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Your City Council — Live!

Live coverage of the Tuesday, March 8 City Council meeting.

9:54, CITY COUNCIL/CITY MANAGER ANNOUNCEMENTS AND CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE, SUB-COMMITTEE AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE REPORTS

Kuehne, will start scheduling office hours.

Delgado, attended last week's Citizens Advisory Financial Ad Hoc Committee. Advises others to attend and learn more about city's financial situation.

deVera, attended Pinole-Hercules wastewater meeting. Are we going to stay or leave them for west county wastewater. I asked them to be patient. They gave us a July 1 deadline to decide.

Ward, attended law enforcement night in El Sobrante and some of the same meetings deVera attended.

7:43, CITY MANAGER REPORTS AND RESOLUTIONS

1. Conduct Discussion And Authorize The Acting City Manager To: (a) Postpone/
Cancel All Community Events Until Finances Can Support; Or (b) Evaluate
Community Events And Make Recommendation To Continue Certain Events.

Deglado: Makes motion to authorize the city manager to postpone city events, keeping the cultural festival, Fourth of July parade, farmers market, golf tournament and, possibly, community cleanup with a small fee. Cancel tree lighting, community update and Martin Luther King Jr. celebration sponsorship.

Parks and Rec department head Pedro Jimenez recommends trying to keep some the city's events and find more sponsors for them (Events reviewed: Cultural Festival, Golf Tournament, Fourth of July, Community Cleanup, Tree Lighting, Community Update, Martin Luther King Jr. celebration).  We have a lot of vendors calling in to see if we're going to do these events or not. Seeking direction from council.

Councilman Don Kuehne: I'd like to keep the Cultural Festival and maybe charge an admission fee.

deVera: I agree we should continue the Cultural Festival, however I'm concerned about charging an entrance fee.

Delgado: I think we need to wait for the results of the audit.

Mayor Joanne Ward: Wants to keep the Cultural Festival if financially possible.


2. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The Appropriation And Expenditure Of An Amount Not To Exceed $2,253,058 Specifically For Oliver And Company To Continue Construction Of The Sycamore North Project For An Additional Sixty (60) Days; Authorize The Acting City Manager, Treasurer And/Or Finance Director To Make Loans With Simple Interest From Various Funds To The Sycamore North Project.

Muncipal Services Director John Stier: Oliver & Company (working on Sycamore North construction) has agreed to do construction for $450K/month through May. We want to keep everything in place for the next owner.

Delgado: Will these funds be backfilled once Sycamore North sells?

Stier: If we get $25 million or less, there will be a shortfall....We're in a tough spot, I don't know how to say it any different.

One thought I have had is to demolish all of the residential....I don't know the ramifications of the affordable mix, but I have thought about it...I'm trying to express how extreme we've thought.

3. Receive Report And Provide Direction To Staff Regarding The Status Of Negotiations With Hercules Bayfront.

Consultant Charlie Long and residents Phil Simmons and Ken Morrison give presentation on the efforts of the Hercules Bayfront Taskforce.

Simmons: Part of what the task force want to see, is we want to see how the deal looks as it’s going along. The task force is going to be the eyes and the ears for you guys.

Long: There are three things that are driving this process in terms of the time.

1) 21 million committed to the first phase of the ITC by outside funding agencies. They are looking for a level of credibility from the city and assurance that the city can secure the ITC property, which belongs to Hercules Bayfront LLC. That needs to happen in the next 60 days.

2) Governor’s proposals for the state budget which involve to elimination of RDAs. It looks like the elimination of redevelopment as you know it will happen.

3) We don't have anymore bond funds immediately available. The is $14 million but it is set aside exclusively to pay Catellus due to a legal settlement. We are trying to get Catellus to agree to an arrangement so that the $14 million is released to go back into the ITC Bayfront project.

Also, ...looking at building the ITC so that costs less than the $20 million it is now designed to cost.

4. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The Acting City Manager/Executive Director
To Suspend Or Cancel Contracts With WestCat For Bus Wraps, Joe A. Gonsalves
And Son For Lobby Representation, Brent Salmi For Engineering Services, And
Fernandez Commercial Cleaning For Landscaping Services At Hercules Fitness--APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.

Fernandez Comm. Cleaning: Cut some of the company's scope of work for Hercules.

