Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Three Congressmen to host joint town hall meeting in Martinez, Saturday

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Jerry McNerney (CA-9) who each represent portions of Contra Costa County in the U.S. House of Representatives, will host a joint town hall meeting in Martinez, this Saturday, February 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Both DeSaulnier and McNerney represent portions of Antioch. The special topic will be Protecting the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicare and Medicaid.

Those who attend will hear a presentation and legislative update. Constituents will also have an opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts on key policy issues and actions taken by the new Administration.

Joint Town Hall with Representatives DeSaulnier (CA-11), Thompson (CA-5) and McNerney (CA-9)

Special Topic: Protecting the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid
Saturday, February 18, 2017

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

County Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 107

651 Pine Street

Martinez, CA 94553

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Rep. DeSaulnier to host town hall meeting in Pleasant Hill, Feb. 23

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11), who represents portions of Antioch, will host a general town hall meeting on Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in Pleasant Hill. Since his election to Congress, Mark has hosted 33 town hall meetings and mobile district office hours throughout California’s 11th Congressional District.

Representative DeSaulnier invites residents of Contra Costa County to join him for a town hall meeting to listen to a presentation and legislative update. During the town hall constituents will have an opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts on key policy issues and actions taken under the new Administration.

Pleasant Hill Town Hall

Thursday, February 23, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Diablo Valley College Cafeteria

321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Details: Parking Available in Lot 8

For more information or to request ADA accommodations, please email CA11.RSVP@mail.house.gov or call (925) 933-2660.

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Group of state legislators from Delta Caucus release statement on alarming Oroville Dam situation

Monday, February 13th, 2017

(SACRAMENTO) – On Monday, February 13, 2017, members of the Delta Caucus of the California state legislature, including three representing Contra Costa County, released the following statement regarding the hazardous situation at Oroville Dam after news reports that previous concerns about the safety of the dam’s current infrastructure were ignored:

“We are concerned that a clear alarm raised 12 years ago about the state of the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was discounted. There has been more than enough time since then for upgrades and maintenance to the structure. Instead, nearly 185,000 people have been displaced, and there are still people in harm’s way. A catastrophic failure at Oroville would result in uncontrolled releases that do considerably more harm to the surrounding communities, and threaten those further downstream, including levee-protected communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. For now, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that people are safe and that necessary steps are taken to prevent further compromise of the entire Oroville facility.  When the immediate threats have subsided, we need to clearly assess this disaster and its causes.  We have a duty to ensure California’s existing infrastructure is maintained and upgraded, and not sacrificed in favor of conveyance projects.”

Caucus Co-Chair Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and Assemblymembers Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) are members of the Delta Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators whose districts include portions of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The caucus works to keep their colleagues updated on the latest scientific data, economic developments, and actions taken by the state agencies responsible for the Delta, including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, and the Delta Stewardship Council.

They and the following legislators wished to be part of this statement: Co-Chair Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymenbers  Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove).

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Delta Diablo wins Governor’s Award for Sustainability Leadership

Friday, January 27th, 2017
From Left to Right: Mike Bakaldin, Interim General Manager, Phil Govea, Engineering Services Director, Joaquin Gonzalez, Operations Manager holding the plaque, Amanda Roa, Environmental Programs Manager, and Robert Brothers, Environmental Compliance Specialist II.

From Left to Right: Mike Bakaldin, Interim General Manager; Phil Govea, Engineering Services Director; Joaquin Gonzalez, Operations Manager holding the plaque; Amanda Roa, Environmental Programs Manager; and Robert Brothers, Environmental Compliance Specialist II.

Delta Diablo was honored in Sacramento on Thursday evening, January 19th with a prestigious 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). GEELA is California’s highest environmental honor, administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the state’s economy.

This award recognizes Delta Diablo for its commitment and achievements in sustainability. At Delta Diablo, sustainability is not just one project or program, but rather a mindset that is holistically expressed throughout the entire organization. This can be observed through the recycled water and renewable energy projects that we implement, the innovative technologies we pilot, and the regional coalitions we lead.

