Mayor and Members of the City Council:
This is the weekly report for the week ending May 15th, 2015.
The next meeting of the Richmond City Council is Tuesday, May 19th, beginning with a Closed Session at 5:30 PM, the Housing Authority Board at 6:25 PM, and the regular agenda at 6:30 PM. To see the most recent City Council agenda use the following link: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/CityCouncilAgenda
- Moody’s Investors Service Downgrades City of Richmond Bonds
This past Wednesday, we learned that Moody’s Investors Service, which has rated past debt issues of the City of Richmond, has downgraded the City’s issuer rating to Baa1 from A1, pension bonds to Baa2 from A2, and placed the city and wastewater enterprise ratings under review for possible downgrade. In its credit report, Moody’s identified the City's weakened financial position over the past few years. They indicated that, while the tax base is large and grew in 2015, total assessed valuation (AV) remains well below pre-recession levels.
In my mind, the downgrade does not come as a surprise, and, in fact, I expected that this could have happened several years ago during the depths of the recession. The Moody’s credit report describes what I believe to be a good summary of measures that should be taken by the City to address its financial issues (all of which have been discussed by the Council):
What could make the rating go up:
- Strong management action to bring city operations into structural balance
- Steady and strong growth in the tax base
- Favorable resolution of contingent liabilities
What could make the rating go down:
- Further deterioration of financial position and liquidity through continued deficit spending
- Decline in the tax base
Staff is currently working hard to deliver a balanced FY 2015-16 operating budget to the City Council that we can recommend for adoption, consistent with the measures described above.
- City of Richmond 2015 Community Survey – Final Days – We Need your Feedback
One of the best ways to improve Richmond’s services is to ask the people that live here what they think. With this in mind, the City of Richmond is pleased to announce the 2015 Community Survey! During the past few weeks, you may have been notified that you have been selected to give input that will help the City improve the level of government services and the future of your community. Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of 3,000 Richmond residents, asking them to comment on the community’s pressing needs and city services.
The purpose of the survey is to help City officials evaluate services, measure resident satisfaction with current services, and to help plan for Richmond’s future. The results from the survey will be included in a final report available to all City officials, staff and residents.
If you were selected, please return the survey before the stated deadline. If you know someone that received one, please encourage them to fill it out and return it. Your input can help make the City of Richmond a better place to live, work and play. Feel free to contact the City Manager’s Office with your questions at 510-620-6512.
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) declared a Stage 4 critical drought and set a community wide goal to reduce water use by 20% compared to 2013.
The following mandatory outdoor watering rules are now in effect:
1. Water no more than 2 non-consecutive days per week.
2. Strict limits on time: only before 9:00 am or after 6:00 PM.
3. No watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.
4. No watering of ornamental turf on public street medians is allowed.
5. No washing of driveways and sidewalks, except as needed for health and
safety (i.e., pet enclosures, etc.).
6. Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles.
7. Turn off fountains or decorative water features unless the water is recirculated.
Conservation alone is not enough.
- EBMUD is delivering nearly 11 billion gallons of extra water supplies through its federal dry-year contract - about a two-month supply to fill its reservoirs.
- EBMUD will continue looking for more water supplies to buy and deliver through the Freeport facility on the Sacramento River.
New drought rates: The EBMUD Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on June 9th and then consider adopting new rates. If approved, the new rates and any drought surcharge would take effect July 1st.
On Thursday, May 14th, hundreds of riders across Richmond particpated in the annual Bike to Work Day. The City collaborated with Bike East Bay, 511 Contra Costa, Rich City Rides, Richmond BPAC, and SunPower to host four Energizer Stations across the Richmond community. Particpants were welcome to refreshments and a Bike to Work Day bag with all kinds of swag and goodies to make the biking experience more fun and enjoyable. Special thanks to Catahoula Coffee, Nutiva, and the Peddler Bike Shop for donating bags and support for the Engergizer Stations. Donations were also provided by the Richmond Visitors and Convention Bureau and Paragon Machine Works, TRAC, East Bay Regional Parks District, the National Park Service, and Pogo Park. Volunteers also led pedestrain surveys at the Richmond Greenway Engergizer Station to find out more about usage and needs in the community.
Visitors at the Energizer Stations numbered as follows:
- Richmond BART: 164
- Marina Bay Park: 100
- San Pablo & Macdonald: 144
- Richmond Greenway: 83 bikes, 1 tricycle, 210 pedestrians, 2 strollers, 11 skateboards, & 14 dogs
New to biking? Plan your route with the 511CC's route mapper!
Keep it going all May! Join Team Richmond and log your miles for the month long bike competition at TeamBikeChallenge.org
Please visit www.richmondenvironment.org or call (510) 620-6512 for more information and to find out about more events throughout May.
