Wednesday, December 6, 2023

My 12.5.23 Meeting Summary and a Year in Review

Last night the Council met to discuss two significant items:

- We conducted our annual Mayoral and Vice Mayoral selection.  The Council chose Councilmember Diaz to serve as Mayor on a vote of 3-1-1 with Cloven voting no and Tillman abstaining.  Councilmember Trupiano was chosen unanimously to be our next Vice Mayor.

- We also discussed standby pay for Maintenance workers.  Previously when a maintenance call came in after hours, it was an ad hoc process for getting a hold of the appropriate staff.  Adopting a policy for standby pay formalizes a process by which a rotation of Maintenance staff would be designated to be on call and available should any after hours work be needed.  This occurs approximately 2-3 times per week.  As the City is then requiring staff to be available, it is fair that they be compensated for that and the Council unanimously approved Standby pay of $50/day for the staff member that is designated.


As I end my rotation as Mayor, I wanted to to take a moment to review some of the things the City has accomplished over the past year. I’ve wrote about each of these as they occurred at my website, however I thought it worthwhile to gather them all in one place.

Quality of Life:

- We approved a resolution in support of Our Neighborhood Voices – a grass roots movement to truly restore local control for housing matters.

- By waiting on approving an increase to speed limits in town, we took advantage this year of a new state law allowing us to preserve our existing speed limits.

- Approved security enhancements for City Hall at the request of our Police Department

- We moved public comment on non-agenda items to the beginning of the agenda to increase predictability allowing more people to participate in our meetings.

Staff Operations and Efficiency:

- We updated our antiquated process for signing physical checks increasing staff efficiency.

- We closed City Hall to the public one day per week to allow staff focused time to work and increase efficiency.

- We polled city staff and asked them what technology or tools they could use to make their work more efficiency and approved funding for several of these items including maintenance and police equipment.

- We updated Council guidelines to reduce burden on staff and formalize how agenda items are brought forward

- Approved implementation of agenda management software to increase efficiency

- Approved implementation of public works communication tool to make it easier for the public to report issues around town and increase staff efficiency

- Executed contract to outsource business license administration to make staff work more efficient

- Completed a comprehensive review of our Maintenance department to establish a service level baseline

- Completed a comprehensive review of the Oakhurst Geological Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) activities and assessment of the GHAD overall. This work provides essential documentation as we move forward on how to address service level issues.

- We hired a full time City Manager, and filled other key staff vacancies.

- We approved an update to our Housing Element as required that is pending approval from CA HCD

- We adopted a policy on City Sponsored Special Events to add clarity.

- We prepared an organizational master calendar for all departments to help begin to assess levels of service.

- Revived National Night Out increasing engagement between our Police and residents.

City Finances:

- We updated our Investment Policy and began more robust reviews of our investments shifting o higher yield products.

- We were awarded a 1% interest loan to fund the largest infrastructure work in Clayton since Oakhurst was constructed. This project will install solar for City facilities, replace lighting throughout the City, install electric vehicle charging, and install water efficiency tools to reduce excessive waste.

- We negotiated and approved an updated agreement with Republic Services complying with new State requirements.

- We conducted a fee study and updated our Master Fee Schedule to capture actual costs and provide a mechanism for fees to always match actual costs. Historically this had not been done so by updating our policies we made all future fee activity more efficient.


While these are a lot of things in a single year, there remains a great deal ahead of us. When the people of Clayton re-elected me in 2022, I made a commitment to not push for any tax increase unless it was a last resort. This means going through a comprehensive process to first understand if there was a problem, determine the scope of the problem, the causes of the problem, and evaluate potential solutions. Only then could a course of action be decided upon and executed. I wrote in detail about this assessment process here:

It certainly has been an exciting year and there is more to come. What we took on this year that hadn’t been done previously was to begin to gather the information necessary to assess where we are as a City. Instead of rushing out pushing an idea of an exorbitant tax increase immediately, I took a more measured and prudent approach. Doing this allows us as a City to make smarter choices, have more thoughtful conversations, and ultimately coalesce around a better approach that works for the City.

After we complete these assessments we as a City will need to determine how to align our revenues with our spending and service delivery, and make choices on the levels of each. I look forward to the discussion as we continue to move forward.