The Week Ahead - Ugh!
THREE BIG MEETINGS
There are three major meetings scheduled this week. Monday, May 14th, the Planning Commission will meet in City Council chambers at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 15th, the City Council will hold their last regularly scheduled meeting of the month, also at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. Thursday, May 17th, at 4:30 there will be a special Study Session in Council Chambers. (As a note, there will also be Special Study Sessions on Thursday, May 24th and Tuesday, May 29th)
PLANNING COMMISSION FIRST
The Planning Commission meeting, led by Colin McCarthy, will have a few important issues to discuss. You can read the agenda HERE.
There will be a Code Enforcement update, HERE.
Then we will hear a proposal from an applicant hoping to build a recycling facility on the Westside, HERE.
And there will be a proposal to amend the city code as it refers to the installation of Wireless Telecommunication facilities in the Public Right of Way, HERE.
COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE A LONG ONE
Tuesday's council meeting is absolutely LOADED with items that may stretch it into Wednesday morning.
MORE LEGAL FEES
In the Consent Calendar there are the usual Warrants for payment of city bills. In the second one, #2420, HERE, we find two entries for legal services. The first is for our contract legal counsel, Jones and Mayer, for $119,879.54. The second is for the high-priced firm of Jones Day for the CMCEA litigation in the amount of $95,283.08. So, once again, we rack up more than $215,000 in legal bills! And, keep in mind that the Jones Day contract is open-ended - that pot of gold just keeps growing and growing for them.
The final item on the Consent Calendar deals with Federal grants for bicycle related projects. You can read the Staff Report HERE. In a nutshell, the three projects combined are worth almost $1,670,000 of which $1,011,768 is grant funds and the remainder of $466,592 are matching dollars the city must provide. Sounds like a good deal.
The first Public Hearing, which is theoretically scheduled to commence at 7:00, is the proposal to convert a now-vacant drive-thru credit union facility into a drive-thru and walk-in Starbucks facility. The staff report is HERE. In addition there are seven (7) attachments that provide a mountain of information, including correspondence and site plans. Click on these links to reach those attachments:
1 - Location maps and plans
2 - Draft Resolutions
3 - Appeal and Review Request
4 - Applicant's Email Response
5 - Approval Letter and Exhibits
6 - Planning Commission Resolution
7 - Correspondence
ANTICIPATE A LONG DISCUSSION
This is a "de novo" hearing, which means that it is a "start over" event. That means it could be a long, long evening right from the get-go. Among the issues that seem to be problematic are noise, hours of operation, conflict with a contiguous neighbor and traffic impact on 17th Street. I anticipate, based on the amount of correspondence and the activities of Eastside activists, that we can probably expect several people to speak.
VACATING AN ALLEY
Public Hearing #2 is a request to vacate an existing dead-end alley next to Pinkley Park in exchange for major park improvements. You can read that staff report HERE.
REDUCING PARKING REQUIREMENTS?
The only Old Business item is the revision of our ordinance on off-street parking for places that serve food and beverages, HERE. This is a strange one because it actually REDUCES the parking requirements in a town with under-parked malls everywhere.
RENEWING THE BIA
New Business #1 is the re-authorization of the Business Improvement Area (BIA) - those 10 hotels that take in an additional 3% in TOT with which they "market" our city worldwide. According to the staff report HERE, occupancy and revenue numbers are up significantly, so this program seems to be working.
ALCOHOL AT CONCERTS IN THE PARK - AGAIN
New Business #2 is the request from the Costa Mesa Community Foundation to, again, sell beer and wine during the Concerts In The Park series this summer. Read the staff report HERE. No problems were reported last year, so I expect this will pass.
COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS - MAYBE
New Business #3 is the long-delayed Appointments To Committees, HERE. Some will recall that last fall this council stiffed more than three dozen applicants for committees, apparently because they didn't get enough cronies to apply. There certainly could have been no other reason. So, back we are again now. There are also two attachments:
1 - Committee and Applicant Information
2 - Committee Rosters and Applications
Good luck to all who have applied this time around. We hope you've been found sufficiently worthy to be allowed to serve our city. (NOTE: Tongue firmly planted in cheek!)
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL DECISIONS
The next five (5) items under New Business are staff recommendations for specific functions or units for which Outsourcing Requests For Proposals had been solicited and evaluated. I'll cover each one for you.
In New Business #4 the staff is recommending that this function be outsourced to G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc., a company that provides similar services to many cities around Southern California. According to the staff report, HERE, and the attachment, HERE, this company says they can save the City more than $3 million over the life of the contract - three years with two one-year extensions. The anticipated savings the first year is over $600,000. The contract may not be consummated until the injunction is lifted and the vendor guarantees their proposal for six (6) months. There seem to be no guarantees about using existing city staff, but the staff report contains this boilerplate at the end: "City management will take steps to work with impacted employees with compassion and creativity to reduce the impact of this transition on employees and the organization." I don't know about you, but I sure feel better already! (Again, tongue in cheek)
Under New Business #5 the staff is recommending outsourcing the street sweeping operations to Arakelian Enterprises, Inc. dba Athens Services. This company provides similar services throughout Southern California. According to the staff report, HERE, the City had seven (7) bids, including one from the Costa Mesa Sanitary District for management only. The city sweeping staff also made a bid after the others were received. Athens bid was for $478,800, a savings of over $87,000 compared to the city's budgeted number. This is a five (5) year contract with three (3) one-year extensions. Plus, they will use all new equipment, may buy one of the city's 5 sweepers and may rent space for office and equipment in the City Corporate yard. I find myself wondering why they would do that since they are probably using Newport Beach's facility because they sweep their streets now. There are three attachments:
1 - Agreement with Arakelian Enterprises
2 - RFP "book"
3 - List of Orange County Cities street sweeping services
Apparently the staffing situation on this one is a little easier to manage. The two full time members will be transitioned back to other jobs they held previously and the two part-time retirees may be able to work out a deal with Athens. We'll see. In any event, nothing can happen until the injunction is lifted - if ever.
BUILDING INSPECTION SERVICES
New Business #6 is Building Inspection Services. The staff is recommending that all bids be rejected and that a "hybrid model" be implemented. You can read the staff report HERE and the attachments - RFP book, HERE and Cost Analysis and Hybrid Model HERE. Two vacant inspector positions would be eliminated and all layoff notices previously issued
will be rescinded.
ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES
New Business #6 is Animal Control Services. The report is HERE. The recommendation is to reject all bids and rescind the layoff notices.
VIDEO PRODUCTION SERVICES
The final RFP considered on this agenda is Video Production Services. The staff recommends rejecting all bids and rescinding the layoff notices. You can read the staff report HERE and the RFP book HERE.
So, there you have it. In the first round of 18 units or functions considered under this ill-advised scheme, the Building Inspection, Animal Control and Video Production folks will retain their jobs and the folks who operate our Jail and sweep our streets will not. Now they just have to mark time until the legal drama plays out knowing once the injunction is removed they are out on the streets.
STUDY SESSION AGENDA PENDING
There is no published agenda for the Special Study Session on Thursday, May 17th, but we expect to see Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold's proposal for re-structuring the Costa Mesa Fire Department as well as the latest edition of the Preliminary Budget - with all the fabricated "wish list" items included. This one could be brutal, as the staff tries to find dollars to fund Jim Righeimer's political future at the expense of city staff.