|City Manager's Report for the Two Weeks
Ending October 23rd, 2009
October 29, 2009
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the report for the two weeks ending October 23rd, 2009.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27th at 6:00 PM (note the later than usual start time for Closed Session items). Consistent with the adopted rules for our 4th Tuesday of the month meetings, the agenda includes only presentations and study session items.
2. City Receives Highest Possible Rating on Tax Revenue Anticipation Notes
Standard & Poor’s Credit Corporation (S&P) informed us today that they have given the City of Richmond the highest possible rating on its tax revenue anticipation notes (TRANs). As you may recall, the City Council approved the issuance of these TRANs, which is a form of short-term cash flow financing that recognizes the uneven flow of revenue, and especially property tax revenue, received by the City during any given fiscal year. The rating is SP-1+, and S&P expects to issue their credit report by the close of business next Monday.
Finance Department staff worked very hard to build the necessary, detailed monthly cash flows in order to make it possible to issue these TRANs and to obtain this credit rating.
We are still awaiting word on the credit rating for the civic center refunding bonds.
3. Richmond Bart Station Parking Garage Clears Funding Hurdle
Last Wednesday, October 14, the California Transportation Commission voted unanimously to place the Richmond BART Station parking garage in the State general allocation plan and allocated $10.1 million in programmed funding from 2009-2010 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Only 22 projects were funded statewide. Redevelopment Agency staff has been working for the past eight years to obtain both state and federal funding for the critical Transit Village development component. Securing this last funding piece has allowed the Agency to move forward with soliciting bids for this $34 million parking structure, which should begin construction early next year. Once the garage is completed, phase two of the Richmond Transit Village residential development on the northeast surface BART parking lot, can begin.
4. City Receives Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the City of Richmond by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by the city.
The CAFR was deemed to meet the high standards of the GFOA, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.
5. Library Use is Up
Annually, the Richmond Public Library reports its fiscal year use statistics to the California State Library. As you can see from the chart below, use is up in all categories over the previous fiscal year, a continuing trend. The greatest increases were in attendance, website visits, and use of public access computers.
n/c: Information not collected
6. Update on Richmond YouthWorks Program
YouthWORKS reports that this year’s Richmond Summer Youth Employment Program raised $702,100 and provided 705 youth with an opportunity to earn $1,000 between July 1st and September 30th. Opportunities were provided by 134 individual worksites ranging from Pinole Paws and Bob’s Cleaners to Congressman Miller’s office and the State Attorney General’s office. The Contra Costa Times ran the program’s “thank you” ad on Sunday, October 18th listing all of the donors. Almost $500,000 of the funds were raised in the community, with the addition of $210,000 provided by federal stimulus funds.
Preliminary data from the State of California Employment Development Department indicate that, if measured on a per capita basis, Richmond was second only to New York City in terms of the number of youth employed this summer.
YouthWORKS also reports that 68 youth and 5 staff participated in the annual ropes course challenge with activities that included climbing and riding a zip line from 50 feet up an old growth douglas fir at Four Winds Challenge Course in Occidental, California. 25 of their enrolled youth, and 4 staff, also participated in the Sixth Annual Richmond Anti-Violence Youth Summit and candlelight vigil, with three of them providing two workshops on domestic violence as part of the package of ten workshops offered to youth at the conference.
7. Public Works
On Monday October 19, 2009, Public Works staff supported the Beale Air Force Base staff and the U.S. Air Force Reserve in shipping by plane the surplus fire truck (515) that was donated by the City of Richmond to the Managua, Nicaragua Fire Department (MFD). This unit was well received by Managua and it is already providing services to its residents. Next week, Yader Bermudez, Director of Public Works, Captain Elizabeth de Dios of the Richmond Fire Department and James Walker, a Richmond fire truck mechanic will be travelling to Nicaragua for three days on their on time, and with expenses paid by private sponsors, to train MFD firefighters in the proper usage and maintenance of this unit.
Other activities of the Public Works Department during the past two weeks have included:
· On Monday October 19, Public Works staff responded to a significant number of calls reporting flooding as the result of a surprisingly intense afternoon storm, clearing all the streets before commute time.
