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.

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Oct 12

September 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on October 12, 2017 at 2:14 PM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - September 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. It is retrospective. 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. 

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. There are no reports during the month of August. 

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George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

September 29, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Council of Cities Dinner - October 27

The Town is hosting the Council of Cities dinner meeting on October 27. Additional details and invitations will be sent in September. The Mayor, Theresa, and Mike K. are working to arrange a speaker. 

2. Neighborly - Potential Presentation to Council

Staff is meeting with Neighborly on October 10 to discuss options for public finance. Neighborly’s speciality is local crowd financing. Following the meeting, staff will work with Neighborly on a presentation to the Council. 

3. Pending Application for Detachment

The property owners at 501 Palmer (whose property is split by the Town/County boundary), would like to proceed with a detachment application via LAFCO. The majority of their parcel is located in the unincorporated County area. The property owners consulted staff with respect to land use and zoning requirements and felt that their ability to develop their property is better suited under County land use requirements. The Town does not need to formally consent to detachment. However, the Town does need to adopt a property tax transfer resolution. In this case, teh Town does not receive a share of the 1% property tax so the resolution would be for a zero transfer. A resolution is necessary because Revenue and Taxation Codes require one before LAFCO can schedule the detachment hearing. 
4. Check-in Meeting with Civic Center Committee Liaisons

We will be putting together a check-in meeting for the Civic Center Committee Liaisons in mid-October. Once the information is gathered, it will be shared with the full Council as well. 

5. Halloween Event at the Park

Staff is working with the Library and others to co-sponsor a Town Halloween Event at the Civic Center. Target afternoon is October 21. 

6. ICMA City Manager’s Conference

I will be attending the ICMA City Manager’s Conference in San Antonio from October 21 through October 29. This means that I may or may not be present for the October 21 Halloween event (depending on my flight time) and I will not be present for the October 27 Council of Cities dinner.

7. Restrooms at the Park

Over the past few weeks as the seasons have changed and evenings have become cooler, we have had some issues with homeless seeking warmth in the Little League bathrooms. The Police Department have found several people in the late evening and early morning hours in the men’s bathroom. It appears that the key-code locks on the doors are not locking properly. 

Staff is investigating and will be replacing the locks as needed. We will also be moving forward modifications to the municipal code to address the issue. 

8. Police Department Community Meeting - November 8

The Police Department is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, November 8 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm in the Pavilion to discuss various crime prevention topics. 

9. STEP Law Enforcement Program

Each year the Town participates in the regional Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) via grant funding. The STEP enforcement was in Atherton on September 20. 

10. Atherton Fiber Lease Agreement

As the Council is aware, staff is working to execute a lease agreement with Atherton Fiber for use of a small space at the rear of the temporary building near the existing cell site antenna on the Civic Campus. The space will be used as their preliminary hub (temporary) for the Project. AF is obtaining Encroachment Permits from Public Works (at fee) for 19-20 field cabinet locations in the community to create “rings” for service delivery. AF also plans to use power poles and the potential installation of about 10-12 new poles throughout Town. 

In exchange for the lease, Atherton Fiber will commit to provide the Town “dark fiber” drops for public safety and public convenience at the following locations:

- Holbrook Palmer Park
- Identified Public Safety Locations (intersections - 5 locations)
- Las Lomitas Elementary School
- Laurel Elementary School
- Encinal Elementary School
- Selby Lane Elementary School
- Menlo Atherton High School
- Sacred Heart School
- Menlo School
- Menlo College
- All Town Buildings and Offices
- Library

All fiber drops will consist of 2 fiber strands connecting the location back to the Police Department fiber panel. Dark fiber will be installed at the MPOE for each location. The Town will have unrestricted use of the dark fiber and can use the fiber for any and all purposes, to include, but not limited to: security monitoring, public safety equipment, cameras and/or site security, traffic monitoring, etc. 

The typical cost for a dark fiber pair is $995 per month. The value of these in-kind services is approximately $12,720 per month. The City Attorney is working to complete the lease agreement which I will execute upon completion. There will be a nominal fee for the lease itself but the bulk of the cost will be offset by the exchange of services. 

