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George Rodericks

City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

Apr 26

That's A Wrap! - City Council Goals Meeting - April 25, 2017

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 11:18 AM by George Rodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: April 25, 2017


The City Council met for their Annual Goals/Retreat Meeting on Tuesday, April 25 from 1 pm to 4:30 pm. The meeting was facilitated by Nancy Hetrick from Management Partners. Nancy led the Council through the 2015-2017 Council Goals and Strategies with a discussion of accomplishments over the past two years. Here, the Council talked about the forward progress on the Town Center Project, increases in transparency (push and pull), reinvestment in the Town's infrastructure, progress on the Town's comprehensive Master Plans, opportunities for continuing education, and how well the Council works together as a collaborative team.

The Council expressed that over the last few years, the Town has done exceptionally well with "push" information - Facebook, Twitter, Next Door, Town website, email and written correspondence and publications - to increase transparency and educate the community about Town topics, projects and issues. But that the Town needs to also increase opportunities for "pull" engagement - engaging the community and drawing them out and into Town opportunities. Events and activities such as Earth Day, Art Reception, National Night Out, and others were cited as pulling the community out to engagement. The Council expressed a need to expand these opportunities noting that if the Town increases "pull" opportunities, the community will get more engaged at all levels on a consistent basis.

The Council reinforced the 6 Broad Council Goal Categories
  • Goal A - Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility - maintaining a balanced budget with adequate reserves and fiscal transparency.
  • Goal B - Preserving Atherton's Small Town Character and Quality of Life - maintaining a focus to identify and mitigate impacts of regional growth to the maximum extent possible.
  • Goal C - Creating a Town Center - ensuring the development of the new Town Center (Library, Administration, Community Development, Police)
  • Goal D - Managing Circulation and Improving Safety - providing stewardship and leadership to maintain mobility and improve accessibility and safety options for bicycles and pedestrians. 
  • Goal E - Strengthening Community Engagement and Transparency - pursing opportunities for increased engagement and public outreach in "push" and "pull" experiences.
  • Goal F - Being a Forward-Thinking, Well-Managed, Well-Planned Town - Increasing and Maintaining Transparency, Collaboration, and Partnerships. 
The current status/expectations of the strategies under each of the goals above were also discussed. These discussions included conversations around:
  • contribution levels toward long-term obligations related to pension and OPEB liabilities
  • ensuring adequate revenue sources and options
  • continuing look at the fire services fiscal review
  • funding the maintenance and improvement of Town assets (the CIP - drainage, parks, streets/roads, bridges, etc.)
  • continued identification and tackling of issues in the Town's public right-of-way
  • progress on bringing fiber to the community
  • traffic and circulation
  • mitigation and next steps to address/confront regional project impacts
  • implementation of the Town's bicycle and pedestrian master plan
  • movement on the Town's Quiet Zone and the opportunity for Quad Gates at Watkins
  • enhancing the Town's use of technology tools for transparency and engagement
  • developing a savings plan for future building assets at Town Hall as well as the Park
  • identification of opportunities for the Library Fund once the new Library is complete
  • regional collaboration opportunities
  • expansion of the Town's community engagement opportunities
Other areas of discussion included the Town's positive relationship with the press, the general openness and approachability of the organization and staff, positive changes to the organization and service delivery, a continuing focus on the attraction and retention of quality staff and ensuring that staff have adequate training and resources to meet the changing needs of the community. The Council also discussed possible options to ensure that there are adequate resources in the Park to meet the needs of the community and how to fund those needs via venue charges and user fees. The Council discussed construction activity in Town as well as tackling the issue of AirBnB rentals that disrupt local neighborhoods.

The Council was asked to provide some focus for staff moving forward by identifying their "Top 3 or 4" items from the list of continuing priorities. Overwhelming support was expressed for the progress to date and the desire to see through to completion the new Town Center and Library as the Town's #1 priority. Beyond that, the Council expressed support for addressing regional impacts from outside development (mostly related to traffic); maintaining a firm grip on fiscal controls and transparency; and enhancing community engagement through push and pull opportunities. Others that made the list include support for staffing needs, a focus on bicycle lane improvements, moving forward with changes to the Town's business license tax, a focus on the continuing need for the parcel tax, continued implementation of the Town's Master Plans (Drainage, Park, Civic Center, and Bicycle/Pedestrian), organizing an "active shooter" exercise with local schools, and recognition that 2023 (just 6 years away) is the Town's 100th Anniversary! 

A summary of the workshop will be prepared by Management Partners and distributed. The Report will be provided to the Council and made available on the Town's website. 

And that, as they say, was a Wrap! Concluding at around 4:30 pm. 

PS - if you are interested in helping plan the 100th Year Celebration for the Town, send us your contact info and once a plan of attack for this momentous occasion moves forward, we'll loop you in!


PPS - Please join us for 2017 Atherton Arbor Day Event on Friday, April 28 at 10 am at the Park! Meet up near the Pavilion.

We will be planting trees! Wear clothes that can get dirty and we'll provide the gloves!

Celebrate Atherton Arbor Day 2017.jpg

The Council will hold its next Study Session on May 3, 2017 at their regular meeting time of 4 pm. This meeting includes Budget Meeting #3 - a Review of the Town's Capital Improvement Project Budget. Also included on the May 3 meeting will be a presentation by a representative from the South Bay Waste Management Authority (SBWMA) on the Franchise Negotiation/Renewal Process.



George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us




#AthertonTalks
#AthertonCivicCenter

Apr 20

That's A Wrap! - April 19, 2017

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 9:11 AM by George Rodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: April 19, 2017
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured

Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative. 


The City Council met for the April Regular Council meeting on Wednesday, April 19, beginning at 7 pm. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Council moved to Presentations where the Council accepted Proclamations for Public Safety Communications Personnel and National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The Council also heard a Presentation from Peninsula Clean Energy on their upcoming roll-out of energy programs. Following Presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments with a comment regarding a coming Stanford Student Study on Ambulance Services. 

