|City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week Ending August 26th, 2011
August 26, 2011
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending August 26th, 2011.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th. I trust that everyone is continuing to enjoy their August meeting break.
The City’s Environmental Initiatives Division is proud to launch the new Richmond Recovery Solar Rebate Program – R3 (“R cubed”). The City is providing solar rebates to homeowners in an effort to increase solar installations and stimulate the local economy. R3 currently offers two rebate amounts, including a generous rebate for any income homeowners, and free solar installations for qualifying lower income homeowners through a partnership with the non-profit GRID Alternatives. Participants in the any income rebate can typically expect a $3,000 to $7,000 rebate, depending on the system size. Participants in the lower income rebate must meet the income requirements (referenced in this link).
Funds for R3 are limited, and the Environmental Initiatives group is encouraging all interested homeowners to contact a local Richmond contractor and complete a program reservation soon. For more information and a program application, please visit www.richmondenvironment.org. More information is available from program staff at email@example.com or at (510) 620-5537.
This past week, Finance Department staff met with the City’s sales tax consultant, MuniServices, to review sales tax figures for the first quarter of 2011. For the fourth quarter in a row, Richmond experienced an increase in its sales tax allocation from the same quarter of the prior year. Richmond sales tax allocations increased by 25.4% from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011; Northern California increased by 8.6%; Southern California increased by 6.9%; overall there was a statewide increase of 7.6%.
The sales tax increase in Richmond stems primarily from allocation corrections done recently with the County sales tax “pool”. It appears that the low points in sales tax were the first and second quarters of 2009. Most indicators show that Richmond has leveled off in its sales tax receipts. Richmond’s tax base is led by the General Retail category, which currently makes up 37.4% of the sales tax revenue. This category is driven, to a great extent, by large retailers such as Costco, Wal-Mart and Target. Of significance, new auto sales increased during the first quarter of 2011. The Finance Department will continue to closely monitor the actual revenue submitted by the State Board of Equalization, the local trends developing in Richmond and the projections provided by MuniServices.
Slurry sealing work for the Pavement Rehabilitation Project (as detailed in the table below) was recently completed, and traffic striping will be installed in the coming weeks. PG&E is lowering utility lines along Costa Avenue, in preparation of the upcoming pavement reconstruction work.
The City’s Environmental Initiatives Division is continuing to implement the City facility lighting upgrade project and improve lighting quality and energy efficiency at City facilities. The lighting upgrade project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and over 70% of the project work has been completed by Richmond residents. Environmental Initiatives staff recently managed lighting upgrades at the Richmond Museum of History, the Public Works Yard and the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Annual savings resulting from all of the projects is estimated to be $63,000 per year. Staff has leveraged $75,000 in up-front rebates from PG&E, and received free lighting design consulting from the Smart Lights Program. Smart Lights is a program available to all businesses and non-profits in Richmond.
Facilities Maintenance Division: Electricians re-lamped six street lights in the Carriage Hills area and eight street lights on Canal Boulevard; replaced the damaged traffic signal controller at Barrett and San Pablo Avenues; and replaced wire theft in Carriage Hills and on Fred Jackson Way, and re-energized the Booker T. Anderson ball field lighting system.
Parks and Landscaping Division: This week, staff finished replacing damaged playground equipment at Burg and Lamoine Parks; and completed vegetation management on Atlas Road, the Richmond Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Park’s parking lot. Next week, crews will continue with the Marina Bay Trail landscape renovation project; continue pruning trees and shrubs on Castro Ranch Road; weed and prune Marina Way’s underpass; replace bleacher boards at Nicholl Park; mow around the Hilltop Lake, and will start mowing Hilltop Landscape Maintenance District’s fire fuel areas. The three crews will also work on Santa Clara, Mariposa and Alamo Avenues, and on 37th Street.
Streets Division: Last week, paving crews completed the resurfacing of Triangle Circle around the Housing Authority complex in the Iron Triangle as part of the Health and Wellness Program. Next week, crews will resurface Florida Avenue from Harbour Way to South 11th Street, and South 11th Street from Florida Avenue to Ohio Avenue.
Tennis: The Recreation Department sponsored six girls to attend a 3-day United States Tennis Association’s Tennis Training Camp in San Jose on July 14th to 17th, where, in addition to tennis techniques and training, the participants received leadership and mediation skills.
On August 4th to 7th, the Recreation Department’s Boys’ and Girls’ (ages 12 through 15) Junior Tennis teams (singles and doubles) traveled to the 2011 United States Tennis Association’s Northern California Jr. Sectional Championships in Fresno, California. Both teams captured bronze medals, with wins against teams from Moraga, Orinda, Walnut Creak, Blackhawk and Lafayette.
Senior Idol Auditions: On August 23rd and 25th, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 pm, at the Richmond Auditorium, auditions were held for the singing-only competition, Senior Idol, which will be held at 6:00 PM on Friday, September 16th, also at the Richmond Auditorium. The Recreation Department is encouraging anyone age 50 and over, who lives or works in Contra Costa County and is not a professional, to participate in the competition. The deadline for sign-ups is Friday, August 26th.
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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!
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