677 would accrue to the existing employees and the Accrued Liability of $449,700 applies to the City and the Plan. 

Staff and the Council discussed amortization, surpluses in the employee benefits fund, Council restricted funds, General Fund coverage of the side fund liability requirement shortfall, and liability vs. cash flow. 

Recess and Reconvene

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 10:19 P.M. to 10:27 P.M.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing for Item 19 regarding the adoption of the City Budget and Employee Salary Ranges for FY07-08.

There were no public speakers.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Mayor Long explained that the staff reports were complete for Items 19, 22, 7, and 15 and asked Council’s preference for the manner in which to proceed, noting that Item 7, the Traffic Engineering Services Contract, and Item 15, the 2.5% at 55 Employee Retirement Formula Resolution of Intention, were specific and suggested that action be taken on those items first. 

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to award and authorize the Mayor to execute the Traffic Engineering Services Contract for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, in the amount not to exceed $46,900 with Priority Engineering Inc.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None
ABSTAIN:      None
ABSENT:       None

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the staff recommendation on the 2.5% at 55 Employee Retirement Formula Resolution of Intention.

Councilman Wolowicz proposed a substitute motion, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, for a 2% at 55 Employee Retirement Formula.

Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern with continued increases in defined benefit costs to the City and stated that he believed the City should hold the line on the increase of pension costs.

Deputy City Manager Petru explained that the City’s current retirement formula was 2% at 55.

Council Wolowicz confirmed that he sought to keep the benefit formula at its present rate.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that he believed the change to the City’s retirement plan to be appropriate and while he recognized that it would cost the City money, he indicated it would be a bad move to change course after the Council had preliminarily approved it.

Councilman Clark indicated that according to Tierra West’s Retirement Benefit Survey, adopting a 2.5% at 55 Employee Retirement Formula would elevate the City’s ranking from near last to near the midrange compared to 21 other southern California cities surveyed, and he believed staff deserved the modification to retirement benefits.

Mayor Long expressed frustration with the State’s policy direction and noted that without the increase in retirement benefits the City ran the risk of increased staff turnover, which was expensive and disruptive.

Staff and the Council discussed the proposal to provide employees with post retirement health care accounts, the City’s ranking compared to other cities in terms of its benefits package, and the Public Agency Retirement System (PARS).

The substitute motion failed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Gardiner and Wolowicz
NOES:            Clark, Stern, and Mayor Long

A roll call vote on the main motion to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-68; A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, ADOPTING A RESOLUTION OF INTENTION TO APPROVE AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES FOR THE 2.5% @ 55 RETIREMENT BENEFIT FORMULA passed on the following roll call vote: 

AYES:             Clark, Stern, and Mayor Long
NOES:            Gardiner and Wolowicz

Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested that Item 22, the 2007 Five-Year Financial Model be considered next.

2007 Five-Year Financial Model (602)

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the staff recommendation to 1) Receive and file the 2007 Five-Year Financial Model; 2) Based on the needs of the City and the analysis of revenues derived from the Utility Users Tax required by Municipal Code Section 3.30.190 annually, determine that the current Utility Users Tax rate of 3% continues to be a necessary General Fund revenue source and the current rate of 3% should be maintained; and 3) Based on the needs of the City and the analysis of revenues derived from the Golf Tax required by Municipal Code Section 3.40.140 every four years, determine that the current Golf Tax rate of 10% continues to be a necessary General Fund revenue source and the current rate of 10% should be maintained; and, 4) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-69, A RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2006-41, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY06-07, TO INCREASE THE GENERAL FUND REVENUE BUDGET OF THE CITY by a total of $350,000 ($150,000 for Property Tax and $200,000 for Property Tax In-Lieu of VLF Revenues).

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Finance Director McLean explained that the City had prepared the Five-Year Model for approximately the last seven years.  He indicated that a trend analysis had been prepared for revenue budgeting accuracy, but not for expenditures, and that the trend analysis was present in the Budget document.

Councilman Gardiner clarified that the Five-Year Model deals with parameters, constants, and a model, but was not an actual budget.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to adopt the FY07-08 City Budget as presented.  (This motion was not voted on, but was restated later in the meeting.) 

Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern about employee positions being added.  He stated that he understood the three positions of Deputy Director of Public Works, Associate Engineer in Public Works, and Senior Information Technician in Finance were upgrades, not new positions.  He explained that he understood the new positions to be the following:  Senior Administrative Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, Senior Accountant in Finance/ Information Technology Department, Senior Administrative Analyst in Public Works, and Open Space & Trails Manager in the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department.  He inquired if there were alternatives to the new positions, in terms of contract employees now filling the positions.    

Deputy Finance Director Downs explained that the Traffic Engineering position was one of the upgrades in the budget, and confirmed that the three position upgrades and the new positions, as reiterated by Councilman Wolowicz, were included in the proposed budget.

Councilman Gardiner questioned whether it was possible to save money by reordering priorities; disagreed with hiring four people before the management audit was conducted to determine if additional staff was necessary; pointed out that the City asked residents to pay a Storm Drain User Fee for the repair of deteriorating storm drains, but could find funds to hire four staff members; opined that money could be saved by sending Information Technology (IT) out to bid; and requested that the IT portion of the budget be voted on separately.

Councilman Gardiner proposed an amendment to the motion, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to vote on the IT portion of the budget separately.

Councilman Gardiner pointed out that the price of computers had dropped, but the IT budget had steadily increased noting that IT had not been out to bid since 1998 or 1999.  He added that he understood that Channel 33 was supposed to be self-sustaining and was opposed to any subsidy for Channel 33.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern indicated that additional staffing was necessary and without appropriate staffing, the City Manager would not be able to implement the policies the Council had worked hard to establish.

Councilman Clark expressed concern with staff burnout noting that the new City Manager had evaluated the workload of each department and her assessment was that City Hall was understaffed.

Mayor Long observed that in the past the Council had expressed concern with contracting out tasks they believed the City should have the ability to handle.  He commented that the Council required a great deal of staff time and while increased staffing could be deferred, it should be noted that staffing needs had been put off for a number of years.  He pointed out that the City had been unable to take on an accelerated program to repair storm drains because they did not have the staff to manage the program and discussed the issue of the user fee and utility tax.  He pointed out that much of the City’s exempt staff was working excessive overtime hours which could result in burnout and noted that City staffing should be effective and efficient so that employees are able to provide quality service. 

Councilman Wolowicz stated that he supported the Senior Administrative Analyst position for Public Works, but did not support the other positions at this time due to decisions that might need to be made in the November General Municipal Election.

Councilman Wolowicz proposed a second amendment to the motion, seconded by Mayor Long, to defer all new staff positions except for Senior Administrative Analyst for Public Works.   

City Attorney Lynch suggested that Council vote on the first amendment to the motion that was on the floor, and then move on to the second amendment.

Mayor Long inquired if Council needed further discussion on the first amendment to the motion, which was to vote on the IT portion of the budget separately.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, City Manager Lehr reported that $100,000 had been set aside for the organization-wide management audit, and it was her intention to provide a review of the City’s IT services as a part of that audit. 

Council and staff discussed the IT review and Finance Director McLean indicated that it was his understanding that the IT review would be the very first step of the management audit.

The first amendment to the motion to vote on the IT portion of the budget separately failed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Gardiner and Wolowicz
NOES:            Clark, Stern, and Mayor Long

Mayor Long clarified in seconding the motion to the second amendment made by Councilman Wolowicz, that the motion was to defer three of the proposed staff positions, other than the Senior Administrative Analyst, until December or until such time as the management audit was complete.

City Manager Lehr requested that if the second amendment passed, staff be given direction to return with a list of tasks to be deferred. 

Mayor Long indicated that he believed the positions were needed, but acknowledged that the management audit could prove him wrong and was willing to look at that.  He commented that Council agreed that Public Works staff should be augmented immediately, but noted that if voters rejected the User Fee, the City would be faced with cutting staff positions.  

Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that the priorities established by Council were appropriate to address the needs and desires of the community.  He stated he was optimistic that staff could take advantage of efficiencies, but noted that the audit had not even begun and the results would not be available for at least 12 months.  He indicated that he did not want projects and priorities placed on hold and given the backlog of the work he opined it was better to move forward and get the job done. 

Councilman Clark stated it was arbitrary and capricious to support one of the positions and not the others in light of the well-documented, detailed information provided by the City Manager and staff.

Councilmembers discussed various items in the budget including the use of outside contractors, staff size vs. City population, planned retirements, budget assumptions, and break-even budgets.