11. Planning Commission Meeting - September 27, 2017

The Planning Commission met on September 27 and took the following action:

- Continued the request for a Special Structure Permit at 385 Fletcher to the October meeting at the request of the applicant. 
- Approved a Heritage Tree Removal Permits at 477 Walsh Road, 23 Valley Road, and 51 Valley Road for PGE. All of the trees were within 1-2 feet of the pipeline. 

12. San Mateo County Transit District - Technical Advisory Group

The San Mateo County Transit District is setting up a Technical Advisory Group to help inform the creation of new local transportation funding. They have asked for an appropriate staff person to participate in a series of meetings. The first meeting of the Group was Wednesday, September 27. Mike Kashiwagi attended on behalf of the Town. 

13. HAWK Beacon Activation and Signage

As the Council is aware, we attempted to connect with Caltrans to add some additional signage for safety and clarity to the functioning HAWK Beacon and inquire as to the activation of the new beacons. The response was less than helpful. 

From Caltrans - “According to my discussions with the Traffic Safety Group, the MUTCD spells out what are permitted signs for the pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHB). In order to use the proposed signs, the Town will need to introduce the proposal to teh California Traffic Control Device Committee (CTCDC) for experimental use.(Left unsaid, but also assume the liability) As for when the schedule to when the PHBs will be commissioned in the Town, I will ask our Construction Resident Engineer for an update on the schedule.”

We’ll stay on top of the schedule for activation, but the response to new safety and use signage is disheartening. I’m not sure it would be in the best interest of the Town to assume liability for the HAWK Beacons during the use of the “experimental” safety signage. We’ll see if there is another angle we can pursue. 

14. Security Alarms

As the Council is aware, residents can connect their security systems directly to the Police Department Dispatch. Initial setup is $61. There is no annual fee and no charge for false alarm response. As the Council is also aware, this is a situation which I have raised in the past with respect to false alarm response. It is a sensitive issue as it is clearly a service our residents see as a benefit and are supportive of continuing. However, it is not without cost. 

The Chief is preparing a staff report to the Council for October 18 on the topic. In brief, our officers respond to approximately 600 false alarm calls a year. Each call requires at least 2 officers to respond. Each response interrupts current duty assignments (traffic monitoring, school safety patrol, surveillance operations, special details, etc.) takes up approximately 30 minutes of time for each officer. Put another way, this equates to 4 months of 1 full time police officer doing nothing but responding to false alarms. In the last 16 years, our officers responded to 22 actual response-needed alarms. The last real alarm was in July 2015. 

The issue is a combination of education, awareness, and management. Staff will return to Council with a recommendation to turn the one-time registration into an annual registration to allow the officers to inspect the alarm system and educate about its operation and response. Further, staff will recommend that there be a tiered false alarm charge. For example, in any 12 month period, the 1st false alarm is a warning letter, the 2nd is a flat fee, the 3rd is an escalating fee, the 4th is further escalated, and the 5th is the cost of actual response. 

15. Friends of Holbrook Palmer Park Cocktail Party

Last night I was the guest speaker at the Friends Cocktail Party at the Event Garden. I covered a lot of ground on a number of different Town projects and priorities. Questions received revolved around the following issues (paraphrasing the questions):

- How much property tax does the Town receive?
- How much has our property tax increased over the years?
- What is the timing of the civic center project and how has the public been engaged?
- How do our annual expenditures compare with other communities?
- What’s being done about drainage issues throughout Town?
- Status of the HAWK Beacons?
- How much money does the Town get from the Park?
- How much money does the Town spend in the Park?
- Is there a possibility of doing a separate Park Parcel Tax? And how?
- What are the Town’s revenues over expenditures?
- What is our pension liability and how do we pay it?

Special Event Permits - as of September 29, 2017

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 
  • October 26, 2017 - Halloween Party - Circus Club - 7 pm - 9 pm
  • October 27, 2017 - Football Under the Lights - Sacred Heart - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • October 2018 - Menlo Circus Club - Palo Alto Elks Concours d'EleganceCar Show

September 22, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Grand Boulevard Task Force Meeting

There is a GBI Meeting on Wednesday, September 27 from 10 am to 12 pm at the San Mateo County Transit District Auditorium, 1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos. 

