Antioch Council approves regional police communications system participation, water park improvements, $15,000 for July 4th fireworksSaturday, April 25th, 2015
By John Crowder
The Antioch City Council adopted a resolution approving a 60-day extension to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Antioch and Public Employees’ Union Local 1 (Local 1) and also appointed two new Planning Commissioners at their regular meetin on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. On budget matters, they approved agreements that will lead to improvements at Prewett Park’s Antioch Water Park, voted to provide some funding for the Fourth of July event, and agreed to become a participating member of the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority (EBRCSA).
Local 1 MOU
According to a staff report, the MOU between the City and Local 1 expired on March 31, 2015, and the City remains in negotiations with the union. At the suggestion of the Local 1 Business Agent, staff was recommending a 60-day extension to the current MOU, which would have no financial impact. As part of the consent calendar, the resolution was adopted on a 5-0 vote, with no discussion.
Two Commissioners Appointed
The City Council voted to appoint a new Planning Commissioner and a new Economic Development Commissioner. Each commissioner was appointed on a 5-0 vote.
Al Mason, a 10-year resident of Antioch, and currently retired, was appointed to the Planning Commission. Mason’s last position, according to his resume, was as Director, Business Development for WORKFLOWONE. In that position, he worked to establish long-term business contracts with Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to that position, Mason was Vice President, Sales, with REGULUS.
Joshua Young, an insurance agent with Diablo Valley Insurance, and who has lived in Antioch for 25 years, was appointed to a short-term vacancy (the term expiring in June, 2015) on the Economic Development Commission.
Water Park Improvements
The City Council, on two 5-0 votes, authorized the City Manager, Steve Duran, to execute agreements with RHAA Landscape Architecture to provide design services for improvements planned for Antioch Water Park, and with QPCS to provide a security camera system for the facility.
According to Lonnie Karste, President of Karste Consulting, and the consultant working with city staff on the water park project, improvements will include a splash pool, all-abilities playground, lighted sports court, and a group picnic area, in addition to the security camera installation. “We’re trying to get the major community service elements developed first,” said Karste.
During Council comments on the matter, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock asked what progress was being made in seeking grants for the all-access playground. Karste responded that, while it has been investigated, grant funding availability is very limited, for a number of reasons.
Ogorchock also asked about the funding for the projects. Karste said that the funding is coming from the remaining $2 million available in Mello Roos funds, and that no additional funding beyond that is being considered.
Funding for July 4 Event
Wayne Harrison, Joy Motts, and Martha Parsons, with the Celebrate Antioch Foundation, asked that the City partner with them by providing funding, at a sponsor level, for the July 4th event.
According to a staff report, “The Antioch Police Department (APD) estimates its costs associated with this event will be approximately $20,475 based on previous experience. The Public Works Department estimates its costs for this event will be approximately $8,100.”
While the parade will continue to be held downtown, the remainder of the event has been moved to the county fairgrounds. Motts, in response to a question by Council Member Tony Tiscareno, listed several factors that make the fairgrounds a preferable venue for the event, including that the area is fenced, has restrooms available, and allows for private security to be effectively used.
“We’re just trying to make sure that everybody stays safe, and that we have a great event for the community,”she said.
During Council discussion, Tiscareno questioned the difference between the cost for police services if the event were to be held downtown rather than at the fairgrounds. Antioch Police Chief Alan Cantando said that, on July 4th, officers will be brought in on overtime.
Based on estimates of the size of the event, Cantando said that, “When I hear that we’re the only show in town other than Oakley, that tells me that other people from other communities are going to be coming in to the City of Antioch for the fireworks and that’s definitely going to indicate that everyone that we have scheduled for overtime is going to have to be here.”
Duran also addressed the overtime cost, pointing out that the overtime for this, and other events typically supported by the city, is included in the budget when it is developed. “These are baked into the budget,” he said, “we don’t have to add anything.”
Mayor Wade Harper, after pointing out that the City is a partner in the 4th of July events, as costs for city services are absorbed by it, said that he would like Antioch to provide “at least $15,000” through the Arts and Cultural Foundation to help with other costs.
Council member Mary Rocha then made a motion to provide $15,000 from the General Fund in support of the 4th of July event. The money would be provided to the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch, as fiscal agent, if the group is willing to serve as such. Otherwise, the money would go directly to Celebrate Antioch. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
Cantando and Antioch Police Captain Tammany Brooks gave a presentation to the Council about the EBRCSA system. Cantando explained that, EBRCS, “is basically a digital radio system, that every agency in Alameda and Contra Costa County are on, with the exception of the City of Antioch and the City of Oakland.” “If we go to this system we will be able to communicate with all agencies in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, to include the fire department,” he continued. “It’s an officer safety issue, as well as a public safety issue,” he said. Cantando then provided the Council with examples of difficulties his department had experienced by not being on the system.
The cost for going to the EBRCS system, according to a staff report, is “approximately $1.83 million for the purchase and installation of system equipment, as well as a monthly recurring cost of approximately $8200 in user subscription fees to utilize these radios.”
During council comments, Tiscareno said, “We need to make sure that we provide a safe service for our police department and our residents, and if this is one method of doing so, I’m going to promote this.”
Ogorchock made the motion to adopt the resolution authorizing Antioch’s participation in EBRCSA, and it was seconded by Rocha. Following another statement in support of the resolution by Harper, the Council voted 5-0 in favor.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. at which they will discuss the city’s response to the emergency drought restrictions. Meetings take place in the City Hall Council Chambers, located at 200 H Street or can be viewed on Comcast Channel 24 or via live stream video on the city’s website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us.