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.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 11.2.21

There are two significant items on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting:
  • There will be discussion regarding how the city utilizes ARPA funding and various options for distributing funds in connection with various COVID-19 related impacts to the community.  The Council will recommend which types of programs and parameters to implement and from that our consultants will prepare a resolution for adoption at the following meeting

  • We will also hear an update on SB9 and SB10 from our City Attorney with a discussion on potential next steps the city may take.
If you have any questions or comments on the above, please let me know.