Wednesday, March 22, 2023

My 3.22.23 Meeting Summary

Yesterday the Council met twice.  First in a Special Meeting where we had a closed session discussing potential full time City Manager candidates.  There was no reportable action, however I am optimistic regarding the ongoing process we are engaged in and hope to be able to share more information in the near future.

During our regular session, we discussed several significant items:

- First was an item from the Consent Calendar regarding the State mandated National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program (Storm Water Pollution Prevention).  The state requires that the City take certain steps to monitor and report on any water that is discharged into water conveyance systems, or anywhere that water drains to.  In connection with this program, there is a property tax assessment administered by the County on every parcel in Clayton.  The amount collected per parcel is $29/year and has been that amount since the year 2000.  There is no CPI riser on this assessment, and any increase requires a County wide vote.

Each year the amount collected for the Storm Water Assessment is approximately $128K.  The cost to administer the program, which includes County fees, inspection, monitoring, and associated permit fees consumes about 25% of the amount collected.  The remainder covers staff and engineering costs of the City who perform maintenance, cleaning, necessary equipment, management, and reporting.  Given that the revenues collected is flat and not increasing, and the costs to administer the program, including labor, is rising, it is certain that without additional funding the general fund will need to subsidize the activity necessary to meet the mandated state requirements.  We will be discussing more specific costs through our annual budgeting process.

- We then discussed the rental rates for Endeavor Hall.  We had previously gave direction to staff at our 2.21.23 meeting.  At that time, we gave direction to have a multi tiered billing schedule that would apply to Clayton based non-profits based on their annual gross revenues. For those non-profits with annual revenues under $10K, they could arrange to use Endeavor at no charge up to three times per year. For those non-profits with annual revenues between $10K and $150K, they could use Endeavor at the non-profit rate discounted 80%. For those non-profits with annual revenues greater than $150K, they could use Endeavor at the non-profit rate discounted 50%.

After previous discussion with representatives from the CBCA, I recommended that we modify the rate structure to collapse the higher two tiers into a single tier, and provide an 80% discount to Clayton based non-profits whose revenues exceed $10K/year.  I thought this was appropriate in recognition of the historic nature of Endeavor Hall, especially its significance in acting as a town center where many people can meet and gather.  In addition, this City facility held specific significance to the CBCA, and in a gesture of goodwill towards good faith discussions that the City will be having in the future, I was was glad to take this step toward that end.  

As such, we adopted an updated fee schedule for Endeavor Hall formalizing a two tier rate for Clayton based non-profits.  It is important to note that now, smaller Clayton based non-profits with annual revenues less than $10K, will have  formal recognition of their ability to utilize Endeavor Hall up to three times per year, at no charge.  It would be fantastic to see Endeavor become the regular meeting place of the many Clayton based groups that enhance the Clayton community.

- We then discussed updates to the Clayton municipal code regarding ADUs and JADUs.  State law has been updated over the last several years reducing the discretion that City's have over the requirements that can be imposed, as well as the approval process.  With this update, we conformed Clayton's municipal code to be in compliance with State law.  Thematically, the ordinance that we adopted makes it easier for homeowners to build ADUs on their property, provided that the ADU meets certain criteria primarily around overall size (1200 sqft or less) and lot coverage (no more than 55% for lots up to 7,000 sqft, on a sliding scale no greater than 35% for lots over 16,000 sqft).

- We then discussed authorizing the application for an energy efficiency loan through the State of California Energy Commission (CEC).  The CEC provides a credit facility whereby certain energy efficiency projects would qualify for funding at a 1% interest rate.  The funds from the state are pooled for all projects, and are provided on a first come first served basis.  If we are able to secure this funding, it would make larger scale energy projects more feasible for the City as 1% interest is lower than our cost of capital.  This application, even if successful, does not obligate the City to actually accept any funds, nor take any action at this time.  At our next meeting, we will be receiving a more detailed presentation from Climatec, a vendor we engaged to assess the viability of energy efficiency projects and decide how we want to proceed.

- We also had a GHAD meeting and I will provide a summary in my next post as the topic deserves it's own more thorough discussion.