Claremont Insider: Tonight's Council Meeting

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tonight's Council Meeting

The time has rolled around again for another City Council meeting tonight at 6:30pm in the City Council chambers at 225 W. 2nd St.

As always, you can watch the action here.


The council will meet in closed session at 5:15pm, prior to the regular meeting, to hear a report from City Manager Jeff Parker, acting in his role of Executive Director of the Claremont Redevelopment Agency.

According to the agenda, Parker will fill the council in on negotiations with Mark Bedol, the owner of Bedol's What's Next, the boutique gift store next to 21 Choices in the Village Expansion parking structure.

Bedol must be trying to renegotiate the terms of his lease agreement, which is not an uncommon thing for a business person to do in these times of declining commercial property lease rates.


You can find the regular agenda here.

The regular session begins with a ceremonial matter. The council will acknowledge Active Claremont's 15th anniversary. This strikes us another sign that Claremont has changed for the better. Time was when the council wouldn't even acknowledge AC's existence, saying it was nothing but a group of malcontents and troublemakers. Having past president Corey Calaycay as the current Mayor of Claremont no doubt helps AC's prospects, and seems to be further proof of positive change in town.

Of course, there are still those who will take this as another sign of the Apocalypse, but they're party poopers anyway.

Some of the items of note on the rest of the regular agenda:

  • The council will accept the resignation of Architectural Commissioner Marianne Kunce.

  • The council is being asked to enter into a Historical Property Agreement with John Dominguez, the owner of the property at 615 E. 1st St. The agreement, under the Mills Act, will give Dominguez certain tax credits in exchange for his promise to maintain the home's historical characteristics and, if necessary, restore or rehabilitate the property.

  • City staff is recommending that the council approve a resolution allowing city employees to purchase of additional years of CalPERS retirement credit. The staff report, written by City Finance Manager Adam Pirrie (who will be a CalPERS retiree someday), says there is no cost to the city for this since the employees are the ones who would be purchasing the extra retirement credits. The employees would use pre-tax dollars to fund the extra years of retirement they purchase.

    Of course, you know how CalPERS works. They take an average of the employees' highest earning years and figure an annual pension payment based on those. With Claremont, for non-police employees, the payment is 2.5% for every year worked, with the employee eligible at 55 to receive the pension.

    Money paid into the account gets invested by CalPERS to fund the pension benefits. The problem is that when the investments are down, as they are now, those accounts may be underfunded. At that point, the agencies holding the accounts are on the hook for the difference.

    So, if employees are adding years on to their pensions, the overall pension obligation increases, meaning there will have to be more money in the City's account to pay for those extra years. If the value of the account dips because of an investment loss, the city will have to pay more into the account to make up for that loss.

    So, presumably there is a potential financial impact to the City, no matter what Pirrie's report says.

  • The council will consider convening a hearing for Western Christian Schools under the federal Tax Equity and Financial Responsibility Act (TEFRA). Western Christian Schools seeks $12 million in tax-exempt financing under TEFRA. The hearing is required for the organization to be eligible for the tax exemption, and the City bears no financial responsibility in the matter.

    Western Christian Schools is applying for financing through the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority. The staff report says the bonds will be used "for purposes of financing and/or refinancing the costs of acquisition, construction, improvement, renovation, remodeling, furnishing and equipping of their facilities in Claremont and Upland."

    We don't know if the city of Upland also has to hold a TEFRA hearing for this issue.

    The staff report also indicates that in the past the council has held such hearings for Pilgrim Place and Claremont Manor, so the hearing appears to be a pro forma thing.

  • The council, acting as the Claremont Redevelopment Agency, forgot to including some state-required language in its 2008-10 budget. The language relates to the necessity of planning and administrative expenses for low- to moderate-income housing improvements.

    The council is now being asked to amend the budget with the proper language.

  • The council is being asked to pick a city flower. This item comes to the council courtesy of the Claremont Community Foundation, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September. CCF, together with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, already has some flowers picked out.

    Not much public input on this one, naturally. But, then, that's to be expected from CCF, the organization that helped get the Claremont Trolley for its own use.

  • The council will discuss placing liens on properties with unpaid sanitation utility and sewer service bills.

    The staff report for this item has a table that looks like a recession chronicle. The table shows that delinquent accounts have more than doubled in the past three years. The late payments no doubt track foreclosures pretty closely.

  • The council will receive the annual engineer's report for the Landscaping and Lighting District (LLD). No increase this year because inflation has been flat.

  • The council will hear the appeal of a Planning Commission denial of an outdoor use permit request by Michael Talaee, the owner of Tally for Men at 175 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Talaee is asking for a permit for an outdoor clothing rack.