Claremont Insider: Council Meets Tonight

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Council Meets Tonight

Tonight's City Council meeting features the first full meeting for newcomer Larry Schroeder and for Corey Calaycay as mayor.

The council meets in its chambers at City Hall, located at 225 W. 2nd St. in the Claremont Village. The meeting starts off in a very traditional way, with a special closed session at 5:15pm. You can view the closed session agenda here. You can also watch live on the City's website.

The council will hear reports from City Manager Jeff Parker on negotiations for "the potential acquisition or disposition" of the Peppertree Square property at southeast corner of Arrow Hwy. and Indian Hill Blvd.

The council will also hear a reports from Parker on negotiations with Golden State Water on the potential water company purchase. (Don't expect any new news on this one.)

In the final closed session item, Parker will report to the council on negotiations with Jamboree Housing Corp. regarding the proposed affordable housing project at the old Courier building site on S. College Ave. next to the railroad tracks.

The council will reconvene for their public session at 6:30pm. The regular session agenda is posted here. After a short report on the closed session, the council will consider some of these items:
  • Under "Ceremonial Matters, Presentations, and Announcements," the council will receive a presentation titled "State and Federal Budget Overview, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Overview." We've got no idea what this one's about, but we suspect it may include the unveiling of the $1.8 million earmark Congressman David Dreier included in the 2009 Federal Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

  • The council is also being asked to approve six side letter agreements with the City's six employee associations. The associations agreed to compensation and benefit reductions totalling $1,159,000 for fiscal year 2009-10.

    Among the employees' concessions are: foregoing this year's 3% cost-of-living adjustment; eliminating the Pay for Performance plan through the end of 2010 (we pay plenty for staff's performances as it is); the Health and Fitness Reimbursement program through the end of 2010 (because we've seen how successful that's been - see recent photo of Police Chief Cooper, right).

  • City Manager Parker is asking the council for approval to enter into a three-year agreement with a company called CGI Communications, Inc., for something called a community showcase program" at no cost to the city.

    CGI apparently will apparently create a web presence for the City to market itself (for a fee). They've done this with other comparable cities like Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where CGI created

    According to the staff report:
    CGI's program includes a streaming video tour book which would enhance Claremont's website by adding a video welcome message and showcase the City of Claremont in a powerful, new and innovative way. CGI will come to Claremont with their film crew to videotape the necessary footage to fully produce a "welcome" video, plus six additional community highlight videos on topics such as quality of life, tourism, things to do, business recruitment, and education. There would be a link on the City s website for the end user to click on that take the user to CGI s server.

    The agenda report says the city will "allow CGI to provide the Claremont business community the opportunity to become sponsors of this program." Hmmmm.... sounds a little like the Bernie Madoff strategy of creating a false sense of scarcity: "CGI, puhleeeeeze let us buy in!"

    CGI's sponsorship program goes like this, according to the information in the agenda report for this item:

    I. Bronze sponsor $995 ($895 if paid in full): Chapter sponsorship, full-color logo, link to webpage, profile page availability.

    II. Silver sponsor $2,995 ($2,795 if paid in full): Chapter sponsorship, full-color logo, 30-second, professionally produced PhotoVideo™, link to webpage, 12 months free video streaming to your website, logo-branded One Click™ Video Player for your website.

    III. Gold sponsor $5,995 ($5,795 if paid in full): Main page logo, 12-month chapter sponsorship logo, 60-second, professionally produced video, link to webpage, 12 months free video streaming to your website, logo-branded One Click™ Video Player for your website, unlimited video email.

  • Staff is recommending that the City Council decline to enter into a tolling agreement proposed by Los Angeles County in the lawsuit filed last year by the National Resources Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeepers against the County, the Los Angeles Flood Control District, and the five L.A. County Supervisors. According to the staff report, the suit was filed in federal court and alleged that the defendants violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing polluted stormwater discharge into surface and coastal waters.

    If the plaintiffs prevail, the city and other L.A. County municipalities could be on the hook for whatever their share of the county's stormwater discharge is.

    You can read all about it in the staff report.

  • The council will receive a report on the fiscal year 2009-10 budget and is asked to appropriate $79,000 in one-time revenues and $117,000 from the General Fund reserve. Staff says that $196,000 total, combined with the cuts in employee compensation and benefits, will help balance what had been projected to be a $2 million deficit. The staff report also says that city departments have reduced their projected 2009-10 operational costs by a total of $516,000.

    And you can do your part to help the City balance its budget. Invest in Claremont's future by becoming a city sponsor at the Gold, Silver or Bronze level today. Cash contributions can be passed over the transom at City Hall after midnight.

  • The council will be asked to appoint Mark Merritt to the Claremont Hills Conservation Corporation.

  • Our new mayor will also be announcing his council committee assignments, and the council will approve a resolution designating a Governing Board Member and Voting Alternate to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.