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City focuses on completing projects, codes

With all present at the Nov. 14 meeting of the Portola City Council, a brief agenda meant a briskly paced meeting that revolved around resolutions, ordinances and finances.

Public comment

Robbin Anderson of the Citizens Climate Lobby spoke first, noting her horror at the recent fire in Paradise, stating, “We must do something.” Anderson asked the council to consider taking a stance regarding climate change being a reality, and the need to take action.

Chief Bob Frank of Eastern Plumas Rural Fire also spoke, updating the room on a fire called in at 7:07 a.m. that morning. “There was heavy smoke up behind the hospital, and after searching, found the fire.” The fire burned about 1 acre and was knocked down in about 30 minutes, according to Frank.

“Between Eastern Plumas and the Forest Service, it really did get knocked down quickly,” Frank said. “The fire was 50 feet into city limits and 60 feet into forest service property, and is 100 percent out at this time.”

Larry Douglas, a longtime local, discussed the cost of the Sonoma/Napa fires and recovery, and also thanked Council member Phil Oels for his ongoing work in making the community Fire Wise.

Ordinance 352

After many hours of work, Ordinance 352 reached the stage of introduction and waiving of the second reading.

The ordinance adopts municipal code amendments to chapters 5.06, 9.33, and Title 17 of the Portola Municipal Code. “We’ve gone over the ordinance in detail,” said Interim City Manager Leslie Chrysler. “This is the clean version of the document.”

After a unanimous roll call vote, the ordinance passed, with a note that it will again be on the agenda Nov. 28 for adoption.

Resolution 2375 – CalPERS

The Portola City Council adopted a resolution and approved budget amendments to complete the lump sum payment of $400,000 to its CalPERS obligation, refinancing from a 30-year to 15-year payment schedule.

The lump sum payment creates an opportunity to halt a potential payment increase to CalPERS, which could reach as much as $100,000 per year.

Rio De Las Plumas Sierra Ridge

In 2004, developer Doug Auer submitted plans for an “infill” project known as Sierra Ridge, which included property west of West Street and West Loyalton.

Chrysler noted, “There were quite a few issues with the project, and end result is that the project was never completed.”

The city received a security deposit of $10,000 from the developer, with the current balance being held under certain terms.

Chrysler reviewed the obligations of the declarant with the room, which states, “The declarant shall deposit the sum of $10,000 with the City and said deposit is for the City to hold and use if it becomes necessary for the City to complete or mitigate the negative effects of partial or incorrect performance of the project by the declarant.”

Under these stipulations, with Chrysler definitively declaring the project not viable at this time, the funds will be moved and added to the budget under General Fund, Public Works Department, and the Maintenance Code.

This would allow the funds to be used to secure the area of the project with K-rail like blocks to prevent unauthorized trespassing, replace missing manhole covers, and locate and cap open sewer lines to prevent infiltration. The budget amendment was approved unanimously.

Code compliance officer

Interviews for the vacant Code Compliance Officer position were conducted Oct. 22, with the top candidate interviewed a second time Oct. 30.

According to Chrysler, a conditional offer of employment has been made, dependent upon completion of background check, medical exam and drug test.

“After we get through all of that, there will be costs associated with the new position, needing a budget amendment, which would also cover a revision to the COPS revenue to account for growth funds and a change to the Sheriff Services expenditures, to reflect the actual contract cost,” Chrysler concluded.

Council approved the recommended budget amendment.

City clerk and treasurer stipend discussion

The next agenda item addressed involved the voted-for positions of city clerk and city treasurer, and recommended that City Council take action to recognize the elected positions as ceremonial, and establish a compensation to align more fully with the actual duties required of either position.

It was noted that in the past, the monthly stipend was not commensurate with duties of the elected officials, and therefore, Resolution 2376 has been prepared to set compensation at $25 a month.

The amount was noted to be a reflection of the reality over the last few decades, and after a roll call vote, the resolution was passed.

Finance report and budget amendments

City Finance Officer Susan Scarlett wrapped up the meeting with a look at finance, beginning with an overview of budget amendments in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Many of the amendments reflect revenue recognition, including unanticipated FEMA revenue in the amount of $95,000, additional COPS funding due to growth funds, and additional sheriff services per contract.

Scarlett noted, “There is a budget amendment for the increaser in transfer needed for the Street Fund, and a decrease in transfers needed for Snow Removal, which was less than expected by about $25,000.”

Scarlett also spoke about the fact that a new fund, 211, was started during the year to track the Road Maintenance and Repair funding.

When it comes to FEMA, Scarlett also stated that the City is still sitting on some FEMA funds that are earmarked to pay for church drainage issues.

Other amendments included previously addressed items such as the approved Bagela Asphalt Recycler, skid steer, and roller purchased by Public Works for road repairs.

Scarlett also gave what she termed “a very preliminary, early look” at city finance reports through Oct. 31.

Some notable items included the completion of payment of the Solid Waste deficit to the General Fund, and an increase in Sewage Fund 720, which has grown from $215,858.56 in 2016 to $1,181,621.41.

Looking over the preliminary reports, Scarlett added that all is looking as expected overall with more to come in the future, and Mayor Pat Morton closed the meeting.

The Portola City Council welcomes all to regularly held meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. For more information, contact City Hall at 832-6803, or visit cityofportola.com to view City documents.

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