CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
March 24, 2014
1. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE/ROLL CALL The meeting of the City Council was called to order by Mayor John Marchand at 7:02 pm, in the City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore, California.
1.01 ROLL CALL Present: Mayor John Marchand, Vice Mayor Bob Woerner, and Councilmembers Stewart Gary, Doug Horner, and Laureen Turner.
1.02 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2. PROCLAMATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
2.01 Proclamation Declaring April Community Service Recognition Month in Livermore.
Mayor Marchand presented a proclamation to Public Works Director Dan McIntyre declaring April Community Service Recognition Month in Livermore.
3. CITIZENS FORUM
John Stein, Livermore, spoke in support of the Bankhead Theater and said the City Council should provide the community with a report on the current financial state of the theater.
Don Meeker, Livermore, spoke regarding census statistics from 1880 to present and the impact on the population of Livermore from historical events in 1950.
Beth Wilson, Livermore, spoke in support of the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Center. She said the facilities greatly enriched the lives of Livermores young people and asked the City to do everything in their power to save them.
Paul Weiss, Livermore, spoke in support of the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Center. He said there was a pool of talented volunteers in the community that could be utilized to staff the various jobs rather than paid positions.
Bruce Brazil, California Off-road Vehicle Association, spoke regarding the Carnegie SVRA draft Environmental Impact Report. He said the Council would have an opportunity to make comments and provided a report from the State Parks for their review.
Jim Schmidt, Livermore, said he was a member of Friends of Bankhead and Bothwell, a nonprofit group dedicated to saving the theater. He spoke regarding performing arts centers in the region, and said building a modern theater and expecting donors to pay part of the operating expenses and all of the construction costs would be highly unusual. He asked the Council to work with LVPAC and relevant parties to restructure the debt before the Bankhead was forced to close.
4. CONSENT CALENDAR
Item 4.03 CM Horner complimented staff on the process of selection and said he hoped this would become a model for selecting professional services in the future.
ON THE MOTION OF CM HORNER, SECONDED BY CM TURNER, AND CARRIED ON A 5-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE CONSENT CALENDAR.
4.01 Approval of Minutes March 10, 2014 regular City Council meeting.
4.02 Resolution 2014-035 authorizing execution of a cooperative agreement with Alameda County Housing and Community Development Department for participation in the Alameda County Home Investment in Affordable Housing Program (HOME) Consortium for Fiscal Years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018.
4.03 Resolution 2014-036 authorizing execution of an agreement with WLC Architects in the amount of $388,700, for design services for Fire Station No. 9 located at 1919 Cordoba Street, Project No. 1994-55.
4.04 Resolution 2014-037 authorizing execution of an Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement with WRA, Inc., environmental consultants, to assess the opportunity for establishing a conservation and/or mitigation bank on City-owned properties in Doolan Canyon and the Springtown Alkali Sink.
4.05 Resolution 2014-038 accepting for permanent maintenance and releasing of security for the Building Demolition & Asbestos Abatement at 50 South L Street, Project No. 586003.
4.06 Resolution 2014-039 accepting for permanent maintenance and releasing of security for Parcel Map 9046 public improvements, located on the Southwest corner of National Drive and Greenville Road.
5. PUBLIC HEARINGS
5.01 Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) hearing regarding the issuance of tax exempt bonds by the Public Finance Authority for and on behalf of, and for the benefit of, Educational Media Foundation, a California nonprofit corporation. (This item was continued from the March 10, 2014 City Council meeting.)
Recommendation: Staff recommended the City Council adopt a resolution approving the issuance and sale of tax exempt bonds by the Public Finance Authority for and on behalf of, and for the benefit of, Educational Media Foundation, a California Nonprofit corporation, in one or more series and in the aggregate principal amount of approximately $30,000,000.
Acting City Manager Troy Brown presented the staff report.
CM Gary said he was bothered by the resolution language regarding City Council approval of the issuance and sale of bonds because he did not know exactly where the bonds were going or why they were being done. He said he was not in a position to know whether or not the authority should issue the bonds and the evidence was not before him to make that decision.
In response to questions by CM Gary, Mr. Brown said the Council was not approving the sale of the bonds; rather, they were approving the TEFRA hearing process. He said the project was a refinance of $30 million in existing debt to take advantage of lower interest rates.