These projects and programs reflect how Delta Diablo embodies sustainability and excellence throughout the organization, achieving 12 consecutive years of 100% permit compliance, and awards at every level in the organization for public education, safety, financial reporting, human resources, labor relations, procurement, engineering, leadership and innovation. Delta Diablo is proud to help maintain sustainable facilities, practices, and communities, and desires to be a Utility of the Future to advance the state of the industry for water resource recovery, helping to create a sustainable California.

Delta Diablo’s Board of Directors’ Chair Pete Longmire confirms: “This award recognizes every aspect of Delta Diablo’s services and the efforts of all our dedicated employees across every department. It is a recognition of the daily work they do providing critical public health and resource recovery services to 200,000 people in Antioch, Bay Point and Pittsburg, as well as their leadership with several regional industry coalitions.”

Each year GEELA recipients are chosen from five categories and Delta Diablo was recognized under the “Sustainable Practices, Communities or Facilities” category.

Delta Diablo (District) provides water resource recovery services for the City of Antioch, the City of Pittsburg, and the unincorporated community of Bay Point, serving a population of nearly 200,000. The water resource recovery services consist of conventional treatment of wastewater, recycled water production and distribution, pollution prevention, energy recovery, beneficial reuse of biosolids, street sweeping, and household hazardous waste collection. For more information visit www.deltadiablo.org.

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

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

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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Supervisor Glover seeks people who want to help improve their communities

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Applications now available for advisory boards, commissions and committees

Supervisor Federal Glover has announced opportunities for District 5 residents to make decisions affecting their communities by serving on an advisory board, commission or committee in Contra Costa County.

“A lot of policies begin in theses county commission and boards,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for people who have a desire to make difference.”

Glover is seeking to fill openings on the following advisory bodies: Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board; Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission; County Service Area R-10 Citizens Advisory Committee; County Service Area M-16 Citizens Advisory Committee; Crockett-Carquinez FPD Fire Advisory Commission; First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission; Library Commission; Pacheco Munipal Advisory Council; and West Contra Costa Unified School District, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.

Commissions are appointed by the Board of Supervisors based on the recommendation of the  Supervisor Glover. Interested individuals should contact his office at (925) 335-8200 to obtain an application form. Completed applications must be received in Supervisor Glover’s office by close of business Friday February 10, 2017.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board: the mission of the Contra Costa County Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board is to assess family and community needs regarding treatment and prevention of alcohol and drug abuse problems. They report their findings and recommendations to the Contra Costa Health Services Department, the Board of Supervisors and the communities they serve. The Board works in collaboration with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Services Division of Contra Costa Health Services. They provide input and recommendations as they pertain to alcohol and other drugs prevention, intervention, and treatment services. The current 3 seats that need to be filled: District V-A, District V-B, and District V-C. The Board meets the 4th Wednesday of every month at 4 p.m. at 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 200, Martinez. The current openings have three year terms ending June 30, 2019. For additional information call Fatima Matal Sol at (925) 335-3307.

Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission: members review and evaluate the community’s mental health needs, services, facilities, and special problems; to review any County agreements entered into pursuant to Section 5650 of the Welfare and Institutions Code; to advise the governing body and local mental health director as to any aspect of the local mental health program; to submit an annual report to the Board of Supervisors; review and make recommendations regarding the appointment of a local director of mental health services; review the County’s performance outcome data and communicate its findings to the State Mental Health Commission; and assess the impact of the realignment of services from the State to the County on services delivered to clients and the local community. The current seats are for 1 District V Family Member Seat, 1 District V Member-At-Large Seat, and 1 District V Consumer Member Seat. The Committee meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at 2730 Grant St. Classroom A, Concord. The current openings have terms ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Karen Shuler at (925) 957-5140.

County Service Area R-10 Citizens Advisory Committee: members advise the Board of Supervisors on the desires of the community in the area of local park and recreation facilities and services. The current seat is for 1 Regular Seat. The Committee meets the 2nd Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at Lefty Gomez Field Recreation Building, Rodeo. The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Susan Cohen at (925) 313-2160.

