|City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week
Ending July 28, 2006
July 28, 2006
Here is the city manager’s weekly report courtesy of the E-FORUM:
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending July 28th, 2006.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th. Please enjoy your well-earned summer recess.
2. Presentation to Standard & Poor’s
Jim Goins and I, along with members of the sewer revenue bond financing team (John Knox, Jean Buckley, Sohail Bengali, and Susan Segovia) made a presentation to Standard & Poor’s at their San Francisco office regarding the proposed sewer revenue bond issue. As you will recall, we previously made presentations in New York to Moody’s (rating agency), FGIC, AMBAC, MBIA, and XLCG (all bond insurers, and representatives from 4 potential letter of credit banks. Once again, my assessment is that our presentation went well, with the credit analysts specifically commenting on progress that the City has made in improving its financial condition. The proof, however, will be in how the proposed bond issue is rated. As a positive sign, the City received insurance bids from all four of the bond insurers, which we are in the process of evaluating.
We will keep you informed.
3. Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) Ordinance Implementation Update
With the FOG Ordinance in place, the Industrial Pretreatment Inspectors have begun their fats, oils, and grease inspections on the retail food preparation facilities in the Richmond sewer district. Staff is using the “hot spot” list provided by Veolia to prioritize the initial inspections, with San Pablo Avenue being the first area addressed. To date, staff has inspected 35 out of the 115 verified facilities. Of those 35 facilities, 28 failed their initial inspection and will need to be re-inspected. Staff will begin inspecting facilities on 23rd Street beginning next week.
An issue that we will need to address is the hauling off of grease by unlicensed haulers. None of the facilities that were inspected could produce receipts showing proper grease removal. We are hypothesizing that some of this grease is being hauled off by private citizens that are using it for bio-diesel, as the City of Berkeley has experienced this problem. The problem with the unlicensed grease removers is that we are unable to verify proper disposal.
4. Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE)
Representatives from the West Contra Costa County Unified School District, Contra Costa County, the Richmond Children’s Foundation, the East Bay Community Foundation, LISC, and the City attended a planning charette last week to discuss the Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE). As you may know, this effort involves, among other things, improvements to the Nystrom School campus, improvements to the Martin Luther King Park and Community Center, a potential charter school, improvements to the Maritime Child Care Center, and a “new” Nystrom Village. The meeting was facilitated by Daniel Iacofano, of MIG, the City’s General Plan consultant, and included the design professionals that have been retained by the various agencies for the project components. At the beginning of the meeting, MIG professionals gave several examples of recently-built “neighborhood villages,” such as that which might be contemplated for the Nystrom area. During the latter portion of the charette, attendees brainstormed different ways in which the combined properties (i.e., School District, City, and Housing Authority) might be utilized to create the “village center.” We will continue to keep you informed as this effort progresses.
5. Website Makeover – Update
Sue Hartman and the IT Department, as well as a number of City staff members, are continuing to work with the City’s pro bono consultant on a complete makeover of the City’s website. You should have received last week a written update from Sue Hartman concerning this project. We had planned to go “live” on the new website next week; however, to make sure that all information is up-to-date, and that important new content is added, we are delaying the launch several weeks until mid-August. In the meantime, we invite you to browse the City’s “website-in-progress” at http://ca-richmond.CivicPlus.com/ and provide your comments prior to it being finalized.
6. General Plan Update
The last of 5 General Plan workshops is tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:00 AM at St. Cornelius School (201 28th Street). The workshop will be conducted in Spanish. Prior workshops have been attended by 30-40 people, with the very first one being the lightest in attendance.
7. Proposal for Culinary Business Center
City staff has received a proposal from the West Contra Costa Business Development Center for a Culinary Business Center, a planned business incubator that would provide commercial kitchen facilities to “grow” specialty food producers. The ultimate goal would be to provide access to the facility for up to 32 tenant/entrepreneurs at any given time, with the idea that they would cycle through during their start-up phase. While the location for the kitchen incubator has not been determined, the facility would require approximately 5,000 square feet. The Business Development Center is seeking financial support from the Redevelopment Agency to cover an initial operating shortfall, with the idea that the incubator will help produce jobs in the community. This is a likely future agenda item for the Redevelopment Agency Board.
8. Sludge Ponds – Biosolids Update
Janet Schneider is continuing to work to develop options for the closure of the Richmond sewer system sludge ponds on the West County Sanitary District property along the Parkway, and alternative sludge disposal methods. The issue, and the related alternatives analysis, is complex, but should be before the City Council soon after you return from the summer recess.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week.