Tuesday, December 7, 2021

12.7.21 Meeting Summary

Tonight there was one significant item on the agenda:
  • Tonight the Council took action to reorganize the leadership positions of the Council and selected Councilmember Cloven to serve as Mayor.  Councilmember Diaz nominated me to serve as mayor which failed on a vote of 2-3.  Thereafter Councilmember Tillman nominated Cloven to serve as Mayor and that passed on a vote of 3-2 with myself and Councilmember Diaz voting no.  While I am disappointed I will not serve as Mayor as long as the bloc of Wolfe, Tillman, and Cloven are on this Council, I will continue to vote my conscious and my votes on matters counts just the same.

    Councilmember Tillman was chosen to serve as Vice Mayor on a vote of 4-1 with myself voting no.

  • During my council report, I raised the issue of Hero Pay for our Clayton Police Officers in connection with ARPA funds.  While our immediate focus was on local businesses and households impacted by COVID, I want to stress the work above and beyond that our police officers and staff put in and continues to put in during this period that has been so heavily impacted by COVID.  I received a letter from the Clayton Police Officer's Association that detailed much of the activity that the police has done during this time, much of which goes unseen.

    For our next round of funding, I am requesting that our Police Officers are recognized with ARPA funding which is an allowable use of funds.  Given our small number of officers and police staff, a small portion of our available ARPA funds will go a long way and I am wholly in support of that and our officers.

  • In addition, the Clayton Successor and Successor Housing Agencies met approving an obligation payment schedule.  This is regular business that provides for payment of debt related to previous housing Redevelopment Agencies in Clayton.

  • The Oakhurst Geological Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) also met for it's annual reorganization.  I reiterated my request for a list and schedule of activities performed by the GHAD in the spirit of transparency and accountability.  I have been asking for this item for multiple years I believe.  It's perplexing why a list and schedule has not been forthcoming given the work is being performed and an internal schedule must exist.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 12.7.21

At our next meeting there are several things on our consent calendar that are taking care of administrative items.  The only significant item is the reorganization of the council selecting a new Mayor and Vice Mayor.

There will also be a meeting of the Clayton Successor & Successor Housing Agencies, and the Oakhurst Geological Hazard Abatement District.  These meetings will also focus on administrative items that are required to be approved.

If you have any thoughts or questions on the above, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Meeting Updates and Clayton Cares ARPA Program

There were two special meetings this week:

11.29.21 - The council met in closed session to authorize moving forward with certain litigation.  There's an entire process to this and a period of time available to take action avoiding such litigation so pending that I'll hold on further information at this time.  What is discussed in closed session is not allowed to be disclosed.

11.30.21 - The council met and discussed two items:

  • Three people submitted applications for the open Planning Commissioner seat to fulfill the remainder of a term that concluded in Jun-22.  The Council decided to appoint Any Hines-Shaikh to fill the open position on a vote of 3-2, with myself and Councilmember Diaz voting no.  I felt that Ms. Hines-Shaikh responses in favor of greater housing density and her disappointment with the high cost of homes in Clayton was not consistent with what the majority of residents in town believed, and it was inconsistent with one of my core goals of maintaining and increasing property values within Clayton.

    Regardless, the majority of the Council disagreed.  I wish Ms. Hines-Shaikh the best of luck going forward and thank the other candidates who applied and put themselves out there to go through this process.

  • We also held a closed session for a performance evaluation with our City Manager.

I'd also like to share news regarding the launch of the Clayton Cares ARPA programs for businesses and non-profits, as well as individual households.  Information can be found at the city website here:  https://claytonca.gov/claytoncares/  The application period runs from 12.1.21 through 1.31.22. for businesses and, through 2.28.22 for households.  All amounts will be distributed to qualifying applicants on a first come first served basis so be sure to apply as soon as possible if you are eligible.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Upcoming Council Meetings 11.29.21 and 11.30.21

Usually we have meetings on the first and third Tuesday's of each month, however this month there will be two special meetings, one each today and tomorrow.  With the holiday's I haven't been able to update timely, but wanted to make sure I let folks know about these.

The first which is tonight (11.29.21) has only one item on the agenda and that is a closed session item regarding anticipated litigation.  Because this is closed session, I can't share more regarding what this is about, but if the Council takes reportable action I'll communicate that.

The second meeting tomorrow (11.30.21) has two significant items on the agenda:
  • Interview candidates for a vacant Planning Commissioner position.  There is an opening for the remainder of a term which ends in June of 2022 due to a resignation of a former Commissioner.  The Council will interview candidates and vote on a person to assume the remainder of the current term.

  • There will also be a closed session for a performance evaluation of our City Manager.