County Service Area M-16 Citizens Advisory Committee: advises the Board of Supervisors and the administrative department regarding the desires of the community of Clyde in the following areas: Street lighting facilities and services, recreation and park services. The seats that are open are for 2 Alternate Members. The Board meets as needed. The current regular opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018. For information call Lynn Reichard-Enea at (925) 427-8138.

Crockett-Carquinez FPD Fire Advisory Commission: to review and advise on annual operations and capital budgets; to review district expenditures; to review and advise on long-range capital improvement plans; pursuant to district ordinance to serve as the Appeals Board on weed abatement matters; to advise the Fire Chief on district service matters. The seats that are open are for 3 Regular Members. The Board meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at 746 Loring Avenue, Crockett.  The current regular opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018.  For information call Gerald Littleton at (510) 787-2717.

First 5 Contra Costa Children and Families Commission: commission shall adopt an adequate and complete County strategic plan for the support and improvement of early childhood development within the County. The seat that is open is for 1 Regular Member and 1 Alternate Member. The commission meets the 1st Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at 1485 Enea Court, Suite 1200, Concord. The current alternate opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2018. For information, call Sean Casey, (925) 771-7316.

Library Commission: serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian; to provide a community linkage to the County Library; to establish a forum for the community to express its views regarding goals and operations of the County Library; to assist the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian to provide library services based on assessed public needs; and to develop and recommend proposals to the Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian for the betterment of the County Library including, but not limited to, such efforts as insuring a stable and adequate funding level for the libraries in the County. There are 2 current seats available: one Regular Seat and one Alternate seat. The commission meets the 4th Thursday of every other month from 7-9 p.m. at 75 Santa Barbara, Pleasant Hill. The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018. For additional information call Brooke Converse at (925) 646-6423.

Pacheco Municipal Advisory Council: role is to advise the Board on services which are or may be provided to the community by the County or other government agencies, feasibility of organizing the existing special districts serving the community in order to provide public services such as, but not limited to, water, sewer, fire and park and recreation; and to represent the community before LAFCO and the County Planning Commission and the Zoning Administrator, and to provide input and reports to the Board, County staff or any County body on issues of concern to the community. The opening is for 1 Regular Seat. The council meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at 5800 Pacheco Blvd., Pacheco. The current regular and alternate opening has a term ending Dec. 31, 2020. For information, call Lynn Reichard-Enea at (925) 427-8138.

Rodeo Municipal Advisory Council: role is to advise the Board on services which are or may be provided to the community by the County or other government agencies, feasibility of organizing the existing special districts serving the community in order to provide public services such as, but not limited to, water, sewer, fire and park and recreation; and to represent the community before LAFCO and the County Planning Commission and the Zoning Administrator and to provide input and reports to the Board, County staff or

any County body on issues of concern to the community. The opening is for 1 Regular Seat. The council meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at 199 Parker Avenue, Rodeo. The current regular term ends Dec. 31, 2020. For information, call Vincent Manuel at (925) 427-8138.

West Contra Costa Unified School District, Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee: the purpose of the Committee is to inform the public concerning the expenditure and uses of bond revenues.  The committee’s legal charge is to actively review and report on the expenditures of taxpayer’s money for school construction.  The current seat is for 1 Regular Seat.  The Committee meets once a month on the 3rd Wednesday of every month 6:00-8:30 p.m. at 1400 Marina South, Richmond.  The current regular opening has a term ending June 30, 2018.  For additional information call Luis Freese at (510) 307-4544.

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Supervisor Burgis announces committee, board and commission assignments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Last Tuesday, January 10, 2017, County Supervisor Diane Burgis was officially sworn into office, representing District III on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. The district includes most of Antioch, and all of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron and Knightsen in East County, as well as Blackhawk, Diablo and Camino Tassajara in the San Ramon Valley.

“It’s truly an honor to have earned the trust and confidence of the voters of District Three,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis. “I’m excited to follow in the footsteps of East County’s loyal advocate, Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, and to work hard for my constituents defending the Delta, improving public safety and strengthening our local economy.”