Report.jpegFollowing Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. 

After the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 18. Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were minutes, bills, Treasurer's Report, Audited Financial Statements for FY 2015/16, Participation and Recognition of the Town's GHG Reduction Efforts via the Beacon Award Program, Approval of the Street Light Replacement Contract, Acceptance of Work for some Street Work, and 2nd Reading and Adoption of the Garbage Rate Ordinance, Fire Code, and Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance. After brief comments on the Beacon Award, the Council approved the items on the Consent Agenda. 

Sidewall Item.jpgAfter the Consent Agenda, the Council took up Public Hearings with Item No. 19 - Introduction of an Ordinance Amending the Criteria for Special Structure Permits related to Maximum Allowable Sidewall Height. The Council discussed the proposed ordinance and heard comments from the Chair of the Planning Commission. Following discussion about maximum height, privacy, screening, windows, setback, overall height, and design, the Council introduced the ordinance for first reading with minor changes to the proposed text. 

Next up was the Regular Agenda. The first item on the Regular Agenda was Item #20 - Review of the FY 2017/18 Special Revenue and Internal Service Funds. This item was Meeting #2 on the FY 2017/18 Budget. The Council discussed the various special funds held by the Town, not related to Capital Improvements. These funds included the Equipment Replacement Fund, Library Fund, Tennis Fund, Evans Creative Design Fund, General Liability Fund, and Workers' Compensation Fund. The Council discussed issues related to workers' compensation funding, safety training, claims reduction, and other related issues. The next meeting on the FY 2017/18 Budget will be May 3 with a discussion of the Town's Capital Improvement Program. 

Next was Item #21 - Amendments to PSAs related to the Civic Center Project, Release of an RFQ and receipt of the Cost Model Manager and Value Engineering White Paper. The Council heard a brief staff report related to the need to complete an ALTA Survey and secure additional IT Services for Phasing/Staging. The Council approved the amended scopes of work and moved on to a discussion of Release of an Request for Qualifications to narrow the list of accepted contractors for the Project. The Council made a few modifications to the language in the RFQ - in particular related to Project Funding and Contractor Project Office Requirements. Following discussion, the Council authorized its release. Lastly, the Council discussed elements of the Cost Model Manager and Value Engineering process for the project. Staff articulated the purpose of the Cost Model Manager and discussed how the Project Management Committee, will be used during the next several months as well as the selected contractor to identify opportunities for cost savings. The Council also discussed the Cost Model Manager in relation to funding opportunities and overall project cost versus exceptions. (Civic Center Project Webpage)

Item #22 - Award of a Construction Contract for Intersection Improvements and Bicycle Lane Improvements at Middlefield and Oak Grove was up next. The Council discussed the unacceptably low engineer's estimate as compared to the actual bid price and admonished the consultant for missing the mark. The Council discussed the status of partner agency, Menlo Park, on their related project and discussed opportunities for savings in project scope or design as well as the timing of the Town's $124,200 project grant. Following discussion, the Council authorized acceptance of the bid as submitted.

The penultimate item on the Agenda was Item #23 - Review of the Park Circulation Plan items and a change in the design scope of work. Here the Council discussed the necessary changes to the scope of work for the design consultant to address the expanded project in the Park related to park circulation. The Council discussed ways to segregate out various components of the project and discussed the need for other components. Following discussion, the Council approved the change to the scope of work with the caveat that it be made clear that design does not necessarily mean construction and that the Council will decide at some future point what elements are approved for actual construction. 

The last item on the Agenda was Item #24 - Approval of a Budget Amendment and Consultant Services Agreement to Matrix Consulting Group for the Fire Fiscal Services Review. The Council heard public comment on this item and discussed the recommended proposals and their scope as well as the issues that the Review was hoping to identify. Following discussion, the Council authorized the budget amendment and directed the City Attorney to prepare and City Manager to execute the consultant services agreement. 

Following Council Reports and Final Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:50 pm, that, as they say - was a wrap!


The next meeting of the City Council is a Special Goals Meeting on April 25 from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Main House in the Park. At this meeting the Council will identify key goals and priorities for the coming year. This meeting is a public meeting.

The Council will hold its next Study Session on May 3, 2017 at their regular meeting time of 4 pm. This meeting includes Budget Meeting #3 - a Review of the Town's Capital Improvement Project Budget. Also included on the May 3 meeting will be a presentation by a representative from the South Bay Waste Management Authority (SBWMA) on the Franchise Negotiation/Renewal Process.

PS - Saturday, April 22 - Atherton Earth Day Celebration! 

Come Join Us on Saturday, April 22 starting at 10 am and ending at 1 pm - at the Atherton Town Center. The Town's Environmental Programs Committee, Recology, and the Atherton Library are teaming up to bring you - free garden mulch, E-Waste Safe Recycling, Secure Shredding, Eco-Friendly 3-D Printing, the San Mateo County Bookmobile, free Yoga Class, Earth Friendly Planting, Family Friendly Experiments and more! Come and be a part of this fun opportunity!

AthertonEarthDay.jpg



George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us




#AthertonTalks
#AthertonCivicCenter

Apr 11

March 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 12:28 PM by George Rodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - March 2017

Monthly-report.pngThe City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed

As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates (older emails get shorter) in favor of the most recent - although some will be duplicative if there is other relevant information included; I try to remove information regarding events that have already occurred; and I edit information that requires update - hopefully to make it more useful. However, overall, the information is generally the same as it was presented to the City Council in their weekly Council email.

The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me directly via email or phone.

My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday.

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Regards,

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us
#AthertonTalks


March 31, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Atherton Now Construction Documents Phase Payment

We received full funding from Atherton Now for the Construction Documents Project Phase. 
 


2. Construction Management Association of America Award
 (edited for corrections)

Interwest submitted (on behalf of the Town) and 
WAS AWARDED the CMAA Award for the Marsh Road Construction Project. There is an awards dinner sometime in May to recognize the winning projects. Once we receive the specifics we will determine who will accept the award on behalf of the Town. 