On Wednesday, May 20th, at 5:00 PM, all are welcome to join the Richmond Ride of Silence from the Civic Center across the Richmond community. The Ride of Silence, part of a worldwide effort, is a slow, quiet ride through the streets of Richmond. Held the week following Bike to Work Day during National Bike Month, the Ride of Silence aims to:
- Honor those who have been seriously hurt or killed while bicycling in Richmond;
- Raise community awareness that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways; and
- Promote bicycle safety, and ask that we all share the road.
For more information on National Bike Month activities, visit www.richmondenvironment.org.
Join your friends and neighbors at the Richmond Certified Farmers Market every Friday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. New fruits and vegetables, such as cauliflower, strawberries, swiss chards, greens, and red beets, are in season. The Richmond Certified Farmers Market sells only what is grown on local farms; fruits and vegetables are picked when they are ripe and ready to eat with lots of flavor.
The market accepts WIC coupons and has EBT tokens. If you have any questions about the market, call (510) 237-7271.
- South Richmond Transportation Connectivity Plan (SRTCP) Draft Now Available
In 2012, the City of Richmond was awarded a Community-Based Transportation Planning Grant from Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) to develop the South Richmond Transportation Connectivity Plan (Connectivity Plan). In coordination with the South Shoreline Specific Plan, the Connectivity Plan will identify key deficiencies in the local and regional transportation network and include specific recommendations to improve multi-modal connectivity between the City's Southern Shoreline and Central Richmond neighborhoods as well as adjacent communities including El Cerrito, Albany, and Berkeley.
The draft South Richmond Transportation Connectivity Plan (SRTCP) is now available. To access the draft report, please visit the project website at www.ci.richmond.ca.us/srtcp. Copies will also be available for review at the Richmond Main Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond and the Planning Division counter located at 450 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Richmond.
Please send comments on the draft to Lina Velasco, Senior Planner by June 1, 2015 via email at Lina_Velasco@ci.richmond.ca.us or by mail at Planning Division, 450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804.
- The City of Richmond Cares About Your Health
The City of Richmond cares about your health. Think twice before you spray once. The City of Richmond encourages you to use non-toxic methods to reduce the number of weeds in your lawn and garden.
- Hacienda Tenant Relocation Update
In January 2015, the Richmond Housing Authority received approval from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for the disposition of the Hacienda public housing development and approval of Tenant Protection Section 8 Vouchers to assist in the relocation of the residents. The Housing Authority has retained the professional firm of Autotemp to provide relocation assistance for the residents.
As of the week of May 11th, all but one household has participated in the interview process with Autotemp. Autotemp consultants are providing ongoing advisory assistance and referrals to the residents. To date, approximately 60% of the households have received their Notices of Eligibility and Informational brochures. Currently eight households have found a replacement home; three have scheduled move in dates in the month of May. Autotemp consultants are providing ongoing transportation assistance to view potential Section 8 rental units.
A Draft Relocation Plan has been provided to the Housing Authority by Autotemp and was released for public comment on May 1st (Richmond Housing Authority Hacienda Relocation Plan). Autotemp consultants hand delivered the Relocation Plan Letters to all residents on Friday, May 1st.
Section 8 eligibility certification interviews have also been ongoing. As of the week of May 11th, 97 of the 101 residents have been interviewed.
Tenant Protection Section 8 Voucher briefings are being held weekly in the Hacienda Community Center. A voucher briefing explains the Section 8 program, in detail, to the residents, and gives the residents a chance to ask questions they may have about the program. At the conclusion of each briefing, the residents receive a Voucher Briefing Packet, which includes a Request for Tenancy Approval and a Tenant Protection Voucher. As of the week of May 11th:
- 67 vouchers have been issued;
- 4 Housing Quality Standards initial inspections have been scheduled for prospective Section 8 rental units, and 3 passed;
- 8 tenant requests to port out of the City of Richmond Housing Authority’s jurisdiction have been processed;
- There have been three (3) resident relocations thus far.
R-Transit (formerly Richmond Paratransit) provides door-to-door demand-response transportation services (same day and up to 10 days in advance reservations are required), group trips, senior nutrition program transportation services, and standing orders from Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. A one-way trip scheduled up to 10 days in advance is $4.00; trips scheduled same-day cost $5.00
All trips, regardless of service, are local within a service area that includes the Cities of El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo as well as the unincorporated communities of Bayview-Montalvin, East Richmond Heights, El Sobrante, Hasford Heights, Kensington, North Richmond, Rollingwood and Tara Hills.
Fill out an application today: online, by mail, or in person at the R-Transit Center located at the Richmond BART station, 1600 Nevin Plaza in Richmond.
