Paso Robles City Council Meeting Highlights
for Tuesday, July 21, 2020
In compliance with social distancing, the City Council, staff, and the public participated via conference call. The public was given the opportunity to view a livestream of the meeting at www.prcity.com/youtube, invited to call into the meeting at 805-865-PASO (7276), and to email public comment to email@example.com prior to the meeting.
Highlights from the Regular City Council meeting, held on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 to address time critical items, are as follows. The City Council took the following actions:
Received Update on COVID-19. There are over 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, 1,369 in the County, and 328 in the Paso Robles area zip code. Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta reminded community members to heed public health guidelines to protect themselves and their community members, particularly those in high-risk populations.
Received Update on Capital Improvement Projects. Barney Schwartz Upper Playground Replacement, funded by the REC Foundation, is complete. A celebration is anticipated when playgrounds are permitted to reopen under State guidelines. Spring Street resurfacing from 24th to 36th street is nearing completion. The Main West Water Tank is now largely complete, has been filled with 4 million gallons of water, and has passed water quality testing and received State permits to operate. Starting on Monday, July 20, it was serving water to the west side of the City. Some residents have already noticed the increase in water pressure.
Awarded Construction and Construction Engineering Contracts for Dry Creek Road Repairs.
The City recently completed the installation and upgrade of the underground utilities, such as water and sewer, preparing the road for reconstruction. The roadway is narrow in some areas and the existing edges and asphalt have deteriorated. By awarding these contracts, the road surface will be improved and provide a smoother driving surface for many years. Council authorized a construction contract to Raminha Construction, in the amount of $1,984,355, and the construction phase engineering to Pavement Engineering, Inc., in the amount of $167,290, to repair/reconstruct the surface of Dry Creek Road from Airport Road to just east of the Estrella Warbirds Museum. The awarded bid was approximately half of the engineer’s cost estimate. Budget savings will be used for the next phase of improvements for Dry Creek Road from Estrella Warbirds to Jardine Road, which is being designed and in the environmental permitting process, and for other street work.
Voted to Place a One-Cent Sales Tax Measure for Voter Consideration on the November Ballot and Set Priorities for Use of Funds. Council voted to place a measure on the November ballot for voters to decide whether to implement a 1% sales tax increase in order to fund essential City services. Council also approved a resolution designating fire services, police services, and street repair as the priorities for expenditure of the funds. The measure, if passed by voters in November, would expire in 12 years unless ended sooner by voters. There would also be an Oversight Committee to ensure that all funds are spent on Council’s stated priorities and are kept locally to benefit the Paso Robles community. Staff’s presentation and Council’s discussion focused on the City’s financial outlook, the increasing demand for essential services, the fiscal impacts of COVD-19 that have exacerbated fiscal challenges, and efforts to date to reduce spending. In addition, updated polling results were presented, indicating that 65% of residents polled indicated support for such a measure.
Use of CARES Act Funding. The City will receive $385,490 in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds created under the CARES Act in March. The funds will be funneled through the State, must be spent by October or returned to the state, and can be used only for eligible COVID-19 response activities. Council approved the use of the funds in three overall categories and directed staff to report back on how the funds are spent as more information becomes available about costs and confirmed eligibility in each category. An estimated $100,000-$200,000 will be used to cover City COVID-19 response efforts unlikely to be reimbursed by FEMA, possibly for street closure implementation costs, and possibly for services to homeless populations to ensure compliance with COVID-19 precautions. An estimated $15,000-$25,000 will be used for public education and outreach regarding public health orders. Finally, approximately $100,000-$200,00 will be used to implement a Small Business Assistance Program to assist 10 to 20 small businesses with one-time micro-grants of up to $10,000 to offset demonstrated business interruption caused by COVID-19.
Discussed Salinas Riverbed Clean-up and Homeless Relocation and Services. On July 15, 2020, the City Council approved an updated Policy Regarding Removal of Garbage in the Salinas Riverbed; Clean-Up of Temporary Shelters; and Code Enforcement Abatement Procedures. The City is working in partnership with ECHO, the County, and other social service providers to develop a comprehensive approach to relocate the homeless and help them access needed social services, locate suitable areas to live, retain ownership of their private property, and observe measures appropriate to reduce risks from the coronavirus. Council received a presentation regarding potential sites to utilize for temporary relocation of the homeless, and preliminary cost estimates associated. Council directed staff to proceed with relocating homeless from the portion of the riverbed from 13th street north to the Borkey Flats site, which is on the east side of the riverbed just north of the sewage lift station building and to provide minimal services at that site.
The agenda can be found at https://www.prcity.com/agendacenter and the livestream from the meeting can be found at www.prcity.com/youtube. The minutes will be available as part of the packet for the City Council’s next regular meeting.
The next regular City Council meeting takes place on Tuesday, August 4th at 6:30 pm via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube. Public comment can be made during the meeting by 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.