Council takes next step in Measure X monitoring

MARTINEZ, Calif. – wMartinez City Council expects to take the next step today in monitoring how Measure X half-cent sales tax revenues will be spent once they start accumulating in amounts that can be used.

City staff will ask the Council to vote on a resolution to establish a citizens’ oversight committee and to adopt the panel’s bylaws.

In a joint report to the Council Deputy Director of Administrative Services Michael Chandler and Finance Director David Glasser wrote that that the regulatory and administrative framework for the general tax was established by ordinance July 23, 2018, before the measure was approved by nearly 73 percent of voters Nov. 6, 2018.

Called the “Martinez Quality of Life/Essential Services Measure,” the half-cent tax will be collected for 15 years.

As a general tax, its revenues have not been earmarked for specific expenditures as was the previous half-cent tax Measure R, which underwrites road maintenance and repairs inside the city.

Instead, this tax is expected to help the city maintain services at least at current levels.

At its Feb. 15 meeting, the Council’s Budget/Finance Subcommittee affirmed the Citizens Oversight Committee’s role is to review semi-annual revenue and expenditure reports generated by the city, do the same for other relevant reports and information about the tax, Chandler wrote.

It is to give the Council an annual report on whether revenues were spent efficiently and effective, Chandler wrote.

The Oversight Committee also may make recommendations about any approaches toward efficient, effective spending of Measure X money, he wrote.

To keep the committee independent, its members must not play a role in any of the contracts nor any of the projects that would get Measure X revenues, nor is the committee expected to make decisions on spending, priorities, schedules, project details or financing, Chandler wrote.

The Council subcommittee said it wanted the Oversight Committee to have seven members, one of whom would be City Treasurer Carolyn Robinson, who should be the chairperson, and six residents of Martinez. Applicants must be at least 18.

At least one resident should if possible come from each of the city’s four Council districts, the subcommittee recommended. Three would serve three-year terms; three would serve four-year terms.

Ideally, citizen candidates would have experience as professionals in financial fields and have business and community service experience as well.

Written applications will be accepted from Feb. 21 to March 6, although that deadline might be extended.

Applications would be reviewed by Mayor Rob Schroder and Robinson, and appointments will be presented to the full Council for its confirmation March 20.

In other matters, the Council will consider asking City Engineer Tim Tucker to prepare reporters and assessment diagrams for several Landscaping and Lighting Assessment districts: Village Oaks Terrace, Muir Station Park, Vista Oaks, Center Martinez, Creekside, Brittany Hills, Terra Vista and Alhambra Estates.

The documents are necessary if assessments are to be renewed and levied, and preparing them is the first of three steps in the process. Once the reports are finished, and nassessment levels are determined, the Council will schedule a public hearing, at which the districts’ residents may speak.

After the hearing, the Council will make its decision on the assessments.

Tucker will ask the Council to consider introducing an ordinance prescribing an annual sewer service charge in the Contra Costa County Sanitation District No. 6 and to set a date for a public hearing on the rate for the Stonehurst subdivision in the Alhambra Valley area.

This area was annexed by the city Nov. 19, 2012, according to Tucker’s reort, and since Marrch 31, 2015, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors designated the Council as the District’s Board of Directors.

Tucker said in his report he is recommending the sewer charges remain at $1,950 a parcel. He wrote that no boundary changes are recommended, either.

The council also will hear an update on a series of Public Works improvement projects. The panel periodically receives monthly reports since last year, when it received an assessment of the department’s operations.

Dan Cortinovis, an expert in water and wastewater, is helping the department update its operating procedures and develop a comprehensive operations plan.

The operations plan has been updated, as have the department’s standing operating procedures and plant flow schematic.

Ongoing work this month involves additional procedures updates, plant documentation, asking city staff to comment on updated operating procedures and looking at training materials.

The water treatment plant has several critical projects that need to be accomplished soon, and money from the Water Enterprise Fund has been transferred to accomplish some of those projects.

A study of alternate disinfectants, replacement of the network bridge multiplexer, looking at alternatives to having a costly portable emergency generator; and replacing a hydropneyumatic tank at St. Mary’s Pump Station.

Also taking place earlier this hear has been looking at public works and water system management positions, receiving recommendations for adjusting water system job classifications and a staff succession plan and considering a computer maintenance management system for both the corporation yard and water treatment plant.

Also on today’s agenda is a presentation by the California Youth Energy Services Program.

The Council will meet in closed session at 6 p.m. today to consider personnel matters with Martinez Police Officers Association and Martinez Police Non-Sworn Employees Association and to discuss selection of a new city manager.

The closed session also will consider one legal matter involving the unincorporated association Friends of Pine Meadow, , other citizens including Tim Platt, as well as DeNova Homes, Civic Martinez and the city; and another legal litigation involving the city, Kerry Kilmer, Tim Platt, Mark Thomson, and several others.

The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. today in Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.

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