2. Selby/ECR Intersection Improvement Project

Staff is setting up a community meeting in October for follow-up on the Selby/ECR Intersection Improvement Project. Council Members Wiest and Lewis are the Council Outreach Subcommittee assigned to this project. The meeting is a follow-up to a previous meeting held in February 2016 to discussion options to improve safety of the intersection for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. At that meeting, staff was successful in working with the community to narrow options from 5 to 2. In the interim, the narrowed list of options were further vetted by Caltrans and the County with some additional technical studies (largely at the request of Caltrans). 

The purpose of the follow-up meeting is to see where we have community consensus on a preferred alternative. 

3. PG&E Planned Outage for Civic Center Area

As the Council is aware, PG&E’s planned outage for Thursday, 9/14 was cancelled - it has been rescheduled to Thursday, September 28 from 9 am to 5 pm. The purpose is to replace some power poles on Watkins/ECR. 

The PD and Corp Yard are covered with back-up power (generators). The Library, permit center and Council Chambers do not have a back-up power system. To keep Town business flowing seamlessly on Thursday, Building/Planning/Public Works will adapt as needed. The Building Department operations will move over to Town Hall for the day and will work remotely out of the conference room on any available laptop computers. The Town Arborist and Engineer will work off laptops in the Corporation Yard spaces. Planning Staff will also work out of the Admin Conference Room on laptops. 

4. SB 1 Funding Opportunities

Caltrans has released the FY 2017-18 Grant Application for funding under Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017. The Act provides $31.886 million for transportation related planning projects. Staff is investigating to determine if there are local projects that qualify. Applications are due by October 20, 2017. 

SB 1 planning grant funds include $25 million for Sustainable Communities Grants to encourage local and regional planning that furthers state goals, including, but not limited to, projects and priorities identified in the regional transportation pan for the California Transportation Commission. There are competitive grants and formula grants being provided to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). There is a requirement for an 11.47% match. Grants can be for road maintenance and rehabilitation as well as projects consistent with the State’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  

If an application is submitted, staff will advise. 

5. SOQ Meeting for Holbrook Palmer Park Water Capture Facility Project

Staff held the Request for Qualifications meeting for the Water Capture Facility Project on September 19. There were 12 attendees representing 11 interested firms. It was a good turnout. 
6. Fall Athertonian

Every four years with the renewal of the Parcel Tax the Town’s Athertonian Newsletter provides a summary of projects funded by the Parcel Tax over the last 4 years. This year will be no different. It should be on the streets in the next couple of weeks. 

7. Meeting with Farzad Nejat

The Chief and I are meeting with Farzad Nejat to discuss issues related to the Circus Club and other concerns. 

8. Articles of Note

9. Social Media Releases

When the Town releases News Flashes or Blog Posts, they are released to the Town’s website, Town Facebook, CIty Manager’s Facebook, Town Twitter, and City Manager’s Twitter. Depending on the nature of the notification, notices are also released via Nextdoor. 

September 15, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Study Session Meeting - October

The Park & Recreation Committee moved their October meeting time to 5 pm. Council Member DeGolia has asked if the Council could consider changing the start time for the October Study Session to 3 pm. I will bring this up at the September 20 Meeting. 

2. Draft Fire Fiscal Services Review

We have received the draft of Task 1 and 2 of the Fire Fiscal Services Review. The consultant is still working on Task 3. The draft of Task 1 and 2 will be reviewed by the Subcommittee (Wiest/Polito) and initial corrections/feedback will be provided to the consultant. 

In broad brush, the consultant confirmed the revenue from the Fire District at $11.8 million and pegged Atherton-specific expenditures and expenditure overhead at approximately $3.2 million. Task 3 involves an assessment of costs for the Town IF the Town were the agency responsible for Fire Services. 

Some areas where the Subcommittee will drill down with the consultant is clarity around ERAF and revenues as well as overhead and Atherton-specific costs. 

3. HAWK Beacon Signage

At the last Transportation Committee meeting there was discussion about the status of the HAWK beacons on ECR and the functionality of those already in operation. It was noted by the Police Chief that while the signals are new, there still appears to be some confusion as to how they operate by both pedestrians and drivers. 

The Chief suggested some overhead signage that is used in other areas where HAWK beacons are employed. Staff will be reaching out to Caltrans regarding the use of the signage. 

4. Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Grants

We have received $30,000 in grant funds from the BSCC-City Law Enforcement Program. Weill will be using these grant funds to provide Crisis Intervention Team training for all officers. The funds are allowed to be used for officer salaries, overtime, and backfill to complete the training initiative. The training improves officer safety, safety to the community, as well as reduces risk and liability for the Department and the Town. Jennifer Frew is the Town’s grant coordinator and applied for the grant.

5. Evidence Audit

As part of the Chief’s ongoing systems evaluations, he identified a need for an annual property/evidence system inventory as well as 3 quarterly random evidence inspections. The random inspections look at 10% of all property and evidence as well as 100% of all drugs, guns, money and high-value objects. There is currently no record of a 100% evidence inventory. Polices and procedures have now been established and are now a part of our Lexipol Policies and Procedures Manual. 

The formal process will begin in January 2018. In preparation for policy implementation, we will be conducting a 100% inspection/audit in October by an outside contractor. Property and evidence operations are a high-risk and liability area for the Town. The new processes will ensure integrity and trust and dramatically reduce the associated risk and liability. CSO Erica Johnson is to be commended for her outstanding work on this process to help eliminate backlogs, improve property and evidence procedures and operations. 

I think it is extremely important and timely to implement this policy, conduct the initial audit and have regular inspections in place in advance of the pending transition into the new facility (2020).

6. Agenda Items - September 20 Agenda

Fourteen (14) of the twenty-seven (27) items on the September 20 Agenda are on the Consent Agenda. All of the items on Consent are non-controversial items for Council consideration. Below are some brief notes on each; but I am happy to go into any further detail as needed during our one-on-one meetings. 
  • Item 8 - Minutes (Minutes for the August 1 Special Meeting will be on the October agenda. 
  • Item 9 - Warrant Register (Includes July and August)
  • Item 10 - Treasurer’s Report 
  • Item 11 - Rejection of Claims from Cyrus Safai - we have not heard from Mr. Safai since the last meeting at which the Council continued the item to September to accommodate his request to file a 50 page brief. 
  • Item 12 - 2nd Reading of EV Charging Ordinance
  • Item 13 - Agreement with Fire District ($1) to place equipment on their facilities (non-controversial). The purchase of equipment was discussed during the budget process.
  • Item 14 - Parcel Map at 10 Sargent - recommended by Planning Commission
  • Item 15 - Parcel Map at 336 Walsh - recommended by Planning Commission
  • Item 16 - CDBG Funds - we do this every 4 years (no change)
  • Item 17 - Destruction of Records (non-controversial)
  • Item 18 - COPS Grant - we do this every year for the $100,000
  • Item 19 - WRECO Contact Amendment - to incorporate ECR Drainage Analysis as requested by Council
  • Item 20 - Speed Limit Resolution - no changes on any streets
  • Item 21 - Award of Contract for Drainage Culvert Work

I anticipate that the bulk of the Council discussion at the meeting will be the EV Charging Station Item No. 22 (accept or re-bid); ADLP Study Item No. 25 (issuance of the RFP); Bayfront Canal Project Design Item No. 26 (join or not); and the Civic Center Project Item No. 27. 

Items No. 23 & 24 - Grand Jury Reports are on Regular Agenda only because they must be. They are not controversial items or controversial responses to the Grand Jury. 

September 8, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Civic Center Project Discussions

With upcoming Civic Center Reports, there will be a number of items that will require Council discussion/action. These include:

  • Land Use Entitlements - lot mergers, street vacations, and zoning (cafe) 
    • Staff is putting together of schedule of timing for these items. They first have to move through the Planning Commission before making their way to the City Council for discussion and action.
  • Pursuit of LEED Certifications for City Hall, Library, and Campus (as a group or individually)
    • The September 20 Staff Report will include an opportunity to engage WRNS in this task order. 
  • Solar - potential for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - direction on whether to move forward with Solar as an Add Alternate with/without confirmation of a PPA
    • The September 20 Staff Report will include an opportunity to discuss what direction to take on this issue. At the present time, the PV Panels for the Civic Center (not Library) are add alternates. At the time of bid, the Council will get a cost for incorporation into the project. Staff will also need to explore the potential for a power purchase agreement (PPA). These are two related items. In short, the Town could choose to implement solar as an add alternate with the understanding that the costs therein would be borne to some degree under a PPA and that there may be future revenue generated from the use of the PV or the PV could be re-incorporated into the project as a “will do” instead of a “may do.”  
    • No decisions need to be made on this topic at the September 20 meeting; but, staff would like some feedback and direction from the Council on how best to proceed. I believe one of the finer points is having someone, perhaps a consultant from Peninsula Clean Energy, come to a Study Session and educate the Council on the ins and outs of a PPA. 
  • Corporation Yard Development
    • Staff is also presenting an option for the Council to consider regarding the Corporation Yard in the Civic Center. Currently, both the external improvements and internal improvements are part of the project. There may be an opportunity to complete the internal improvements ahead of the project itself (as a separate project). The external improvements (streets, sidewalk, fencing, etc.) would be done as part of the larger project; but, internal office, restroom, and locker renovations would be done in-house. Staff believes this an opportunity for the Town to save funds.
3. Cash Flow Projections

