CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
May 20, 2013
1. CALL TO ORDER The meeting of the City Council was called to order by Mayor John Marchand at 7:07 pm, in the City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore, California.
1.01 ROLL CALL Present: Mayor John Marchand, Vice-Mayor Stewart Gary, and Councilmembers Doug Horner, Laureen Turner and Bob Woerner.
1.02 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
1.03 REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION
The Closed Session to interview potential candidates for appointment to the acting City Attorney position was continued to immediately after the regular City Council meeting.
2. CITIZENS FORUM
John Stein, Livermore, said providing more parking in the Downtown should be a priority before the City begins construction on any other projects.
Pat Ferguson, Livermore, spoke regarding her observations of the federal government, corruption, grants and inflation.
Don Meeker, Livermore, spoke regarding the appointment of the jail matron and other services at the local jail in the year 1936.
3. BUDGET WORKSHOP
3.01 Preliminary Biennial Financial Plan Update for Fiscal Years 2012-14.
Staff recommended the City Council provide direction.
City Manager Marc Roberts, Administrative Services Director Douglas Alessio, and Senior Assistant City Attorney Jason Alcala presented the Financial Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2014.
CM Woerner suggested eliminating incentives for development since the City was concentrating more on infill development. He said the funds allocated for the Council Chambers feasibility study should be postponed due to the cautious financial forecast and the Citys long-term deferred maintenance. He said the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) payment should not be funded until a complete solution for the $90 million obligation was determined. He said the OPEB funding should be placed into reserves until a plan was put in place.
CM Turner expressed concern about city employees not receiving increases and having to pay more for benefits. She said the City could lose talented employees as the economic recovery was experienced in private industry before experienced in the public sector.
In response to comments made by CM Turner, Assistant City Manager Troy Brown said employee raises were not anticipated in the budget as presented. Many of the employee contracts were coming up for review and renewal during the budget cycle and would be presented to Council for consideration at that time.
CM Turner requested Check and Go at the library be included under Highlights and Accomplishments (page 27). She said dependent upon the success at the Springtown Branch, staff should pursue one-time funding to install the program at the Rincon Branch. She suggested adding another Storytime at Springtown during the summer.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Mr. Alessio said personnel costs for all three branches of the Library were budgeted and accounted for under the main library account.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Fire Chief Jim Miguel said the County fire station on College Avenue was quite aged and had significant ADA problems. He said the City could use the building for a short period of time; however, the station was not the ideal location for the area to be served.
CM Turner suggested using Robert Livermore Community Center or the Bankhead Theater for Council meetings.
Mr. Roberts said staff had looked at using the Bankhead Theater in the past but the Council was not the only group that used the Chambers on a regular basis. He said staff had not explicitly explored using the Robert Livermore Community Center.
CM Turner referred to Crosswalk and Median Improvements. She requested staff review the crosswalk at Patterson Pass Road and Dana Circle because the trees in the median created an unsafe situation. She suggested prioritizing trail projects listed in the CIP as a way to help with future bond measures to make it more tangible to the voters.
In response to questions by CM Horner, Mr. Alessio said the City would become current in thirty years on its $9 million Annual Required Contribution (ARC). He said in FY 2011-12, the Citys contribution was $2 million.
VM Gary requested staff use footnotes to identify any one time increases, variances or permanent increases in the General Fund revenue that would allow trending of those revenues and assist in identifying funds to help future planning for expenses such as OPEB, fleet, and Information Technology.
In response to comments made by VM Gary, Mr. Alessio confirmed that with some structural growth and one-time funding, the City had a balanced budget but was not out of the woods yet.
Mayor Marchand invited public comment.
John Stein, Livermore, said the budget may be balanced but the City was not in the black.
He said there needed to be attention on the long term liabilities. He spoke regarding the impact on CalPERS and said it would be cheaper to build a new Council Chambers instead of retrofitting the old Civic Center Library. He suggested replacing street trees in various locations.
Don Meeker, Livermore, spoke regarding the establishment of the finance committee, streets and highways and public morals.
CM Horner said the City was $7 million in the red if the City was failing to fully meet the ARC requirements. He said OPEB liability was a thirty-year plus obligation. He supported CM Woerners suggestion of funding the reserves until a real funding strategy and policy was put in place. He said there should be a freeze on all spending until ongoing obligations were met. He said he did not support studies for a new Chambers or fire house until a plan to get out of debt was established. He said paying $2 million against $9 million on OPEB was not going to get the City out of debt. He said the OPEB debt had been referred to as cross-generational theft we were robbing the next 30 years of revenue that could be used for City services. He said the labor had already been consumed; it was not like a bond measure for a building or for infrastructure that would provide a benefit for the next 30 years.
