Watchdog – Good news, bad news on Antioch Council’s spending priorities

By Barbara Zivica

I didn’t have a problem when, earlier this month, Council agreed to provide $77,000 in 20 year, no interest loans to help the Antioch Youth Sports Complex, Antioch Babe Ruth League and Antioch Historical Society to tap their own wells. However, because loans from an Enterprise find can NOT be forgiven, the non profits will need to fundraise or pursue grant money to repay the loans. I wish them luck.

On the other hand, I’m unhappy that Council, who recently amended signed contract agreements with the Antioch Police Officer Association etc. to restore more lucrative pension benefits and will soon will be asking voters to pass two revenue ballot measures, has decided to maintain the prioritization of the payment of the $5,080,000 ABAG loan due 7/1/31 by the Antioch Golf Corporation Board of Directors, Payment on the loan is about $250,000 annually. The Council continues to defer payments to the city for two construction loans e.g. a parking lot improvement loan in the amount of $222,165 and a clubhouse construction loan of $900,000 until after the ABAG loan payments are current and there are sufficient revenues available over operational expenses annually to pay the ABAG loan and the two construction loans to the City.

As for the Marina Boat Launching Facility, the City, who has had problems repaying the state’s Dept. of Boating and Waterways (DWB) $6.3 million loan since the get go, is again having problems completing improvements.

The original plans called for four launch lanes, restrooms, a bait shop, fish-cleaning facilities and a lighted walkway. When money ran short, the city debated limiting the project to just three lanes with no public restrooms but upon receiving a second grant of $495,000 in 2012 from DBW decided to complete the project as originally planned. However, when bids were received in February, two of the four received had to be rejected because they failed to meet the minimum work requirements of a General Contractor by not performing at least 50% of the contracted work with their own forces and an unexpected problem arose – the considerable cost associated with construction and installation of the restroom/bait shop.

Staff recommended that all bids be rejected and the project re-bid with the restroom/bait shop structure designated as a “Speciality Item” and its value not be included in the calculation of the General Contractors percentage of work. Staff additionally recommended Council unitize current funding for construction of the restroom facility and approve a resolution authorizing submission of another grant application to DBW for $245,000 to enable installation of a third boarding float.

Will this project ever be completed? Perhaps, when a new city manager is hired.

As for the new city manager search, I’m displeased that, although three written quotes are typically required when recruiting for a new city manager, proposals were only solicited from two firms – Peckham and McKenney and Roberts Consulting. Additionally, City Mgr. Jakel was given sole authorization to execute a contract with Peckham & McKenney because he stated he has had favorable experience with them in regard to other City Department Head recruitments. (The firm’s proposal states they have conducted more City Manager searches within the past few years than any of their competition, including the City of Moraga (only Contra Costa city listed) and the infamous City of Bell, CA.

The last time Antioch needed a city manager, Council selected the recruiter and when not pleased with the candidates chosen by the recruiting firm, Councilman Arne Simonsen brought up Jim Jakel’s name and said he might be available. Council asked Simonsen to call him ASAP. He came, he interviewed and was hired on an unanimous vote

One Comment to “Watchdog – Good news, bad news on Antioch Council’s spending priorities”

  1. karl says:

    new boat launch area.

    well, our city council declared the project “finished” during the budget meeting 2012. far from it. all the things which make it a “state of the art” boat launch are still missing. rest rooms, third floating dock, fish cleaning station, bait shop.
    for some reason, we could not stay within our own project budget. the city has to apply for a second grand, which was awarded, but because of a $ 377,000 settlement amount, the city had to pay bay cities construction, we run out of money to finish the project. since those legal issues are not open to the public, nobody knows what was going on.
    as i posted already, the grand application dead line was april 1,2013. grand applications will be considered for the fiscal year of 2014/ 2015.
    even if we get this 3 grand, it will be years before the project is finished.
    i have called the department of waterways and was told, that it is very unlikely that antioch gets an other grand, since the received grand are over the org. proposed cost of the project.

    the big question is..who is responsible, and what action will the city/ council take?

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