Wednesday, December 20, 2023

My 12.19.23 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss several significant items:

- First the Oakhurst Geological Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) Board met to select a new Chair and Vice Chair.  Board Member Cloven was chosen to be the Chair, and I was chosen to be the Vice Chair.  We then discussed an update to the Plan of Control for the District.  The Plan of Control categorizes geologic hazards and identifies the plan regarding how the District is to prevent, mitigate, and abate these hazards.

The GHAD funding level is insufficient to perform virtually all of the activities specified in the Plan of Control.  In addition, the existing plan is somewhat outdated in that it was created in the early 1990s and does not contemplate replacement of infrastructure.  The GHAD General Manager recommended that we update the Plan of Control prior to preparing a ballot proposal to increase the GHAD assessments for those residences within the District.

The order of operations go something like this:
  1. Update Plan of Control
  2. Request approval of additional assessments to support Plan of Control activities.
If residents approve #2, then there would be no further action needed.  If #2 is rejected, then the Plan of Control would need to be severely curtailed and basically all non-administrative functions of the GHAD would cease.  At that point the Board would likely consider terminating the GHAD all together.

The District General Manager will return early in 2024 and bring forward the updated Plan of Control for approval, and updates on the plan to request additional funding from the residents.

- Next at the regular Council meeting, we held a Public Hearing to update certain City ordinances necessary to implement provisions of the updated Housing Element as required by State law.  This has been a very long process going through multiple iterations in front of the Council, the Planning Commission, and with City staff working with California Housing and Community Development (HCD).  The updates were approved 4-0 (Councilmember Cloven was absent).

While there are several areas where I dislike State law regarding housing, the City is still required to comply with the law and by approving these updates to the Housing Element the City is seeking to do so.  We are still pending approval from HCD.

- We then discussed the Audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR).  It was noted that for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023 the City's General Fund reflected a deficit of approximately $183K.  Through discussion we determined that some context to that figure was missing - specifically the fact that included within the $183K deficit, was spending of over $190K for certain one time purchases was made during the year and these amounts were specifically designated to come out of various ear marked funds.  The General Fund deficit would be extinguished completely had we excluding these one time spending amounts.

- We then discussed the damage to the Cardinet trail from the Jan 2023 storms, and what actions the City has available to it.  Our City Engineer requested an additional appropriate in order to begin design and engineering work necessary to repair the damaged trail sections.  The City has been in discussion with FEMA as well as other State agencies and while the City would need to front the cost of repairs, we would seek reimbursement for around 96% of the costs associated with repairs.   The Council authorized $50K to be spent toward this effort in order to qualify for the reimbursement process.  There will be more information to come in the next few months about how this work will proceed.

- We appointed myself and Vice Mayor Trupiano to the City Sponsored Special Events Committee. 

- We updated Council assignments for various standing and ad hoc committees.