3. Animal Services Report - February 2017

Linked here is the 
February 2017 Animal Services Report

4. Articles of Interest

Mercury News - Menlo Park won’t joint Atherton FD Study 

Almanac News - Menlo Park not joining Atherton FD Study 

Almanac News - Opponents say tardy analysis of ballot measure shouldn’t be allowed

Brown Act in the Digital Age - Interesting PowerPoint with a good take on the use of social media, blogs, and newspaper comments 

5. Fire Services Fiscal Review

Today is the deadline for submittal of responses to the RFP for Fire Fiscal Services Review. I have received 4 proposals thus far. The deadline for submittal is 4 pm today. I will review them into the next week, conduct interviews (if necessary), and make a recommendation to Council for the April 19 Council meeting.

6. Restroom Signage

The Town will be making sign changes to its single-occupant restrooms to comply with Title 24. 

7. Atherton Fiber

Atherton Fiber has employees in the field working on various poles throughout Town. They have names on their vehicle representing themselves as Atherton Fiber. They are working with the Public Works Department to complete the full Encroachment Permit. Fees will be collected accordingly and they are being treated just as any other service provider. Staff is also looking into shared-trench opportunities in conjunction with our Series Street Light Project. 

8. Cell Service Vendor

A cell provider has approached the Town with a project to close some of their service gaps - street lights. The provider is interested in placing street lights at strategic locations (where needed) and then using the tops of the street light poles for a canister cell location. The poles are a bit higher than normal the normal street light, but they are willing to work with the Town on design and location. The Town would own the pole and would receive a lease payment from the vendor. 

Staff is gathering details. Despite our Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance requirements, because this involves the installation of street lights, it is a proposal that I would envision goes before the Council at Study Session for feedback before moving ahead. 
 

9. Capital Projects Spreadsheet
 (Edited)

One of the things discussed at the last Finance Committee meeting was the impact of funding re-allocation to the Town Center Project on other Capital Projects. A spreadsheet was shared with the Committee at their recent meeting. The highlights in yellow are the only projects where funding may be impacted and even those are low-risk impact (if at all) as explained in the notes. 

10. Meeting with Fire Board President Peter Carpenter

I reached out to Fire Board President Peter Carpenter earlier this week because he and Fire Chief Schapelhouman had reached out independently to Acting Chief Wade to determine if there had been any recent conflicts or challenges in the relationship between the Fire District and the Police Department. Acting Chief Wade advised me of the contacts and his response. I told Peter that at the line-level there is nothing but collegiality and support. However, while in the capacity of Acing Chief, Joe has been included in some of the political dynamic and has seen first hand the impact of the politics at the management level. 

I advised that Chief Schapelhouman and I maintain a decent working relationship - at least until recent politics are injected. I told him that Chief Schapelhouman's response to him (Peter) at a recent Fire Board meeting as to whether I had engaged him on the Town’s Fire Fiscal Services Review RFP was disheartening. 

I asked if he would be interested in sitting down for a conversation or two about some of these issues to address some of the history. We have a meeting set for Tuesday morning. 

Special Event Permits - as of March 31, 2017

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 

  • April 1, 2017 - Charity Auction - Sacred Heart Schools (tent) - 6 pm to 11:30 pm
  • April 1, 2017 - OakaPalooza - Menlo College Quad - 3 pm - 1 am
  • April 22, 2017 - SPCA Fur Ball and Benefit Auction, Circus Club - 6 pm - 11 pm
  • April 29, 2017 - El Camino Hospital Cancer Research Benefit - Circus Club - 6 pm - 11 pm
  • May 7, 2017 - Big Bear Run - Various/5k Run/Walk - 7:30 am - 12 pm
  • May 20, 2017 - Children’s Champion Event - Menlo College Cartan Field - 10 am - 1 pm
  • May 29, 2017 - Memorial Day BBQ - Circus Club - 5 pm - 9 pm
  • June 11, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • June 18, 2017 - Father’s Day BBQ - Circus Club - 5 pm - 9 pm
  • July 2, 9, & 16, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • July 4, 2017 - 4th of July BBQ - Circus Club - 4 pm - 9 pm
  • August 8-14, 2017 - Horse Show - Circus Club 
  • August 12, 2017 - Family Wedding - James Avenue - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • September 3 & 10, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • September 4, 2017 - Labor Day BBQ - Circus Club - 5 pm - 9 pm
  • October 26, 2017 - Halloween Party - Circus Club - 7 pm - 9 pm 


March 25, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Police Chief Interviews

The first round of Chief interviews concluded on Monday. The community and peer panel interviewed 7 candidates. The list has been narrowed to 3 candidates. The Mayor, Vice Mayor and I will interview the remaining candidates on Wednesday and I will make a selection from there. 

2. Cartan Field Improvements Application 

Menlo College has submitted an application for minor field improvements at Cartan Field. While most of the improvements are consistent with existing CUPs for the Field, one is not. The College would like to install safety netting that constitutes a “structure” under the Code and will trigger an amendment to the applicable CUP. Staff will reach out to the College to advise. 

3. Finance Committee Meeting

The Finance Committee discussed the Civic Center Project Funding Plan and opined (individually) that a larger COP may be more advantageous than a smaller one to allow unallocated general funds to remain; perhaps a bond measure should be considered; perhaps additional fundraising is needed. 

4. Planning Commission Meeting - March 22, 2017

The Planning Commission took the following action at last nights March 22, 2017 meeting: 

- 50 Valparaiso Avenue, Menlo School - Accepted the review of 2016 Annual Master Plan Update.

- 1 Toyon Road - Continued the request for a Heritage Tree Removal Permit to allow the removal of two trees per the request of the applicant to allow time for further revisions in the attempt to preserve an oak tree.

- 73 Parkwood Drive - Approved a Special Structures Permit to allow for a swimming pool in the front yard setback area.

