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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Jan 03

November-December 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on January 3, 2018 at 9:34 AM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - November-December 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 - sometimes a lot 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

December 15, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Civic Center Trees

On the Agenda for the December 20 City Council Meeting, the Council will discuss the remaining 10 trees for possible preservation. Each tree comes at a potential redesign cost. The architect has provided a range of potential cost for each tree. This cost does not include the cost of any delay of project. If we do not move this project out to bid in March/April 2017 as planned, due to the fires in Northern and Southern California and other building industry demands, our costs will likely escalate and the risk of losing a potential short-list contractor increases. 

From the original list of 13 trees approved by the Planning Commission and held by the Council, 3 have already been designed around by staff and the architect. These are: Tree #76 - along the new Ashfield Road connection to Fair Oaks; Tree #89 near Dr. Olsen’s property frontage on Ashfield; and Tree #92 in front of the current building/planning department building. The architect made these adjustments as they did not involve any trade adjustments other than some minor landscaping or path adjustments. No parking spaces were added or eliminated. The remaining 10 trees are more challenging, have greater impacts, and will require the involvement of multiple trades to redesign plus the likelihood of project delay. One or two, if they are pathway impacts only, we may be able to protect in place and adjust as a change order down the line. Others, most, are not that fortunate and involve significant redesign with multiple trades. We’ve fixed the easy ones. The harder ones remain.  

Here a few statistics to be aware of: 

* There were 129 marked trees on the project site. Of that total, 83 were heritage trees. Heritage trees are protected and require special review and permit approval before removal. Non-heritage trees are not and do not - they can be removed without review or permit. 
Of the 46 non-heritage trees, 6 are being preserved. The trees vary in size significantly but all are less than heritage size.
* Of the 83 heritage trees, 68 are being preserved - 15 are slated for removal.
* Of the 15 slated for removal - 5 are being removed due to their poor physical condition and 10 are being investigated for possible redesign.
* Of the total 129 trees, currently, 74 are being preserved (68 heritage and 6 non-heritage).

The Town has approximately 30 personnel that use personal vehicles on a daily basis and require parking. The Library has an additional 4-5 (confirmed by Library staff). On a worst case scenario day, these 35 people will need a parking space. A topline day would be 35 /- depending on working contractors. A more standard, slow day would be a minimum of 28-29.
  • 8 in Administration: City Manager, City Clerk/Deputy City Manager, City Attorney (Tuesdays/Wednesdays), Assistant City Attorney (Tuesdays/Wednesdays - sometimes both are here), Finance Director, Deputy City Clerk, Junior Accountant, Accounting Technician.
  • 2 in Planning: City Planner, Assistant Planner
  • 4 in Building: Building Official, Permit Clerk, Building Inspector, Plan Checker
  • 4 in Public Works: Public Works DirectorCity Engineer, Associate Engineer/Field Supervisor, Arborist/Park Supervisor, Public Works Office Specialist
  • 8 in Police: Dispatcher, Sergeant, Code Enforcement Officer/CSO, CSO/Evidence Specialist, Detective Sergeant, Detective Officer, Patrol Officer 1, Patrol Officer 2
  • 5 in Library 
  • 4 in Contract Staff: anywhere from 1 to 4 vehicles depending on who is working at the time (Marty, Mike, Theron, Nadia, etc.)
The Police Chief, Commander and Motorcycle Officer are “take home” vehicles and will park in the secure parking lot. Night parking is substantially less and there are no issues. The issues arise only between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm and when there are Town meetings onsite. 

Parking Spaces:
ADA spaces and EV/FEV spaces are not counted as they are restricted use spaces. There are 30 spaces (could increase to 33) on Caltrain ROW. These spaces belong to Caltrain and may be restricted, time-limited, or metered at any time by Caltrain.

- There are 10 parking spaces in front of City Hall along Fair Oaks.
- There are 11 parking spaces at the new turn from Ashfield to Fair Oaks.
- There are 8 parking spaces along the east side of the Civic Court.
- There are 17 parking spaces along the Library frontage. 

Excluding Caltrain, ADA, and EV/FEV spaces - that’s a total available parking of 46. Staff parking needs will occupy the entirety of the Caltrain spots and up to 5 additional spots from the 46. If the Town loses the ability to use the Caltrain spots and/or station activity is resumed, staff parking will impact the available public parking. Caltrain has already intimated that they would charge the Town for use of their right-of-way and/or eliminate the Town’s ability to use it for daily parking needs. Further, Caltrain is well aware that we use approximately 2,500 square feet of their right-of-way within our Corporation Yard for storage of materials. 

2. Town Holiday Party

The Town’s Holiday Party - a "Thank You" to the numerous committee and commission members and Town volunteers is at 7 pm following the City Council Meeting on December 20. That meeting begins at 6 pm in the Main House. The party is in the Pavilion beginning at 7 pm. Thank you for participating in the wine donation effort. 

In the interest of time, as many items as possible will be added to the Consent Agenda (items that don’t require specific Council feedback or direction). The large discussion items for the Agenda are - the return of the Civic Center Heritage Tree Discussion and the Return of Caltrain Pole Height issue.