During last Tuesday’s meeting each board was also appointed to various county committee and regional boards and commissions. Supervisor Burgis was appointed to the following posts:

Chair:

• Transportation, Water and Infrastructure Committee

Vice Chair:

• Airport Committee

• East County Transportation Planning (TRANSPLAN)

• Internal Operations Committee

• Legislation Committee

• Open Space/Parks & East Bay Regional Parks District Liaison Committee

• State Route 4 Bypass Authority

Commissioner:

• Delta Protection Commission

Director:

• Tri Delta Transit Authority Board

Member:

• California Identification System Remote Access Network Board

• City-County Relations Committee

• Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee

• East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Governing Board

• East Contra Costa Regional Fee & Finance Authority

• East County Water Management Association

• eBART Partnership Policy Advisory Committee

• Northern Waterfront Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee

Alternate Member:

• Association of Bay Area Counties Executive Board

• Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board

• Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)

• Mental Health Commission

• Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board

In her first term, Diane’s policy priorities include:

• Transportation infrastructure improvements and expansion

• Responsible stewardship of natural resources, open space and the Delta

• Preservation and revitalization of the county’s agricultural core

• Faster police, fire and emergency response times

• Efficient and effective delivery of county services

Prior to her election as a County Supervisor, Diane was the Executive Director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and also served as:

• Ward 7 Director of the East Bay Regional Park District

• Oakley City Councilmember

• Delta Protection Commission Member

• Association of Bay Area Governments Regional Planning Committee Member

Click here for additional information about the office of Supervisor Diane Burgis.

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$1M of Measure C funds spent on administration, not more police

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Antioch Council to continue spending same amount, but not from police budget

By Dave Roberts

When 68% of Antioch voters approved the Measure C half-cent sales tax hike in 2013, the ballot measure said the money would be used to hire 22 more police, plus code enforcement officers as well as help economic development and job creation. The ballot wording didn’t mention that the money would also be used for city government administration, but that’s where more than $1 million of Measure C funds is being spent.

The sales tax had raised $13.3 million as of June 30, 2016. This has provided for the hiring of nine additional police officers and filling more than a half-dozen community service officer and code enforcement positions.

But not all of that money is devoted to public safety salaries and benefits. About 8% goes to what the city budget refers to as “internal services.” Nearly half of internal services revenue goes to the city finance department to provide payroll, accounting and purchasing services. The rest is divided among other city departments, including the city manager, attorney, clerk, human resources, city council and facilities maintenance.

The share of Measure C money going to administrative overhead for the police department has increased from 7.1% two years ago to 8.5% last year and 8% in the current fiscal year. Citywide the percentage budgeted for internal services has grown from 5.6% in 2012 to 6.3% from 2013-15 to 7.8% in 2016 and to 8.1% in 2017. The percentages are based on a formula in the city’s Cost Allocation Plan, which was adopted in 2005, and the growth in the internal services departments.

The increased cost of administration, particularly paid for with Measure C funds, created concerns at last week’s City Council meeting. Sal Sbranti, a former member of the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee, acknowledged to the council that Measure C funds can be used for administration, but he questioned whether city administrators are taking advantage of the increased sales tax funding for public safety to beef up their own departments.

“The question deserves to be asked as to why this [administrative] allocation continues to rise at such a rate,” he said. “Every year the amount going to citywide administration goes up regardless of whether it meets Measure C guidelines or not. The committee formal report stated that due to the way the city budgets the police department for Measure C, the committee has some concerns as to whether all Measure C monies are being properly utilized to meet the objective of this measure.

“We the citizens of Antioch voted for Measure C to reduce crime, increase code enforcement, reduce 911 response times and to minimize blight. What do we get? More money spent on HR, city manager’s office, city council, city attorney – just amazing. In the last six years citywide administration has gone from $1.44 million to $3.152 million. That’s you guys approving a budget. You approved them to double their budget in six years. In the same period of time the police department only went up 52%. So who’s putting the control on citywide administration, HR, all those functions?

“Measure C is to take care of the crime in the city of Antioch. If we continue to spend money on HR, finance, the attorney and other citywide administration, at the end of the Measure C sunset [in 2021] we’ll not have the money to continue with the number of police that we have. They should not be taking Measure C money to do this. That was not what the City Council told us they were going to do. That is not what we voted on.”