Robert is putting together a spreadsheet that will provide a big-picture summary of cash flow projections beginning in FY 2017/18 through the end of the Civic Center Project. As the Council is aware, with the passing of Measure A, the Town’s General Funds may be used toward the Civic Center Project. Based on projected revenue expectations, there will be sufficient funds available via revenue over expenditure projections, ERAF, and current unallocated funds over the next 3 fiscal years to fund the project as designed. However, available current and projected cash may not sync with cash flow needs once the project is in full swing. The spreadsheet will identify where cash flow needs exceed available current cash and will allow the Town to identify and time appropriate solutions. 
4. Property Adjacent to Town Hall Near Police Station

As the Council is aware, the existing Atherton Road travel way will be terminated and turned to Fair Oaks. A parking area will be developed where a portion of the existing Police Station building now sits terminating at the existing cell tower. This parking lot will back up to a fence line. The current fence line is a concrete fence (similar to those in the Park). The fence line does NOT sit on the property line and the actual Town property line extends another 20 feet beyond the fence line to approximately the line of redwood trees. The adjacent property owner has been advised of the property line issue and is understandably concerned given that they have been using the space as quasi-private property for the last 10 years; despite the fact that their title report likely identified that it is not private property.  

Staff met with the property owner to discuss the concerns. Staff will bring the issue to the Council for consideration on September 20. The property owner is desirous of continuing use of the Town’s property. However, the issue is different than right-of-way as the Town is not technically the underlying owner of the right-of-way. The adjacent property owner has underlying title and the Town has a non-revocable right of use as right-of-way. In this case, the Town is the underlying owner and assumes all of the ultimate risk therein. In other words, if the neighbor were to trip and fall on the property or one of the trees were to fall - the Town could be held ultimately liable. While we do not need the space for anything other than fencing and landscaping, the liability remains with the Town. 

Because of this, staff does not recommend that the Town allow the adjacent property owner continued use of the property. While the Council could issue the property owner a revocable license for use of the area or portions thereof or sell the property to them, staff does not recommend we do so. Staff recommends that the Town reclaim its property and develop it according to the approved plans.  

The City Attorney advises that there are issues involved with sale of the property, these include: gift of public funds (must be market fvaleu), subdivision of land, deeming it surplus? - can’t be surplus if there is a public purpose for it, offer to other agencies first, etc.

The property owner will be present at the meeting to provide feedback to the Council. 

5. Lindenwood Home Owners Association Meeting - September 17

I will be attending the LHA Meeting on Sunday, September 17 from 4 pm to 6 pm at 38 Flood Circle. 

6. Study Session Meeting - October

The Park & Recreation Committee moved their October meeting time to 5 pm. Council Member DeGolia has asked if the Council could consider changing the start time for the October Study Session to 3 pm. I will bring this up at the September 20 Meeting. 

7. Finance Committee Meeting

There is a Finance Committee Meeting at 2 pm on September 12. 

8. Disaster Preparedness Exercise

ADAPT and CERT are hosting an Atherton Community Disaster Exercise tomorrow at 8 am behind Town Hall. I will be attending. The EOC will be opened up but not be “activated.”

9. Revenue and Events Log - Park

Here is the Revenue and Event Log for the Park (August 2017).

