1. Middlefield Road Bicycle Lanes - 2nd Community Outreach Meeting
Reminder: As part of our ongoing efforts of outreach on this project, the preliminary layout for the bicycle improvements along Middlefield between Jennings Lane and Ringwood Avenue is set for March 1 @ 6 pm in the Council Chambers. 65% Plan Sets have been placed in your mailboxes at City Hall.
2. Police Chief - City Manager Workshop
The Chief and I will be in San Luis Obispo beginning Wednesday night, February 28 through Friday March 2 to attend a Police Chief/City Manager Workshop.
3. Park Miscellaneous Improvement Projects
Staff is working through the necessary designs for the restroom improvements in the Pavilion. Design is largely driven by ADA requirements. Staff is also working with the design team on improvements to the tennis shelter and the hammer-head parking at the end of the Pavilion parking lot area. A curb will be added to ensure that we no longer have the ad-hoc surface parking issue during large events.
4. Operation Eagle Visit
As the Council is aware, the Town is participating in the Adopt a Unit Program and is part of the adoption of the 101st Airborne Division. The cities of Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, San Carlos and San Brune are collaborating to welcome 50 troops and veterans to numerous events on the peninsula March 23-25.
The PD is meeting with the Circus Club to finalize plans to welcome the Atherton contingent (4-5 individuals) for lunch on Friday, March 23. An invitation will go out to the Council. The Mayor will be asked to speak. More details to come. Any suggestions you have for activities or attendance would be appreciated. Connect with Theresa.
5. Half Moon Bay Library Tour
6. Clay Court
Work on the clay court is pretty much complete. They are working out the kinks this week and next. They are also working on figuring out seating. A photo is attached, but please take a look at it in the field.
7. PD Praise from Paul
Below is praise from Paul Tonelli on his recent interaction with the PD -
"It's been a while since I've had a chance to contact you. I think the last time we spoke was at the park at the National Night Out event. I hope things are going well for you so far during your time in Atherton.
I just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for sending the open letter to Atherton regarding "See something, say something." In light of current events, the timing was obviously important. More important is that residents know you are "on it", and that they get the "see something, say something" message from the top. So...thank you.
Also, I met one of your officers one morning earlier this week as I was leaving for work. I could have sworn he said his name is Casey...but I could not find a Casey on the website roster. It was a pleasure to meet him, and I told him how much we appreciated patrols coming down the alleyway that is Lloyden Park Lane. It is dark and kind of isolated, so the patrols are ALWAYS welcome.
Thanks for you service Chief, and it's great to see the speed enforcement on El Camino."
8. League Amicus Brief - Pension Reform
The League of Cities will be filing a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the case involving the constitutional challenge to pension reform. As background on the case, in 2012, the State enacted the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”), which among other things eliminated the option for employees enrolled in PERS to purchase up to 5 years of service credits to add to their pension benefit (commonly referred to as “airtime”).
After the State implemented PEPRA, Cal Fire Local 2881 sued arguing that the airtime benefit was a vested contractual right of those employees who were employed prior to the 2013 implementation date for PEPRA. Therefore, under the so-called “California Rule” of vested pension rights previously articulated by the California Supreme Court, eliminating the airtime benefit was an unconstitutional impairment of contract unless the State offered employees a comparable new pension benefit to replace it, which PEPRA does not do.
The lower courts disagreed and held that no comparable new benefit was required and that the elimination of the airtime benefit did not affect the employees’ right to a substantial and reasonable pension. The California Supreme Court granted review last year. The League’s brief supports the state’s argument that PEPRA’s elimination of the option to purchase airtime prospectively did not result in an unconstitutional impairment of contract.
Consistent with board-approved policy, among the arguments the League’s brief makes are:
- Even contractually-vested pension or other retirement benefits can be modified without providing a comparable new advantage, so long as the modifications are reasonable.
- Modifications that are made to prospective benefits (i.e. to benefits attached to time not yet worked as opposed to time already worked) are reasonable so long as they bear a “material relation to the theory of a pension system and its successful operation” and leave employees with a “substantial and reasonable” pension.
- An economic emergency is not required in order to modify prospective benefits.
The League’s brief also extensively discusses the current fiscal hardships that cities are facing due to the unsustainable rise in pension costs, including citing extensively to the League’s recent Retirement System Sustainability report published in January.
It is our hope that this discussion will help the Court understand the need to move this case forward quickly in order to provide the state and local governments with the flexibility to sustainably manage their pension obligations.
The timeline for when the Supreme Court will issue a decision in this case will depend on when it sets oral argument. The Rules of Court do not impose any timeline under which the Court must set an oral argument, but once oral argument is held and the Court takes the case under submission, it has 90 days within which to issue an opinion.
9. Articles of Note
10. Park Survey
The Park Survey is complete and the final document is being reviewed for any errors or inconsistencies before finalizing. I have a copy of the draft in my office if you are interested in looking it over. Most of the issues of property line fencing exists along the Felton Gables border. Of the approximate 1,450 linear feet of boundary, 1,067.31 feet is compromised with fence line on the Town’s property. Most of that distance, it is less than a foot onto Town property. A few areas (limited linear) as much as 2-3 feet.
12. HdL - Situs Sales Tax Opportunity
Robert is connecting with HdL, our current Property Tax Consultant, to see if they can assist with our examination of this issue.