Brent Salmi: Fired due to lack of project for Salmi to work on.

WestCat Bus Wraps: WestCat is removing the wrap.

5. Adopt A Resolution Rescinding The Following Resolutions Nod. 10-144, 10-146, 10-147 And 10-148 Which Authorized The Purchase Of Equipment Or Services For The HMU Substation Project; And Authorizing The Acting City Manager To Delay And/ Or Cancel The Purchase Of Any Remaining Equipment And Services For The HMU Substation Project.

MOTION CARRIES WITH A 3-1 VOTE, WITH KUEHNE VOTING "NO"

Nov. 23, City Council adopted these resolutions to allow the HMU to grow.

We feel it's prudent not to go forward with that.

Kuehne: I have some concerns about this recommendation. It was going to provide a new, modern substation separate the substation we're using now. Building the substation would increase the value of the HMU for a possible sale...when over the summer several years back, my power (with PG&E) was off for three days.

Stier: When I did meet with PG&E, they said the parallel substation was of no value to them. You're statement about reliability--your right.

Glen Reddick: I have some concerns about this, mainly with the contracts issue. If the substation is not completed, we don't have a means or method to serve our customers (due to contract restrictions)...the missing link is what we're paying PG&E in a monthly fee to transform their substation... Will probably take several months to negotiate contract with PG&E if Hercules doesn't go with building the new substation...I would characterize it as unwise to cancel the purchase of this substation at this point...New substation won't affect the general fund...If it's a normal or hot summer, might have to put the city on portable generators if substation isn't build...if not able to complete negotiations with PG&E...HMU will operate without being a tax on the general fund.

My recommendations have never changed: Complete the substation and sell the HMU if the price is right...money for HMU will come from HMU funds.

Stier: I need to make a claification, The bond money was specifically for capital improvement for the substation but to say (operating/expanding) is untrue....the subsidy for the operating expenses have always come from the general fund...(it will likely) continue to be subsidized by the general fund.

Resident Bill Wilkins: HMU is costing the city money: If the general fund can afford to pick up 600-700k/year to subsidize the general fund (then do) otherwise, we advise against it.

Romero: HMU has lost $9million. To build that substation would be catstrophic for this city...to build this plan, go out in an unknown market and try to sell the substation when we are hurting, would be terrible for our city...when the previous HMU director came before the council in November with the HMU report, it was tainted (based on income from several projects that will not be completed). Why are we going to move forward with a project that is a loser.

Stier: PG&E said it would manage HMU for the city, would extend the PG&E contract if needed...

Long: I just want to make sure that the numbers which have been thrown around (are accurate and not misleading).

The deficits that the HMU have been running are real deficits. ...you're looking at ongoing deficits with HMU.

7:43 COUNCIL/AGENCY BOARD REPORTS AND RESOLUTIONS--PULLED OFF AGENDA

7:39, JOINT CITY COUNCIL AND REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY CONSENT CALENDAR--ALL ITEMS APPROVED, 4-0.

1. Adopt Resolutions Transferring And Accepting Four (4) Hercules Redevelopment Agency Properties To The City Of Hercules In Order To Maintain Continuity For Insuring That The Properties Are Used In Accordance With The Redevelopment Plan And Land Use Plans That Have Been Adopted Within The Past 5 Years.

2. Adopt Resolutions Authorizing the Redevelopment Agency to Enter Into a Loan and Repayment Agreement with the City of Hercules for Funds Advanced to the Agency for Various Obligations Including Debt Service, and Directing the Interim Executive Director to Execute Said Agreement

3. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing the City of Hercules to Enter Into a Loan and
Repayment Agreement with the Hercules Redevelopment Agency for Funds Loaned to the Agency for Various Obligations Including Debt Service, and Directing the Interim City Manager to Execute Said Agreement.

7:28, CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Authorize Staff To Issue A Request For Proposals For The Solicitation Of Competitive Proposals For The Management Of The City’s Portfolio Of Affordable Housing Programs--ALL CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS APPROVED, 4-0.

Councilman John Delgado and Vice Mayor deVera ask to pull this item. The city is now recruiting an affordable housing manager with a salary just under $70k. The new manager will help with the heavy work load that moved in-house when the city terminated contracts with NEO Consulting.

