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City staff to provide council with alternative budget option for Century House repairs without dipping into rainy day fund

Also: Higher JDEDZ roadwork construction costs, garbage rate increases, police military equipment ordinance

Century House in Pleasanton. (File photo by Mike Sedlak)

The Pleasanton City Council is set to consider adopting the 2022-23 midterm budget and capital improvement program at Tuesday's meeting, which includes an updated plan of not dipping into rainy day funds to address the Century House repair project.

This historic 150-year-old house on Santa Rita Road was bought by the city in the 1970s and became a place for people to get married, hold birthday parties and attend classes onsite -- until it was deemed unsafe in the last decade.

During a budget workshop on May 31, the council voted 3-2 to take $2 million from the rainy day reserve funds -- money that is set aside for emergencies when the city's revenue decreases so operations can continue -- and add it to the funds to fully restore the house.

The decision stemmed from the city's reserve funds being 0.7% above the maximum 30% level established by city policy and council members wanting to use that to complete projects like the Century House that have been put on hold for so long.

But according to a city staff report, the price to repair the roof of the library, which was one of the other capital improvement program priority projects list, came out to be less expensive than anticipated.

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"Following the budget workshop, the review of bid proposals for the library roof replacement project provided cost estimates that were significantly lower than the original engineering estimates — approximately $525,000 instead of $2.7 million, a difference of $2.2 million," the city staff report reads.

Because of the reduction, city staff are recommending using the $2.2 million difference for the Century House rather than the rainy day reserves. The move will not, however, change the council's proposal to remove $1 million from the original $3 million allocated to fund the skatepark project. That money will still go to the Century House.

Other key allocations in the capital improvement program that will be possibly approved this Tuesday include the library, which will be fully funded to start construction on repairing the roof, lights and a fire control panel, and $2.5 million being allocated to general West Las Positas Boulevard repairs that will be done intermittently.

Additionally, a cricket field will also be fully funded but the city has not determined a specific location for the field and is evaluating three potential locations at Ken Mercer Sports Park that meet the minimum field size requirements.

If the City Council approves and adopts the mid-term operating budget and capital improvement program, city staff will move forward with working on those projects.

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The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday (June 21). The full agenda can be accessed here.

In other business

* The council will vote on whether to proceed with revised traffic mitigation plans related to a longstanding item having to do with a proposed Costco in Pleasanton.

The Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone is a project aiming to redevelop approximately 40 acres of land fronting Johnson Drive, near Stoneridge Drive and I-680.

Costco is a landowner within the project area and is in the process of getting city approval to construct a new store on the property, a project that was mired in litigation until the city and Costco got a favorable ruling from the state appellate court earlier this year.

A key part of the project are public street improvements to reduce the impact of traffic from the new land-uses. In 2018, the city agreed to reimburse a portion of the design and construction costs with traffic impact fees and a portion of the sales tax revenues generated by the proposed Costco store.

The question at hand for Tuesday's meeting is whether the city will continue moving forward with construction at a higher cost and acquiring the right-of-way needed to construct the traffic mitigation measures. The overall estimated costs have increased from $21.47 million to nearly $32.5 million since the original 2017 projections.

City staff have negotiated purchase agreements with the owners of the needed right-of-way areas surrounding the proposed land to construct the traffic mitigation measures.

The updated plan entails that Costco will pay for the increased costs to design and construct the traffic mitigation measures upfront -- subject to partial repayment in the future under the tax-sharing agreement -- and the city is to pay all costs to acquire the needed right-of-way.

Staff also note the council has the option to cancel the agreement with Costco for an estimated cost of $1.63 million.

* The council will seek to adopt a resolution to approve new garbage and recycling rates that would increase the fees by 5.8%, which means that residents will be seeing about $2 more charged for their waste and recycling, according to city staff.

In 2018, the council approved a franchise agreement with Pleasanton Garbage Service for solid waste, recyclable materials and organic materials collection services which commenced on July 1, 2018. The agreement outlines how the council will approve adjusted rates annually.

