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City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week Ending February 29th, 2008

Mayor and Councilmembers:


This is the weekly report for the week ending February 29th, 2008.


1.         Meeting Notes


The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4th, 2008, beginning with a 6:45 PM Redevelopment Meeting and a 7:00 PM regular session.  Please note that there is no Closed Session scheduled for that day.


We are working to schedule the joint meeting between the City Council and the West County Unified School District Board of Trustees in the near future, but no date has been yet confirmed.


2.         Senior Management Strategic Planning


This past Wednesday, department heads and senior managers (20 persons altogether) attended what I believe was a very successful all-day strategic planning session.  We are currently in the process of compiling into a brief written form the results of this effort, and will provide this to Councilmembers in the very near future.


3.         Solar Technology Training and Solar Installation


Richmond BUILD will be providing its fourth group of students with Solar Technology and Solar Installation training during the week of March 3rd through March 7th.   Trainees will receive three days of classroom instruction and hands-on training on installing photovoltaic (PV) systems.  On March 6th and 7th, trainees will utilize their newly acquired skills, assisting with an actual solar installation for a homeowner in the Iron Triangle.  Financing for the Richmond homeowner’s solar installation is being provided by the City of Richmond’s Housing Department.  Councilmembers are invited to observe the class, between 8:00 AM and noon at the Richmond BUILD facility located at 360 S. 27th Street (corner of S. 27th & Virginia)


The strong partnership between Richmond BUILD, the Housing Department, Solar Richmond, Solar Living Institute, and GRID Alternatives has created a model for collaboration that is receiving recognition throughout the country.  Most recently, a reporter from the American Prospect Magazine visited the Richmond BUILD training facility and will be writing about the City of Richmond’s program in their May 2008 edition.


4.         Summer Youth Employment Program


YouthWORKS has released their Summer Youth Employment applications and is in the process of forming partnerships with 9 to 12 youth serving organizations to collaborate in training and employing Richmond youth.  The employment goal for 2008 is 500 Richmond youth.  Early funding commitments have been provided by Chevron ($75,000) and the Contra Costa County Community Service Block Grant program ($39,000).  This year’s fundraising goal is $550,000. 


5.         Current Interest Rates on Variable Rate Debt Obligations


As reported in recent weeks, interest rates have been steadily climbing on municipal bonds that carry a variable rate mode.  The City has four outstanding bond issues that are variable rate; the Senior 2004 Multifamily Housing Bonds (Westridge at Hilltop), 2006 Wastewater Bonds, 2007 Civic Center Bonds and 2007 RDA Bonds.    All of the City’s variable rate debt carries a hedge; the 2004 bonds are hedged by an interest rate cap of 6%, and the remaining three bond issues are hedged by an interest rate swap.  The rates for the current week are: Civic Center 8.00%, Wastewater 8.00%, RDA 5.00%.  The Bond Finance Team, which includes the City’s Bond Counsel, Financial Advisor, Swap Advisor, Finance Director, Debt Analyst, City Attorney and Senior Assistant City Attorney, is currently working with firms from the City’s underwriting pool on restructuring options to mitigate the market conditions, and will make a recommendation to City Council regarding restructuring scenarios at the March 18th City Council meeting.


6.         Public Works Department – Facilities Projects Update


As you recall, the City Council recently pre-qualified a list of architects and engineers to provide such services on an as needed basis.  There are two projects for which this list is already being utilized:


·         Public Works, in a collaborative effort with the Fire Department, is soliciting proposals for professional architectural services to replace the City’s well worn Fire Station 66 located at 4100 Clinton Avenue. The project, as conceived, will provide a new station with living quarters for 4 fire fighters, a 2 bay apparatus room, and community room, and will incorporate energy conserving “green” building features.


·         The Public Works Department is also seeking submittals for professional architectural services to address deficiencies at the Richmond Swim Center.  As you will recall, City staff have been documenting potential design and/or construction defects, and there is a need for additional investigative/forensic work and development of a comprehensive remediation plan. These activities will allow the City to develop an effective defects remediation program to be planned and implemented at the Swim Center.  They will also assist in determining any possible liability on the part of designers or builders of this project.


7.         Security Services at Friendship Manor


In the recent past, the City Council has received staff reports and heard testimony concerning the level of security at various Housing Authority Senior sites, including Friendship Manor.  While staff is carrying out the latest direction from the Public Safety Committee regarding modifications to the draft RFP to procure security services in a comprehensive manner, a small month-to-month contract was executed with Mason Security to provide Friendship Manor, the only senior site currently without security, with the same level of security services currently in place at Nevin Plaza and Hacienda.  Mason Security is charging a reduced rate to the Housing Authority of $500 per month for this service, which is well within the Housing Authority’s budget.  We will keep you informed as Housing Authority staff continues its progress to modify the draft RFP for comprehensive security services.


8.         Recreation Program Notes


The following are notes regarding Recreation division activities this past month:


·         Four Recreation Program Coordinators have been selected to fill vacancies in the youth activities, aquatics and community center program units. The new staff will begin their assignment on March 4, 2008.


·         Ten Recreation staff members attended the California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS) conference in Long Beach, California during this past week of February 25th. This “continuous education” opportunity will assist staff members in learning about best practices in recreation and parks to improve City of Richmond recreation services.


·         The spring activity guide will be distributed to the WCCUSD the week of March 3, 2008. Preparation has begun on the summer activity guide which will be mailed to all Richmond residents during the month of May.


·         Additional activities this past month included: Chinese New Year celebration at the Richmond Senior Center (235 participants), Senior Feather Falls Casino turnaround (49 participants), Youth Excursions to Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, SF Giants Fan Fest, Cal and Stanford Women’s Basketball Game (66 participants).  As you may have also read, Recreation staff collaborated with Office of Neighborhood Safety, Richmond PAL, Amer-i-can, Bay Area Peacekeepers, Richmond Steelers, Contra Costa Housing Authority, Tri-City Ravens, 21st Centuries Mentors, Supervisor John Gioa and Youth Together to host the Richmond Youth Sports Camp at Shields Reid Community Center on February 16, 2008 (150 participants in attendance).


9.         Update on Annual Financial Audit


Maze & Associates, the City’s independent financial auditors, have completed the audit of the City’s financial statements for fiscal year 2007. The audit was conducted for the purposes of forming an opinion on the basic financial statements taken as a whole. They have expressed an opinion that the City’s basic financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position and the results of the City’s operations as of June 30, 2007. The audit was performed in conformity with the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for local governments as established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).  While this is a “normal” opinion, it should not be forgotten that, several years ago, the City of Richmond had a “qualified” opinion.


This past week, the Finance Department submitted the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and to the California Society of Municipal Officers (CSMFO) for the award for excellence in financial reporting.   The City successfully received its’ 1st ever financial reporting award from CSMFO for the fiscal year 2006 financials.  The award was not received from GFOA for the same time period, due to a presentation error; that error has been successfully corrected by Maze & Associates within the fiscal year 2007 financials.


The audited financial statements will be published on the City’s website by next week.  Hard copies are printed in limited number to help conserve both financial and natural resources.


 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!


Bill Lindsay

City Manager

City of Richmond

1401 Marina Way South

Richmond, CA 94804

 Phone:  510-620-6512

Fax:      510-620-6542

e-mail:   bill_lindsay@ci.richmond.ca.us  

Address if you have it.