One side effect of Claremont's budget problems is that they've used a good chunk of the Great Recession spending their way into a hole that, absent any additional federal stimulus money, will take a few years to recover from. That means no more big budget busting municipal projects (i.e., a new police station or a water company takeover). Fiscal responsibility, like it or not, has been imposed on Claremont.
Another effect (benefit?) of Claremont's financial woes is that City Council meetings are likely to be shorter because fewer big projects mean less time taken up by staff reports and comments, public comment, legal advice from City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, and the councilmembers' questions and opinions.
We'll see if tonight's City Council regular meeting runs under two hours. The council convenes at 5:15pm for a special closed session meeting that covers ongoing negotiations with the Claremont Police Management Association and the Claremont Police Officers Association.
The regular session begins at 6:30pm in the council chambers at 225 2nd St. in downtown Claremont. You can read the agenda here. If you're a glutton for punishment, or if the Lakers are getting walloped, you can subject yourself to a live feed of the meeting here.
On the council's plate tonight are:
- A hike in recreational user fees (to be expected given the tight budget). You'll pay a couple bucks more this year for a ticket to the City's 4th of July fireworks show, and things like swim programs will cost more. See the staff report for the new fee schedule.
- The annual engineer's report for the Landscaping and Lighting District (LLD). The report recommends an increase of 1.86%, mirroring the year-over-year rise in the consumer price index for Southern California as of March, 2010.
For most single-family residences, this translates to an increase of $2.72, from $147.12 to $149.84. Properties with larger lots pay more. The increase is based on the consumer price index for Southern California.
Those of you who've been around for a while know the history of the LLD. It's what really one of the first things got people thinking about how City Hall manages our finances.
- An update on the restoration Sycamore Canyon Park, which was damaged in the 2003 Grand Prix Fire. The park has been closed since that time. The City has secured $180,000 in grant funding, and will proceed with restoring the trail and picnic areas. The City will also remove non-native eucalyptus trees and plant sycamores and oaks. Work is expected to commence this coming fall and finish sometime next winter.
- A report on the traffic signal at Indian Hill Blvd. and 10th St. You'll recall there were several pedestrian accidents there before the City, bowing to pressure from the neighborhood, installed the signal last month.
- An update on the City's abandoned property ordinance. The staff report by Community Development Director Tony Witt for this item says there are currently 150 Claremont properties in some stage of foreclosure. The City has levied over $120,000 in fines under the ordinance, and around $22,000 has gone uncollected.
City Council Meeting
225 W. 2nd St. - City Council Chamber