The franchise agreement was then amended to comply with Senate Bill 1383 on June 7, which includes annual route review and contamination monitoring. These route reviews and monitoring come with related costs that have been incorporated into the garbage rates for the new period.

According to a staff report, city staff and the Waste and Recycling Subcommittee did discuss smoothing garbage rates and using reserve funds to lower the rate increases. However, staff are not recommending this option because it would only delay the increase for one year.

After that, the rates will go back up unless the amount needed to lessen the increase is generated through the rates the following year.

* An ordinance to continue allowing the Pleasanton Police Department to use military or specialized equipment will also be brought back on Tuesday's meeting for second reading and approval.

The ordinance is part of Assembly Bill 481, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last September. The bill requires police departments in California to keep a running list of what is defined as military equipment for oversight by local governing bodies, which now have the authority to approve or reject the use of such equipment by local law enforcement.

Military equipment, as defined by AB 481, does not necessarily indicate equipment used by the military. Items deemed by the bill to be "military equipment" include robotic vehicles, armored rescue vehicles, tear gas, less-than-lethal weapons such as beanbag shotguns, 40-millimeter projectiles and noise/flash diversionary devices

On June 7 the council voted 4-0, with Councilmember Jack Balch absent, to waive the first reading of the ordinance but asked the police department to return with information on the frequency of use of its military equipment and further information on the promotional display of the armored rescue vehicle.

The latter was an item of interest between council members on June 7 because of discomfort with the idea of children being exposed to such a vehicle.

"The presentation of the ARV in non-enforcement settings helps to initiate conversations with many groups in the community which leads to conversation in other areas. The display of the ARV in settings with young residents in an educational setting helps to normalize its presence and create an association with police officers who are there to help," the city staff report reads.

* The council will present a proclamation recognizing June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations on June 15, 2006.

At the beginning of this month, Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) announced a resolution naming June as Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month to address elder abuse that was worsened by the pandemic.

There are 6 million cases of elder abuse nationwide each year with 11% of all cases in California, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Another report from the National Council on Aging shows only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities.

According to a news release from Dodd, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia deaths increased by 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic as resources and caregivers were stretched to the limits.

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Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

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City staff to provide council with alternative budget option for Century House repairs without dipping into rainy day fund

Also: Higher JDEDZ roadwork construction costs, garbage rate increases, police military equipment ordinance

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 8:39 pm
Updated: Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 5:20 am

The Pleasanton City Council is set to consider adopting the 2022-23 midterm budget and capital improvement program at Tuesday's meeting, which includes an updated plan of not dipping into rainy day funds to address the Century House repair project.

This historic 150-year-old house on Santa Rita Road was bought by the city in the 1970s and became a place for people to get married, hold birthday parties and attend classes onsite -- until it was deemed unsafe in the last decade.

During a budget workshop on May 31, the council voted 3-2 to take $2 million from the rainy day reserve funds -- money that is set aside for emergencies when the city's revenue decreases so operations can continue -- and add it to the funds to fully restore the house.

The decision stemmed from the city's reserve funds being 0.7% above the maximum 30% level established by city policy and council members wanting to use that to complete projects like the Century House that have been put on hold for so long.

But according to a city staff report, the price to repair the roof of the library, which was one of the other capital improvement program priority projects list, came out to be less expensive than anticipated.

"Following the budget workshop, the review of bid proposals for the library roof replacement project provided cost estimates that were significantly lower than the original engineering estimates — approximately $525,000 instead of $2.7 million, a difference of $2.2 million," the city staff report reads.

Because of the reduction, city staff are recommending using the $2.2 million difference for the Century House rather than the rainy day reserves. The move will not, however, change the council's proposal to remove $1 million from the original $3 million allocated to fund the skatepark project. That money will still go to the Century House.

Other key allocations in the capital improvement program that will be possibly approved this Tuesday include the library, which will be fully funded to start construction on repairing the roof, lights and a fire control panel, and $2.5 million being allocated to general West Las Positas Boulevard repairs that will be done intermittently.

Additionally, a cricket field will also be fully funded but the city has not determined a specific location for the field and is evaluating three potential locations at Ken Mercer Sports Park that meet the minimum field size requirements.

