City Council Preview: March 4 | Financial Report Key Agenda Item

South Pasadena City Council explores a variety of topics when it convenes in open session on Wednesday, March 4, at City Hall

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | Mayor Pro Tem Diana Mahmud at a February 19 City Council meeting at City Hall

Councilmembers will examine the city’s mid-year financial report when it convenes in open session at 7:30 p.m. on March 5 at South Pasadena City Hall.

City officials say the mid-year budget shows that the City of South Pasadena remains financially sound as general fund revenues are up 3% from last year, indicating a steady growth.

Similarly, there are no significant expenditure variances (49% expended) that would impact fund balances projected through the close of the year.

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Over the past couple of years, the city, according to a report prepared by new Finance Director Karen Aceves, has worked toward financial sustainability both by reducing expenditures in the operating funds wherever possible, and setting money aside for long term sustainability initiatives. These decisions have allowed the city to close out every year with a balanced budget despite significant increases in demands from CalPers. The city has also been receiving new state and local funding sources such as Measure M, Measure W, and Senate Bill 1 funds, which have slightly reduced the general fund burden.

South Pasadena passed Measure A in November 2019 increasing the sales tax by .75%, which will represent approximately a $1.5 million increase to the City’s general fund. The sales tax will start collecting in April 2020 and the city is anticipated to receive its first payment in July 2020. Although the cost of this ballot measure came in much higher than anticipated ($110,000 over budget) the city had operational savings to cover the difference.

Strategic Plan Update

The City Council will receive and file the city’s 2019-20 Strategic Plan Quarter 2 Update and approve modifications to the plan.

The Strategic Plan provides a comprehensive framework that ensures priorities set by the council are clear to all employees, goals are laid out that respond to priorities, and objectives are achieved that meet those goals.

City official point out the dynamics of the city may change over time and previously determined goals and objectives may need to be modified. In order to be responsive to the changing needs and interests of the community and to adhere to federal, state and local Jaws, modifications to the current strategic plan are being proposed. The modifications will redirect city resources, including city staff and funding, toward the state mandated Housing Element Update.

Traffic Enforcement Bureau

City Councilmembers will consider approving the creation of a Traffic Enforcement Bureau in the South Pasadena Police Department and convert an existing officer position to a corporal position to oversee the bureau.

In order to maintain a high level of service and address the increase in traffic complaints, SPPD Police Chief Joe Ortiz and Deputy Police Chief Brian Solinsky prepared a city report recommending the creation of a Traffic Enforcement Bureau.

Establishing a bureau they say would provide the city with a dedicated team and resources to address traffic enforcement and education. The proposed bureau will not require an additional position but will re-organize the existing Police Department staff. Staffing for bureau will consist of a corporal and two officers.

The city currently has only one officer dedicated to traffic. Now that the department is fully staffed, Ortiz and Solinsky believe the resources are available to create a stronger focus on traffic.

Council, city staff and council members continue to receive a significant number of traffic related complaints throughout the city. The primary complaints are those of speeding, reckless driving, and disobedience to traffic control devices.

Support for Energy Upgrade

A proclamation by the City of South Pasadena will be made declaring support for Energy Upgrade California, a national leader in energy conservation, embracing its residents’ and small businesses’ efforts to support our state’s clean energy and energy efficiency goals. These efforts have put the state on track to double energy efficiency, produce 33 percent of its energy from renewable resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2030.

Arbor Day Proclamation

A proclamation will be made recognizing March 7 as Arbor Day in South Pasadena. In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees; and this holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska, and Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world.

Trees reduce the erosion of the nation’s precious topsoil by wind and water, cutting heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen and provide habitat for wildlife; and trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for homes, fuel for fires and countless other wood products.

Commission Annual Reports/Work Plans

Every year, city commissions are required to provide an Annual Report and Work Plan to the City Council. The Annual Reports share accomplishments from the previous year, while the

Work Plans present objectives planned for the coming year. Both are presented to City Council as receive-and-file items.

Both documents are formally presented at the city’s annual Commissioners’ Congress event, which was held on Tuesday, February 25. Presentations were made by each commission chair regarding their top accomplishments from the previous fiscal year, while they summarized the coming year’s objectives.

626 Golden Streets Arroyo Fest

Council members will be asked to authorize City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe to execute professional services agreements with ActiveSGV in the amount of $210,000 and Right of Way, Inc. in the amount of $78,210 for service associated with the planning and hosting of the 626 Golden Streets Arroyo Fest November 15.

The City of South Pasadena, in collaboration with ActiveSGV, was awarded $420,000 from Metro to plan and host an Arroyo Fest open streets event.

The event will provide participants with an opportunity to experience the Arroyo Seco Parkway by walking, bicycling, scooting, and using other modes of transportation.

The proposed route will follow the original Arroyo Fest route from 2003 and feature approximately seven miles along the Arroyo Seco Parkway (SR-110) from Avenue 26 to the northern terminus by Glenarm Street. In addition, the route will run on Orange Grove Avenue from the SR-110 to Mission Street and along Mission Street from Orange Grove Avenue to Marengo Avenue.

City officials recommend using the grant funds to hire consultants to assist with the planning and operations of the event (ActiveSGV) and development of a traffic control plan (ROW) to preserve traffic flow and maintain safety. Initiation of these two PSAs is necessary to ensure adequate time and coordination to develop a well-organized and enjoyable event.

The city will utilize staff time or in-kind contributions to meet the 20% local match requirement for the grant.

In September 2018, the Metro Board awarded $4 million for Cycle 3 of the Open Streets Grant Program to fund a series of regional car-free events for people to walk or bike.

The city was able to secure $420,000 from the Metro Open Streets Grant Program for outreach, pre-event planning, and day of event staging costs associated with the hosting of the 626 Golden Streets Arroyo Fest.

Last December, the City Council authorized the City Manager to accept a grant award from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the amount of $420,000.

Planning Grant Program

City staff submitted an application for $160,000 to develop and implement an electronic permitting system for the Planning and Community Development Department.

The goal of the new electronic permitting system is to improve and expedite the local planning process. On February 26, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) informed city staff that specific language must be included in the resolution. City staff is recommending adoption of a revised resolution in accordance with HCD’s guidelines to complete the city’s SB 2 grant application.

Agreement with Place Works

The City Council will be asked to authorize City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe to execute a professional services agreement with Place Works in the amount of $267,598 to update the city’s Housing Element.

In accordance with state law, the City of South Pasadena is required to update its housing element every eight years with the new Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocations.

The city recently received a new draft allocation of 2,061 housing units and must submit an updated housing element by October 15, 2021. The new allocation is significantly higher than previous years (over 3,000 percent increase from the previous RHNA allocation) and is the result of recent changes in State legislation and Governor Newsom’s goal to build 3.5 million housing units by 2025. City staff released a request for proposals (RFP) for the 2021 Housing Element Update but only received one proposal.

Public Hearing Height Limits

The council will conduct a public hearing for first reading and introduction of an ordinance for regarding parkway landscaping height limits at intersections.

Authorize Commission Appointment

The City Council will be asked to appoint Edward Elsner to the city’s Finance Commission.