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to vote on the addition of each position separately.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

The motion passed to approve the addition of the Senior Administrative Analyst position in the Public Works Department by the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            Gardiner

The motion failed to approve the addition of the Senior Accountant position in the Finance/IT Department by the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark and Stern
NOES:            Gardiner, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long

The motion failed to approve the addition of the Senior Administrative Analyst position in the City Manager’s Office by the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark and Stern
NOES:            Gardiner, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long

The motion passed to approve the addition of the Open Space and Trails Manager position in Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Department by the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Stern, and Mayor Long
NOES:            Gardiner and Wolowicz

Councilman Clark requested the reconsideration of the vote on the Senior Administrative Analyst position in the City Manager’s Office.

Mayor Long denied the request for reconsideration.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to 1) Reevaluate the two remaining requested positions (Senior Administrative Analyst in the City Manager’s Department and Senior Accountant in the Finance/IT Department) after the completion of the management audit, but no sooner than December 2007; and 2) Direct the City Manager to create a list of tasks that the City Manager and Finance/IT Departments would not be able to perform without additional staff resources.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-70, AS AMENDED, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, APPROVING THE CITY BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-2008; and 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-71, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, ESTABLISHING SALARY AND HOURLY RANGES FOR COMPETITIVE AND MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEE JOB CLASSIFICATIONS.

Deputy City Manager Petru reiterated that included in the Budget are the three upgraded positions previously discussed.

Deputy Finance Director Downs read the revised numbers for the Budget with the deletion of two of the proposed positions so that the resolutions could be adopted.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

AYES:             Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            Gardiner

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to continue all matters not yet addressed to the next regular Council meeting. 

City Manager Lehr indicated that paid consultants were in the audience and the Council decided to continue with the meeting after a brief recess.

Recess and Reconvene

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 11:49 P.M. to 11:53 P.M.

Channel 33 Business Plan, Operating Policies and Proposed Budget FY 2007/08 and 2008/09 (305)

City Clerk Morreale noted that late correspondence was distributed prior to the meeting and there was one request to speak on the item.

City Manager Lehr suggested that Council defer the policy decisions and consider only the three contract agreements.  City Manager Lehr presented brief summary staff report.

Councilman Clark noted previous discussion that the station was a form of media and information and suggested that another alternative would be for the General Manager of the Channel 33 Station to report to the Director of IT. 

City Manager Lehr explained that option had been clearly rejected and Council had concurred with former City Manager Bussey’s report in March where he recommended that the General Manager report to the City Manager’s office.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern indicated that all departments should report to the City Manager, noted that he did not support significant involvement of the subcommittee, and questioned what the best organizational structure would be for handling Channel 33. 

City Manager Lehr stated that she concurred with the workshop recommendation which was that the position of General Manager and operation of Channel 33 would report to the City Manager’s office, like any other department.

Mayor Long called for the public speaker.

Ken Dyda, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that it had been appropriate to have a subcommittee during the startup of the City’s television station, but now that the channel was established he believed it important to set the policy and have Channel 33 operate as a City function reporting to the City Manager.  He expressed concern that the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) would dilute control and reported that a rate schedule in the business plan would release the need for a JPA to provide funding.  He indicated it was a mistake to create entitlements, the channel should be treated like any other department in terms of funding, the General Manager function should be defined in terms of a job description, time critical programs should be given priority, a regular schedule should be provided for program series such as City Talk, imported programs should be avoided, an in-house training program should be developed, disagreements with General Manager decisions should be resolved by the City Manager like other departments, programming should be consistent with content policies and may be submitted for airing by others, and he believed it was not necessary for station management to commission programs as good programs would be submitted.  He observed that the current workload of the General Manager was excessive and he indicated that part of the budget should be allocated for staff to assist her.  

Gabriella Holt, Channel 33 Station Manager, commented on the tremendous workload that existed and noted that as more managerial duties were added production time was decreased.  She indicated that the enterprise became more expensive as it became a City department under City Council control.  She stated that due to other commitments she would not be able to continue to provide General Management duties as of the end of the fiscal year and sought to provide the Council with information so they could make an informed decision and understand the consequences of that decision. 

Responding to Mayor Long, Ms. Holt clarified that she would not take on the additional administrative duties that they were looking to ascribe as of July 1, 2007, but that she would continue as a volunteer for Channel 33.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern expressed appreciation for Ms. Holt’s service and he supported City Manager Lehr being responsible for the station. 