December 8, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Caltrain Electrification Project - Community Meeting - January 18, 2018

To assist Caltrain, we have scheduled a community meeting with Caltrain to provide public education/information around their Electrification Project for Thursday, January 18 at 6 pm at the Pavillion. This is not connected to the issue of pole height or tree removal. This is an effort by Caltrain to inform and educate communities along the corridor as their project moves forward. 

Caltrain is scheduled to attend the December 20 Council Meeting to report out on the pole height issue/status. As noted prior, where feasible, center poles will be used. These poles are 35 feet in height. There will be approximately 17 of them from Holbrook Palmer Park to approximately 1,000 feet north of Fair Oaks. At that point, center poles cannot be used due to the width of the tracks. All poles must be moved to the outside. 

The option currently in design is for 5 double-track cantilever poles. These poles are 45’6” in height. There would only need to be 5. If these poles were changed to single-cantilever poles of a lesser height (35’), there would need to be 10 of them. 

For the current design of 5 poles, 45’ in height - 14 trees are pruned <25%, 2 trees are pruned >25%, 0 trees removed. A total of 16 trees impacted. Changing to single-cantilever design for 10 poles, 35’ in height - 25 trees are pruned <25%, 2 trees are pruned >25%, 1 tree removed. A total of 28 trees impacted. Changing to single-cantilever design will also represent a cost impact to Caltrain. 

2. Oak Grove Transition of Bicycle Path to Atherton (E/B)

As noted prior, staff worked out a better transition between Menlo Park’s bicycle lane on Oak Grove to Atherton’s Multi-Use Pathway. Staff relocated one of the signs for better direction/visibility and added striping across Rebecca Lane.

3. Heritage Tree Removals at Civic Center

We have added “identification/action posters" to each of the 18 trees set for action as part of the Civic Center Project. As an aside, this is the first time we’ve done this sort of thing for heritage tree removals. Staff is currently working with the Planning Commission on the Heritage Tree Ordinance and may incorporate something similar for private property tree removals. For dead/dangerous tree removal approvals, the notice may simply be placed on a stake in the ROW while the tree is being removed. 

The 5 trees that are recommended for removal at the Civic Center site due to their physical condition will be removed as part of project work as needed. The remaining 13 trees will return to the Council at the December 20 meeting for their final disposition decision. 

I met with Dr. Olsen regarding Tree No. 89 - on the list of 13 trees. The architect’s current plan set, based on the direction of staff prior to the Council meeting but after the Planning Commission, already reflects saving this tree in place. Dr Olsen will be sharing this information with her neighbors. 

4. Water Capture Facility Project - Kick-Off Meeting

Staff met with the Project Team on Monday, December 4.  Coordination with other projects, public perception, public benefits, and team assignments were discussed. 

Topographic and boundary surveys of the Park are tentatively scheduled for the week of December 11. Structural assessment of bridges for ingress/egress will begin in January. Staff is working to put together any available “as built” for storm drains, park facilities, irrigation systems, power supply, park constraints, bridges and other utilities. Watershed GIS Data (soils, LIDAR, topography and storm drain networks) will also be gathered. Flow data for the Atherton Channel, water quality data, local rainfall, and flood analysis models are also in the works. Also to be determined is the Park’s irrigation demand, well production, special events planned, parking and adjacency of sewer and raw water lines. 

Draft preliminary engineering is estimated to be complete by March 2018 with the final study submitted thereafter. Construction documents are anticipated to begin in April 2018 and be complete by October 2018. 

The Project Team will also be working to put together a field trip to the City of Lakewood (Southern California) and other sites (as time permits) shortly after the first of the year. Trip to be planned for January or February. Interested members of the Council will be invited to attend if you are available. This will likely be a date certain set and invitations sent out to arrange travel due to the multi-agency and consultant coordination required.  

5. PG&E Tree Fund

As the Council may recall, PG&E was to be replacing trees on private property as they cleared their pipeline area. Any trees not replaced (if the property owner did not want the tree) would be provided to the Town. PG&E has completed their assessment of necessary tree replacements and offers to property owners. Several have declined. PG&E has offered to settle with the Town with cash instead of the physical trees (preferred). At cost, the trees are about $650 each and the total would be approximately $3,000-$5,000 for the number of trees required plus the cost of installation/labor. PG&E has offered the Town $15,000 to settle-up. I have accepted the contribution from PG&E and we have added it to the Town’s Civic Center Project Fund earmarked for new trees/landscaping in the Civic Center.  

6. Donation from ACIL

The ACIL has dissolved and their Board donated the last of their funds to the Civic Center Project. The Town received a donation of just over $15,000. 

7. Park Events and Revenue Log

Linked here is the Park Events Log and Park Revenue Log

8. Animal Services October Report

9. Saturday Work @ Las Lomitas

Las Lomitas School will be working this Saturday from approximately 8 am to 4:30 pm. The work is exempt from the Town’s ordinance. They will be notifying their neighbors. 

10. Website Refresh

As noted prior, staff is working on a website refresh for the coming year. Pictures are being collected from Marion Oster for addition to the site. If you have any distinct comments about our current website design that you would like to see updated or enhanced, please pass them along to Theresa. She is serving as the Project Lead. 

11. Public Works Director/City Engineer - Initial Interviews

We received 30 completed applications for the position. We have narrowed the candidate pool to 6-8. Interviews are scheduled for Monday, December 18 with a 2nd round to follow. 