13. Matrix Consulting
Matrix Consulting will be providing a cost to complete Task 4 as described at the Council meeting on Wednesday. I hope to have that cost next week. If it is reasonable and within my signature authority I will expand their current scope of work. If not, it will return to Council. Matrix has considerable experience on the LAFCO process and can easily come up with that portion of the analysis; however, it is the legislative and/or other options (private agreements, etc.) that are more nebulous and need exploration.
Special Event Permits - as of February 23, 2018
This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review.
- February 24, 97 Fairview, Private Event
- March 24, Menlo College, Vegas Night - 5 pm - 11 pm
- April 12/13, Menlo Circus Club - Palantir Corporate Event - 10 am - 7 pm
- April 14, Menlo College, Pacific Islander Club Luau - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
- April 22, 79 Jennings Lane, Private Event - 4 pm - 7 pm
- May 5, Menlo College Commencement - 11 am - 1 pm
- May 6, Annual Big Bear Run
- August 7 - 12, Menlo Circus Club Horse Show
February 16, 2018 Weekly Council Notes
1. Agreement for Atherton Fiber/Paxio for Use of Facilities
The Agreement is complete and will be executed by both parties. Work on the hub will begin immediately.
2. Series Street Light - Notice to Affected Residents
Lights in some affected neighborhoods (Lindenwood/Lloyden Park) will be de-engergized by PG&E as the contractor converts the street lights to the new circuitry. This will occur on February 22 and continue through March 8. Not every light is affected. Residents are being notified via letter of the conversion schedule and provided with a map of the exact light locations. The Police Department is also made aware of the “dark streets” and will provide additional patrol as needed.
3. Water Capture Facility
Staff recently attended a meeting where a representative from OldCastle was present. The company provides stormwater and other products used by local government. Linked below are some of the promotional materials from OldCastle that you might find of interest. While these may or may not be the exact product in the Town’s facility or in the Lakewood facility (product bidders), they are representative of a firm in the industry that provides products to these types of developments.
4. League of California Cities - Pension Survey
Recently, the League of California Cities completed a League Pension Survey
of its membership. The survey includes some basic data, averages, and suggestions for addressing the issue. I went through the Town’s 2017/18 Budget and projected forward the Town’s position, using some basic assumptions. Linked here is a comparison of the Town’s position
to the League Survey.
Next steps from the Survey include -
- Developing and implementing a pay down of the Unfunded Actuarial Liability - the Town has a policy to do this using ERAF. However, until the Civic Center Project is complete, the use of ERAF funds for this purpose is on hold.
- Consider local ballot measures to enhance revenues - the Town is doing this as well by reforming our business license tax and examining other options, such as the utility user’s tax or real property transfer tax.
- Create a pension rate stabilization program - the Town has not explored this; however, this could be done in conjunction with the use of future ERAF.
- Create service delivery methods and levels of certain public services - the Town has reviewed its basic service levels and made adjustments where necessary. The Council prioritizes capital projects and policing annually as part of the CIP and Budget.
- Use procedures for transparent bargaining to increase employee pension contributions - this has been done to the maximum extent possible under the law. By the end of 2018/19, employees will be contributing the maximum allowable toward the employer share of the pension obligation.
- Issue a pension obligation bond - this is not something the Town has considered.
Looking at the comparative data, the Town is currently and expects to remain in good fiscal condition with respect to its pension obligation - looking at FY 2017/18 forward to FY 2024/25. These are projections based on basic and standardized assumptions. Revenues may be greater or less and so may expenditures.
5. Short-Term Rentals
One of the things staff is asking the Council to allow the business license tax consultant to evaluate is the possibility of a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on short-term vacation rentals. Below are a couple of related articles of interest:
6. CalPERS Circular Letter
7. Design Solutions - Civic Center Project
WRNS has been given the go ahead on the design solutions for Trees #119/#120 and #67. Timing is critical on this work as the project is set to complete 100% Design/Bid and be released for bid on March 21. At present, the bid climate appears to be in flux with some bids coming in on target and others way over.
8. Recology Franchise Agreement
We are still waiting on Recology to respond with their final comments on the Draft Revised Franchise Agreement.
9. San Carlos Airport - Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Planning Advisory Committee
I serve on the Planning Advisory Committee. Our last meeting was in November 2017. Our next meeting is on March 21 to review Chapter 6 of the document - Noise Compatibility.
10. Redesign Launch of the Town’s Website
The staff design team is completing final comments on the website redesign. We anticipate that this will go live in the coming months.
11. False Alarm Fee Staff Report
The False Alarm Fee Staff Report Ordinance and Fee Resolution will return to the Council in March. We pulled it from the February Agenda in order to gather some additional information and match the Public Notice for the Public Hearing with the revised fees.
12. C/CAG Stormwater Committee Member
Robert Ovadia will be serving as the Town’s C/CAG Stormwater Committee Member (Staff level).
13. PG&E Power Pole Replacement
PG&E will be replacing a power pole at the intersection of Middlefield Road and Oak Grove this Sunday from 9 am until 5 pm. Power in the area will be affected.
14. March 7 Study Session
The March 7 Study Session will begin at 3 pm instead of 4 pm.
February 9, 2018 Weekly Council Notes