Council votes to approve increased compensation for City Council and Mayor

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles City Council met for a regular meeting on Dec. 7. Council received an update from staff on Barney Schwartz Park.

During the Oct. 19 City Council meeting, general public comment consisted of concerns over some deterioration of the softball fields at Barney Swartz Park on Union Road. The public complained that the concession stand was closed for a recent tournament, and the fields were poorly maintained.

A City staff member informed the Council the concession stand was open but is being operated differently. She also mentioned due to COVID, there is a lack of employees to maintain the fields. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The parks concessionaire contract expired in February 2021, and a new concession model was introduced. This was due to several contract challenges, including unsanitary food preparation conditions. Staff then finalized plans to return to a typical snack bar model, which includes prepackaged food and drinks, heated hot dogs, coffee, and hot chocolate. The concession stands are available for nonprofit groups and tournament organizers through a reservation system.

Then in Sept. 2021 the food truck system was initiated. Licensed food trucks now have the option to operate in identified areas of the parking lot after completing an online application.

Another major concern at the park was the ballfield conditions. Poor field conditions were said to be largely due to a lack of field prep. According to the report, City staff has not been available for field prep in over ten years. Currently, staffing at Barney Schwartz Park has been downgraded from 11 to now one employee for maintenance.

Current field prep issues include: 

  • Holes in running lanes due to insufficient watering down prior to field prep and not removing bases prior to field prep.
  • Soil build-up on outside edges of the field is caused by improper use of grading equipment.

Staff is looking to add five new staff members to the park’s maintenance. 

Mayor Steve Martin said, “It is time for the City to, in some way, step up its investment in maintaining and promoting that park. Also, we need to look to the uses of that park to realize we have turned the corner, and it is time to readjust fees for using the park.” 

He also suggested implementing a volunteer program to help with the maintenance of the park, similar to what is in place for the City Library.

Consent Agenda Item 10 was pulled for a separate discussion. 

Item 10: Consideration of Opting into Settlement Agreements with Distributors of Opioids, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, and Opioid Manufacturer Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson)

The City had two options:

  1. Opt into settlement agreement with opioid distributors, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, whereby the County of San Luis Obispo will receive the City’s designated share of settlement funds and direct the City Manager to execute any documents necessary to implement the action.
  2. Opt into settlement agreement with opioid manufacturer, Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson), whereby the County of San Luis Obispo will receive the City’s designated share of the settlement funds and direct the City Manager to execute any documents necessary to implement the action.

Council approved staff’s recommendation of allowing the County to designate the shares of settlement funds.

Later, Council approved Ordinance No. 1115 Establishing Tattoo Parlors as an Authorized Use in the Commercial/Light Industrial (C-3) and Riverside Corridor Zones within the City and Associated Clarifying Zoning Code Updates.

Tattooing was previously prohibited in the City in part due to a lack of adequate health regulation at the time since tattoo parlors were not then regulated by the State or County for purposes of transmission of infectious diseases.

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Anderson v. City of Hermosa Beach holding that a municipal prohibition on the establishment of tattoo parlors is an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of expression. However, the court recognized that cities retain some regulatory authority over tattoo parlors, including the right to impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on such facilities.

During the Oct. 19 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved an interim urgency ordinance which immediately established tattoo parlors as an authorized use in the Riverside Corridor and C-3 zones, subject to certain time, place, and manner restrictions, and pending additional study of the matter by staff. 

Staff has now reviewed the matter further and has determined that operation of tattoo parlors in the Riverside Corridor and C-3 zones subject to certain reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, as set forth in the interim urgency ordinance, is an appropriate exercise of the City’s police powers while also complying with the court’s determination in the Anderson case.

Council officially approved Ordinance 1115 with a 5-0 vote.

Lastly, Council adopted Ordinance XXX, increasing the salary of the City Council and Mayor to $1,050 and $1,400, respectively, and Resolution 21-XXX set the car allowance at $250 per month. The ordinance will not go into effect until after the next election.

The next City Council regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, at 6:30 p.m.