CM Woerner said he understood the obligation was created 20 years ago and now was the time to solve it. He said a partial payment on the OPEB was only a feel-good. He said there needed to be a plan for a solution for this debt.
In response to VM Gary, Mr. Alessio confirmed that GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board) 45 required the City to acknowledge the unfunded liability and to also post a payment and attempt to gain actuarial footing. He said the $2 million OPEB payment would be made into a trust fund for the purpose of retiree medical health care and could not be withdrawn.
VM Gary said he agreed with CM Horner that a partial payment was not a solution, but was an acknowledgement that the City had to pay something and could not leave the funding liquid for other items.
In response to questions by CM Woerner, Mr. Alessio said the legal minimum amount required to be funded was $5,000.
Mr. Roberts said the budget included $350,000 contribution to the trust fund in addition to the pay-as-you-go.
CM Woerner said those funds should be held in abeyance until a decision was made for an OPEB funding policy.
VM Gary said he would like staff to prepare an OPEB funding policy.
Mayor Marchand said the OPEB liability took over twenty years to create and repayment would not be solved overnight. He said while paying this debt, the City still had to continue to provide services. He said the existing Chambers was twenty-five years old and did not serve the constituency very well. He said he still wanted to pursue the study for the Chambers as this had been deferred for many years.
VM Gary said he supported all of staff recommendations. He said the study for Fire Station #9 had been deferred 18 years. He said the studies for Fire Station #9 and re-use of the library would provide important information needed for the preparation of a multi-year strategic plan. He said the City should pay back what was borrowed from its own internal funds such as fleet and IT, and not just the OPEB. He supported more reading hours for kids without adding another full time employee, and using one-time money to inject new materials into the collection. He said in terms of labor relations, he would prefer to take care of the existing staff more appropriately before new staff was added.
CM Horner said he did not support staff recommendations. He referred to FY 2013-14 expenditure increases and said there were $2.7 million in one-time money being paid out where the City could more than double the contribution on ARC.He said there was not enough information on how to get the City out of debt and he could not make a decision on spending money on studies until he saw a plan.
Mayor Marchand said there were many unknown variables that could upend a repayment plan such as Obamacare and the outcome of the redevelopment agency dissolution. He said the Council could still be in the temporary building for another 25 years before a repayment plan was established.
CM Horner said a plan needed to be established using current information.
CM Woerner said the Chambers needed to be replaced but the timing was questionable. He said there needed to be a plan as to the timeframe, cost, and source of funding. He said the funding for OPEB should be deposited in a refundable location while a solution to the problem was established.
CM Turner said she supported staff recommendations in addition to establishing a long-term plan for OPEB.
In response to comments made by VM Gary, Mr. Roberts said staff would provide more information prior to changing course on OPEB. He said the existing budget should not be changed, contributing $350,000 in each year. Prior to the close of Fiscal Year 2013-14, staff would present options for Council consideration regarding funding and cost control issues. He added that the cost control strategy would need to be negotiated with the Citys labor groups.
THE CITY COUNCIL DIRECTED STAFF TO PROCEED WITH THE FINANCIAL PLAN FOR FY 2012-14 AS PRESENTED WITH RESERVING THE FUNDING OF OTHER POST EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (OPEB) UNTIL STAFF DEVELOPS A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY/PLAN TO ADDRESS THE LIABILITY; IDENTIFY ANY ONE-TIME MONEY FOR CIRCULATION ITEMS FOR THE LIBRARY; AND REALLOCATION OF EXISTING STAFF TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL STORYTIMES AT SPRINGTOWN AND RINCON LIBRARIES.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 pm to the continued Closed Session.
The Closed Session was called to order at 8:50 pm. All members of the City Council were present.
1. Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 Closed Session Regarding Public Employees: Interview potential candidates for appointment to the acting City Attorney position.
Report of Action Taken in Closed Session.
THE CITY COUNCIL APPOINTED SENIOR ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY JASON ALCALA TO SERVE AS THE ACTING CITY ATTORNEY COMMENCING UPON THE RETIREMENT OF CITY ATTORNEY JOHN POMIDOR IN MID-JULY.
A RECRUITMENT TO FILL THE CITY ATTORNEY POSITION WILL BE CONDUCTED LATER THIS YEAR.
4. ADJOURNMENT at 9:15 pm to a regular City Council meeting on Monday, June 10 2013 at 7:00 pm, Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore.
JOHN P. MARCHAND, MAYOR
SUSAN NEER, CITY CLERK