Antioch Council begins search for new city manager, appoints Turnage to Planning Commission

Chief Cantando: Crime continues to decrease

By Nick Goodrich

During their second meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 24, the Antioch City Council heard some good news from Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando, approved the creation of a police tax on a new residential development, appointed Kenny Turnage to the Planning Commission and formed committee to select a search firm for a new city manager.

Police Statistics for 2016

After hearing a presentation on the state of its investment portfolio, the Antioch City Council then heard from Cantando as he gave the Antioch Police Department’s year-end review of crime for the year 2016.

“I have some very good news to report,” he told those in attendance, citing decreases in violent crime (-1.4%), property crime (-5.7%), and arrests (-2.7%) from 2015-2016.

Cantando brought attention to a “continued decrease in crime over the past three years”, as a result of the city’s renewed focus on crime and blight reduction and the hiring of additional police officers. The APD’s robust volunteer program, which contributed over 10,000 hours of work in 2016 alone, and the new “Decoy Patrol Car” program have played roles in the lower crime numbers, and aim to continue their success into the new year.

Drug seizures were once again Antioch’s biggest problem, as the APD seized over 13,000 grams of marijuana, 890 grams of meth, and smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin last year.

Since 2013, the APD has hired 46 new police officers, but undergone 30 separations—including retirements, resignations, and terminations—to bring the net increase in Antioch’s police officers to 16. The APD’s current staffing numbers sit at 97 sworn officers, with one additional recruit set to graduate and join the force in March.

That’s based on the figure of 82 sworn officers the city had on the police force in November, 2013 at the end of the Measure C campaign. However, there were 89 sworn officers in the APD at the time the ballot measure campaign bega,n and the voters were promised by then-Mayor Harper and the city council, the immediate hiring of 22 more police. Using that as a base figure the city has added a net eight officers.

“According to other police chiefs I’ve talked to, nobody’s hiring faster than we are,” Cantando told the Council. “Our numbers are really good.”

New Development Police Tax

Later in the meeting, the Council held a public hearing to formalize a new Community Facilities District (CFD) to assess a tax on new residential developments, in the amount of $445 per home per year, for more police.

New residential development in Antioch is expected to produce more calls for service for the APD due to the increase in population, and the city’s General Plan calls for new growth to cover the increased cost to the city’s police services.

This particular CFD was initiated by developer Davidon Homes for their Park Ridge subdivision, a 525-unit development located west of State Route 4 and south of Laurel Road, as part of its Development Agreement with the city. It requires Davidon do its part to cover the increased costs of police services provided by the city.

In a 5-0 vote, the Council approved the formation of the new CFD and the levying of the new development taxes. With the approval of the CFD, Davidon can now begin the process of obtaining building permits, and move forward with their subdivision.

Planning Commission Appointment

The council also appointed Antioch resident Ken Turnage to the Antioch Planning Commission, in Mayor Sean Wright’s first commission appointment. The mayor has the power to nominate people for appointments. But it requires a majority vote by the council to approve.

“This was my first opportunity to point someone in the right direction,” said Wright. “I was excited to see we had seven applicants, and so many people interested in the well-being of the city.”

Turnage, the owner of K2GC, Inc., a general contractor in Antioch, ran for city council and came in fourth in the November election. He has served on the city’s Economic Development Commission.

New City Manager Search

Wright also formally initiated the process of searching for a new city manager in the wake of former Antioch City Manager Steve Duran’s retirement.

Duran, who turns 62 next month and wants to spend more time with his family, informed Council of his intent to retire on Election Night, November 8, offering to help in the selection process as the council saw fit.

Mayor Wright called for volunteers from among the council members to form an ad-hoc recruitment committee, whose purpose will be to select the headhunting firm that will search for Antioch’s new City Manager. Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock and Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe both volunteered and will sit on the committee.

When the committee has selected a suitable firm, the firm’s contract will be brought before Council for approval. From start to finish, including the time it will take the committee to select a firm, the selection process will take about six months, at which point the city’s new City Manager will begin his or her work with Antioch.

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