Mayor and Members of the City Council:
This is the report for the week ending December 8, 2017.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 19th. Enjoy the next week off!
- City of Richmond Receives an Upgrade to its S&P Credit Rating to A-
I am happy to report that, after its regular periodic review of the City’s financial condition, S&P Global Ratings has raised the City of Richmond’s issuer credit rating (ICR) to “A-“ from “BBB+”. By definition of its rating categories:
An obligation rated 'A' (Richmond is A-) is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong.
While the City is not accessing the credit markets at the current time, the upgraded credit rating would lower the cost of future borrowing. Perhaps more importantly, it serves as an important indicator regarding the overall financial health of the City. The analysis and report (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/45270) that accompanies the revised credit rating is also informative as to current and future financial management policies.
I have provided an excerpt below from the S&P Global Ratings report, with annotations referencing my specific comments:
Excerpt from S&P Global Ratings Report:
S&P Global Ratings raised its issuer credit rating (ICR) to 'A-' from 'BBB+' on Richmond, Calif. At the same time, S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term rating and underlying rating (SPUR) to 'BBB+' from 'BBB' on the city's 2009 lease revenue bonds and series 2016 lease revenue bonds. The outlook is positive.
The rating action is based upon our view of the city's recent track record of stable to positive budgetary performance, coupled with management's expectations that this will continue through the current fiscal year. As a result we no longer consider the city to be structurally imbalanced under our Local Government GO Ratings criteria. The removal of the structural imbalance criteria rating cap lifts the rating to a full rating category (three notches) above the previously amended RBC swap agreement rating termination event of lower than BBB. In addition, we anticipate that the city will increase its budgetary flexibility to a level that we view as strong, or above 8% as a percent of operating expenditures.
The positive outlook is based upon our view that there is a one-in-three chance of a further rating upgrade, of potentially by more than one notch, if the city's fiscal 2017 audit approximates the general fund net results in the unaudited actuals and if the city also maintains at least stable fiscal 2018 and 2019 results. At the same time, the rating and outlook incorporate our view that the city's large pension and other postemployment benefit liability and the lack of a credible plan to address the large obligation could represent a drag on operating performance.
City Manager Comments on S&P Report:
- S&P comments specifically on the City’s recent history of balancing its budget, and indicates that they “no longer consider the city to be structurally imbalanced…” Attaining structural budget balance has been a focus of the City Council for the past several years, and this focus clearly needs to continue if the City is to maintain its financial health and achieve the further rating upgrade that is possible, as described in the report.
- The S&P Report describes budgetary flexibility as “strong,” which reflects the improved liquidity (cash balances) that has been increased over the past several years.
In sum, the two factors specifically cited by S&P in upgrading the City of Richmond’s issuer credit rating are (1) a structurally balanced budget, and (2) cash in the bank. These factors will continue to be emphasized by staff as we discuss the budget at mid-year and as we move in to the FY 2018-19 budget year: balance the budget and maintain healthy cash reserves.
- S&P has assigned a “positive outlook” which is an improvement from the most recently evaluated “stable outlook.” In short, S&P notes that a future ratings upgrade is possible if the City achieves the financial objectives (balanced budget and healthy liquidity) discussed above.
- Finally, and certainly not to be overlooked, is the notation to S&P’s report regarding “the city's large pension and other postemployment benefit liability.” There are clearly challenges ahead for the City as it works to balance the budget and increase cash reserves; these challenges include increased annual pension costs from CalPERS and other post-employment benefits (OPEB). These issues will need to be at the forefront of the City Council’s short- and long-term budget discussions during the months ahead.
- Community Meeting 12th & Macdonald Development Project
One of the potentially most transformative of downtown development projects is the proposed development of the vacant property at 12th Street and Macdonald Avenue in downtown Richmond. All residents and stakeholders are invited to provide community feedback related to the 12th & Macdonald Development Project at an upcoming community meeting on Thursday, December 14th. The meeting will provide background information on the proposed development project, and will include a discussion of public parking access adjacent to the site.