In response to questions by VM Woerner, City Attorney Jason Alcala confirmed that the various resolution sections followed the internal revenue code which required public approval required for private activity bonds. He said the Council was holding the public hearing to receive comments; the resolution ensured for the publics benefit that the Council was not endorsing the financing structure or approving the project and would retain all legislative authority with regards to land use.
In response to questions by CM Horner, Mr. Alcala said Livermore was required to hold the public hearing because the legislation stated each governmental entity with jurisdiction over a particular application; in this instance, the FCC license in question was in Livermores jurisdiction.
Mr. Brown said there would be several TEFRA hearings across the country as the project was refinanced because the infrastructure was all across the county. He said because the FCC license overseeing the project was attached to a Livermore address, and the tower was in the southeast corner of Morgan Territory, Livermore was the closest local jurisdiction with a public agency.
CM Gary said the Council was being asked to approve the project and he believed the staff report was a de minimis treatment; he said he would not vote on something he did not fully understand or have full regulatory control over. He said to use the words approval fundamentally bothered him and this was not normally a legislative act of the City.
In response to questions by CM Gary, Mr. Alcala said the resolution was a pro-forma document; the language was based on language set forth in the government code and had been used in Livermore for prior TEFRA hearings.
Mayor Marchand opened the public hearing.
David Atkinson, Vice President of Finance, Educational Media Foundation, said the Foundation had identified $30 million in debt and refinanced the debt through the Public Financing Authority as a taxable bond; they were going through the TEFRA hearing process to convert the debt to a tax-exempt issuance. He said the station in question was KLVS at the frequency of 107.3; and, of the $30 million, $5.5 million related directly to that station.
There were no more speakers and the hearing was closed.
ON THE MOTION OF VM WOERNER, SECONDED BY CM HORNER AND CARRIED ON A 4-1 VOTE (CM GARY VOTING NO), THE CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION:
Resolution 2014-040 approving the issuance and sale of tax exempt bonds by the Public Finance Authority for and on behalf of, and for the benefit of, Educational Media Foundation, a California Nonprofit corporation, in one or more series and in the aggregate principal amount of approximately $30,000,000.
6. MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
6.01 Discussion and direction regarding City Council appointments to Intergovernmental Agencies. None.
6.02 Discussion and direction regarding City Council benefits.
Recommendation: Staff recommended the City Council provide direction.
Mayor Marchand said there had been a lot of discussion regarding benefits for elected officials and as the Council had asked the Citys bargaining groups to make concessions, he felt that Councilmembers were the only part-time employees in the City to get full-time benefits and wanted to bring that up for discussion.
Administrative Services Director Douglas Alessio presented the staff report.
Mayor Marchand said although there seemed to be a norm throughout the area regarding medical benefits for elected officials, in reviewing the benefits for the City as a whole, there were no part-time employees getting full-time benefits and from his perspective, it was not justified. He said he did not want someone serving on the Council for the benefits.
CM Turner said she defined an exempt employee as somebody who was always on; part-time was defined as someone who had defined start and end times, which the Council did not, and she did not want a Council that just punched the clock. She said she viewed the Council as exempt employees and thought they should be treated that way; however, in the instance of the budget, it was a good idea to look at this. She said when she ran for Council, she had to decrease hours at her employer and lost her medical benefits; thus when elected, took the benefits because she had no choice to pay for her own benefits. She said the staff report did not have comparatives of part-time employees and other benefit packages; she said for the future she would like allow new elected officials to purchase their benefits so if they had to be part-time at work in order to have enough time to serve, they could still maintain health care benefits.
Mayor Marchand said CM Turners observation was very good and in the grand scheme of things, sometimes people couldnt get an appropriate pool of benefits; he supported allowing elected officials to buy into a pool of benefits and share with City employees.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, Mr. Alessio confirmed it was a possibility to allow elected officials to buy into benefits. He said the Council had an allowance of up to $2394 for medical benefits that could be reduced while still allowing elected officials to buy into the Citys plans as participants.
CM Turner said she was concerned about long term liability of retirement for people who served a few years on the Council and the City was then vested into paying for their retirement forever. She said she had been told the retirement was not optional and she would like to look at the structure to make the Council not be employees. She said the retirement was a bigger long-term financial issue than the medical, although the medical was quite expensive, and she wanted to explore what could be done within the legislation to not pay for Council retirement.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Mr. Alessio said the retirement benefit was governed by the Citys contract with CalPERS and staff could explore options there.