- Officer Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass Project
The Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass Project involves the construction of a roadway underpass on Marina Bay Parkway between Meeker Avenue and Regatta Boulevard, and is intended to resolve long-standing access limitations to the Marina Bay area caused by frequent train crossings. In early September 2013, Marina Bay Parkway was closed to traffic. This road closure is planned to remain in place through June 2015, with overall project completion in fall 2015.
During the week of May 11th, concrete was poured for the bridge tower decorative columns and preparation of the roadway for lean concrete base was substantially completed. Additionally, electrical work at the generator building continued, placement of pavers in the roadway median was completed, and installation of cable railing commenced. For the week of May 18th, roadway lean concrete base will be poured over the course of three days, and generator building interior work will commence.
Project delays encountered during the winter (due primarily to AT&T relocation and heavy rains in December) resulted in a formal “contract days” schedule that would require reopening of the roadway in August 2015, however, the contractor and construction management team are evaluating construction methods that would allow for earlier reopening of a minimum of one lane in each direction in late June, in an effort to reduce impacts to the community. Additional information on this topic is expected to be available in next week’s update.
For additional information and to be added to the project update contact list, please see the project website at www.moodyup.com. You can also follow the project on twitter: @moodyunderpass, or contact the project’s Public Outreach Coordinator Jacqueline Majors at (925) 949-6196
Bridge tower columns prior to formwork stripping
- Continued Increase in Sales Tax Receipts
This past week, Finance Department staff met with the City’s sales tax consultant, MuniServices, to review sales tax figures for the fourth quarter of 2014. Richmond experienced an increase of 6.2% in its sales tax cash allocation from the same four quarters compared to the previous year. This includes adjustments by the State Board of Equalization and County Pool receipts.
The City has experienced steady growth in this revenue stream since 2009. Richmond’s tax base is led by the General Retail category, which currently makes up 30.1% of the sales tax revenue. This category is driven, to a great extent, by large retailers such as Target, Costco and Wal-Mart. Of significance, construction related sales tax increased by over 18% compared to the previous year. The Finance Department will continue to closely monitor the actual revenue submitted by the State Board of Equalization, the local trends developing in Richmond and the projections provided by MuniServices.
- City of Richmond NEW Mobile APP Update
The City of Richmond mobile app is now available. It provides Richmond’s community members with one-stop access to City services and information. You may watch the informational video for an overview of the app available for free at Apple App Store for IOS devices and at Google Play for Android phones.
QR Codes are available for easy downloading of this APP:
Apple version of APP Android version of APP
The City of Richmond is looking forward to feedback from the community on this new Mobile APP. We welcome your comments at email@example.com
The Friends of the Richmond Public Library and Richmond Public Library Teen Services are co-sponsoring a $1,000 scholarship to a Richmond resident who is a senior high public or private school student and will be attending a four-year college in the fall of 2015.
Interested applicants should:
- Provide a copy of a letter of intent/registration to the college they will be attending.
- Include the names of any service/social organization(s) in which they participated.
- Provide the names and amounts of other scholarships awarded.
- Submit a three-page, double spaced, typed essay entitled, Public Libraries in the New Millennium: Programs and Resources that Attract Teens.
Applications will be available in counseling offices at West County high schools and online at www.richmondlibrary.org. Entries must be received by Saturday, May 16th, by 5:00 PM at: Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, Attn: Angela Cox.
- Information Technology (IT) Department Updates
Website Statistics: Top 10 Webpage visits for the week ending May 12, 2015:
Weekly Total Reached increased by 43.0%
New LIKES increased by 700.0%
KCRT – Datanet Screen of the Week
Richmond Public Library Secret Tour Event
Once again, an army of volunteers from Chevron volunteered time away from their busy workday to eliminate blight on a section of the Richmond Greenway. Working with the Code Enforcement Abatement Team, the group removed graffiti, abated weeds and picked up trash along the Greenway near Ohio Avenue and 20th Street. The photos show the results of their hard work! Thank you, Chevron, for your assistance and ongoing commitment to our neighborhoods as we strive to rehabilitate our community and to wipe out blight.
Disabled People’s Recreation Center
In addition to all the activities the clients participate in throughout the week, the primary focus this past week was to complete Mother’s Day gifts. Participants were each given plain picture frames to paint with their favorite colors, and to decorate. First everyone used paint brush and sponge techniques to blend colors. The frames were then put away to dry. After the frames were dried, pre-cut lettering was glued to the frame. Their picture was added, and the finished product was wrapped.