Date: Thursday, December 14th
Time: 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th Street, Richmond
Please RSVP (for our planning purposes): https://12thandmacdonald.eventbrite.com
For more information contact the City Manager’s Office, City of Richmond (510) 620-6512
- Santa, A Richmond Nutcracker & Holiday Fun coming to Downtown! Wednesday, December 13th
Santa Claus is coming to Downtown! Richmond Main Street Initiative and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts invite the entire community to come Downtown to the historic Winters Building for an evening filled with memorable yuletide activities for the entire family at the Downtown Holiday Festival on Wednesday, December 13th, from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th Street, Richmond.
The event features Santa visits (4:00 PM – 7:30 PM); Performances of A Richmond Nutcracker for children and adults of all ages at 5:00 PM & 6:30 PM; special holiday treats, giveaways, and free books (while supplies last); caroling and a Holiday Street Lighting ceremony at 7:30 PM.
Admission is free and made possible through the partnership between Richmond Main Street Initiative and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, with generous support from the City of Richmond, Mechanics Bank, Sims Metal Management, Richmond Grocery Outlet, and individual donors and volunteers.
For more information visit www.RichmondMainStreet.org or call (510) 236-4049.
- Rent Program Community Workshop Tomorrow – Setting Standards for Changes in the Maximum Rent
Under the rent control ordinance approved by the voters in 2016, for most multifamily rental properties in the City of Richmond, rent increases are limited to the annual change in the Consumer Price Index (a measure of inflation).
In the coming months, the Rent Board will establish standards for allowing individual rent increases and decreases due to a rental unit’s conditions, historic rental rates, operating costs, and other reasons.
Prior to determining these policies, the Rent Board will conduct a community workshop specifically on the topic of “Setting Standards for Changes in the Maximum Rent.” All are invited to attend and provide feedback on topics such as:
- Rules and standards for increasing or decreasing rents for rent-controlled rental units;
- How the Rent Board defines a “fair rate of return” on rental property investments;
- Calculating rent reductions due to problems with the rental unit (pests, broken appliances, etc.)
The next workshop is tomorrow:
Saturday, December 9, 2017
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
City Council Chambers
440 Civic Center Plaza
- Online Payment of the Residential Rental Housing Fee
In November 2016, a majority of City of Richmond voters approved Measure L, the Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction, and Homeowner Protection Ordinance. The Ordinance established the residential rental housing fee, which must be paid by all Richmond landlords to fund implementation of the Ordinance through the City’s Rent Program Department.
The current residential rental housing fee is $145.00 per rental unit. It is anticipated that invoices for payment of the fee will be mailed beginning in November 2017, with payment due by January 2, 2018. Alternatively, the fee may be paid online at www.https://etrakit.ci.richmond.ca.us. Please refer to the images below for additional online payment instructions.
You can save time and avoid late payment penalties by paying online today.
For more information about the Rent Program, please visit www.richmondrent.org or call (510) 620-6576. The Rent Program office is located on the second floor of 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804, and is open Monday-Friday, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.
- Port of Richmond Welcomes New Tenants
The Port of Richmond is pleased to announce that it has entered into several new long term lease agreements for marine related uses at its maritime facilities.
Sause Brothers is now leasing a portion of Terminal 3 for their tug and barge operations. As part of their lease, they are rehabilitating the Terminal 3 Machine Shop Building.
The Dutra Group is now leasing Basin 2 and the adjacent building at Point Potrero Marine Terminal (PPMT). They are also renovating the newly leased building. The Dutra Group is a dredging, marine and construction company.
NRC Environmental Services Company is now leasing Basin 3 at PPMT, where they are berthing their barge, Pebble Beach. NRC is an international environmental response company.
The Port welcomes its new partners to Richmond, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with each of these companies.
I have listed below some of the topics for meetings that I attended during the past week in the hope that it provides an idea of the varied issues with which our organization deals routinely.