In response to questions by CM Turner, City Attorney Jason Alcala said when the City opted out of Social Security, one of the options required was to have a retirement plan; either CalPERS or PARS. He said the IRS considered most elected and appointed officials to be employees. He said staff could explore the issue further.
CM Gary said if Councilmembers were allowed to purchase benefits at the City group rate using their stipend, the language could be drafted so the stipend could be spent in an IRS-125 tax deferred medical purchase plan using pre-tax dollars.
He said research could be done to set limits as low as possible while still meeting the CalPERS requirement for something in lieu of Social Security to meet the IRS regulations. He asked for research on with what permanence the Council could make the decision by either voting on it right away, or under other constructs of election law to take effect upon the expiration of current sitting terms; and could anything further be done so the decision could not be changed on Council whim.
Mayor Marchand said there was about $125,000 in annual potential savings on elimination of the benefit package.
VM Woerner said there was a big problem with elected officials negotiating with unions then getting the same benefits for themselves. He said he did not think elected officials should be getting benefits because it was sort of the fox watching the henhouse problem. He asked staff what it would take to put this on the ballot as an initiative so it would be permanent unless the citizens voted otherwise. He said the Council should be leading as the least expensive in the area; when comparing with other cities, they should look at base stipends, allowances, and benefits with a simple structure of one number given to Council so members could spend as they saw fit.
CM Horner said he agreed with VM Woerner and did not believe the Council should receive benefits beyond the stipend; he did not want to see access to medical as motivation for running for an elected seat and would like to see it eliminated.
Mayor Marchand invited public comment.
John Stein, Livermore, spoke regarding benefits while serving as an elected official and said the City should not contribute to retirement benefits. He questioned long-term care on the list of benefits and said people should not run for office to get benefits.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, Acting City Manager Troy Brown said the long-term care was a Federal requirement for all employees and would not continue after a person left the Council.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Mr. Brown said there were many different packages, brokerage firms and benefits available to different Councils; he said Livermores current program required the benefit to be offered to all employees or none.
Mr. Brown said staff would research the ability for Council to purchase benefits with pre-tax dollars and would look at putting an initiative on the ballot to eliminate the benefits. He said this would require a subcommittee of two to write the ballot argument.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Mr. Brown said because 2014 was an election year there would be smaller costs associated with a ballot measure.
VM Woerner and Mayor Marchand volunteered to serve on the subcommittee.
CM Gary said the Council was not full-time, salaried and benefitted like a larger board of supervisors and suggested staff research benchmarking and limiting, capping, or tying the stipend to CPI or per-capita so a new Council could not quadruple the stipend.
In response to questions by CM Gary, City Attorney Jason Alcala said the amount the stipend or Council salary could be increased was capped by the government code at no more than 5% per year and there was an opportunity to put that on the ballot. He said any changes to Council salary would take effect after the election when the new Council was seated.
Mr. Brown said staff would investigate low-cost options for dealing with retirement either through PERS or PARS to see what options were available to the Council.
In response to questions by VM Woerner, Mr. Alcala said the City could establish an amount less than the 5% government code limitation.
VM Woerner requested a ballot measure to put a limit on the annual increase and suggested the increase be the lesser of 5% or the CPI.
Mr. Brown said the final conversation he heard from Council regarding the stipend was to benchmark against other communities and look at the stipend as a way to fund benefits.
Mayor Marchand clarified the subcommittee of himself and VM Woerner was relative to both conducting the benefits research and writing the ballot argument.
VM Woerner said while people shouldnt run for the benefits, not everyone could afford to be a self-funding volunteer. He said there was reason to defray normal expenses and staff could come back with some rationale as to what the level ought to be in comparison to other cities.
THE CITY COUNCIL DIRECTED STAFF TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON ADJUSTING COUNCIL COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS, AND THE PLAN FOR IMPLEMENTATION INCLUDING A POTENTIAL BALLOT MEASURE. MAYOR MARCHAND AND VM WOERNER WERE APPOINTED TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE TO REVIEW AND ADVISE STAFF.
6.03 Update on the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.
Recommendation: The report was for information only.
Police Lieutenant Matt Sarsfield and Crime Prevention Specialist Nicole Aguon presented the staff report.