September 1, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Council Study Session Action Items - Timing

As the Civic Center Project moves to bid in early 2018, there will be a number of issues that will need to move quickly. To accommodate, we will be adding quick action items to the Study Session Agendas as needed to keep the project on track. Over the next 6 months, you may see items for the project appear on both the Regular Agenda and Study Session Agenda as necessary. 
2. Graffiti on City Manager’s Exterior Office Wall

As the Council may be aware, the exterior of my office wall was recently tagged with graffiti tagging me as “Nazi Scum” -  the incident is under investigation. Late last week, an individual in a silver pick-up truck parked outside my office window, stepped up to my window, peered in and took a picture of me (at the time meeting with Steve Tyler). Steve and I watched the individual get back into his truck and drive away. When he noted that we were watching him, he rolled down his window, extended his arm, and gave us a hand/arm signal of some sort. The Police Department have identified the individual. The same individual was found on surveillance cameras taking photographs of the interior of the police lobby and photographs of each of the police officer photographs on the wall in the lobby (twice). During the second visit, police officers found and stopped the individual who attempted to drive away when contacted by officers. No citation was issued; but information on the individual has been flagged as a result of his erratic behavior (a “TRAK” flyer). 

It is unknown at this time whether this is the same individual that tagged the outside of my office with graffiti. 

Earlier this week, a Council Member reported being photographed at home while outside by an individual in a silver pick-up truck. Further investigation could not confirm whether it was the same individual; however, I am providing this information to all of you for increased situational awareness. It is not uncommon for individuals displaying this sort of behavior (photographing others, hate speech graffiti, etc.) to stalk and follow individuals home.  

3. CalWater Beach Gulch Dam

I was contacted this week by Dawn Smithson with CalWater. Ms. Smithson was advising that they (along with other water purveyors with dams) had a recent inspection by the State Department of Dam Safety. The inspection and follow-up report was a result of the Oroville incident. The Department of Dam Safety are producing a Report that will ultimately be posted online and released via the media. The result of the inspection on the Bear Gulch dam revealed that the dam is stable and well monitored; however, there are two pieces of information that may be concerning without background information. 

The Bear Gulch Dam is classified as a Hazard Assessment - Extremely High. This is not due to any failure indicators in the dam itself. It is due to the proximity of the dam to populated areas. Meaning, if the dam were to fail, the resulting hazard would be high due to the proximity of the urban build-out. 

The standards by which earthen dams are evaluated has recently changed due to the Oroville incident. As a result, the Bear Gulch Dam must reduce its level (already done) until a report reflecting its stability is completed. The reduced level requirement puts the dam in the “Fair” category as opposed to the “Good” category. 

4. Euclid/Parker Drainage Channel

As the Council is aware, in January 2017 design work began (WRECO) for various drainage facility repairs. One of these facilities was the Euclid/Parker Drainage Channel connecting the flow of water from Polhemus to Stockbridge. The channel is an open channel u-ditch. Preliminary inspection and assessment (that including survey) reveals that the Town has a 10-foot wide easement at the rear of the Euclid properties. The u-ditch is supposed to travel from Polhemus to Stockbridge within this 10-foot easement. However, survey indicates that it meanders outside of the easement in many locations. Further, the survey indicates that she of the property owners on Euclid have encroached into the easement with minor development (walls, fences, etc.) and some of the property owners on Parker have encroached into the easement and into the property boundary of the property owners on Euclid. 

The Town’s responsibility is the u-ditch. It is required to be within the existing drainage easement and required to be maintained in an operable condition. Staff is preparing a summary of the preliminary report, preparing a recommendation for next steps (re-aligning the u-ditch within the channel where improvements are necessary), and assessing the impact on the properties involved. Once complete, staff will call a meeting of the affected/adjacent property owners to discuss next steps.

There will clearly be issues that will complicate an easy solution and for those property owners that feel that their issues are not being addressed, they may reach out to the Council. Please feel free to contact me if additional information is required. 

5. CalPERS Actuarial Valuations for June 30, 2016

The 2016 Actuarial Valuation Reports are complete and uploaded to the CalPERS website. The 2016 Actuarial Valuation Reports set the employer contribution requirements and PEPRA requirements for FY 2018/19. 

The 2015 Reports projected Local Miscellaneous at a rate of 9.1% with a contribution requirement of $183,236. The 2016 Report sets the rate at 9.635% with a contribution requirement of $237,450. The 2015 Reports projected Safety at a rate of 21.4% with a contribution requirement of $629,363. The 2016 Report sets the rate at 22.346% with a contribution requirement of $627,361. The FY 2018/19 contribution requirement increased by $52,212 from projections. 