12. EPC Committee Recap - November 30 Meeting

The EPC Committee met on November 30. Below is a recap of their meeting: 

A.  2017 Earth Day Event Recap

The Committee discussed their thoughts on the 2017 Earth Day Event .  While the overall sentiment was the event was well received by the community, the Committee commented how they would like future events to be more meaningful and impactful versus a focus on more of a "fun" event, or better combine "fun" with "meaningful”.  

B.  Approval of Minutes from the April 17, 2017 EPC meeting. 

The Committee approved the minutes.

C.  Discussed Implementation of Priorities 1-3 of Approved Climate Action Plan (CAP) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Measures.

The Committee received a presentation from a representative of Home Intel - company that provides a free online Smart Audit of a home's smart meter data to pinpoint areas of energy waste and custom recommendations and simple fixes to control a home's "Energy Hogs" and lowering of the bill. Home Intel informed the Committee since working with staff on initially sharing information with the Town, 3 residences in Atherton have signed up.

The Committee appointed an Ad-Hoc Committee of Committee Member Joseph and Council Member Lewis to work with staff on developing bi-lingual, seasonal marketing materials of various sustainability topics to help inform and educate the community.  

Committee Chair Rakas will provide staff with more information on potential available software that would provide a developer/property owner with a "life cycle analysis" to utilize in the design planning for new homes to inform them of possible future benefits of building "green", with the hope to encourage green building techniques be incorporated into early design stages.

The Committee discussed implementing a bike donation / repair program for local high school students to promote bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation.  Council Member Lewis volunteered to outreach to her Safe Routes to Schools contact to inquire about possible funding support.  

D.  Discussed ideas for potential environmental/sustainability community event for 2018. 

The Committee discussed a series of possible events for 2018.  These included an open house showcase tour of "green" homes built in Atherton and/or surrounding jurisdictions to be followed by a informational talk on green buildings.  The Committee requested staff compile a list of such homes and/or experienced green architects and report back at the next January meeting.

The Committee expressed interest in hosting another student challenge, similar to the program conducted during Earth Day 2016.  The Committee requested staff contact the high school teachers who participated in the 2016 Student Challenge to find out what time frame in 2018 would work for them. They expressed holding this challenge in advance of Earth Day 2018 due to the scheduling conflicts found during this time of year with the school report back at the next January meeting.

The Committed expressed interest in hosting a environmentally-based movie event.  A movie called "The New Fire", which describes advanced clean energy strategies, was discussed. 

E.  2018 EPC Meeting Calendar 

The Committee approved a meeting calendar for 2018, with bi-monthly meetings beginning in January 2018, to be held from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday. The next meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2017.  

13. Planning Commission Meeting Recap - December 6 Meeting

A. Provided direction to staff on amendments to the Heritage Tree Ordinance:  Last night was the 3rd study session on the matter and the Commission directed staff to come back with an amended Ordinance and Tree Preservation Guidelines and Specifications document for their consideration and recommendation to the City Council that includes the following revisions. Revise current definition of heritage trees to also include:

- Add multi-trunk trees measuring 15” measures where the stems begin (tally of stems).
-Begin measurement of a heritage tree at 4.5’ above the natural grade instead of 4’.  
- Add native redwood trees 15.2” in diameter or greater as an additional protected tree in the buildable area
- Reduce the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) from 12 times to be 10 times the diameter of the tree.  A TPZ must be free from any development or development activities (such as grading, etc). 
- To not add or remove any trees from the existing list of non-classified heritage trees. 
- Require a tree inventory with photos and appraisal prior to site demolition permit issuance.
- Require a refundable bond be posted to assure tree protection measures are met throughout construction.
- Enhance the definition of what kind of work is prohibited within the TPZ.
- To require the requests for an exception to the TPZ standards or to move a heritage tree require review by the Planning Commission.
- Incorporation ANZI standards and BMP’s for tree pruning to be required, topping, and lions tailing.
- Other textual additions made by the Ad Hoc Committee and Town Arborist. 

B. General Plan Update:  Received and accepted the process outline and schedule for the comprehensive General Plan update.   Accepted the administrative draft Open Space and Conservation Element with the direction to the staff to try and address/incorporate the private “open space” or undeveloped land on private properties as a type of “open space” within the Town, given Atherton’s unique position of being primarily residential with no true commercial or industrial land uses.

C. Adopted the 2018 Planning Commission meeting schedule.  The next meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2018.

14. Articles of Note

15. Recology Franchise Negotiations

The Refuse Subcommittee has finished its review and edit of the model franchise agreement renewal. A meeting has been set with Recology to discuss the proposed revisions in mid-December. It is anticipated that the initial discussion will hit the Council agenda in January. 

16. Civic Center Cost Estimate - EARLY DRAFT - STILL BEING VETTED - MAY CHANGE

Mack5 is continuing to scrub the numbers for the Civic Center Project and a refined estimate will be produced for January at the 95% plan set level. Preliminary estimates reflect an approximate $2.786 million increase from the prior full estimate (mid-2017). That estimate was $50,733,960. The new estimate is hovering around $53,519,960. 