In response to questions by VM Woerner, Ms. Aguon said staff saw the program being successful based on surrounding agencies that had been running the program for some time, although it was a new program for Livermore.
Lt. Sarsfield said staff had participated with other cities for initial training and were now planning a push for Livermore. He said staff had done a press release, received a few phone calls, and thought they would be able to grow the program fairly quickly.
VM Gary said the program was another great tool to effect community safety and policing.
Mayor Marchand said he had spoken with Tim May from the rental housing association; the program provided a great benefit, produced less turnover and made properties more desirable.
CM Turner said she had issues with things triggering on arrest rather than conviction.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Ms. Aguon said she did not have statistics based on the exposure of cities to lawsuits from wrongful arrests or wrongful convictions. She said San Ramon had an instance where someone did challenge the program in court, but they did not win.
THE CITY COUNCIL RECEIVED THE REPORT.
6.04 Discussion and direction regarding pending State or Federal legislation.
Mayor Marchand said Assemblymember Hernandez introduced a bill urging Congress to allow states and their municipalities to determine the best use of public, educational and government (PEG) funds.
7. COUNCIL COMMITTEE REPORTS AND MATTERS INITIATED BY CITY MANAGER, CITY ATTORNEY, STAFF AND COUNCILMEMBERS
7.01 Council Committee Reports and Matters Initiated by City Manager, City Attorney, Staff, and Councilmembers.
Intergovernmental Committee CM Horner said on March 24, 2014 he attended the meeting where Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District reported an extension of the current parcel tax would be placed on the June ballot.
Tri-Valley Transportation Council (TVTC) CM Horner said he attended the March 24, 2014 meeting. He said TVTC was working to establish a new fee schedule based on their nexus study to mitigate impacts of development on transportation.
CM Turner said she had no report.
Intergovernmental Committee CM Gary said on March 24, 2014 he attended the meeting with CM Horner.
Livermore Downtown Inc. CM Gary said he attended the board meeting on March 18, 2014. He requested staff research low-tech lighting options at the downtown parking lot to prevent loitering and policing problems behind the commercial businesses.
CM Gary requested staff prepare an update on the status of traffic on Vancouver.
Sister City Welcome VM Woerner said he welcomed students and delegates from Livermores sister city Yotsukaido, Japan.
Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) VM Woerner said on March 24, 2014, he chaired the Wheels Bus Projects and Services committee meeting where there was discussion on extra services for the Alameda County Fair and adjustments to current bus routes.
VM Woerner requested staff provide information on adjusting codes to include bus-friendly routing rather than individually reviewing projects.
Sandia Community Outreach Mayor Marchand said on March 6, 2014, he attended the event where there was a presentation on hydrogen cells and conversion to electricity.
Rotary International Students Mayor Marchand said on March 8, 2014 he attended the Rotary outreach event.
2014 Congressional City Conference Mayor Marchand said he attended the event in Washington, D.C. from March 10-14, 2014, including programs on education, public safety, and communications. He said other meetings included the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Agency, where there was discussion on iGATE and the Livermore Valley Open Campus. He also met with the Department of Transportation and spoke with Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau regarding BART to Livermore.
Sister City Welcome Mayor Marchand said on March 15, 2014 he attended the event with delegates from Yotsukaido, Japan to recognize the 35th anniversary of the Sister City program.
Cleantech Open Mayor Marchand said on March 18, 2014 he attended the event at the Livermore Valley Open Campus.
Police Department Retirement Mayor Marchand said on March 18, 2014 he attended the retirement ceremony for Officer Steve Vail.
Hindu Community and Cultural Center Mayor Marchand said on March 22, 2014 he participated in the Grant and Aid program where funding was given to non-profit agencies in the community.
Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair Mayor Marchand said on March 23, 2014 he presented the awards and said there were phenomenal student projects.
Mayor Marchand said April 26, 2014 there would be a community service day; those interested could sign up on JustServe.org.
Mayor Marchand said on March 25, 2014, Livermore Downtown Inc. was hosting the community workshop on the Downtown parking study; the workshop would be held at the Vine Theater from 7:00-9:00 pm.
8. ADJOURNMENT at 8:31 pm to a regular City Council meeting on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm, Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore.
JOHN P. MARCHAND, MAYOR
SUSAN NEER, CITY CLERK