Although it seems this task could have been completed in two days, it is important to note the entire process took a week to complete. The clients that are proudly served at the DPRC have varied disabilities, and, for some, this task was very difficult. For example, just holding the paint brush and moving it back and forth took hours to paint the entire frame. Gluing individual letters was sometimes tedious and frustrating. Staff patiently assisted clients by prompting, encouraging, and reiterating the process to help them achieve a beautiful gift for their mothers, grandmothers or aunts.
The Richmond Annex Senior Center offers a Qigong class every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM, at $6.00 per class. Qigong is a series of gentle exercises designed to stimulate the body. Come join any time!
The Richmond Plunge will offer an array of swim lessons beginning in June! For our adult companions, classes are offered throughout the week, and on weekends, for all levels of swimming. Dates and times are listed below. Call (510) 620-6831 or refer to the Recreation Activity Guide at www.ci.richmond.ca.us for more information.
Introduction (13 and up) Level 1: In this course, students will learn the safety and fun ways of the water, students will learn the safety and fun ways of the water. students will learn the safety of shallow water floating and progressing to a front crawl movement. In addition, they will learn how to back float and forward movement.
Intermediate (13 and up) Level 2: By now, swimmers should be comfortable in both shallow and deep water, with front crawl and back crawl. In addition, lessons will include treading water and bilateral breathing with swimming a 25 yards length. An introduction to breaststroke and flip turns will be taught.
Advanced (13 and up) Level 3: Develop stroke and technique and learn various ways to become a stronger with a more proficient stroke. Learn a correct warm-up and cool down, and swim high intensity sets. Different drills will be used to improve in competitive stroke, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. In addition, swimmers can train on technique and practice swimming for open water events.
Note: All participants will be registered into one class and divided by appropriate level on the first day of class.
Saturdays 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
(Level 1, 2, 3)
3 week Sessions (3 classes)
Cost: $30 resident $37.50 non-resident
Session 1: 6/13-6/27
Session 2: 7/11-7/25
Session 3: 8/8-8/28
Session 4: 9/12-9/26
Session 5: 10/10-10/24
Tuesday & Thursday 6:45 PM - 7:15 PM
(Level 1, 2, 3)
3 week Sessions (6 classes)
Cost: $60 resident $75 non-resident
Session 1: 6/16-7/2
Session 2: 7/7-7/23
Session 3: 7/28-8/13
Afterschool program participants created beautiful Mother’s Day cards, which they presented to their mothers on Friday, May 8th. Throughout the week the children talked about what an important job mothers have, and they expressed their gratitude through stories, poetry, and art.
Facilities Mainenance Division
Carpenters have been assisting with the beginning phases of the Senior Center upgrades.
Painters began other areas at the Richmond Museum.
Electricians ran the conduit for the new flag pole lighting at Fire Station #63, replaced traffic controller on Richmond Parkway and Gertrude Avenue, moved wiring for Senior Center remodel, installed the power for the automatic doors at 440 Civic Center Plaza, surveyed trail lighting outages in the Marina, and attended an Asbestos Awareness Training.
Parks and Landscaping Division
General maintenance crews weeded and trimmed at the May Valley Community Center, installed two flagpole pathways in Civic Center Plaza, weeded and trimmed the 23rd Street Grade Separation, delived mulch and sand to the Solano Play Lot, delivered planting soil to Huntington Senior Center for a new vegetable garden, installed a new slide at Nevin Park, weeded Crescent Park, graffiti abatement at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, repaired irrigation at the Plunge, and delivered wood chips to the Plunge and Bayview Library.
Hilltop District crews continued work on the sidewalk near AM/PM landscaping project, weed abated on Atlas Road and Hilltop Drive, poured concrete for sidewalk repairs at Vista Del Mar Park, removed safety hazards on Robert Miller Drive, and continued general maintenance on Richmond Parkway.
Marina District crews performed irrigation repairs and field abatement.
Tree crews cut or trimmed trees on or around: Hartnett Avenue, Castro Ranch Road, Carlson Boulevard, Sutter Avenue, and at John F. Kennedy Park.
Pine at John F. Kennedy Park
Paving staff worked on potholes and sidewalks from the outstanding pothole list and the remaining staff went to assist the Parks and Landscaping Division.
Street sweeping performed commercial and residential sweeping services for the second Monday through Thursday and the third Friday in the May Valley, Vista View, Clinton Hill I – IV, East Richmond, Santa Fe, Coronado, Marina Bay, and Point Richmond neighborhood council areas.
Signs and Lines staff installed 18 new signs and poles, repaired 13 signs and poles, fabricated 5 new signs, and painted 50’ of curb.
Red Curb Painting
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, California 94804
You can sign up to receive the City Manager’s weekly report and other information from the City of Richmond by visiting: www.ci.richmond.ca.us/list.aspx
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, California 94804