8/14/2012 Council Preview

Interesting night.  We start the evening with a closed session regarding the ongoing negotiations with the Sunnyvale Employees Association (SEA).  We then have a couple of board and commission interviews, and it’s on to the general meeting.  First up is the swearing in of our newest Personnel Board member.

The consent calendar is a little interesting.  We will be considering an alternative approach to the recycled water plan that staff proposed during our strategic planning session.  The original plan was to tie in with San Jose’s system and make use of their water recycling infrastructure.  But San Jose has hedged, so we’re looking at some improvements to our existing infrastructure instead.  Staff is also proposing doing some temporary hiring to handle the dramatic increase in planning applications (the hiring would be for both permit handling and inspections).  There is also a proposal for bike lanes on Mathilda and Wildwood, improvements to Morse north of 101, and a contract switching the city’s email and calendar services to use a government-specific version of Google Apps.  Then it’s on to General Business.

Item 2 is a proposal to make changes to our Art Private Development rules.  Currently, developers are required to commit 1% of a project’s costs to on-site artwork, and an “in-lieu” option exists only when a property has limited visibility.  Staff examined the program as part of a study issue (proposed by me) to allow an in-lieu fee in general, which would permit the city to put artwork in public spaces, instead of concentrating all of the new artwork on private property.

Item 3 is a proposed response to a Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury Report titled “An Analysis of Pension and Other Post-Employment Benefits”.  Much of the original report was specifically targeted at San Jose and doesn’t apply to us, but some of it was more general in nature.  We’re required by law to file a response, which is what we’ll be looking at.

Item 4 is one that was just proposed at our last meeting – increasing Councilmembers’ CalPERS employee contribution from 1% to 8%.  This was proposed because the past couple of budgets have stressed the need to eventually get all employees to the point where they are paying the full employee contribution, as compared to the 1-3% of the 8% that they currently pay.  This was proposed under the thought that if Council is going to push for this for all employees, then Councilmembers should lead the way.  The net result to Councilmembers would be that their CalPERS deductions would rise from $250/year to $2000/year for a $22k/year salary. I’ve personally declined enrollment in CalPERS (I pay Social Security instead), so this creates a bit of a dilemma for me – voting for a change that affects four of my colleagues but not me personally.

And that’s about it.  Pretty light agenda, all things considered.  But very interesting stuff.

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