- 67 Redwood Drive - Approved a Special Structures Permit to allow for a swimming pool in the front yard setback area and a Heritage Tree Removal Permit to allow the removal of 1 tree.

- Adopted a Resolution recommending the City Council adopt amendments to Chapter 17.32, "Residential District R-1A" as they pertain to the Special Structures Permit regarding requests for project's requesting to exceed the maximum allowable sidewall height of 22 feet. The Ordinance currently requires requests to increase the vertical sidewall height to also increase the front, rear, and side setbacks for the residence, at all four side and at both levels of the home at a ratio of 5 feet for each 1 foot of increased vertical height. The amendments recommended would continue the Planning Commission to review requests for increased vertical sidewall height at the same height/setback ratio described, however, would only require the increased setback to the area of "vertical offense" requesting the increased height, not all four sides of the home. 

5. HAWK Beacon - Use as Traffic Slowing Device

At the request of a resident referral through a Council Member, staff contacted Caltrain to determine if the HAWK Beacon could be used as a traffic slowing device in addition to a pedestrian crossing device (flashing yellow to slow traffic speeds). Caltrans advised that the use of the HAWK Beacon is strictly as a non-signalized pedestrian beacon only. Use otherwise conflicts with the MUTCD and may not be implemented without modification to State requirements. In short - no. 

6. Pension Liabilities - Response to Resident

A resident sent me an email asking about the Town’s pension liability. I responded via email with the following:

"Thank you for the email and the inquiry. That’s a simple question with a very long answer. Apologies for its length and delayed response, but I wanted to make sure you had all of the information and detail at your disposal. Most of the information is available via the Town’s website online and I have provided the links in the body of the email. 

Happy to provide additional information if needed. 

CalPERS pension plans are not unlike private sector plans with a “funded status” ratio of Market Value of Assets (MVA) to Accrued Liability (AL). The average corporate plan funded ratio (top 100 pension plans) is around 82%. Funded ratios will vary year to year based on market conditions both in the private sector and public sector. The current market rallies will have an affect on the funded status of plans since most plans, public and private, have a stake in the investment market. The most current pension system valuations from CalPERS are as of June 2015. CalPERS Valuation Reports typically lag 18-24 months.

Atherton has 4 types of public pension plans for which the Town receives actuarial valuations every year - Local Safety Classic, Local Safety PEPRA, Local Miscellaneous Classic and Local Miscellaneous PEPRA. All employees are enrolled as either Classic Members (CalPERS members before January 1, 2013) or PEPRA Members (CalPERS members after January 1, 2013). The Town does not participate in Social Security and neither the Town nor the employee have social security payment obligations. Upon retirement, unless the employee has other social security qualifying employment, they do not receive social security benefits since employment with the Town does not constitute qualifying quarters for social security. Therefore, the Town only pays the employer portion of the CalPERS pension obligation and the employee is responsible for 100% of the employee portion. Private sector employers will typically pay into social security at 6.2% and often, some sort of employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401K at 3%-4% for a total employer contribution of 9%-10% of salary. The CalPERS plans are similar - with the exception of public safety plans which tend to have a richer retirement plan. The current average tenure for an Atherton employee is 7 years. What’s discussed below are Town obligations and not the obligations of any other employers for whom an employee has worked.

The first and most significant pension plan for the Town is the Classic CalPERS Safety Plan. This plan is limited in membership to sworn officers only. Membership is further limited to CalPERS Classic Members (i.e. employees who were members of CalPERS prior to 2013). New members are enrolled in the CalPERS Safety PEPRA Plan and as time moves forward more employees are enrolled in PEPRA than Classic. The latest CalPERS Valuation for the Classic Local Safety Plan can be found online - Classic Member Local Safety CalPERS Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2015. The funded status of this plan is 76.6% as of June 30, 2015. At that time, the AL was $36,891,116 and the MVA was $28,263,430. The Town’s employer-contribution rate is 21.418% of salary in FY 2017/18. The employee portion is 9%. The retirement calculation for a top-step Police Officer ($101,712/year in salary) that has worked for the Town for 15 years, retiring at age 60 is: $101,712 times 15 times 3% = $45,770 per year or $3,814 per month in retirement. (In my experience, due to the physical demands of the job, I see most line through mid-level management officers leaving employment prior to age 60. Command staff will usually stay employed into their 60’s since they spend less time wearing field gear and chasing down criminals and more time managing/leading the organization.)

The second pension plan is the PEPRA Safety Plan. New CalPERS (after 2013) sworn officers are enrolled in this plan. This plan was created by CalPERS to reduce long term liability for local agencies and as employees turnover, this plan gains new members. This is the Plan into which most new sworn employees are placed. The latest CalPERS Valuation for the PEPRA Local Safety Plan can be found online - PEPRA Member Local Safety CalPERS Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2015. The funded status of this plan is 92.1% as of June 30, 2015. At that time, the AL was $71,655 and the MVA was $66,027. The Town’s employer-contribution rate is 12.729% of salary in FY 2017/18. The employee portion is 12.25%. The retirement calculation for a top-step Police Officer ($101,712/year in salary) that has worked for the Town for 15 years, retiring at age 60 is $101,712 times 15 times 2.7% = $41,193 or $3,433 per month in retirement. 

The third pension plan is the Classic Local Miscellaneous Plan. This plan is limited in membership to non-police (non-sworn) employees - called local miscellaneous. Membership is further limited to CalPERS Classic Members (prior to 2013). This plan generally has those employees that do not work as police officers - from the City Manager on down. New members (post 2013) are enrolled in the companion PEPRA Plan. The latest CalPERS Valuation for the Classic Local Miscellaneous Plan can be found online - Classic Miscellaneous CalPERA Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2015. The funded status of this plan is 79.5% as of June 30, 2015. At that time, the AL was $15,806,251 and the MVA was $12,571,337. The Town’s employer-contribution rate is 9.096% of salary as of FY 2017/18 (less than private sector comparatives with social security). The employee portion is 7%. The retirement calculation for an average salaried employee ($112,615/year in salary) that has worked for the Town for 15 years, retiring at age 60 is: $112,615 times 15 times 2.262% = $38,210 or $3,184 per month. (In my experience, most non-public works staff will work well beyond 60. Public Works staff, due to the physical nature of the role will typically leave employment earlier.)

