Estimated revenues for Measure J-20 sales tax reviewed

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council met on Tuesday night for their regularly scheduled meeting. The newly appointed interim Paso Robles City Manager, Greg Carpenter, was sworn in. Carpenter will be working as city manager until the council chooses a permanent replacement for the prior Tom Frutchey.

Frutchey’s last day as the city manager was on Friday. Read about his farewell send off here.

A public hearing was held for the proposed sewer rate increases for Paso Robles residents. 

City staff presented what they have already done to minimize costs for sewer. They listed the following:  

  • obtained a $4 million grant for Tertiary Treatment
  • secured low-interest (1.7 percent) State loans, saving approximately $10 million
  • Operating efficiencies
  • Lean staffing
  • Reduced capital projects spending over the next five years

 According to city staff, sewer rates have not been adjusted since 2016.

Staff received one written, and about four phoned in public comments on the sewer rates.

Per the agenda recommendations, “If written protests are not filed for a majority of the 10,346 parcels affected by the proposed sewer rate increases.”

This means 5,174 protests would have been required to stop the rate increases. 

All council members agreed that rate increases are, unfortunately, something they have to do.

Council unanimously approved resolutions “21-XXX to establish new sewer rates effective Jul. 1, 2021.” and “Introduce and hold first reading of Ordinance No. XXX Amending Section 14.16.020 of the Paso Robles Municipal Code regarding Sewer (Wastewater) Service Charges, by title only and waive further reading, to implement the new sewer rates.”

Darcy Delgado, an associate planner, presented the 2020 annual report on the implementation of the general plan. 

The State of California requires local jurisdictions to provide the annual status of their general plan. This report will be submitted in late April. 

Council approved, 5-0, the 2020 general plan and directed staff to forward the report to the State.

A few items of progress that was made during 2020 for the general plan includes:

  • Out of the 240 General Plan policy action items (not including the Housing Element), 95 percent are completed, ongoing, or are in the process of being completed.
  • As of Dec. 31, 2020, there were 110 completed residential units, 41 residences under construction, and 60 residential permits either ready to pick up or in plan check.
  • A total of 2,493 residential units that were entitled during 2020, with most of these units belonging to the Olsen South Chandler Ranch and Beechwood Specific Plans. The Redtail Apartment project, which contains 200-units, was also approved, as were several smaller multi-family residential projects throughout the City.

David Athy, a city engineer, provided a “Local Roadway Safety Program Study Session.”

City staff will be returning to council next month with the “Final Local Roadway Safety Plan” for adoption.

Ryan Cornell, Administrative Services Director, presented the third quarter update on the general fund. 

Due to prolonged COVID impacts, the ending reserve balance decreased by $150,000, less than two percent, compared to the Mid-Year report. Much better than was anticipated in June 2020.

However, the projected end of year revenue is expected to be $43,488,003, with our projected end of year expenditures at $45,429,026. 

That makes our expenditures $3,106,698 more than our projected revenue.

Estimated revenues for the next five years were given for the Measure J-20 sales tax, passed in Nov. 2020. All revenue from the tax is prioritized towards fire and emergency response, public safety and police services, and street repair and maintenance. 

For the 20-21 fiscal year, we should have a revenue of $1,027,675 from J-20.

Police Chief Ty Lewis and Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta presented a basic police and emergency services needs package. 

Battalion Chief Randy Harris then presented a cost breakdown for the future Fire Station Three and training center on Union Road.

The total cost for the new fire station is estimated to be $6,950,000. This includes costs for all on-site grading/site improvements, phase one station and Apparatus Bay, and Ardmore Road improvements.

Phase one of the fire station does not include the training center.

Councilman Steve Gregory made the following motion for the resolution amending the budget for FY 20-21:

Updates already approved by Council with 

  • Additional requests of appropriations $75,500 for the citizen’s option of public safety and the board of State Community Corrections. 
  • Adding one records clerk position to the authorized positions listing
  • Extending the temporary outdoor dining program using the savings from the propane assistance program
  • Funding the Community Partner Contracts 

The motion was seconded by Councilman John Hamon and passed with a 5-0 vote.

Gregory then motioned for the second recommendation to be brought back to the council for more in-depth discussion.

The recommendation is as follows:

“Approve conceptually the (a) FY 2021-2 Measure J-20 basic needs packages for Police, Emergency Services, and Streets, the (b) General Fund capital improvement program, and the (c) General Fund operating budget.” 

Motioned passed with a 5-0 vote.

Mayor Steve Martin began a discussion on a third motion to be made when the video was cut off. 

The last item on the agenda that was not covered was item 17. Senior Downtown Parking Permit Program. 

Due to technical difficulties, the meeting was adjourned to continue on Wednesday, Apr. 21 at 7:30 pm. 

Residents should call (805)865-7276 to provide public comment via phone. The phone line will open just prior to the start of the adjourned meeting at 7:30 pm.

City Council meetings will be live-streamed during the meeting and available to play later on YouTube by accessing the following link: prcity.com/youtube

Getting through this together, Paso Robles