The bulk of the increase is related to the Library Electrical (the Microgrid System and Controller) increasing by approximately $2.18 million. General Site Preparation is showing an increase of approximately $430,000 for hazardous material abatement efforts. This is split between the Library and Town cost. The Landscaping Cost (larger plant sizes) is set at approximately $276,000 (again split between Library and Town). Site mechanical at $582,000 based on the civil drawings (again split). General Conditions went up by about $467,000 due to the extension of the construction time from 24-27 months to 30 months. Some of the above was factored into the original cost estimate and the existing allocation offset the new estimate. Overall, the cost estimate is projected to increase by approximately $2.786 million. AGAIN, THIS IS STILL BEING VETTED AND REMAINS IN EARLY DRAFT. 

Overall, at this stage, with the shift of financial burden to the Library as much as and where appropriate, there is minimal increase projected to the Town portion of the project. The reliability of these estimates are of course tested by market conditions when we actually go out to bid in 2018. 

December 1, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. CalWater Rate Adjustments

CalWater is in the midst of a rate escalation process. CalWater will make a presentation at the December 6 Study Session on their rate increases. 

2. Selby/ECR Improvement Project - Community Meeting - December 4, 2017

We have scheduled a 2nd community meeting on the Selby/ECR Improvement Project for Monday, December 4 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Email notices and postcards have gone out.

3. Oak Grove Transition of Bicycle Path to Atherton (E/B)

Staff is working on a better plan for the transition between Menlo Park’s bicycle lane on Oak Grove to Atherton’s Multi-Use Pathway. 

4. Fog Line - Atherton Avenue S-Curve

Staff will be adding a “fog line” to the Atherton Avenue S-Curve.

The “fog line” is a white stripe along the edge of the roadway that delineates the road from the shoulder. It is not a required stripe, but it is sometimes helpful on long stretches of roadway and is often seen on highways. 

5. Heritage Tree Removals at Civic Center

We are adding an identification poster to the 18 heritage trees identified for either removal and/or save/transplant in advance of the December 20 Council Meeting.

6. Water Capture Facility Project - Kick-Off Meeting

Staff is meeting with Tetra Tech on Monday for the Project Kick-Off Meeting. 

7. Articles of Note

8. Fire District Joint Meeting

The Town and District have a Joint Meeting set for Tuesday, December 12 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Pavilion. The Mayor and Board Chair have agreed on the Agenda items. These will be:

- Urban Interface Fire Planning/Disaster Planning & Lessons Learned
- Town-wide Traffic and Mobility Solutions and the Impact of Regional Growth

9. Library Lookmobile

The Library Lookmobile and Fog Bicycle will be parked at the Civic Center for the month of December. Staff will be available for tours and use. 

10. Fire Services Fiscal Review

Matrix Consulting continues work on the Fiscal Services Review. The Subcommittee provided some feedback on the Draft and the consultant is making adjustments as needed. I provided Matrix with the Town’s HdL Property Tax Report so that they could incorporate the most recent projections for property tax revenue for the Town. The District also has a report from HdL so I advised Matrix to connect with the District to obtain the Report. 

I anticipate that the Report will be complete and ready for the January Regular Council Meeting Agenda. Following that meeting and feedback, the preliminary thought is to send a letter to all residents advising them of the Report’s availability (website) and inviting interested parties to the February Regular Council Meeting for discussion. 

November 17, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Assemblyman Berman Coffee Event - November 28, 2017

The Mayor and Assemblyman Berman are hosting a local “coffee event” on Tuesday, November 28 from 8 am to 9:30 am - Council Chambers. 

2. Selby/ECR Improvement Project - Community Meeting - December 4, 2017

We have scheduled a 2nd community meeting on the Selby/ECR Improvement Project for Monday, December 4 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Email notices have gone out to the prominent interested parties that have attended past meetings. A postcard will go out on Monday. 

During the last meeting, attendees asked for some additional information. Data is below:

- During the 10 year period of October 2007 to October 2017, the intersection of Selby and El Camino had a total of 69 accidents - 63 were vehicular accidents and 6 were bicycle accidents. There were no reported pedestrian accidents. 
- A summary of those accidents is:
   - Left Turn Movement To Selby from NB ECR = 15
   - Right Turn Movement To E Selby from NB ECR = 3
   - SB ECR through movement = 14 (all accidents were rear ends occurring on the north leg of the intersection)
   - NB ECR through movement = 9
   - Left Turn Movement From E Selby to SB ECR = 5
   - Left Turn Movement From Selby to NB ECR = 17
 - Based on accident reports, below is the distance from Selby/ECR to the address of the driver 
   - Residence w/in 1/4 mile = 2
   - Residence w/in 1/2 mile = 9
   - Residence w/in 3/4 mile = 6
   - Residence w/in 1 mile = 4
   - Residence > 1 mile = 42
- Bicycle/Pedestrian Incidents as follows
   - Intersection of Selby/ECR = 6 bicycle accidents
   - Intersection of 5th Avenue/ECR = 5 bicycle accidents/9 pedestrian accidents
   - Amherst Avenue/ECR = 1 accident
   - Stockbridge/ECR = 5 bicycle accidents/2 pedestrian accidents
- Additional Info:
   - At the Selby/ECR intersection, 45% of the vehicular accidents were rear ends; 33% were broadsides due to turning movements. 
   - 30% of the accidents resulted in injuries and there was 1 fatality resulting from a broadside collision
   - There was one fatality involving a bicyclist in 2014 at ECR/5th Avenue. The bicyclist was traveling on the wrong side of the road facing NB traffic. The vehicle was heading NB when they hit the bicycle. 