If you have any thoughts or questions about any of the above, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

11.16.21 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council discussed a few significant items:
  • We introduced an ordinance that would change our municipal code to allow for outdoor cultivation of marijuana for personal use.  Currently, only indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed, up to six plants.  The new ordinance would continue to have a limit of six total plants on a given property and only allow cultivation for personal use.  In addition, plants grown outdoors would be required to be behind a locked gate and not visible from the public right of ways.  

    This was the first reading of the updated ordinance.  Typically there are two readings required so we will see this item again on the next ,meeting agenda, and take effect shortly after that.

  • We also approved the parameters for the Clayton Cares Program - the program designed to distribute ARPA funding for those businesses and households impacted by COVID-19.  The parameters were designed to distribute funds as quickly as possible in the first tranche, and therefore funds will be distributed on a first come first served basis.  If we do not exceed our allotment, we may advance future tranches.  

    There are a number of criteria that are required to be eligible, and differ whether the recipient is a business or an individual.  Most businesses that render services or sell goods to others within the city of Clayton, has an active business license and has been in business prior to the beginning of March-21, would be eligible with certain documentation and attestation requirements.

    Individuals would be eligible if they reside in Clayton as of the early March-21 date, and have household income below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Contra Costa County.  AMI is sliding scale that increases based on the number of individuals within a household.

    I'm glad we were able to move quickly on this program.  The initial amounts in this first tranche are not overly large, but hopefully these assist some of those that have been impacted by COVID-19.  We will take the data from this tranche to inform how we structure future tranches.

  • We also approved a change to the types of public works projects that are subject to competitive bidding.  In the current state, any public works project in excess of $5,000 was required to go through a competitive bidding process.  To expedite projects and streamline processes, we increased this threshold to $60,000.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 11.16.21

There are a couple significant items on the agenda at the next meeting 11.16.21:

  • We will be discussing an initial program to distribute ARPA funds.  These funds are being distributed to Clayton in two equal tranches totaling approximately $2.9M.  The first tranche has been received and the second will be received in the first half of 2022.  At our previous meeting, we asked our consultants to come back with a proposal that reflected a focus on assisting those businesses in Clayton that have been impacted by COVID-19.

  • The proposal that we will be discussing includes allocating approximately 75% of funds towards business grants, and 25% towards household assistance (for households below 50 of Contra Costa County area median income).  There would be an application process, and a few criteria that would need to be satisfied.  Included in the proposal is a provision that funds would be distributed on a first come first served basis.

  • We will also be discussing updating our purchasing policy to relax some competitive bidding requirements for smaller scale projects.  Currently any project over $5,000 is required to go through a competitive bidding process.  For smaller scale work, this longer process acts as a deterrent to contractors who may be qualified to do the work.  The city is seeking to modify when a competitive bidding process would be required to those projects that exceed $60,000 consistent with state law that provides for this change.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the above, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

11.2.21 Meeting Summary

Last night the council met to discuss two significant items.  While we didn't take any direct action, we gave direction to staff in a couple areas:
  • First we continued our discussion regarding ARPA funds.  Our consultants presented on the results of community and business surveys, and various options that were available to us.  While there were five categories of spend that were eligible under ARPA, the Council directed staff to focus on two of them - assistance to businesses and direct assistance to households.  While the details need to be solidified and ultimately voted on, the direction I suggested and the Council agreed with was for staff to craft a plan with the following general parameters:

    For the available funds, these would be split between businesses and households in a 75:25 split.  Because we didn't have precise figures around the eligible population in these categories, we asked to target distribution of 50% of our total funds by the end of calendar year 2021.  By using tranches, we mitigate the risk of demand exceeding supply.  Our total allocation is approximately $2.9M, with an amount reserved for administrative overhead.  This means that of that amount, we would target distributing approximately 50% of the remainder by the end of 2021, or $1.25M.

    For businesses, eligibility would rely on a few factors - attestation of impact due to COVID-19, possessing a business license in the City of Clayton that has been in place since at least March of 2021, and potentially business tax returns. 

    For households, eligibility would rely on a few factors - attestation of impact due to COVID-19, household within the city, and household income below 50% of area median income.

    We had open questions about the method that the above information would be furnished by potential recipients and how it will be tracked and stored.  There was also open questions regarding potential tax treatment of ARPA assistance and if it were advantageous to structure the assistance in any particular way.  The above is not final and staff will address these questions and come back with a draft proposal for the Council to approve - hopefully at our next meeting.  

  • We also discussed the impact of SB9 and SB10 on our city.  With the direction that housing law is moving in California, there is less and less discretion that city's retain in this area of the law.  I suggested that we direct staff to craft an approach that is the most restrictive and provides the most discretion to the city that is within the law.  The Council agreed and staff will come back with a more fleshed out approach that we can officially adopt.