Sbranti’s concerns were shared by several council members.

“I understand the Cost Allocation Plan, I understand the purpose of it,” said Mayor Sean Wright. “As somebody who worked on Measure C to help get it passed, I also understand the consternation of watching Measure C money get spent on other sources that are not helping to directly improve the safety of our community.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who had asked that the issue be placed on the council agenda, shared the mayor’s understandings and suggested two budgeting options.

“I asked for Measure C just to go toward these officers,” she said, “and the other one was to just flat out remove the Measure C cost allocation of the citywide administration fee. Or to keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it. I do trust that [city administrators are] doing it correctly and that the percentage has not changed. I understand the math where if the funds go up, the amount is going to go up. It does make sense. I do understand what people are saying the [administration] funds should not come out of Measure C funds. I have agreed with that.”

Also concerned was Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe who questioned why administrative costs had risen so much when the police department only had a net increase of less than a dozen police officers.

City Finance Director Dawn Merchant responded, “The police department has the largest share of employees of any department in the city. So we spend more resources with police department payroll versus other departments. It’s not just payroll. We pay accounts payable invoices, any money they collect we do the billing. There are a wide variety of services that finance does.”

Thorpe was skeptical, asking “For 10 additional people?”

Merchant responded, “It’s not just 10 additional people. It’s in total for the entire police department.”

City Manager Steven Duran jumped in, saying, “It doesn’t matter if there’s 10 additional people or 10 less people. The pie that’s divided is the cost of internal services. And the formula is the Cost Allocation Plan. Whether Measure C ever existed or not, the formula stays the same. So it’s nothing that anybody does except apply the math that’s in the plan. It doesn’t matter how many hires we’ve had.

“I think one of the things that some of the detractors have been emphasizing is how much it went up since 2012. That’s because when there were layoffs and furloughs prior to that, it went down. So, for instance, the city attorney has been sharing half of an administrative person and gone without a legal secretary for several years. In this year we budgeted for a legal secretary, therefore the city attorney’s budget is going up. Therefore every other department that pays internal services, they are going to pay a little more for the city attorney – police department, water, sewer, everyone. The formula doesn’t change, and it doesn’t matter what the other departments are doing or how many they have added.”

Thorpe seemed mollified, but he took exception to Duran’s characterization of the people concerned about Measure C money going to escalating administration.

“I hear you and I hear the point that if they hired no police officers and I guess if they had no additional invoices to process, it would still be the same,” said Thorpe. “I was trying to figure out how the formula [came to be] and who decided the percentage. And you’re telling me that it’s a formula that already exists, so I’m understanding that.

“I just have to point out that these are not detractors, Mr. City Manager. These are residents who have concerns, and they bring those concerns to us. So we have to take those concerns seriously. So if it frustrates you that we ask these questions, I’m sorry. But we are going to ask these questions. So I want to make clear that there are people who have concerns out there. I ask these questions to be open and transparent so that folks understand what the process is.

“So now I understand that there’s a formula. Whether it should be applied to Measure C is a starting point that I would like to discuss. Because that seems to be a concern that residents have.”

To address that concern, Wright made a motion that was unanimously passed by the council to direct Merchant to not include the administrative cost charges in the Measure C budget.

Merchant told the council that the administrative overhead would instead be shown to come out of the general fund budget, but the money being spent on administration in the overall budget would remain the same. “The expenditure is going to be there,” she said. “It’s just whether we say it’s a part of the equation for Measure C.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno echoed Merchant, saying, “I want to make it clear that the public needs to know that there isn’t going to be a difference in cost allocation. It’s going to be the same. It’s coming from one column to another column. The reason I didn’t question the Measure C cost allocation at the time is because it was transparent to me, I saw firsthand where the money was going, knowing the money was being spent like it was supposed to be spent. We wanted to use it for hiring police and code enforcement. And I think we’ve done so.

“But we need to be transparent about all our expenditures where the money goes. This just makes it a little simpler for me to view it. But for folks that believe that this may help extend Measure C, I’ll play. But it’s still money being spent that has to be spent.”

The council is scheduled to begin reviewing the 2017-19 budget in April and to adopt it by July.

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