3. Transition of ABAG to MTC and subsequent disengagement of ABAG PLAN from the MTC

As you are aware with the merger of ABAG and the MTC, ABAG PLAN, the Town’s General Liability/Risk Management JPA, merged into the MTC. Over the course of the last year, the Board of Directors of ABAG PLAN has been exploring various options for governance and transition and the various options for disengagement from the MTC. The results of the study found that there would be significant savings to PLAN member agencies by disengaging from the MTC and significant governance improvements. As such, ABAG PLAN now formally contracts with Bickmore Risk Services to provide pool administration services. In order to complete the transition, a new JPA must being formed to complete the transition - PLAN JPA. This new JPA is no longer directly affiliated with MTC, but will continue to provide a stable, cost-effective self-insurance, risk-sharing and risk management program for its members - which includes the Town. 

To continue to move forward, the Town must adopt the JPA as one of the member agencies - terms remain the same. There is no fiscal impact related to the change. This will come to the Council in December or January as aconsent agenda item

4. System Upgrades - Tech

As the Council is aware, we are in the midst of updating our website as part of our CivicPlus contract. A bit of a “refresh” to incorporate new images, framing, and framework. We are looking at new tools from CivicPlus as well that we can add into our website to make it more user-friendly and improve transparency. New refresh tools include the Citizen Request Tracker - this an online tool that allows residents to report incidents in the field using their phone. This tool exists and is widely used today; but it should be up for a refresh. 

Another tool we’ll be looking to incorporate is the CivicClerk Tool to allow meeting and agenda management. As we debut the refresh and launch the new tools, we’ll spread the word. 

On the financial side, we’re exploring improvements to the OpenGov platform on the website to roll in transaction level data and searching as well as a Budget Builder. We hope to roll some of these improvements out over the next few months. 

November 10, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

Parcel Tax Election

As the Council is aware, the Parcel Tax – Measure F – failed to achieve the necessary 2/3rds majority for success. The Parcel Tax provided the Town with $1,860,000 per year in revenue toward street and drainage projects as well as public safety front-line law enforcement. With the Council’s allocation of 80% to capital projects and 20% to police, the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan received $1,488,000 each year in funds toward capital projects. With the addition of approximately $600,000 each year from the Gas Tax, County Measure A and County Measure M, the Town allocated $2,000,000 each year toward street and drainage improvement projects prioritized via the Town’s Master Plans for each project area. The additional 20%, $372,000, was transferred to the Town’s General Fund to fund 2 police officers – the School Resource Officer and a Traffic Officer.
The Town has multiple and competing priorities for capital projects. The most important capital project on the Town’s horizon is the Civic Center Project. This project is expected to go out to public bid in March 2018. All of the Town’s current and projected surplus funds through Fiscal Year 2020/21 are dedicated to the Civic Center Project – except the mandatory 35% reserves.
While the Town’s General Fund may be able to absorb the $372,000 loss for police services it cannot absorb the loss of $1,488,000 per year for capital projects without jeopardizing the integrity and success of the Civic Center Project. The Project contains a number of additive and deductive alternates. The project itself was rightsized to current community and staffing needs as well as value-engineered to identify areas where potential deducts could occur, if necessary. The deductive alternates were included as a hedge against an unfavorable construction bidding climate and were designed such that they could be completed later when more funding was available as a phased approach to portions of the project, albeit at a more expensive cost.
However, if the market is favorable and there exists competing fiscal priorities, the Council may be forced to consider the deductive alternates as a means of addressing other infrastructure needs.
Deductive alternates for the Administration and Police Department Building are:

  • Hydro-seed planting instead of landscaped vegetation – ($223,000)
  • Deferral of the new Council Chambers and Emergency Services Room – ($1,014,000)
These potential deductive alternates would save an approximate, one-time $1.2 million. While that’s significant for the project, it does not equate to a full year of the Parcel Tax at $1,488,000 to the capital projects budget. The loss of this funding will have significant impact on the Town’s ability to complete capital projects over the next 3-4 years.
Staff will return to the Council on December 6 with an overview summary and draft strategy plan to address the capital and operational budgeting shortfall over the next 3-4 years. Options and issues that will be presented to the Council for discussion will include:

  • Identification and status of all projects currently funded by the Parcel Tax, presently and over the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.
  • Strategy for addressing the $372,000 Public Safety shortfall.
  • Projections of a 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan using available remaining funds ($600,000). This could include right-sizing the capital projects budget in line with available funds and extending the funds provided in the final year of the parcel tax to future year projects.
  • Prioritization of capital projects funded by the Parcel Tax.
  • Discussion of other Revenue Alternatives for continued consideration by the Council – Business License Tax and Assessment Districts for Qualifying Projects.
Following feedback from the December 6 Study Session, staff will incorporate revisions into the Town’s Budget via the Mid-Year Budget process.
After the Civic Center Project, the Town’s anticipated revenues over expenditures, with ERAF, are expected to provide approximately $2 million a year in available funds. While this is sufficient to overcome the loss of the Parcel Tax, it means that the Town becomes again dependent the State’s whims with respect to the provision of ERAF – presently at $1 million per year – and it means that the Town does not have the excess discretionary spending to pay down long-term liabilities or allocate toward one-time capital projects. If ERAF were still held in abeyance as “non-dependable” funding, the anticipated excess revenues over expenditures do not reach the level provided by the Parcel Tax. This would result in a smaller than historical capital improvement budget each year.   
Comments on DEIR for Regulation 11, Rule 18