The fourth pension plan is the PEPRA Local Miscellaneous Plan. New CalPERS (after 2013) employees are enrolled in this plan. This is the Plan into which most new employees are placed. The latest CalPERS Valuation for the PEPRA Local Miscellaneous Plan can be found online - PEPRA Member Local Miscellaneous CalPERS Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2015. The funded status of this plan is 96.3% as of June 30, 2015. At that time the AL was $34,451 and the MVA was $33,187. The Town’s employer-contribution rate is 6.908% of salary in FY 2017/18 (less than private sector comparatives with social security). The employee portion is 6.5%. The retirement calculation for an average salaried employee ($112,615/year in salary) that has worked for the Town for 15 years, retiring at age 60 is: $112,615 times 15 times 1.8% = $30,406 or $2,534 per month. 

The total pension obligation as of June 30, 2015 is $52,803,473. The Market Value of the funded portion is $40,933,981 leaving an underfunded obligation of $11,869,492. This is the amount that fluctuates up or down based on market conditions, contributions and employee census actuarial data (i.e. actual and projected lengths of employment, salaries, and mortality). 

Funding Policy

CalPERS Actuarial Valuations, market conditions, employer rates, employee rates, and underfunded status conversations are pointless unless the Town has a funding policy in place - which it does. The Town pays 100% of its employer obligation toward pensions each year based on published CalPERS annual actuarial evaluations. The CalPERS pension system is designed as a “pay as you go” system with projections calculated based on actuarial assumptions such as length of employment, salary, mortality, and investment projection for return - all of which can fluctuate changing the Town’s future obligations up and down. 

The Town consciously decided not to "over fund" or contribute more funds into the plans than required under the actuarial valuations because the Town would rather keep its funds local than overfund at the State level. In other words, maintaining a healthy funded status is good, but giving more funds to the State than absolutely necessary is not - particularly since the funded status is market dependent. If, for example, the Town were to fund its underfunded amount entirely, in one year, if the market performed exceptionally well, the Town could be “overfunded” and those funds would no longer be under Town control - once paid, we don’t get them back but our rates stay consistent. They would be earning interest at CalPERS rather than in our local budget. Conversely, if the market performed poorly, we would not have overpaid and lost funds because someone at the State made a poor investment decision. Given the recent market performances, we expect the Town’s underfunded status to drop but we do not expect our annual rates and contributions to be dramatically different. That said, the Town is conscious of rate fluctuations and via policy commits any excess ERAF funds if needed to help smooth out any fluctuations - we have not had to do this in recent years but it remains an option. ERAF funds (or Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds) are funds that were re-appropriated in the 1990s by the State from local government property tax revenues. These funds trace back to local Town funds. The State uses these funds to pay for its minimum school budget obligations. Excess from these funds (after the State meets its obligation) are returned to the local agencies from whence they originally came. The funds originate from basic Town property taxes returned to the Town after the State deducts its considered share. 

The Town funds its basic employer pension obligations via General Fund revenues year over year. General Fund Revenues come from basic property taxes, fees for services (building, planning, public works and public safety), franchise fees, sales taxes, business license taxes, and general grants. The total base salaries for the Town’s 39 employees in FY 2016/17 is $3,915,131. The bulk of that can be attributed to the 29 member Police Department at $2,764,557. On the total amount, the Town pays $683,687 each year toward pension obligations - representing 17% of base salaries. The Town’s total annual operating budget for FY 2016/17 (not including an additional $6 million in capital infrastructure projects) is $12,149,639. Pensions represent 5.6% of the Town’s Annual Operating Budget and 3.8% of the Town’s total annual budget for FY 2016/17. 

Overall, the Town is in a very positive pension position when compared to other agencies throughout the State. Average funded ratios for the 1,583 CalPERS Public Agency members have grown. In 2011, the average funded ratio was 74.3% and in 2014 it was 77.9%. Across all four of the Town’s Plans, our average funded status is 86.1% - this not only exceeds the funding status for the average CalPERS agency, but also exceeds the average for the top 100 private sector pension plans. Because the Town’s pension obligation is considered an obligation, the Town must fund it at the minimum level required by the State. The Town’s funding policy does so without overfunding thus allowing local money to stay local. 

Anyway - I hope this information is helpful to you in answering your questions and if I can be of any further help or provide additional information, please don’t hesitate to ask!"

7. Articles of Interest

- Almanac News - 
How a Menlo Park man, out on a walk, wound up handcuffed in Atherton 

- Mercury News - Atherton Council to review rebuttal to argument against Measure A 

- Mercury News - Atherton readies June 6 ballot, prepares for building Town Center 

- Mercury News - Menlo Park man field complaint against Atherton Police


March 17, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

Mercury News - Accessory Dwelling Units/Drones

2. Ballot Measure - June 2017

Ballot arguments in favor and opposed were received by the 12 pm deadline and will be submitted to the County by 5 pm today. The County has assigned the measure a designation as Measure A.  

3. Committee/Commission Term Recruitments

Staff is beginning advertisement for committee/commission positions. An email will be sent to each member with an expiring term such that if they are not termed out, they can send a request to be reappointed if they desire. Interviews will be done at the June Study Session special meeting. 