· The inclement weather during the week of October 12th resulted in Public Works clearing floods at San Mateo Street and Carlson Boulevard; Carlson Boulevard between Burlingame Avenue and San Luis Street; Cutting Boulevard and Wine Street; Railroad Avenue and West Richmond Avenue; 4th Street and Ohio Avenue; Modoc Avenue and San Joaquin Street; Cutting Boulevard between 18th Street and 19th Street; 28th Street and Roosevelt Avenue; 958 - 32nd Street; 8th Street and Chanslor Avenue; 6th Street and Ohio Avenue; Seacliff Drive and Canal Boulevard, and on National Court.
During this incident, sandbags were made available to the public in the west end of the Corporation Yard. Staff filled approximately 500 sand bags and strategically placed them at 13th and Virginia Avenue, and for the elderly or disabled residents of 528 - 32nd Street; 425 South 17th Street, and 640 - 11th Street to prevent flooding.
· On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, the Public Works Parks Division held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new skate park at Nicholl Park, which has been a tremendous hit with youth in the community since its opening.
· Public Works completed the resurfacing of 35th Street from Wall Avenue to Ohio Avenue, and 42nd Street from Wall Avenue to Ohio Avenue last week.
8. Recreation Program Highlights
The Recreation Department’s Winter/Spring 2010 Activities Guide is now available. Over 30,000 copies have been mailed and distributed to residents and businesses throughout the community. The Activities Guide offers a comprehensive directory of the numerous programs, activities and events available through the Recreation Department.
The following are highlights from the Recreation Department for the current week:
· Softball: The Recreation Department has begun registration for girls Little League Softball.
· Youth Commission: The Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Mayor’s office, held a workshop, where 15 youth participated, on October 13 at the Richmond Recreation Complex.
· Retreat: The Recreation Department will host a second retreat for the Recreation and Parks Commission on Saturday, October 24th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Marina Bay Yacht Harbormaster room.
9. Waste Diversion During City Hall Move
As you may know, the City of Richmond made waste diversion a priority during this year’s move out of 1401 Marina Way South. Staff more than doubled recycling collection services during the months preceding the move to recycle unwanted paper. The City of Richmond donated binders and other miscellaneous office supplies to 13 local organizations, diverting approximately 8 yards of material from the waste stream. In addition, staff collected technotrash (CDs, floppy disks, and video tapes), electronics, printer cartridges and batteries for recycling or safe disposal. Approximately two truckloads of electronic waste and 750 pounds of technotrash were collected and recycled.
10. Richmond Farm 2 Table
The City of Richmond has partnered with Richmond Farm 2 Table, a project of the Richmond Children’s Foundation, to promote the Farm 2 Table produce box program among City employees. This October, 13 City employees signed up to receive two boxes per month of locally produced fruit and vegetables for $50/month, a portion of which subsidizes the cost of a produce box for a low-income Richmond family. Each box contains nine to 12 different types of fruit and vegetables produced locally from EcoVillage Farm and from the Brentwood Agricultural Trust. The City of Richmond met its target of signing up 10 employees to make City Hall a produce box pickup location. To sign up to receive a box, fill out the sign up sheet accessible at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1946 or call Farm 2 Table at (510) 234-1200.
11. Office of Neighborhood Safety and Richmond PAL Partner to Bring “New Leaders Learning Academy” to Richmond Youth
In mid-November 2009, the City of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and the Richmond Police Activities League will partner with the Community Network for Youth Development (CNYD) to bring the “City of Richmond New Leaders Learning Academy” to Richmond youth. This program will provide quality services for Richmond youth and is a part of the national Building Exemplary Systems of Training for Youth Workers Initiative (B.E.S.T.). The New Leaders Learning Academy is a professional development and training program specifically designed to strengthen the capacity of youth organizations to respond to the developmental needs of young people. The academy seeks to serve as the forerunner in creating a common platform among all youth serving agencies in Richmond that will equip a new generation of youth professionals with the skills and comprehension necessary to implement effective youth development programs and manage quality youth service organizations.
During an eight-month process, agency participants are first engaged in an intensive learning environment in which they explore, exchange and reflect on “developmental practices” in youth development. There will be a total of eight (8) learning academy sessions based on CNYD’s Youth Development Framework for Practice.