If the City Council approves and adopts the mid-term operating budget and capital improvement program, city staff will move forward with working on those projects.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday (June 21). The full agenda can be accessed here.

In other business

* The council will vote on whether to proceed with revised traffic mitigation plans related to a longstanding item having to do with a proposed Costco in Pleasanton.

The Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone is a project aiming to redevelop approximately 40 acres of land fronting Johnson Drive, near Stoneridge Drive and I-680.

Costco is a landowner within the project area and is in the process of getting city approval to construct a new store on the property, a project that was mired in litigation until the city and Costco got a favorable ruling from the state appellate court earlier this year.

A key part of the project are public street improvements to reduce the impact of traffic from the new land-uses. In 2018, the city agreed to reimburse a portion of the design and construction costs with traffic impact fees and a portion of the sales tax revenues generated by the proposed Costco store.

The question at hand for Tuesday's meeting is whether the city will continue moving forward with construction at a higher cost and acquiring the right-of-way needed to construct the traffic mitigation measures. The overall estimated costs have increased from $21.47 million to nearly $32.5 million since the original 2017 projections.

City staff have negotiated purchase agreements with the owners of the needed right-of-way areas surrounding the proposed land to construct the traffic mitigation measures.

The updated plan entails that Costco will pay for the increased costs to design and construct the traffic mitigation measures upfront -- subject to partial repayment in the future under the tax-sharing agreement -- and the city is to pay all costs to acquire the needed right-of-way.

Staff also note the council has the option to cancel the agreement with Costco for an estimated cost of $1.63 million.

* The council will seek to adopt a resolution to approve new garbage and recycling rates that would increase the fees by 5.8%, which means that residents will be seeing about $2 more charged for their waste and recycling, according to city staff.

In 2018, the council approved a franchise agreement with Pleasanton Garbage Service for solid waste, recyclable materials and organic materials collection services which commenced on July 1, 2018. The agreement outlines how the council will approve adjusted rates annually.

The franchise agreement was then amended to comply with Senate Bill 1383 on June 7, which includes annual route review and contamination monitoring. These route reviews and monitoring come with related costs that have been incorporated into the garbage rates for the new period.

According to a staff report, city staff and the Waste and Recycling Subcommittee did discuss smoothing garbage rates and using reserve funds to lower the rate increases. However, staff are not recommending this option because it would only delay the increase for one year.

After that, the rates will go back up unless the amount needed to lessen the increase is generated through the rates the following year.

* An ordinance to continue allowing the Pleasanton Police Department to use military or specialized equipment will also be brought back on Tuesday's meeting for second reading and approval.

The ordinance is part of Assembly Bill 481, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last September. The bill requires police departments in California to keep a running list of what is defined as military equipment for oversight by local governing bodies, which now have the authority to approve or reject the use of such equipment by local law enforcement.

Military equipment, as defined by AB 481, does not necessarily indicate equipment used by the military. Items deemed by the bill to be "military equipment" include robotic vehicles, armored rescue vehicles, tear gas, less-than-lethal weapons such as beanbag shotguns, 40-millimeter projectiles and noise/flash diversionary devices

On June 7 the council voted 4-0, with Councilmember Jack Balch absent, to waive the first reading of the ordinance but asked the police department to return with information on the frequency of use of its military equipment and further information on the promotional display of the armored rescue vehicle.

The latter was an item of interest between council members on June 7 because of discomfort with the idea of children being exposed to such a vehicle.

"The presentation of the ARV in non-enforcement settings helps to initiate conversations with many groups in the community which leads to conversation in other areas. The display of the ARV in settings with young residents in an educational setting helps to normalize its presence and create an association with police officers who are there to help," the city staff report reads.

* The council will present a proclamation recognizing June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations on June 15, 2006.

At the beginning of this month, Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) announced a resolution naming June as Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month to address elder abuse that was worsened by the pandemic.

There are 6 million cases of elder abuse nationwide each year with 11% of all cases in California, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Another report from the National Council on Aging shows only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities.

According to a news release from Dodd, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia deaths increased by 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic as resources and caregivers were stretched to the limits.

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