2. Adopt A Resolution Calling For A Special Election To Be Held In The City Of Hercules On Tuesday, June 7, 2011, For The Purpose Of Conducting A Recall Election And Fixing The Length And Allocating The Cost Of Candidates Statements

3. Adopt A Resolution Requesting That The Contra Costa County Board Of Supervisors Permit The County Clerk Of Said County To Render Specified Services To The City Of Hercules Relating To The Conduct Of A Recall Election To Be Held In Said City On Tuesday, June 7, 2011

4. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The Acting City Manager To Execute The Fourth Amendment To The West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority Joint Exercise Of Powers Agreement

5. Adopt A Resolution Confirming The Report Of Delinquent Accounts And Placing Liens On Said Properties And Special Assessments Upon Property Taxes Pursuant To City Of Hercules Municipal Code Section 5-2.01 To 5-2.16, Mandatory Garbage/Solid Waste Disposal

7:24, PUBLIC COMMENTS

Dan Romero: I'm asking that the city council requests having Red Barn checks and other checks issued by the city published on the city's website. Those checked were issued, not approved by the city council. The residence or the council would have questioned those transactions.

7:15, INTRODUCTIONS/PRESENTATIONS

1. Presentation of Proclamation Proclaiming March 2011 As “Women’s History Month.”

The Hercules City Council proclaims March Women's History Month.

A young man named Sean from the Contra Costa Commission for Women gives brief speech on Women's History Month. 

Myrna deVera: "It is a historic moment to have (so many women) in leadership roles in the City of Hercules."

2. Presentation of Proclamation Proclaiming March 2011 As American Red Cross Month

March is also now American Red Cross Month.

7:10, The council and staff have entered the council chambers--NO REPORTABLE ACTION FROM CLOSED SESSION.

7:05 p.m., A rather quiet start to the meeting.

Starts at 7 p.m. Find live-streamed video of the meeting here.

Gerard Boulanger March 11, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Douglas, I agree with you: 77% is way too much and we know why... I am afraid that ratio will be part of the transaction since the financing has been setup that way by the state. Those conditions have to be maintained for a very long time (more than 30 years). The last thing I heard was : if we- or next owner- want to get rid of affordable housing it will cost us a huge amount of money ($30M+). Going down to the required 30% minimum by State would have cost us about $5.5M and would have also gave us the opportunity to raise the offer as well, but as I said, we don't have time and we are not even sure it will be approved by the State HCD.
Dwayne Hoover March 11, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Gerard Boulanger Changing the affordable mix to 30% from 77% would cost $5.5m. If the 77% was reduced to 30% that would be 74units to 29 units. That is a difference of 45 unit's which could then be sold at a higher price. I assume that selling the units at full value instead of affordable housing value would net enough to cover most, if not all, of the $5.5m. So, the issue isn't about money. The issue is about the time it would take. It is not as though the city has a buyer. So, if the city started now with making the chances it may get done before a buyer comes along. I would assume that if a buyer did come along sooner than later then the process of making the change in the mix could be followed through by the city and the buyer combined. Certainly the task would take no longer than the time it will take to complete the building. Therefore, it does not seem to me that the issue is the money nor the time. I have yet to hear a reason from city hall. Just "oh, it will be to difficult" or "oh, it will take to long". These are not sound reasons, only faint excuses. Until I hear solid facts about the change being impossible (not impractical or difficult) I can only assume it is not being done because it is not considered important enough to worry about. Only those that live nearby will be impacted. So, why go to all that effort. If anyone out there has facts (not just speculation and not just views of impracticality) as to why this can not be done please offer up the evidence.
patrick tang March 11, 2011 at 01:28 AM
I am on the same page with Phil. I have also heard from staff that it would be difficult, but no one has said it is not doable or not feasible. Changing the mix will make the property more marketable, might result in a quicker sale, and would bring a higher price. If I were a potential purchaser, I would consider positively the fact that a review of the affordable mix was underway at the state level.
Douglas Bright March 11, 2011 at 05:21 AM
I believe Charles Long talked about changing the affordable housing mix a few months ago, before he was let go.
Sheila Smith April 13, 2011 at 03:58 AM
"The high percentage affordable housing component concerns me as well" So right, we might end up with teachers, city clerical workers and other underpaid workers. What would that do to our property values.

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