Expiring terms are:

- Audit/Finance - Ken Hausman, Jim Massey

- Environmental Programs - Holly Joseph

- Park & Rec - Bill Hoy (may not renew)

- Planning Commission - Paul Tonelli

4. Tree Ordinance Updates - Planning Commission

Staff is working with the Planning Commission Ad Hoc Subcommittee on updates to the tree ordinance. Discussion of changes recommended by the Committee revolve around - 

- adding redwood’s to building area/15”

- lowering the heritage tree size for native oaks to 6”

- adding multi-trunk trees - 15” measures where stems begin

- measure diameter at 4.5’ instead of 4’

- monthly arborist reports submitted to Town Arborist for project monitoring (15th of each month)

- changing the measuring of the tree protection zone from 1” to 1’ to 10x the diameter

- require participation in a pre-construction meeting

- requirements for mulch

- requirements for reporting damage within 6 hours

- requirements for a tree inventory on site (photos, written, appraisal)

- requirements to add data as an appendix to the detailed site plans

- do not add Monterey pine, eucalyptus, or palms to the removal list

- requirement permit for dead heritage tree removal

- add requirement/review for moving of trees/Planning Commission

5. San Mateo Mosquito/Vector Control District Open House - April 18

Mason Brutschy has invited members of the Council to attend the Mosquito/Vector District Open House on April 18 from 4 pm to 7 pm. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mason directly via email


6. HAWK Beacon/Traffic Slowing Device
 

We received an inquiry from a resident regarding the potential use of the HAWK Beacons as speed control devices along El Camino. Caltrans owns and operates the beacons once installed. Staff will connect with Caltrans but it is unlikely they would support their use as flashing speed control devices rather than the standard pedestrian crossing devices. 

7. Amanda Governale Resignation

Amanda has submitted her resignation effective April 3 as she moves onward and upward with the Town of Woodside as a Management Analyst. We simply do not have the ability for that upward mobility in our ranks at this time so we were unable to retain her. She has been a reliable and valuable member of the team since she came on board and her skill set will be missed.

8. ECR Complete Streets Stakeholder Meeting

The consultant (Alta Planning) is hosting a kick-off meeting for this project in the first of three in-person meetings. Members of the Town’s Transportation and Bike/Ped Committees are participants as well as local schools, fire, Caltrans, etc. The meeting is being held on Thursday, April 6 from 10 am to noon at the Jennings Pavilion. Marty is the point of contact for the Project. If you are interested in attending, please let me know so that I can advise Marty. 

9. Home Address Painting Mailer

We are aware of the vendor distributing via mail a notice that seems to imply that it is an official Atherton notice for curb address painting. It has “Atherton Notice” at the top of the glossy flyer and includes the Town logo. Code enforcement and the Police Department are getting in touch with the vendor. We have received several complaints and concerns expressed as to whether this was an official Town notice or scam. 

10. Menlo Park Fire District Meetings

Please note, with Director Kiraly’s comments at the meeting on Wednesday night I thought it would be appropriate to advise again on the Liaison and Joint Meeting schedule. 

- Liaison Meeting (Wiest/Widmer) - We confirmed yesterday that the Liaison Mid-Year Meeting will occur on June 5 at 3 pm.

- Joint Meeting (All Council) - the Annual Joint Meeting has been confirmed for December 12 at 5 pm.


March 10, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

Mercury News - Atherton Cut in Refuse Rates 

Almanac News - Would it Pay for Atherton to leave the Fire District 

Waze & Other Traffic Devices

2. AT&T Vault (near Library/Corp Yard) & SFPUC

As we move into Construction Drawings, engineers for the project are reconnecting with utilities for final decisions on line locations, relocations, and metering needs. A recent site walk with AT&T representatives revealed the existence of a larger than anticipated underground vault installed in 1999. The vault is located near the tree line between the Library and Public Works area. Moving the vault is not an option and it would be our cost. Minor adjustments to the roadway, path and parking area will be made to accommodate since we cannot drive over or park over the vault (they are not traffic load rated vaults)

The SFPUC has drawn another line in the sand with respect to their line location and needs. We continue to negotiate with them and will likely be reaching out politically as well. They are asking for dedicated exclusive easements whereas the Town is only willing to provide shared easements. 

With a project of this size and the potential for unknowns these issues are somewhat anticipated and we’ll need to be flexible both in site design (not buildings) and funding (i.e. who pays for what moves of utility connections, vaults, meters, etc.). The Cost Model Manager Report will be included with Council Reports each week beginning next week. 

3. San Mateo Manager’s Meeting Items

I am sharing two items of interest that were presented at this week’s San Mateo Manager’s Meeting. The first was a presentation by the County Office of Sustainability regarding the “Sea Change San Mateo County.” The presentation and materials are internal draft/confidential. They are attached below, not linked. 

The second was a presentation from C/CAG and Caltrans on the SM101 Managed Lanes Project
 

4. Park Activity

Linked here is the 
HP Park Revenue and Expenditure Log and the February Park Events Log. 

5. Fire District Citygate Report

I received an email on March 6 from the Fire Chief in response to our request to have a presentation on the Citygate Report. 

The Chief advised that he had a Special Board Meeting and spoke with President Carpenter and Liaison Kiraly regarding the Town’s request. They agreed that the better way to meet with the Town would be the mid-year liaison meeting because it’s “just information”. He advised that bottom line is there is no plan to move Fire Station #3. He advised that Cary was present at the meeting for the presentation. No decisions or recommendations were made. He advised that they acknowledge the Town’s request but respectfully defer to a mid-year liaison meeting. 

The Mayor has requested that the Town formally respond to the District on this topic. A letter is included for review on the March 15 Council Agenda.
 

6. Memorandum from City Attorney - Public Right of Way Clearance

Linked here is an update 
memorandum from the City Attorney regarding emergency clearing of the public right-of-way as discussed at the March 1 Study Session.

7. Update on El Camino Real - Hybrid Beacons

Caltrans is working on 33 locations for Hybrid Beacons along the corridor. Two of the Beacons are located in Atherton. Their contract recently completed “rock wheeling” the roadway to install conduit. The current ongoing work is to install pole foundations at the Beacon locations. As they progress with the pole foundations, the digging may uncover utilities that need to be relocated (delays). The current rain season has also caused some project delays. The estimated time for completion is 5-6 months away. 

8. Clay Tennis Court Donation

There is a donor interested in funding the refurbishment of one of the Town’s tennis courts converting it into a clay court. Staff is working with the donor/Player’s Capital to develop a presentation to the Park and Recreation Committee as the first step. 


