Council eyes cannabis application background checks, keeping SB1

City staff will ask Martinez City Council Wednesday to approve authorization for background checks for those involved in cannabis commerce

It also will hear employees urge opposition to repealing Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017

Both items are on the Council’s consent calendar in Wednesday’s meeting agenda.

The resolution that would approve an application for authorizing access to background reports on employees, volunteers and contractors for commercial cannabis applications would be part of the municipal cannabis management program, which the city is trying to establish, wrote Christina Ratcliffe, director of Community and Economic Development.

The California Penal Code lets cities have access to in-depth criminal background reports, but the Council must authorize access to them for employment, licensing or certification, she wrote.

The cannabis management program will be developed after public workshops April 11 and 19, she wrote. But if the city pursues the program, adoption of this resolution is necessary, but it would not necessitate such background checks at this time, she explained.

“The resolution would only allow the city to have a framework in place for requesting background reports from the Department of Justice and Bureau of Investigation for future cannabis applications,” she wrote.

City Engineer Tim Tucker will ask the Council to adopt a resolution opposing the repeal of SB 1, which was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law April 28, 2017, by Governor Jerry Brown.

That act raises more than $5 billion annually in perpetuity through increases in taxes and fees, with provisions for inflation, for maintenance and rehabilitation of state highways and local streets, roads and bridges, as well as making safety improvements, according to the California State Association of Counties’ report on the legislation.

Trade corridors, transit and transportation buildings also would be beneficiaries, as would traffic signals and drainage improvement projects, the report said. California counties will share about $750 million annually, and the same amount will be allocated for sharing among cities, the counties association report said.

The act increased gasoline excise tax by 12 cents, diesel excise tax by 20 cents diesel sales tax by 5.75 percent, new vehicle fees by $25 to $175 and, starting July 2020, adds a $100 annual fee on zero emission vehicles, Tucker wrote.

“In recent years, road repair bills have been a significant drain on city budgets and local transportation revenue measures,” he wrote. However, the Nov. 6 ballot will have a measure that would let voters repeal SB1.

Should the legislation be overturned, he wrote, Martinez could lose about $770,500 in gasoline tax revenue from loan repayments and the road maintenance rehabilitation account.

Specifically, SB1 money is providing money that Martinez expects to use to pave Court Street, renovate Alhambra Avenue and Berrellesa Street and make accommodates for the disabled as well as paving and renovation on city arterial streets, the resolution states.

The Council also will vote on a resolution that would let the Martinez Community Swim Team continue using the Rankin Aquatic Center from May to October for practices and meets, and allows more non-exclusive use at specific times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 4 to Oct. 25. The new agreement includes a $2 increase in the Fall Swim Team for one, two or three days a week and ways to reduce swim meet noise.

The Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission has recommended approval of the use agreement.

Another agreement on Wednesday’s consent calendar is between the city and the Martinez Bocce Federation, which has been using the Bocce Court Complex in Waterfront Park since 1998.

This agreement has the federation paying for all water and electricity at the site from April through October and the cost to repair the west retaining wall and trim plantings within the boundaries of the court. The federation also would be responsible for additional restroom cleanup during its events.

The city and the federation would split the cost of a concrete pad and enclosure for trash and scrap recycling bins, which would be emptied at no charge by Republic Services as part of its agreement with the city.

In addition, the Council will consider granting Pacific Gas and Electric a nonexclusive easement at the Intermodal Phase 3 parking lot.

The Council will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a closed session to discuss real estate and labor matters. The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Council Chamber of Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.

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