|Weekly Report for the Week
Ending October 6th, 2006
October 6, 2006
This is the weekly report for the week ending October 6th, 2006.
1. Meeting Notes
As you will recall, at its most recent meeting, the City Council expressed a willingness to have a special, single-agenda item meeting for the purpose of considering technology options for a cogeneration facility at the wastewater treatment plant (fuel cell or other traditional methods). The necessity for the special meeting was to have a City Council decision in advance of an October 13th deadline having to do with a PG&E energy incentive rebate. I believe that all of you were contacted about possible dates for such a meeting. As it turns out, the City can receive a 60-day extension on this rebate program, for which Rich Davidson will submit the required paperwork. As a result there will be no special City Council meeting this week, and the next regular City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, October 17th.
2. Meeting with Chevron Regarding Payment of Utility Users Tax
Jim Goins, Everett Jenkins, Antonio Banuelos (Richmond Finance Department Revenue Division) and I met with Dean O’Hair and several representatives from Chevron to discuss issues related to their payment of the utility users tax based on actual utility consumption rather than on the “cap.” The first question that we posed was why Chevron decided to change their policy regarding these payments to the City. While their explanation was rather complicated, Dean O’Hair indicated that there had finally been some focus on this issue by decision makers in their organization and they determined that, although in recent years they were paying more than they were required based on the ordinance, they should now lower their payment to only that which the ordinance requires.
We also discussed the issue of confidentiality of tax payments and underlying computations. Chevron maintains that their individual tax payment should be confidential, although we pointed out that, as a practical matter, since bank statements of a public agency are not confidential, and because Chevron wired funds to the City directly, the bank statement would document the amount of the payment. We also discussed the City’s need to have access to their records for the purpose of verifying their compliance with the ordinance, and Chevron representatives proposed a specific confidentiality agreement with the City in order to provide such access. There will be more meetings in the near future as we work through these issues.
3. Westside Library Concept Proposal
As you recall, as part of the FY 2006-07 budget, the City Council approved funding for reopening the branch libraries, including the Westside branch. This past week, Monique le Conge and I met with representatives from the Point Richmond area, including representatives from the non-profit organization that relocated the Trainmaster Building to the area near the Richmond Plunge. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss an idea that they have for transferring the location of the Westside branch library and community center to the Trainmaster Building. Under their concept, the City would spend the money that has been previously approved by the City Council for Westside library building repairs on further renovations to the Trainmaster Building that will transform it into a branch library and community room. Ownership of the Trainmaster Building would be transferred to the City. It should be noted that the size of the existing Westside branch library is 1,078 square feet; the square footage of the Trainmaster Building is 2,079 square feet. Monique and I are planning to visit the Trainmaster site to further evaluate this concept, and we will keep you informed. In the meantime, I would welcome your comments.
4. General Plan Workshop en Espanol
This past Thursday, City staff and its consultants facilitated a General Plan community workshop in the Spanish language at St. Mark’s Church. The meeting was the best attended of all previous workshops, with a very high energy level engendered by the facilitators. Two more General Plan community workshops (in English) are scheduled for:
· Tuesday, October 17th – Hilltop Mall Community Room
· Monday, October 30, City Council Chambers
5. The Mentoring Center – Office of Violence Prevention
As you are aware, David Muhammad, who is a key member of The Mentoring Center’s team in establishing the Office of Violence Prevention in the City Manager’s office, is leaving the area to become the Chief of Committed Services for the Washington, D.C. juvenile justice system. Although we can note that Mr. Muhammad has done some outstanding work, and that the timing of his departure is not perfect for Richmond, staff believes that the project will still be successful in achieving the City’s objectives over the next 6-8 months. This past week, Chief Magnus, Leslie Knight and I discussed the project staffing with The Mentoring Center team. The plan is for both DeVone Boggan and Greg Hodge to increase their time on the project, with continued assistance by Deborah Dias in her administrative coordinator role. Both Messrs. Boggan and Hodge have demonstrated their ability to continue the project successfully, both through their past work experience and through their activities thus far with the City of Richmond.
6. Strategic Approach to Street Maintenance Activities
This past week, I met with Rich Davidson, Willie Haywood, Jeff Simas, the City’s new Streets Superintendent, and Al Shanklin to discuss coordination of effort between the City’s Public Works Street Maintenance Division, and the City’s renewed pavement management program managed by the Engineering Department. In sum, the plan is for in-house Public Works Department staff to perform demand-responsive pothole repair, crack sealing, and deep lift repair of the streets. The pavement management contract can then focus most efficiently on preventative street treatments, such as slurry seal. This coordinated approach should be the most effective way to cost-effectively balance the street maintenance effort between in-house staff for ongoing activities, and contracted work for activities that are specialized, and short-term in nature. The approach will, however, require additional seasonal employees during the spring and summer in advance of the pavement management contract work, and the purchase of some additional equipment. This additional investment should, however, pay off in the form of better maintained streets. City staff will present this conceptual plan to the City Council formally as part of the mid-year budget review.
7. Civic Center Documents Retrieval and Storage
The City Clerk’s office is working hard to retrieve and reorganize the documents that are stored in the “once and future” City Hall. Files are being systematically removed from the storage cages in the basement of the building and placed in designated areas for staff to identify files that must be retained and destroy files with expired retention dates.
This past week, all of the files for the City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk, and Office of Emergency Services (OES) were removed from the basement and taken to the Convention Center. Patrick Seals and Diane Holmes worked to label all of the boxes for their appropriate department, and next week the systematic destruction and retention process will begin. Two boxes of documents had water damage and could not be salvaged.
Last week, staff from the Finance Department worked on their documents, filling 24 95-gallon recycling bins with documents to be shredded and recycled. The City Clerk has arranged for the Shred Center to pick up the filled bins and deliver empty bins on the same day. Finance Department staff members have made lists of all files that have been destroyed as well as those that will be retained at an offsite facility. The documents that will be retained have been boxed, with bar codes placed on the outside of each box, for transfer to an offsite storage facility. All of the departments are following this same systematic process.
The oldest documents from this group in the City Clerk’s office are dated 1908, with the oldest documents previously removed from the basement before moving to 1401 Marina Way were dated 1850. The oldest documents stored for the Finance Department and the Planning Department are dated 1944 and 1910, respectively.
The City Clerk anticipates that the inventory process will be completed by mid-November.
8. Enterprise Zone Update
The legislative battle to enact an Enterprise Zone (EZ) bill has been successfully concluded. The final EZ bill, AB 1550 (Arambula), was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 29th. Former Senator Boatwright, who worked with the City on this bill at the legislative level, passed along his thanks, stating, “You are fortunate to have such dedicated public employees working for the benefit of not only the Council, but for the well-being of Richmond’s residents.”
9. Staff Training: Interest-Based Problem Solving
The City’s managers and supervisors attended an excellent on-site training course provided by UC Davis Extension on Interest-Based Problem Solving. The course focused on achieving “win-win” solutions through effective communication and collaboration. I believe that these skills are tremendously important for much of the work that is conducted by staff members at this level in the organization.
10. Richmond Plunge and The Maritime Child Care Center
As reported previously, the renovation of the Richmond Plunge and the Maritime Child Care Center are two of 25 projects that qualified for a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant has a different twist to it in that the public can vote to select the winners, with the winning projects dividing $1,000,000. The public can vote for a project on line by logging onto http://www.partnersinpreservation.com/index.php and following the directions. Please remember that you may cast one vote per day for these projects until the end of October. As of today, the Plunge was in 8th place in the voting, the Maritime Child Care Center in 21st place.
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.
City of Richmond
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804