March 3, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

Almanac News - Short-Term Rentals - Pre-Meeting 

Mercury News - June 6 Election 

Mercury News - Fire District Study - CityGate 

Almanac News - Short-Term Rentals - Post-Meeting 

Mercury News - Court Case on Private Email

2. Citygate Report Follow-up Fire District

Vice Mayor Wiest attended the Fire District Board Meeting on February 21, 2017 where the Board discussed the recently completed Citygate Study. Here is a link to the 
Agenda packet online. The specific item is Item No. 14 - Accept the CityGate Report Recommendations for Potential New Fire Station Locations or Station Consolidations Related to Elements of the 2015 Standards of Cover Analysis.  The Project Approach was divided into two steps. First, the consultant used GIS mapping models and incident statistics from their recently completed Standards of Cover project. Second, they obtained input from the District about issues with current station locations, desired scenarios to be tested, and potentially available parcels to test for a best-fit solution. In the work with Fire District Staff, they identified five scenarios. The sixth scenario is Citygate’s proposed best-fit solution. The five staff and consultant identified scenarios are (italics for the one’s directly impacting Atherton):

1) Determine a best location for a combined Fire Station #3 and #5, or a replacement Station #5, assessing alternative locations at:

- 3101 Middelfield Road

- 5th and Krame Lane in RWC

- Amherst Ave & ECR in NFO

- 215 Bay Road in MP for Station #5

- Optimum location for Station #3

- Optimum location for Station #5

2) Determine a best location for a replacement Fire Station #4

3) Determine the benefit of locating an additional fire station at the Atherton Town Center that includes 1 added engine.

4) Determine the benefit of locating an additional fire station for one added ladder truck and Urban Search and Rescue warehouse facility

5) Determine the benefit of locating an additional fire station, including one added engine, near Adams and University Avenue. 
 

* Citygate does not recommend combining Fire Station #3 and #5. 

* Citygate does not recommend pursuit of an added station at Atherton Town Center. 

Given those recommendations, Citygate worked with District staff to identify two other sites in combination - Station #3 - move to the east to 516 Santa Clara Street (unincorporated area) and Station #5 - move to south to 763 Marsh Road. This is encapsulated in Citygate’s final recommendation affecting Station #3 and #5 as:
Before making final site decisions on Station #3 and #5, Citygate recommends the District try to find an acceptable parcel to move Station #3 to the west close to a major east/west and north/south street junction

On February 27, the Chief sent an email advising that they had completed the Citygate Report and that he would send me a hardcopy of the Report. I sent a response email to the Fire Chief advising that the Council had asked to be involved in issues affecting Station No. 3. I asked what the final recommendations of the Report were and if there was a process for the Town to be involved. I did not receive a response. 

During the Council Study Session on March 1, I was asked to connect with the District and ask if someone could make a presentation of the Citygate Report to the Council. I sent an email to the Chief on March 2 with that request. The Chief advised that he would check with the Board President and Vice President. He suggested that it still needs to return to the Board and given their current projects, priorities and work load, the mid-year liaison meeting would be a good place to discuss it. 

3. Fire District Tree Removal within the Right-of-Way

One of the articles referenced above relates to the recent Study Session item on right-of-way work. The comments in the referenced article involve comments from Board President Peter Carpenter (they are shown on the article link). Given those comments and the Council’s request for other jurisdictional information on the topic, I was asked to connect with the Fire District to obtain their actual policy on the topic. I connected with the Chief. He responded that the District will clear debris off the roadway to open it up for emergency vehicles if it is a moderately sized tree. He advised that occasionally, they will do the same for private individuals so that they can move their cars and/or gain access to their home if it’s not a big job. They do not have a written policy and it is the Captain’s discretion. They typically will not enter someone’s private property unless it is tied to a 911 call request. 

4. New Building Proposal @ Sacred Heart

Recently, planning staff met with Mike Dwyer, Sacred Heart’s Director of Operations, Mara Chase, their construction manager and Katrina Hardt-Holoch, Environmental Consultant.  The topic was plans for demolition of Sigall Hall and construction of a new academic arts building for the Prep School near the corner of Elena Ave. and Valparaiso.  You may recall that similar plans for demolition of McGanney Gym and Sigall Hall with replacement construction of a new academic building and new gym were in the works about this time last year, but those were put on hold.  This new plan deals only with Sigall Hall and McGanney Gym will remain and be seismically upgraded.
 

The new plan is for an approximate 76,000 sq. ft., two story building over a full basement.  It will be sited on approximately the same building footprint as the existing Sigall Hall.  The building will accommodate classrooms, offices and a music wing for choral and instrumental practice and performance.  The quadrangle space bounded by the new academic arts building, McGanney Gym and the Homer Science Building will be upgraded with enhanced landscaping and hardscapes.

A substantial amount of grading and earth material off-haul will be required to construct the basement.  Staff asked SHS to provide the Town with specific grading and off-haul quantities in the near future. There will be no increased enrollment at the Sacred Heart Schools resulting from this new construction.

Vehicle access to the site will remain essentially the same as it currently exists.  The access drive running parallel to Valparaiso Ave. between the main gate and Elena Ave. will remain, as will the traffic circle existing to the south of the Sigall Building.  There will be no parking spaces lost as a result of the new construction.  Only one existing heritage tree will be affected by this project; contrasted with 5 heritage trees that were affected by the previous iteration.

There will need to be from 14 – 19 temporary portable classroom buildings installed during the approximate 18 month construction time frame.  The portables will be installed on the Morey Practice Field.  During the time when the practice field is occupied with portable classrooms, practice activities will be dispersed to other locations on the campus. SHS is planning to conduct a neighborhood outreach meeting sometime this spring or summer as the plans become more developed.