At a recent Council Meeting, representatives from adjacent jurisdictions asked the Council to express support for Regulation 11, Rule 18. This was provided during open public comment and the Council did not express an opinion or respond. However, generally, the Council has expressed support for similar issues. Unless there is objection, I will prepare a letter, similar to the attached from Los Altos Hills, for the Mayor’s execution encouraging the Air Quality Management District to swiftly adopt and implement Regulation 11, Rule 18.
1. Recent News of Note

2. Shred and E-Waste Event - 2018 - Please Mark Your Calendars

The Town has reserved April 28, 2018 for its Annual Shred and E-Waste event. 

3. Active Shooter Exercise -  Please Mark Your Calendars

The Town will be hosting an Active Shooter Exercise on Monday, April 9, 2018 at Menlo School. 
4. ADAPT/Emergency Preparedness DeBrief

ADAPT and CERT are tentatively scheduled for the December 20 Council Meeting to make a presentation on the outcome of the most recent community emergency preparedness event. 

5. Assemblyman Berman Coffee Event - November 28, 2017

The Mayor and Assemblyman Berman are hosting a local “coffee event” on Tuesday, November 28 from 8 am to 9:30 am - Council Chambers. There will be a flyer produced by the Assemblyman’s Office and we will share it locally to help promote the event. 

6. Grade Separation - Menlo Park Letter

The Town received a Letter from Mayor Kristen Keith regarding the Town’s Rail Policy and support for elevated tracks within portions of Atherton. Mayor Keith has asked the Town for feedback on:

- Would the Town support the option to raise the rail line in Atherton to accomplish grade separations at all four Menlo Park crossings? This would require raising the rail elevation approximately 10 feet high in Menlo Park, resulting in a hybrid grade separation option with the rail partially raised and roadways partially lowered compared to existing grades. As the rail decreases in elevation north of Encinal Avenue. It is expected that rail heights in Atherton under this alternative would be less than 5 feet and be limited to the area south of Watkins Avenue. 
- Is the Town interested in pursuing alternatives for grade separations at this time for Watkins Avenue or Fair Oaks Avenue? This could occur through an extension of the hybrid grade separation described above, or through fully raising the rail elevation approximately 22 feet in height. 

A discussion of the letter is scheduled for the December 6 Study Session. 

7. Transition of ABAG to MTC and subsequent disengagement of ABAG PLAN from the MTC

As you are aware with the merger of ABAG and the MTC, ABAG PLAN, the Town’s General Liability/Risk Management JPA, merged into the MTC. Over the course of the last year, the Board of Directors of ABAG PLAN has been exploring various options for governance and transition and the various options for disengagement from the MTC. The results of the study found that there would be significant savings to PLAN member agencies by disengaging from the MTC and significant governance improvements. As such, ABAG PLAN now formally contracts with Bickmore Risk Services to provide pool administration services. In order to complete the transition, a new JPA must being formed to complete the transition - PLAN JPA. This new JPA is no longer directly affiliated with MTC, but will continue to provide a stable, cost-effective self-insurance, risk-sharing and risk management program for its members - which includes the Town. 

To continue to move forward, the Town must adopt the JPA as one of the member agencies - terms remain the same. There is no fiscal impact related to the change. This will come to the Council in December or January. 

8. Park Event and Revenue Log

Linked here is the October Park Event and Revenue Log

9. HdL 2017/18 Property Tax Review

The HdL 2017/18 Property Tax Review is complete and headed to the Finance Committee for review at their November 14 meeting. The Report provides a summary of the Town’s Property Tax Revenue and projects that the Town’s Property Tax Revenue will increase by 7.44% in 2017/18. The Countywide increase eclipses the Town’s increase and stands at 7.83%. 

The two major components of our property tax revenues are Secured and VLF. Other components include Unsecured, SB813 Redemption, and Property Transfer Taxes - these amounts will fluctuate throughout the year and are not as predictable. ERAF is traditionally removed from our property tax revenue line and is not include as an operational revenue. 

Revenue in FY 2016/17 for the two major sources was $8,546,608. We projected a 4.4% overall increase ($376,051) for a projection in FY 2017/18 of $8,922,659. HdL projects that the Town will receive $9,608,609. An increase of $1,062,001 over the prior year (12.4%) and $685,950 over our projection. 

ERAF in FY 2016/17 was $1,103,185. Projection for FY 2017/18 was $1,066,958. HdL provides an estimate of the adjustment for ERAF (the deduction from our tax revenues) of $1,973,147. How much we receive back from that deduction depends entirely on the State’s budget process. 

November 3, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. 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. 

2. Atherton Fiber Lease Agreement

The draft lease has been completed and has been reviewed and returned by Atherton Fiber. However, some of their proposed amendments to the Agreement are not acceptable to the Town. We are in the midst of continued discussion/negotiation. However, the effort is slow and a bit inconsistent.  