Ms. Holt stated that she agreed that the City Manager should oversee the station, but suggested that the Council might need to reframe their thinking regarding the station resembling a department of the City.  She indicated that she agreed with the suggestion by Mayor Long to defer the decision until December after the management audit.  She pointed out the many administrative duties necessary and cited the need for some sort of funding stream as the end of FY 2006-2007 drew near and as the station continued to become more automated.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to adopt the governance model whereby the Channel 33 Studio General Manager would report to the City Manager in the same manner as department heads. 

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Ms. Holt stated that the General Manager would be the overall person who would report to the City Manager and would not be a volunteer although the position could be part time.  She indicated that she was available in a volunteer capacity for productions and scheduling for Channel 33, but stated it was not reasonable to expect her to do all of the extra administrative tasks.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Councilman Clark departed the meeting at 12:18 A.M.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, City Manager Lehr indicated that she was not aware of problems with the SCROC agreement and that there was not a cost involved with that agreement.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that she had reviewed the agreement.

Mayor Long clarified that the approval of the TVTN agreement that implemented the automation of Channel 33, which was conceptually approved at the January Channel 33 workshop, would save money in the long run.

City Manager Lehr indicated that the automation feature was important since Ms. Holt would no longer be the General Manager of the Channel 33 station.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested deferring the item to give staff time to consider the impact of Ms. Holt’s departure as General Manager.

Council and staff discussed which items could be deferred and which required action.

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to 1) Approve the renewal of the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SCROC) lease agreement for FY 07/08; 2) Approve the TelVue Corporation (TVTN) agreement; 3) Continue all other aspects of this item to the City Council Meeting of July 3, 2007, including the following: JPA Governance and Contributory Funding; Franchise Fees; Adoption of Channel 33 Operating Budget for FY 07-08; Approval of Channel 33 Production, Programming and Operational Policies and Procedures; Approval of Channel 33 Business Plan; Role of Channel 33 Cable TV/Cox Contract Renewal Subcommittee; 4) Direct that Channel 33 be included in the City’s Management Audit; and, 5) Approve the FY 07-08 Budget for Channel 33 consistent with the budget items conceptually approved at the January 27, 2007 Workshop, with no additional positions to be added until after December 2007. 

A roll call vote on the motion reflected unanimous approval.

Annual Levy of Storm Drain User Fee (Fiscal Year 2007-08) (604 X 602)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and written protests were included in the late correspondence distributed prior to the meeting.  She indicated there were three requests to speak.

Finance Director McLean provided a brief staff report.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that the increase of the User Fee from $86.00 to $87.72 reflects the 2% increase currently authorized within the ordinance approved by the property voters in August 2005.
 
Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Frank Lyon, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, Rancho Palos Verdes, briefly summarized the Oversight Committee’s findings and recommendations noting that available funds were inadequate to address storm drain issues and an aggressive approach was necessary.  He indicated that the Oversight Committee deferred to the Council regarding raising the User Fee, but agreed that retention of the User Fee was essential in the near term until such time as other sources of significant revenue become available.  He reported an Oversight Committee recommendation that staff and the Council adjust future budgets to maintain a prudent General Fund reserve level and that the Council prepare an information summary for the public prior to the November election.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Mr. Lyon commented that the amount of the increase was very small but it could create a negative public perception.

Councilman Wolowicz received clarification that Mr. Lyon had received any and all information the Oversight Committee required to make their recommendations.

Don Reeves, Committee to Repeal the User Fee, Rancho Palos Verdes, asserted that the short-term projections in the Five-Year Model were grossly erroneous; the purpose of the Oversight Committee was not to discuss the political implications of the cost increase; there was no cost estimate for storm drain repairs; there should be a shorter period for the User Fee as originally proposed; and indicated a willingness to discuss the course the Committee to Repeal the User Fee believed the City should follow.

Councilman Wolowicz took issue with Mr. Reeves’ statement that there was no cost estimate and plan for storm drain repair.

Mr. Reeves indicated that there had been no update to the basis for the User Fee. 

Mr. Long offered to meet with residents and address any issues regarding the Storm Drain User Fee, noting that he felt voters were looking for a better quality of life rather than the stern necessities that Mr. Reeves advocated.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Finance Director McLean reported that the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Sanitation District had not paid their User Fee bills.