Learning academy sessions are followed by on-site coaching to support agencies in implementing an action plan that participants create in collaboration with agency leadership. These action plans guide follow-up coaching to promote organizational improvement around research-based youth development practices.
12. Ballot Measure Filed to Protect Funding for Public Safety, Transportation, Redevelopment, Transit and Other Vital Local Services
The League of California Cities reports that, on Tuesday, October 20th, a coalition, which includes the League and local government, transportation and public transit leaders, filed a ballot measure initiative – the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act – with the California Attorney General’s office. The coalition is working to have this measure placed on the statewide ballot for November 2010.
The measure, if passed by voters, would close loopholes and prevent the state from borrowing, raiding or otherwise redirecting local government (local taxes, property taxes, redevelopment), transportation (HUTA and Prop. 42 funds) and public transit funds.
The ballot measure that was filed would:
· Prohibit the state from taking, borrowing or redirecting local taxpayer funds dedicated to public safety, emergency response and other vital local government services (including redevelopment). The measure would close loopholes to prevent the taking of local taxpayer funds currently dedicated to cities, counties and special districts. It would also revoke the state’s authority to borrow local government property tax funds or divert local redevelopment funds.
· Protect vital, dedicated transportation and public transit funds from state raids. The measure would prevent state borrowing, taking or redirecting of the state sales tax on gasoline (Prop.42 funds) and Highway User Tax on gasoline (HUTA) funds that are dedicated to transportation maintenance and improvements. It would also prevent the state from redirecting or taking public transit funds.
Filing the measure with the Attorney General’s office is the first step in a long and expensive process of qualifying a measure for the November 2010 ballot and securing voter approval. The coalition will receive the official Title and Summary in late November or early December 2009. At that time, the coalition can proceed with collecting the approximately 1 million signatures needed to qualify for the November 2010 ballot.
13. California Redevelopment Association Files Lawsuit Challenging the Constitutionality of State’s Seizure of Funds
On Tuesday, October 20, the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) filed a lawsuit in the Sacramento Superior Court to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s seizure of redevelopment funds for the state budget. The funds were raided through ABX4-26, the state budget trailer bill which authorized the use of redevelopment agency funds, $1.7 billion from the current budget year and $2.05 billion in FY 2010-11. As you may recall, this state action would take over $10 million from the Richmond Redevelopment Agency.
The same court in April 2008 ruled the state’s seizure of $350 million in redevelopment funds for the FY 2008-09 budget unconstitutional. When the state dropped its appeal on September 30, the Sacramento Superior Court’s April 2009 decision became final and binding.
Two redevelopment agencies are joining CRA as plaintiffs in the new lawsuit: the Union City Redevelopment Agency in Alameda County and the Fountain Valley Redevelopment Agency in Orange County. The Superior Court will be asked to certify all redevelopment agencies as a class of plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed on October 20 challenges the constitutionality of ABX4-26 and seeks to prevent the state from taking redevelopment funds for non-development purposes.
14. California Coastal Cleanup Day
On Saturday, September 19th, volunteers gathered along the Richmond shoreline to collect trash as part of the 25th anniversary of the California Coastal Cleanup Day. Seven hundred and fifty (750) volunteers in Richmond at Shimada, Point Isabel, Miller Knox, Breuner Marsh and Point Pinole Parks collected over 3,800 pounds of trash. More than 5,600 pieces of styrofoam; 4,700 plastic bags; 4,100 food wrappers; 2,000 plastic straws, and 1,000 plastic casings from shotgun use were collected. Volunteers removed three-quarters of a ton of trash from the South Richmond Shoreline site alone. Staff from the Parks Department, IT Department and City Manager’s Office worked over the prior months to organize, advertise and provide educational materials for the event and assisted with event coordination and trash removal on the day of the cleanup. The City would like to thank all of the volunteers and organizations that helped make this event a success, especially The California Coastal Commission, County Supervisor John Gioia and his staff, Richmond Shoreline Citizens Response, Making Waves, EarthTeam Environmental Network, North Richmond Shoreline Openspace Alliance, Golden Gate Audubon, Citizens for East Shore Parks, Urban Tilth, Trails for Richmond Action Committee, Point Richmond Neighborhood Council, and Waterside South Neighborhood Watch.
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
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA 94804-1630