Antioch Council approves desal plant labor agreement, $51 million Capital Improvement Program

Considers giving City Manager $20,000 pay raise

By Alexandra Riva

The Antioch City Council met on Tuesday, June 12 to discuss items on their agenda including adoption of the five-year Capital Improvement Program, a Project Stability Agreement in accordance with the Brackish Water Desalination Plant – Labor Study, and amendments to City Manager Ron Bernal’s employment agreement.

These issues were of particular interest to those in attendance and received equal amounts of debate and consideration from members of the public and City Council alike.

City Manager Pay Raise

Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe made a motion to bring the discussion of the City Manager’s employment agreement to the start of the meeting. After having met in a closed session earlier in the day to discuss the matter, the City Council met in an open session in the hopes of coming to a decision that, if Mayor Wright signs the agreement, would increase Bernal’s pay by $20,000.

One public comment was made on this issue, from Marty Fernandez, in opposition to the increase in pay.

“Mayor and City Council, I just want to ask a question,” he said. “Do you know that there are people, working people, in this town that don’t make twenty thousand dollars a year? I just don’t care how much city managers are making in other cities or anything else. If somebody jumps off the bridge, are you going to jump off the bridge too? Thank you.”

Thorpe then made a motion that would move the discussion of the agenda item back to closed session, which was voted on and approved by all five members of the City Council.

$51 Million Capital Improvement Plan

The City Council then discussed the proposed adoption of a $51 million five-year capital improvement program, lasting from 2018 to 2023. The adoption of this program would amend the operating budget slightly from what was previously discussed for improvements to roads, traffic signals and sidewalks, the water system, sewer system, and storm drains, as well as parks, marina and Amtrak Station improvements.

The improvements also include a new restroom at the Boat Launch facility at the end of L Street. The CIP also includes $1.0 million for the renovations to the Council Chambers in addition to the $400,000 in the current fiscal year budget.

Projects, like the Contra Loma basketball courts, would be made their own project instead of being part of the generic park fund. Additionally, an action plan regarding L Street would be created, and the $25,000 that would roll over from this year’s budget would be used to help better handle these situations and projects.

There were no public comments on the matter, and a motion was made by Council Member Lori Ogorchock to adopt the changes to the CIP. The vote was unanimous, and the CIP was approved. 2018-23 Antioch Capital Improvement Program

Desalination Plant Project Stability Agreement

The possible authorization of a Project Stability Agreement (PSA) in accordance with the Brackish Water Desalination Plant – Labor Study was of major interest at the meeting. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a PSA would help the project reach completion and help to aide labor efficiency and employment. Desal Plant Labor Stability Agreement

More than ten members of the public came out to voice their opinions on the matter. Many of the comments were positive, calling for the authorization of a PSA for this project and making note of the benefits that would come from this decision.

Bill Whitney, the CEO of Contra Costa Building Trades, came to show his support for the adoption of a PSA.

“If you have a PSA, we are going to need more apprentices, that just the way it works. And we go out and we look to hire people from the community, such as Antioch residents. PSAs, by law, so they have been through the court system, have been declared that they are non-discriminatory. Someone may come up and tell you it’s discriminatory, that’s not true,” said Whitney.

Local hiring and an increase in diversity among hires, including more women in these programs and helping veterans find jobs, were among the positives cited not only by Whitney, but by many in support of the PSA.

Among the dissenting views was Joseph Lubas, a longtime resident of Contra Costa County.

“I flat out oppose the project stabilization agreement…they have consistently shown that they are wastes of tax payer dollars, results in bids being rejected, and, yes, just reject this PSA,” said Lubas.

Despite the comments from those in opposition, which brought up concerns similar to those made by Lubas, the PSA was seen favorably by the members of the City Council.

After public comments ended, Council Member Tony Tiscareno said, “There’s a lot of good things that I see…I’m going to let my councilmen speak, but I am ready to make a motion to pass this thing.”

Further, in regard to the adoption of the PSA, Thorpe remarked that it was not rocket science, it’s the right thing to do.

In a 5-0 vote, the City Council chose to support the adoption of a PSA for the Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

Other Matters

Other agenda items discussed and resolved in the meeting include, the approval of a grant of $20,000 for Celebrate Antioch for community events including the July 4th Celebration and Holiday DeLites. Council Member Monica Wilson abstained from voting on this matter.

The City Council discussed a new voting Delegate and Alternate Delegate for the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference. It resulted in the appointment of Ogorchock as the Delegate, Wilson as the Alternate Delegate, and Thorpe as the second Alternate Delegate, in a unanimous vote.

In a 4-1 vote, the City Council decided on appointments of Ogorchock and Tiscareno to serve on the City Attorney Ad Hoc Recruitment Committee. Thorpe voted no.

The extension of the expiration date of the Quality of Life Ad Hoc Committee, which is comprised of Thorpe and Wilson, to December 31, 2018, was approved in a unanimous vote.

To view the complete meeting agenda, click here. To watch the council meeting on the City’s website, click here.

the attachments to this post:

Desal Plant Labor Stability Agreement
Desal Plant Labor Stability Agreement

2018-23 Antioch Capital Improvement Program
2018-23 Antioch Capital Improvement Program

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