City Attorney Lynch reported that state entities other than the school district were obligated to pay.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that he wanted to make sure residents were aware that the school districts had not paid.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern asserted that the problem was real, no amount of political philosophy would eliminate it, and did not believe that the 2% increase would turn residents against the fee.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation to 1) Conduct a public hearing pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 5473.2 and Section 3.44.40 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code on June 19, 2007 on the Annual Report prepared by Harris & Associates and information provided by Staff, and determined to collect the Storm Drain User Fee (the "Fee") for Fiscal Year 2007-08, at the maximum rate allowed by law per Equivalent Residential Unit ("ERU") for Fiscal Year 2007-08; 2) At the conclusion of the Public Hearing determine the absence of a majority protest; 3) In the absence of a majority protest, determine that the rate per ERU for Fiscal Year 2007-08 shall be the maximum rate of $87.72 as set forth in the Annual Report, ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 72; A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, FINALLY ADOPTING A REPORT, AS FILED, IN CONNECTION WITH THE STORM DRAIN USER FEE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 3.44 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE; DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF SUCH FEE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-08; AND ORDERING THAT SUCH FEE BE COLLECTED ON THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TAX ROLL FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-08; and
4) Continue to a future agenda the discussion of the Oversight Committee’s recommendation for the preparation of a Public Information Summary for dissemination to the public prior to the November 2007 Election.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he preferred to take the $22,000 out of the $80,000 plus the $10,000 contingency fund requested in Agenda Item 25, Upper Point Vicente Civic Center Site Analysis, and put that money towards the User Fee.

Mayor Long stated that he disagreed, noting that there were private donors seriously interested in donating towards the construction of buildings at Upper Point Vicente, but there were very few private donors interested in funding studies or funding utility hookups and building pads for buildings. 

Councilman Gardiner noted that USC’s policy was that they would not accept money from outside donors unless money was also donated for annual upkeep.

Mayor Long stated that he believed the User Fee was too low and acknowledged that General Fund reserves being spent was not enough on its own to cover the necessary storm drain repairs, but hoped that there would be adequate funds to make the storm drain repairs if combined with the User Fee.  He stated that he was mindful of adding new expenditures but was in favor of the increase of the User Fee by 2%, noting that the voters would consider the matter in November.

Councilman Wolowicz stated that he was troubled by the outflow of cash and believed that at some point in time if there were sufficient revenues the fees should be reduced or suspended.

A roll call vote on the motion reflected the following:

AYES:             Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None

Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired about the action to be taken regarding the authorization by Council for the Oversight Committee to prepare an informative public information summary regarding the Storm Drain User Fee.

City Attorney Lynch stated that this item should be brought back as a Consent Calendar item on the July 3, 2007 City Council Agenda since it was not specifically on this agenda.

Abalone Cove Sewer Maintenance Fee (1900)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and no written protests were received.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

There were no requests to speak.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to 1) Conduct the public hearing on the proposed levy and allocation of the annual sewer service charge for the Abalone Cove Sewer System for Fiscal Year 2007-2008; 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-73, A RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, APPROVING A REPORT IN CONNECTION WITH THE SEWER SERVICE CHARGE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 13.06 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE, DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF SUCH CHARGE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-2008, AND ORDERING THAT SUCH CHARGE BE COLLECTED ON THE TAX ROLL.

A roll call vote on the motion reflected the following:

AYES:             Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Upper Point Vicente Civic Center Site Analysis (1201)

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to continue the matter to the July 3, 2007 City Council Meeting.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Ordinance Amending the Storm Drain User Fee to Shorten the Duration of the Fee from Thirty Years to Ten Years and to Establish a Resident Oversight Committee to be Placed on the Ballot for the November 6, 2007 General Municipal Election (602 X 604)

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to continue the matter to the July 3, 2007 City Council Meeting.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

November 6, 2007 General Municipal Election (501)
 
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to continue the matter to the July 3, 2007 City Council Meeting. 

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Contract (1206)

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to 1) Authorize the Mayor to sign the FY 07-08 Services for the Peninsula Region (Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates); and, 2) Authorize the City Manager to sign the FY 07-08 Rancho Palos Verdes Deployment Survey with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

A roll call vote on the motion reflected the following: 

AYES:             Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:            None

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to continue Oral Reports to July 3, 2007.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Councilman Gardiner congratulated the Eastview citizens who collected 8,500 signatures against the development on Western Avenue.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved to adjourn the meeting.  At 1:27 A.M. Wednesday, June 20, 2007, the meeting was adjourned.

 

                                                                                                /s/ Thomas D. Long
                                                                                                            Mayor

Attest:

 

/s/ Carla Morreale
      City Clerk