As with other similar projects, some type of environmental review and documentation will be required.  Environmental consultant Katrina Hardt-Holoch has been retained in the past by the Town to conduct the environmental review and prepare the required documentation.  Planning Staff has requested that Ms. Hardt-Holoch prepare a proposal for Town consideration to complete the review and documentation for this revised project.  The cost of environmental review and documentation will be the responsibility of Sacred Heart.

The current schedule for the project is listed below:

·         Planning Commission review of Master Plan Update – June 2017

·         Completion of environmental review and documentation – July 2017

·         Planning Commission consideration of Conditional Use Permit – August 2017

·         Building Permit submittal – November 2017

·         Building Permit issuance – March 2018

·         Construction – April 2018 to September 2019

5. Check-In - Design for Oak Grove Bike Plan

The Council asked for an early look at the design for the recent Oak Grove Bicycle Lane improvements. Staff advised that when drawings and plans are sent to the neighborhood for comment, those same plans will be provided to the Council. 
They are linked here. 

Residents along the route were sent a letter from the Town and were contacted by telephone. There have been no comments thus far to the proposed improvements.
 

6. Cannabis Presentation Report

I attended (and volunteered to subcommittee) a meeting with the County and other jurisdictions in San Mateo County to discuss Proposition 64 and its implementation. 
Attached is an informative PowerPoint on the topic. Currently, given the Town’s land use demographic, commercial activity in Atherton is prohibited. However, there may be some areas where we need to investigate the need for regulatory controls - deliveries, home occupations, mobile dispensaries, etc. These questions were unanswered by the group yet contemplated as possibilities under Proposition 64. I volunteered to participate on a subcommittee to address them. 

7. Supreme Court Decision - Private Email - Public Purpose

One of the articles noted above is in regards to a recent 
Supreme Court decision on public purpose emails using a private email address. This is sort of a no-brainer but it bears repeating - especially given the Supreme Court Opinion - if you use your private email for a public purposes conversation that email constitutes a public record that may be disclosable under a public records act request. 

In the opinion, the California Supreme Court considered a Public Records Act request submitted to the City of San Jose for redevelopment-related emails and text messages sent or received on private electronic devices. The Court unanimously ruled that such conversations relate to public business and are not exempt from disclosure. The Court also advised that it is reasonable to rely on officials and employees to search their own personal files, accounts, and devices for responsive material when a records request is received.

8. Goals Report - 2015

As you know, the Goals Meeting has been set for Tuesday, April 25. Nancy Hetrick, Management Partners, is meeting with staff on March 14 to discuss line-level goals/objectives in line with the Council’s established Policy Goal Areas from 2015. Following this meeting, Nancy will be reaching out to each of you for a one-on-one meeting to identify key objectives you see for the next year within each of the Policy Goal Areas. 

In 
2015, the Council established 6 key Policy Goal Areas:

Goal Area A - Maintain Fiscal Responsibility

Goal Area B - Preserve Small Town Character and Quality of Life

Goal Area C - Create a Town Center/Library

Goal Area D - Manage Circulation and Improve Safety

Goal Area E - Strengthen Community Engagement & Transparency

Goal Area F - Be a Forward-Thinking, Well-Managed, Well-Planned City

Within each of these areas, the Council also discussed various objectives. Some areas had more than others. Some of these objectives were broad based policy direction. It is important to remember that the role of the Council is setting the high-level, broad policy goals and objectives, not the line level detail. These high-level, broad policy goals and objectives are the foundation upon which you should evaluate my performance as your City Manager in getting things accomplished. 

Staff has been using these areas and objectives as a foundation for policy direction feeding into the Town’s CIP priorities and annual budget for the last two years. In anticipation of the Goals Meeting, I have updated the list/comments section with the status of each objective. Most, because they are broad policy focus or ongoing CIP projects like the Civic Center are “ongoing.” We have also accomplished a lot in other areas as well over the last two years and some of the listed objectives have morphed. 

Nancy will work to mesh/refine the objectives that staff comes up with and the objectives that the Council discusses together into another document moving forward. I think it would be appropriate to place the final document as a lead into the 2017/18 Budget and tie-back the departmental level objectives to a specific Goal Area if possible. 

9. Joint Meeting with the Fire District

The Fire District is checking the week of December 11 for concurrence with the Town for its annual joint meeting. We are also working to nail down a date for the liaison meeting in late May or early June.
 

10. E-Scrap Event

The Annual E-Scrap and Compost Event is typically a no-cost event hosted via Recology and the SBWMA. It is very well received by the community. This year, we are combining the event with Earth Day to bolster a higher attendance for both events. There is a new cost element this year with the E-Scrap event. It will cost between $500 and $800. I will be using the Rate Stabilization Fund to pay for the cost. This is similar to what we did for the Hazardous Waste Pickup collection cost. 

11. Little League Tournament

Opening Day for Little League is this Saturday, March 4. The festivities will take place at Burgess field in Menlo Park. The Minors division will begin their games Saturday at Homer Field. Game 1 at 9am. M-ALL is pleased with the condition of the field and all of the hard work by our MCE forces holding up our end to make sure everything is ready. The All-Star tournament is being backed up a week to make the schedule with Williamsport. That means the tournament will begin on June 24
th and end on July 5th

The one week they go beyond their normal commitment may not even have a game take place out there, but they would still like to hold (and pay for) the exclusivity just in case. There is an outside possibility there may be a game needed on July 4
th. All the other items remains the same (decorations, snack bar, bbq, garbage, minimum amplified sound use for anthem and starting line-ups).

12. Annual Employee Recognition Lunch

Tuesday, April 18 from 12 pm to 1:30 pm at the Pavilion is the Annual Employee Recognition Lunch. The lunch recognizes all staff for their service to the Town and recognizes those staff that are reaching employment milestones. We have 4 staff being recognized for their milestone years of service: 

- Sergeant Sherman Hall - 15 years

- City Manager George Rodericks - 5 years

- Finance Director Robert Barron III - 5 years

- Deputy City Clerk Judi Herren - 5 years

All Council are welcome to attend. Please let Theresa know if you plan to come to the lunch.