Tuesday, April 21, 2020

4.21.20 Meeting Summary

We met this evening again via Zoom due to shelter in place rules.  A few significant items were discussed:
  • Our new Finance Manager gave an update as to the expected timing of a draft of the FY21 budget.  This is especially important because due to position vacancies, we did not engage in our regular mid year budget review where we assess how the city is doing with respect to plan. 

    In addition, the following year budget is typically prepared a bit earlier.  The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain and we would expect to see significant downward pressure on sales tax and gas tax revenues.  The current plan is to present a draft FY21 budget at the first meeting in June.
  • The council voted unanimously to issue a proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride month and fly the Pride Flag at at least 3 city owned flagpoles around town.  I was happy to support this.  Gay rights are civil rights.   I support all civil rights.   Issuing a proclamation and raising a flag is the smallest of gestures, but these gestures could go a long way to communicating a message of inclusiveness that all members of our community are welcome and I'm glad to do it. 

    The right to love whom one chooses is fundamental to our sense of ordered liberty. In 1959, Hannah Arendt wrote against the idea of miscegenation "The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which 'the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one's skin or color or race' are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' ... and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs."

    And while the question of marriage has been answered in this country, treatment of LGBT community members still has distance to go. Raising the Pride Flag is a small step towards making sure that every member of our community is treated with dignity.
  • The Council also voted unanimously to expand the preferential parking permit program near Regency Gate extending the program from Saturday and Sunday 8am-6pm to 24/7 seven days a week during the Shelter in Place (SIP) order.  According to the SIP order, while exercise is exempt from the order, people are to be discouraged from traveling in order to exercise.  Allowing parking in this area facilitating large groups to travel to hike from Regency Gate is contrary to the SIP order.   At this time, there are at times hundreds or more people congregating towards Regency Gate to hike and this causes all the problems the preferential parking program was meant to alleviate, as well as increased overall health risks in connection with COVID-19.

    The area covered by the permit program was also expanded to the bottom of Regency Dr. since there are no residences in that area and the same rationale applies.

    I was concerned about the quick action here, new temporary signs have been ordered and are expected to be installed tomorrow.  I encouraged the Chief of Police to exercise discretion over tickets issued to residents who inadvertently violate the parking ordinance and get cited based on a change in the rules.
I also requested a future item to explore the potential of increasing the fine for parking at Regency without a permit.  Currently the fine is set at $45 and it appears that some are choosing to simply pay the fine as the cost of parking.  Rather than trying to get revenue, the fine is primarily meant to create a deterrent so people would choose not to park there.  If the fine is set sufficiently low it does not serve that purpose.  I asked our City Attorney to explore the potential of raising the fine with the objective of increasing it to the maximum amount allowable, not necessarily the safest least objectionable amount.