Meetings and events of note during the past week included:
- Met with a group of visitors from Guangdong Province in China, together with Councilmember Eduardo Martinez and staff from the City’s Information Technology Department. The visitors were interested in learning about our use of technology in municipal operations;
- Participated in a planning meeting for the Neighborhood Transformation project, along with Councilmember Eduardo Martinez, Supervisor John Gioia, School District Boardmember Madeline Kronenberg, and associated staff members;
- Met with representatives from the Future Aquatic Swim Team (FAST) starting in Richmond;
- Met with West County City Managers to discuss proposed revisions to the West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management joint powers agreement;
- Attended the ribbon cutting for the eQuip Richmond Contractors Resource Center;
- Attended my monthly check-in meeting with the Chevron Richmond Refinery General Manager;
- Met with Jordan Simmons, Artistic Director for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts to discuss the City’s investment in this program;
- Met, along with Richard Mitchell, with representatives from the Bay Area Rescue Mission to discuss their project concept for expansion;
- Attended the quarterly meeting of the City Manager’s Disaster Council (emergency preparedness) organized by Emergency Manager Genevieve Pastor-Cohen;
- Attended the monthly Contra Costa Mayors Conference meeting;
- Met, along with staff from several City departments, with consultants serving the municipal cannabis industry;
- Attended the quarterly liaison meeting with East Bay Regional Park District representatives, chaired by Councilmember Ada Recinos; and
- Attended the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council “Hug-a-Bear” Holiday Dinner.
These meetings were in addition to attending the regular management staff meeting, agenda planning, reviewing staff reports to the City Council, doing department head “check-ins,” having discussions on various personnel matters, and having short discussions with staff, community members, members of the press, etc.
- Richmond Promise Office Hours at WCCUSD High Schools & RPAL
Need help with your financial aid applications? Need help with the Richmond Promise Scholarship Application? Have questions about college? Richmond Promise College Access Coordinator Gaby Urías will be hosting weekly office hours at the following schools to assist students with financial aid and scholarship applications:
- El Cerrito High School: M – 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
- Richmond High School: M – 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
- Richmond Police Activities League facility (RPAL): T – 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
- De Anza High School: W – 1:50 PM - 2:30 PM
- Greenwood High School: Th – 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
- Kennedy High School: Th – 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
The 2017-18 Richmond Promise Scholarship Application is open and can be found at www.richmondpromise.org. Please share this opportunity with eligible students in your life!
Questions or want to request a workshop? Info@richmondpromise.org // 510-761-7231
- 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive Launched
The City of Richmond Community Services Department (CSD) is collecting donations of non-perishables for their 2nd annual Holiday Food Drive, which ends on December 18th. All donations will benefit the Bay Area Rescue Mission (BARM) this holiday.
With only a few weeks left, the CSD invites you to participate in the 2017 Holiday Food Drive Blitz! Now more than ever during this holiday time, we need your help to foster unity and strength within our community.
All donations given during the Blitz will be entered for a chance to win an Amazon Echo Dot or a gift basket! Read on to find out how.
CANNED FOOD DROP-OFFS:
From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Wednesday, December 13th and Saturday, December 16th, folks can drop off any non-perishable items at the community centers listed below. Staff will be available to register and enter you in our holiday giveaway at the following locations:
Richmond Senior Center
2525 Macdonald Avenue
1 East Richmond Avenue
CANNED FOOD PICK-UPS
Can't make it to our drop-offs? No problem!
If you have at least 5 non-perishable food items to donate, the CSD will offer donation pickups for Richmond residents on Thursday, December 14th, free of charge! Picked-up items are also eligible for the giveaway!
Sign up online by going to https://tinyurl.com/CSDHolidayBlitz. Cut off for pickup requests is Tuesday, December 12:00 PM at 5:00 PM.
Participants will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon Echo Dot or one (1) of two (2) ServiceWorks gift bags. One (1) entry ticket will be given for each non-perishable food item donated, and two (2) entry tickets will be given for each donated item that is on BARM's holiday wish list: oats, cornmeal, pancake mix, canned food (only cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, mixed veggies, sweet potatoes, and collard greens), and spices (only black pepper, paprika, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder).
Winners will be announced at the end of the blitz on Saturday, December 16th. Winners do not need to be present during the drawing.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 510-620-6563.
- Apply for Your U.S. Passport at Richmond City Hall!
The City of Richmond City Clerk’s Office is pleased to announce that it is accepting passport applications on behalf of the United States Department of State. United States citizens planning international travel may apply for their passport at 450 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 300, during the following hours by appointment only:
Monday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
(Closed 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – days of operation only)
Please recognize that the area is an operational executive office, and a quiet zone. No drop in service for same day appointments or scheduling future appointments is available at this time; you must call (510) 620-6786 to schedule all appointments.
