|City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week
Ending July 10th, 2009
July 12, 2009
This is the weekly report for the week ending July 10th, 2009.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, July 21st in the new City Council Chambers at 440 Civic Center Plaza. Please note that the final meeting before the August break is on July 28th, and we are in the process of determining, based on Councilmember availability, the specific date for the first meeting in September.
2. Latest Property Tax Data – Not Good News
In his July 1st letter to the Board of Supervisors, County Assessor Gus Kramer reported that:
“(d)ue to the downturn in the real estate market, there was an $11.3B decrease in the local tax base for 2009-2010. This represents a 7.2% loss in assessed value. . . . San Pablo had a 23.95% loss in assessed value, followed by Oakley with a 21.93% loss, and Antioch with a 21.73% loss. Other cities with double-digit percentage losses included Brentwood, Pittsburg, Hercules, and Richmond.
The City of Richmond’s assessed value dropped by 13.79%. As you recall, Richmond’s FY 2009-10 budget used a very conservative estimate of property taxes. Nonetheless, the Finance Department is evaluating this most recent data for its impact on the City’s budget.
3. Ribbon Cutting at SunPrint
A ribbon cutting for SunPrint was held today at their new facility at 870 Harbour Way, with Mayor McLaughlin, Vice-Mayor Lopez, and a number of City staff members in attendance. SunPrint is a year and one-half old solar module company focused on research and development and manufacturing of thinfilm photovoltaic solar panels. Their mission is “forging a sustainable future by reducing the cost of solar energy” and to “produce the lowest cost solar panels on the market with unique printing technology.” The initial focus of SunPrint’s facility in Richmond will be on research and development, with the next phase being to manufacture solar panels out of their new facility on Harbour Way.
4. Update on Employment & Training, YouthWORKS Division, Summer Youth Employment Program
The four staff case managers of the YouthWORKS Division have placed 402 youth in approximately 70 worksites in the first cohort of the Summer Youth Employment Program, an increase of 42 over the number that they placed in the entire program last summer. The youth serving agencies that are collaborating with the program have placed 128 youth, for a total of 530 youth in the first cohort – more than were recruited, trained and placed in the entire program last year.
Efforts are underway to raise additional funds and to enroll a greater number of youth so as to be able to place all of the available youth in the second cohort scheduled to begin July 27th (after summer school is out). While staff is still pulling together the information to determine how many remain to be placed, and the priority order for placement, that number is expected to be greater than the 70 remaining slots currently funded.
5. Joint Management Meeting with School District Management
This past Tuesday, several of the City of Richmond’s department managers (Police Chief Chris Magnus, Finance Director Jim Goins, Library and Cultural Services Director Monique le Conge, Recreation Director Keith Jabari, Housing Authority Director Tim Jones, and Police Captain Allwyn Brown) and I met with School Superintendent Bruce Harter and several of his “cabinet” (key managers) in our second scheduled meeting to increase the collaborative relationship between the City of Richmond and the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Among the topics discussed at this most recent meeting were after school program coordination, library and literacy programs, effective information systems for financial management, statistical data sharing for more effective grant writing, and the concept of a school services agreement (level of service agreement) to preserve neighborhood schools. Several follow-up assignments were distributed to staff at the meeting following these topic discussions.
Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for this fall, and we will keep you informed as these discussions move forward.
6. Richmond Library Receives New Resource
The Richmond Public Library has been notified that they will receive the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of conservation books and online resources donated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS has now awarded almost 3,000 free sets of the IMLS Bookshelf, in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
Richmond will receive this essential set of resources based on an application describing the needs and plans for the care of its collections, particularly the Richmond Collection, which includes local history information. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens, and nature centers. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues.
The IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in response to a 2005 study it released in partnership with Heritage Preservation, A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America’s collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections. Click here for more information on the Connecting to Collections initiative.
7. Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds and Recovery Zone Facility Bonds
The City of Richmond has learned that it will receive a total allocation of $3.2 million for Recovery Zone Bonds. Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds (RZEDBs) are taxable government bonds issued before January 1, 2011 for qualified economic development purposes. A “qualified economic development purpose” means expenditures for purposes of promoting development or other economic activity, expenditures for public infrastructure and construction of public facilities, and expenditures for job training and educational programs. The bonds are taxable bonds with a direct federal subsidy of 45% of the interest paid on the bonds, which effectively lowers the interest rate to below that of tax-exempt bonds. Recovery Zone Facility Bonds (RZFBs) are tax-exempt bonds that may be used to finance activities usually reserved for taxable bond proceeds.
Staff will be exploring ways in which these bonds may be used effectively in the City of Richmond.
8. Site Tour of Voting System for the City of Las Vegas
As you may recall, the City Clerk is evaluating ways in which to upgrade the City Council meeting voting system. As part of this research, the City Clerk and the IT Director attended the July 1, 2009 City Council meeting for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada to observe the SIRE voting system during an actual council meeting, and then met with the Las Vegas City Clerk and her staff to discuss the voting system. (The SIRE AgendaPLUS was implemented in Richmond in May 2007 for automated preparation, distribution, and web access of the agenda packet, but it is not currently used for City Council voting.) The SIRE voting system is user friendly and allows Councilmembers to access supporting documents as they are being discussed during the meeting. The City Clerk plans to gather suggestions from Councilmembers regarding their needs in a new system and, to the extent possible, have these needs addressed in the new system.
9. Public Works
The Public Works Department recently paved 40th Street from Barrett Avenue to Macdonald, and 9th Street from Ripley Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue. They will start the 2009-2010 paving season by continuing resurfacing the streets and parking lots adjacent to the Civic Center Plaza. The first project to start next week is the parking lot west of the Art Center along 25th Street.
10. Recreation Highlights
§ 3rd of July Fireworks: The Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Parks Division, Police Department, Fire Department, and Orton Development hosted a City-wide Fireworks Spectacular on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM at Marina Bay Park. Approximately 3,000 families and community members were in attendance and enjoyed the food, music and fun. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this a great event!
§ Kids ‘N Motion Summer Camps: The Recreation Department’s summer camp program, Kids ‘N Motion, held at Booker T. Anderson (BTA), Nevin, May Valley, Parchester and Shields-Reid Community Centers, is now in its 3rd week of operation. The camps average between 25 and 60 participants each week. Activities have included field trips, arts and crafts, sports, and rocket making. The Parchester and Nevin Community Centers also have a teen summer program which starts at 4:00 PM each day.
BTA campers enjoying a game of soccer at the park with Summer Youth Workers
Participants of the Parchester Camp show off some of their art work made in their first 2 weeks of camp
Teens enjoying a game of basketball on the newly paved court at Nevin Center
11. Team Bike Challenge Results Are In
The City of Richmond was the top local government team in the 9 County Bay area, and the top Contra Costa County business in the Annual Team Bike Challenge held this past May. Only Cisco and Apple topped Richmond in the overall Company Bike Challenge in the Bay area. Eleven teams participated for Richmond as part of the National Bike to Work Month May 2009.
Thanks and congratulations to those employees, Commissioners, associates and community members that competed this year for the City of Richmond.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week!
City of Richmond
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804