3. Construction Trailer @ 275 Atherton Avenue

Staff denied the continued use of an RV for use as a construction trailer at the above referenced job site. Last week, staff met with the property owner/contractor for an appeal hearing of that decision. In summary, the contractor wanted to use an RV as his office at the job site. The problem was, he was spending the night in the RV and the Town received complaints about the activity. One night last week, at 1815 hours, Sergeant Hall and CSO Diaz found the contractor in the RV at the construction site. The contractor stated he was only doing paperwork but agreed to leave.  Ultimately, after several complaints of Thompson sleeping in the RV at night (in combination with Sergeant Hall’s observations), CSO Diaz ordered the contractor to remove the RV from the construction site. 
The contractor appealed the order and from that hearing, the following now applies:

The RV may only be at the construction site during normal construction hours (M-F) 8am to 5pm
- The RV may be used during the day as an office and may use the electrical hook-ups for power (not plumbing)
The contractor agreed to the terms. 

4. Toy Drive

Similar to last year, the PD will be assisting with a local toy drive. 

5. EPC Meeting of November 9

The EPC Meeting of November 9 needs to be rescheduled (lack of a quorum). The proposed reschedule date is November 30. Staff is attempting to get a quorum. 

6. Survey of Holbrook Palmer Park

As mentioned at the Council Meeting, we will not be surveying the Park independently. Instead, with the approval of the design/engineering work for the Water Capture Project, we will use the survey team connected with the Project to survey the Park as part of that project - saving the Town approximately $15,000.

7. Marc Hynes Memorandum - 2000

Sandy Crittenden asked that the City Attorney comment on an FY 2000/01 Memorandum from then City Attorney Marc Hynes (attached). Mr. Hynes memorandum addresses the Town’s 1970s Sign Ordinance and its application to political signage. The CIty Attorney advised that the memorandum is outdated and now incorrect. He advised that we updated our old 1970s ordinance in part due to the confusion regarding political signs and what was permitted and not. He noted that the current municipal code lays out clearly what signs of all types are allowed in the Town’s right-of-way. The limitation is due to safety concerns, not the message on the sign (content). He advised that we do not want pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, etc, having interactions with signs in this space, which is actually reserved for Town use. While the Town welcomes political signs, they do need to be placed correctly to avoid creating liability concerns. 

8. PCB and Mercury Reduction Requirements in the Regional Permit

As FYI, the Municipal Regional Permit (MRP) requires San Mateo County permittees (all jurisdictions) to reduce PCBs by 370 grams per year by June 30, 2020, with an interim reduction of 60 grams per year required by June 30, 2018 and with a minimum of 15 grams per year of the total to be achieved via green infrastructure. San Mateo County permittees also need to demonstrate they have reduced mercury by six grams per year via green infrastructure by June 30, 2020. These reduction rates are required by the MRP as part of the process to achieve compliance with the Mercury and PCBs TMDLs for San Francisco Bay. San Mateo County permittees are also required to reduce trash discharges to the Bay from municipal storm drain systems. This requirement began with the issuance of the first MRP in 2009, with a 40% reduction required in 2014. Under the current MRP term, 70% reduction is required in 2017, 80% reduction in 2019, and zero impact on receiving waters from trash by 2022. These reductions will largely be accomplished through the implementation of green infrastructure, including stormwater capture and use and/or infiltration to groundwater. SMCWPPP developed a countywide Storm Water Resource Plan (SWRP) that focuses primarily on stormwater capture with a multi-benefit approach to overall water resources planning, including water quality. This plan is being followed by local Green Infrastructure Plans (GI Plans) to meet MRP requirements. Development of the GI Plans will be a multi-year effort that includes preparation of a reasonable assurance analysis (RAA) to demonstrate that long-term GI Plan implementation by all MRP permittees will reduce PCB loads by three kilograms per year by 2040.

There are no experts on staff on this issue. We (locally and regionally) are using speciality consultants to address the issue and needs and help design solutions that can be implemented locally and regionally.

9. Bicycle Routes - Regional Collaboration

As the Council is aware, our Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was designed to facilitate connections to regional bicycle and pedestrian ways. As part of that effort, Joint Venture Silicon Valley has been working with Redwood City, the County, Menlo Park, Stanford, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Atherton to develop a regional bicycle and pedestrian map and routing. All of these jurisdictions, except Atherton, adopted a Resolution of Commitment to participate as part of the Mobility Partnership. Atherton came on at the tail-end of the project. The Partnership is asking that we consider adopting the same Resolution of Commitment. This will be presented to you at an upcoming meeting. 

In addition, routing signage would be placed at strategic locations directing cyclists through and along the identified north-south corridor project. These signs and their possible locations will be vetted by the BPAC and Transportation Committee before making their way to the City Council. They are small marker signs that would be added to some of our existing bicycle route signage. 

10. Proposals for ADLP Study - Being Reviewed

We have received three proposals for the expanded ADLP Study. We have setup a subcommittee to review/interview the proposers. With the concurrence of the Chair of the Transportation Committee we are including TC Member Gary Lauder on the review committee. 