For application forms, information on documentation required, fees, and a wealth of other passport and international travel information, visit the only official website for passport information – travel.state.gov.
For more information about the City of Richmond Passport Acceptance Facility, please visit http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/passports.
- I-80 Central Avenue Operations Improvement Project (I-80 and Central Avenue) Update
This week, Mike Brown Electrical (MBE), completed the installation of two signals; one at the northeast corner and one at the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Rydin Road. Difficult drilling was encountered, requiring MBE to stabilize and re-drill several of the pole foundations.
Next week, MBE will continue drilling the foundations for the signal poles at the Rydin Road Intersection. MBE is also expected to begin working during the night to pothole existing utilities and install new electrical conduits for the signal poles at Rydin Road. This work will involve closing one lane of traffic along Central Avenue between the Interstate 80 interchange and Rydin Road. The closure is expected to start at 6:00 PM and end by 10:00 AM. Central Ave will be open to traffic during this work. Anyone traveling along Central Avenue during this time should expect minor delays.
For more project information, please visit the project webpage: www.ccta.net/projects/project/36
If you have questions, please call Community Outreach Representative Jacqueline Majors at (510) 882-1603; or email: I80CentralAve@gmail.com.
- Contra Costa CARES | A Health Access Program is Currently Accepting Applications
Contra Costa CARES is a healthcare program for uninsured adults living in Contra Costa County and is currently accepting applications. Those enrolled can access primary care services at no cost.
Applying is easy; simply make an appointment with the health center that you would like to receive care from, either Brighter Beginnings: (510) 213-6681 or Lifelong Medical Care: (510) 215-9092, and show up to your appointment. During your appointment a health center enroller will assist you with your application and check if you are eligible for the program. Make sure to bring proof of identity, residence, and income to your appointment.
To be eligible, you must be 19 years of age or older, be a resident of Contra Costa County, not be eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal, Covered CA, or other insurance, and have an annual household income of 138% federal poverty level or lower (i.e. 1-person households= $16,643; family of four = $33,948). Those that are unsure about their eligibility can call to set up an appointment, and a trained health center worker will help determine eligibility.
- Community Services Highlights
4th Annual Youth Job Fair, Ages 15-24
Whether you like spending time outdoors, working with children, aquatics, or public safety, there's something for you with the East Bay Regional Park District! Learn about the wide variety of job opportunities for youth and students while exploring the many jobs available for the summer and in the near future. Free lunch and shuttle provided. Pre-registration is not required; drop-in event.
Date, Time & Location:
Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Richmond Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center
403 Civic Center Plaza
Schedule for Event
10:00 AM - Doors Open!
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Job Fair
11:15 AM - 11:45 AM - Workshops
12:00 PM - Farewell!
*Free Shuttle from El Cerrito del Norte BART leaves at 9:45 AM, final drop off is at 12:15 PM**
Follow us on Facebook and stay updated on our Facebook event page here.
Can’t make it? There is another Youth Job Fair event scheduled in Livermore at the Robert Livermore Community Center on January 20, 2018.
Candy Cane Classic Basketball Tournament
Richmond CSD’s annual Candy Cane Basketball Tournament will be held on December 9th and 10th at the Richmond Recreation Complex, Booker T. Anderson Center and Richmond PAL. For more information, contact the Registration Office at (510) 620-6793 or visit our website or Facebook event.
ServiceWorks is Hiring! Apply Now and Please Share Widely!
Are you interested in working in the Bay Area and with young adults from the ages of 16-24? Our program is hiring (1) AmeriCorps VISTA and (1) Fellow! ServiceWorks continuing in Richmond for ServiceWorks 2.0 and is a college and career program that helps high school students get ready for their future by teaching them leadership skills, networking, and the importance of volunteering.
The application for ServiceWorks as an AmeriCorps VISTA and Fellow is open! We strongly encourage candidates to apply online as early as possible.
