06/09/2015 Council Preview – Budget Public Hearing

Lots on this agenda. We start the evening with two closed sessions, the first involving ongoing labor negotiations, the second being the City Manager’s semi-annual performance review.

We have two special orders of the day.  First, we’re recognizing Judi Nickey, who is leaving the Personnel Board after 8 years of service.  We normally recognize outgoing boardmembers and commissioners at a May or June meeting, but the Personnel Board doesn’t meet in a predictable fashion.  So we’re doing this at this meeting.  The second special order is the swearing in of the new commissioners that we recently appointed.

Following this, we get a presentation on Community Choice Energy (also called Community Choice Aggregation).  This is a program that would have us replace PG&E as our power provider with a new joint powers authority (JPA) that would buy power contracts and deliver the power using PG&E’s infrastructure.  We’ve been talking with Mountain View, Cupertino, and Santa Clara County about forming this JPA.  By doing this, we can provide power that is 50-100% renewable, at rates comparable to our current rates.  CCEs already exist in Marin County and Sonoma County, and Alameda and San Mateo Counties are pursuing this as well.

Our consent calendar is fairly diverse – there’s a new traffic signal on Duane and Britton, a contract to look at traffic improvements on Wolfe Avenue, a couple of agreement renewals, and authorization to proceed with the Silicon Valley Regional Communication System.

Item 2 is our annual review of fees and charges.  There are a number of changes being proposed this year, but nothing tremendously surprising.

Item 3 is approval of the proposed utility rate increases for the next fiscal year.  Staff is proposing increasing water rates by 20%, wastewater by 8%, and solid waste by 5%.  The big one is obviously the water increase, which is being driven by increased rates to buy water from our two wholesalers (one has increased its rates by 19.7%, the other by 28%).  However, unusually, staff has given us some flexibility, because the original proposal of 20% was established before the two water districts finalized their rates for the next year, and both districts dropped their rates from the initial proposed increase (SCVWD originally proposed 31.5% and SFPUC proposed 30.7%).  This gives us either 2% or 2.5% that we can either put into reserves, pass on to customers, or some combination of the two.

Item 4 is our annual budget hearing.  We won’t be taking any action on the budget at this time, but we’ll be accepting public comment on the various aspects of the budget which interest the public.

Item 5 is another annual event, the placing of utility delinquencies on the property tax rolls.  Out of a city of 150k people with some 55k dwellings, we have a total of six delinquent customers for seven properties, totaling $5k.  Pretty amazing. Anyway, we place the delinquencies on the tax rolls to ensure that the city gets repaid.

Item 6 is the proposed sale of a city-owned home at 263 Jackson. Originally, Council directed staff to attempt to sell three city-owned homes on Jackson to Habitat for Humanity, but at the time, HfH opted to only pursue two.  In dealing with the third, market conditions have changed to the point where staff says a sale of the third to HfH isn’t viable, not without spending park funds on affordable housing (which we’re not supposed to do).  So staff proposes simply selling the home on the open market and placing the proceeds in the Park Dedication Fund.

And the last item is the adoption of resolutions for CalPERS exemptions so that we can fill interim positions with CalPERS retirees.  We are losing Assistant City Manager Robert Walker to retirement and Library and Community Services Director Lisa Rosenblum to the Brooklyn Public Library.  Their replacement will take some time, so the City Manager is proposing interim replacements for both positions.  And the candidates selected by the CM are both CalPERS retirees.  That requires some special handling if it’s going to happen.

That’s about it.

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