11. Distirct Voting - Menlo Park

You may be aware of the issue in Menlo Park surrounding the California Voting Rights Act and District Elections. Here is a ling to a publication from the California League of Cities on the topic

12. Mail Theft Activity

Recently, there has been some mail theft activity in Atherton. A resident has asked that the Town be more proactive about alerting residents to the activity - rather than allow them to read it in the newspaper. I agree. 
13. C/CAG Grant - $400,000

As some of you may have heard at the Council of Cities Dinner last week, the Town will likely be receiving a $400,000 grant from C/CAG. The grant is from TDA Article 3 Funds. 

The Town applied and has been tentatively awarded $400,000 of a Transportation Development Act Grant for the ECR between Selby Lane/5th Avenue Complete Streets Project. The grant is for the production of plans, specs, & estimate (PS&E) - not construction.  There is no local match. The PS&E must be completed by June 30, 2020. Final approval of the grant will be at the C/CAG Board November 9, 2017.
The Council passed a Resolution on June 21 authorizing our application for the grant noting that it was for Bike/Ped improvements generally, not specific to a project location being implemented.
In our grant application, we disclosed that there are several alternatives still being vetted through the public process.  C/CAG was OK with this, provided we can define a preferred alternative to meet the timeline. The alternatives included in the grant application (attached) were:

ALT 1) The bike and pedestrian improvements at the ECR between Selby Lane/5th Avenue Complete Streets Project identified in the Bike/Ped Masteplan (This alternative was for sidewalk improvements and a signalized ped crossing – no access changes) , and 

ALT 2) The two ECR/Selby Intersection alternatives that were presented at a community meeting on February 29 , 2016.  (These alternatives either included a median channelization options with signalized ped crossing or a traffic signal option).
Given that some of these community meeting alternatives may be controversial and will take time to get to a preferred alternative (if ever), there is the concern that the Town may not be able to fulfill the grant.  Moreover, the estimate we provided in the grant was for ALT 1) - bike and pedestrian improvements identified in the Bike/Ped Master Plan. The cost estimates for the alternatives identified in ALT2), have not been scoped and not known at this time.  Therefore, the Town may have to request additional funds from C/CAG, walk away from the grant, or fund additional work locally.  The later, may not be of priority to the Town.
There is no obligation to the Town under this Grant to commit to funding the construction.  Our strategy will be to have a shovel ready design and use this to apply for a future cycle of TDA and/or other grants for construction.   
C/CAG needs the following by the end of this year:

- Resolution from Town Council adopting a request to MTC for the allocation of TDA Article 3 FY 17-18 funds
- Confirmation that project meets Caltrans’ minimum safety design criteria -  This project will require a Caltrans permit, so we should be able to certify this. 
- Confirmation that project PS&E can be completed before the allocation expires in 2020
- C/CAG needs CEQA before they allocate for design. 

We will be moving these forward. 

14. Civic Center Project Issues


As noted, we are working with the utilities on collaborative solutions to the relocation of utility lines and sharing of costs. Some of the utilities (CalWater) are less cooperative than others. The discussions have already moved to legal staff. 

Heritage Tree Removal

The Planning Commission recently approved the removal of 18 of the 83 Heritage Trees on the project site, with the caveat that staff and the consultant look more closely at ways to save 5 of these trees. 

Of the 18 trees - 

- 5 trees have been recommended for removal by 3 arborists due to their condition
- 8 trees have been recommended for removal due to site constraints and needs (building footings, roadways, etc.)
- 5 trees have been recommended for possible ways to save or transfer them onsite

18 replacement trees (48-inch box) will be added to the landscape plan. 

The decision of the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council by Betsy Colby. The deadline for the appeal is November 6 at 5 pm.

Check-In Meeting with Project Management Subcommittee

There is a Check-In Meeting with the Project Management Subcommittee on Tuesday, November 7 from 3 pm to 5 pm (Bill - we’ll need to reschedule our one-on-one). 

Items to be reviewed for status are: Costs Model Manager, Project Schedule, Status of Project Bidders, Utility Negotiations (AT&T, PG&E, CalWater, West Bay), PV and Microgrids, Grant Status’, EV Charging Stations, Tree and Property Line Issues, Windows, Removal of the Corporation Yard Building. 

Cash Flow Spreadsheet

Robert has worked through the Cash Flow Spreadsheet. We need to tweak it a bit for presentation, but it is largely complete. When you come in this next week for your one-on-one discussions, I will go through it with each of you. Please be prepared to spend about 15 minutes on it. Once we make it presentation ready, we’ll schedule it for the Council’s review at a public meeting - ETA December. 
15. Sacred Heart Schools - Portable Buildings Delivery

Staff received a request from SHS about the possibility of applying for a Saturday Work Permit for delivery and installation of portable classrooms by their contractor. The site is on Morey Practice Field on the east side of Elena Avenue. Access would be via Valparaiso to Elena. The portables were part of a CUP approved by the Planning Commission in conjunction with their new Academic Arts Building that will replace Sigall Hall. 

I authorized the work advising that the work hours should be limited to 9 am to 6 pm with notice to neighbors. 

The work could be dangerous to do around students. Their plan is to load in 11 of 13 portables on Saturday, December 16 and the other 2 units on December 26 and 27 (Tuesday/Wednesday).  Since the current portables are currently occupied, loading in on a school day will endanger students both in the portables and in the parking lot with all of the heaving equipment.