Descriptions for the positions are below:
Project Development Leader (Full Time + Evenings/Weekends)
Training and Development Leader (Full Time + Evenings/Weekends)
Richmond ServiceWorks Fellow (30 Hours/Week)
Interested in applying or getting involved with volunteer projects? For additional comments or questions, please contact Vanessa Chau at Vanessa_Chau@ci.richmond.ca.us or at (510) 620-6552.
When Lifeguards Decorate a Christmas Tree
Staff got into the holiday spirit and decorated with some ornaments you don’t typically see on a Christmas tree: goggles, noodles, hand buoys, a rescue tube, and Lifeguard visor. We wish all our patrons at the Richmond Swim Center & Richmond Plunge a happy season of holidays, joy and lights!
Getting the Par-tea Started
On November 29th, the Richmond Senior Annex had a fabulous tea party. Seniors sampled 5 different teas and had a variety of tasty sandwiches and cookies. We had over 20 participants including staff. Annual event, anyone?
Website Statistics for the Week Ending 12-08-2017
- Page views increased by 8%
- Page likes increased by 13%
- Previews are up 25%
- Post engagements are up 17%
- Top Tweet mentions increased by 11.1%
- Followers are up!
KCRT DATANET OF THE WEEK
- Engineering/CIP Departments
The Rifle Range Road Project has been completed as scheduled.
Rifle Range Road
Paving crews prepped and paved a City facility and the alleyway from Grant to Burbeck Avenues between 22nd and 23rd Streets and worked from the outstanding pothole list in various locations around the City.
Paving Work at City Facility
Paving Work in Alleyway
Street sweeping staff performed residential sweeping services for the first Monday through Thursday and second Friday in the Parchester Village, Hilltop Bayview, Hilltop Green, Fairmede/Hilltop, Carriage Hills Northside, El Sobrante Hills, Greenbriar, Hansford Heights, Via Verda, San Pablo Dam Road, Bristole Cone, Clinton Hill IV and East Richmond neighborhood council areas.
Signs and Lines repaired 9 signs and poles, installed 12 new signs and poles, and painted 1775 feet of curbs and zoning.
- Infrastructure Maintenance and Operations
Abatement crews removed homeless encampments from public view, responded to the Police Department’s request to board a property that had been breached in the Richmond Heights Neighborhood, abated a private property in the Eastshore Neighborhood, continued removing tons of illegal dumping and removed graffiti throughout the City.
Private Property Abatement
Members of the City’s Abatement team witnessed someone illegally dumping debris on the 3500 block of Bissell Avenue. Employees phoned Code Enforcement Officer Souza who made contact with the individual illegally dumping. From that contact, Code Enforcement Officer Souza issued an Administrative Citation and notified the property owner. Code Enforcement Officer Tisdell responded the following day to another complaint in the same area. He issued a 24 hour warning notice the the property owner. The debris was removed within the 24 hour period.
Before and After
Facilities Maintenance Division:
Stationary Engineers repaired the curtain in the City Council Chambers, installed new signs in the lobby of 440 Civic Center Plaza, installed new signs on the 2nd floor of City Hall and reconfigured workstations.
Utility Workers cleaned and waxed the lobby of 440 Civic Center Plaza, removed water from the locker room at the Recreation Complex, stripped and cleaned the floor in the Street Breakroom, set up meeting rooms and the Council Chambers and maintained 29 City owned facilities.
Waxed Floor of 440 Civic Center
Parks and Landscaping Division:
General maintenance crews completed repairs to the K-9 training facility, weed whipped at the Clinton Avenue soundwall, repaired the gate at the Solano Playlot, repaired the fencing at the Nicholl Park baseball field, cleared the access road at Mira Vista of overgrowth, removed graffiti at the Humphrey Playlot, cleared a drain in Nicholl Park and repaired the swing at LaMoine Park.
Clinton Avenue Soundwall
Hilltop District crews continued maintenance around Hilltop Mall business area, performed maintenance at Bay Vista Park, completed weed abatement on Richmond Parkway to the south bound off ramp of Giant Highway and completed weed abatement on the north side of Atlas Road.
Bay Vista Park Maintenance
Marina District crews continued to remove weeds and prune the Esplanade area, removed litter from the shoulder on Wright Avenue and continued with the landscaping project on the Marina Bay Parkway.
Marina Bay Parkway Landscaping Project
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
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