The increase reflects the lowering of the CalPERS discount rate from 7.5% to 7% with a 3-year phase-in. 

6. Recruitment for Accounting Technician

As the Council is aware, we have had a temporary staffer (Rohini) working as our Accounting Technician after Amanda left for Woodside. Now that summer is over, we are opening a recruitment for the position next week and hope to have a person in the role permanently by October. 

7. ADAPT Assembly Point Signs

As the Council is aware, we are working with ADAPT for the placement of assembly point signage around Town for emergency preparedness. These will be low, natural looking sign posts (wood) with a small metal assembly point sign affixed to them. Staff and ADAPT are working with the property owners for placement. ADAPT block area captains are assisting in the coordination. 

A sticking point has come up in two areas: 
  • Permission
    • I have advised staff and ADAPT that we want a signed permission slip from each affected property owner acknowledging placement of the sign in front of their property (they will assist with locating the spot for placement) and acknowledging exactly what the assembly point is - meaning, in the event of a disaster, people may be directed to assemble in front of their property. 
  • Communication Points (PAXIO)
    • Peter Carpenter suggested that perhaps Paxio/Atherton Fiber would be interested in developing an “intranet” of sorts IP-Protocol communication station at each of the assembly points such that they could be used to communicate with each other in the event of an emergency response. While a good idea, PAXIO has not yet developed the prototype look for each location. I have advised that these installations will require a separate encroachment permit and acknowledgement by the affected property owner. Placement of a small wood post and small sign is one thing, but placement of an unknown, utility box of an undetermined size/scope is a completely different thing. 

8. Traffic Study on Alameda de las Pulgas

The City Council previously expressed concern regarding traffic flow and operations along the entire length of the Alameda de las Pulgas corridor through the Town. Traffic analyses along a portion of the corridor was recently completed by Los Lomitas Elementary School, but did not focus on the entire corridor through the Town. To assess the impacts on the corridor through the Town with the potential of a request for a new traffic signal at the Walsh Road and Alameda de las Pulgas intersection, additional data and analysis is needed.
On April 10, 2017 Parisi Transportation Consulting submitted the final study to the Town and District. The focus of the study was to analyze the traffic conditions at intersections near the school during drop-off and pick-up periods and potential improvements. During the scoping process, the Town of Atherton requested the District provide level of service (LOS) calculations at Alameda de las Pulgas intersections of Walsh Road and Atherton Avenue (existing and future), traffic signal warrant analysis at Alameda de las Pulgas and Atherton Avenue, roundabout analysis at Atherton Avenue, and corridor travel times on Alameda de las Pulgas (existing and future) be included. These were included; but for school hours only. The study needs to be expanded to include commute hours. 

Staff will be returning to the Council with a request to expand the study to collect additional traffic counts in the area as well as additional analysis of future intersection improvements along the corridor. 

9. Transparency Standards - Mosquito Vector Control District

In FY 2016/17, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report titled “Can We See You Now?” Addressing independent Special District Website Transparency. The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District was one of the six independent districts to have completed the requirements and been awarded the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence. 

10. Planning Commission Action - August 23, 2017

The Planning Commission took the following action at last night’s August 23, 2017 meeting:
  • 264 Bay Road – Approved a Special Structures Permit to allow a habitable basement under an accessory building and a Variance to allow a detached garage to be located in the required front yard setback. 
  • 40 Isabella – Approved a Special Structures Permit to allow for a second floor addition to the main residence to continue the existing, legal non-conforming sidewall and main building heights. 
  • 150 Valparaiso/Sacred Heart School – Adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program and approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow for the construction of a new Academic Arts Building, other site improvements, and the installation of up to 20 additional portable classrooms.
The next meeting of the Commission is September 27, 2017. 

11. Tree Removal (Suppressed) Next to Library

As part of the Civic Center Project landscape review, suppressed trees adjacent to the Library were identified for removal. These are trees as part of the redwood stand that are not in good locations, crowding out other trees, and/or are otherwise compromised. Staff met with the adjacent property owner to discuss removal of these trees. The property owner is in 100% agreement with the determinations and removal plan. These will be addressed in the coming weeks.