https://twitter.com/RialtosNowThis is the link to click on Twitter to get a play by play of Rialto City Council meetings we try to attend all of the meetings.
The meeting held January 8th 2013 was not long but it was full of interesting items.
Rialto PD Community Officer Cpl. Cameron Nelson is giving a presentation on the dangers of synthetic drugs
http://youtu.be/3BArWvTjysI opens his presentation.
http://miami.cbslocal.com/latest-videos?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6714960 Dangers of “Spice” video.
http://youtu.be/-mil_VdTabk After the Video
http://youtu.be/mDbQRyhLL1g Continued presentation
http://youtu.be/BWea3iMX0Io Ends with a Question from Councilman Joe Baca Jr.
Councilman Palmer is asking questions about park cleanliness. This was in reference to Item D2 on the Consent Calendar. Councilman Ed Palmer raised concerns over park cleanliness and the quality of work being done by the outside contractors. His solution for one of the biggest and most used parks is Jerry Eves Park is to allow the Soccer League who uses that park the most to have the responsibility of keeping it clean and getting paid for it.
This is a good idea it raised allot of concerns from other council members of not including other sports leagues and giving them the opportunity, what about changes in the Volunteer ranks of sports leagues and what about parks that had no sports field. They approved the allotment of $39,661 to Azteca Landscaping for Landscape Maintenance District and Grounds Maintenance Services from now until June 30th 2013. In that time Public Works Director Marcus L. Fuller will put together a plan to include community partnerships with groups in Rialto. City Manager Mike Story suggested that the sports teams caring for their own fields could be used to eliminate some of the lighting fees the city has began asking the teams to pay with cuts in revenue.
June Hayes lambastes council over confusing utilities concession agreement. There are businesses and homes outside the city limits that are tied into our waste water system. These individuals are charged 3 times the amount a waste water customer is charged inside the city limits. With the new connection agreement the talk was if the rates would be necessary or fair. The justification of the higher rates remaining was to allow a buffer to exists to help bridge any unseen accounting issues over the next year.
At the last council meeting Councilman Shawn O’Connell asked the city staff to go over the figures and better pin down what was needed and if they could do with a smaller buffer in an effort to bring outside customers in line or close to that of customers inside the city. June Hayes argument was the councils apparent lack of foresight and continued damage to potential businesses by charging the external businesses at such a higher rate. They made a decision to lower the rates for the residential customers from 3 times what Rialto Residents pay to 1.3 times the rate. The rate for the businesses effected outside the city would remain at the rate of 3 times. The reason was to make sure that if Veolia the outside contractor running the wastewater systems number were incorrect the Rialto Rate payers would be in jeopardy of having to fill in the gap with even higher rates. Council echoed the notion you feed the family (Rialto Residents) first. After a year they will re-evaluate the charges. City Attorney Jimmy Gutierrez stated they can legally (in his opinion) charge outside customers higher rates and make a profit.
Councilman Palmer asks for true transparency no more wasting tax dollars on veiled vacations. City Council in an effort to show that they will do whatever they can to show they are sharing in the cuts. This was done by a Motion Councilman Joe Baca Jr. that all trips, conferences and trainings would be frozen for the remainder of this year’s budget ending June 30, 2013 if someone thought there was a reason to attend an event or travel they would have to bring the item before the council and let the people hear what the money was being spent on. Staff reported that there was $22,343 left in the council’s budget and $6,400 for supplies.
Josh Dulaney of the San Bernardino Sun Newspaper called this an attempt to look in the couch cushions for spare change in a effort to balance the budget. If Mr. Dulaney ever spent any real time at council meetings or even getting to know the city he would have known the reasoning for Councilman Ed Palmer to bring this up as a TAB item. Councilman Palmer stated that when he first became a Council Person that he was told the trips were vital, after a few though he began to see it was more vital for city staff to attend conferences and such since they were the ones getting the deals done. He also stated that trips to Washington were more like tax payer vacations because if he wanted to speak with (then) congressman Baca he could see him when he was here in the district.
Mayor Robertson objects to councilman Baca’s motion to eliminate council travel budget and vote on each instance as needed it appeared she saw it as an attack on her the vote passed 3-1 with Mayor Robertson voting No. Two of the amounts highlighted in the budget report were $25,203 for membership in the League of Cities and 5,200 for Mayors League of cities registration.
We move from council travel budget to slurry seal contracts. According the Public Works Director Marcus Fuller in the past the contractors have failed to cover the amount of area they promised so the city is behind their scheduled Slurry Seal plan. American Asphalt was the chosen bid and they came in well under the amount that Mr. Fuller had calculated. Mr. Fuller hoped to be able to extend the scope of work and catch up on the places they have fallen behind.
Visit this web link to learn what Slurry Seal is and what it is used for http://amasphalt.com/services/preventative-maintenance.asp
Moving right along to discussing how to fill the empty council seat the debate over filling the empty council seat was more how to appoint the person and less about if an election was even in the discussion. Mayor Robertson wanted the process to be identical to when she was appointed. With the mayor attending some events in Washington DC this month and the looming deadline of the Utility Tax ballot measure and the further city debt to deal with the councilmen O’Connell, Palmer & Baca decided to have interested parties submit a letter of reference to the city clerk’s office and the Mayor forced a 3 day deadline of last Friday 1-11-2013 at 5 pm. The word around is that 9 people submitted letters for the council to look over. We know that Joe Britt, Ed Scott & Raphael Trujillo were confirmed to have included their letters, the other 5 remain a mystery. Council will spend the following week to make a decision and will make it public on 1-22-2013. To hold a special election it will cost $285K for open council seat that made this avenue a dead issue.
Something confused me at this meeting & I plan to obtain clarification. I requested to speak on 2 issues at this council meeting. I submitted my intentions on the communications form and submitted it. For some reason Mayor Deborah Robertson chose to ignore this intent and force me to wait until the end at the Oral Communications portion of the meeting. It was my understanding that people were directed to this point when they were speaking on an issue not on the current agenda. Under the Oral communications section Council, staff or the Mayor are under no obligation to respond or address your comments. Is it Mayor Robertson’s intent to ignore the will of the people?
In the Oral Communications I (David Phillips) and Rafael Trujillo spoke out. I spoke on the need to be quick, fair & wise with the council appointment as well as highlighting more wasted money that was allocated to the rails to trails project in the amount of $14,500 through heavily populated gang area.
Rafael Trujillo spoke out on the large amount of graffiti that plagued our city over the holidays. Mr. Trujillo was so much calling out the city as he was pleading with them to take care of the graffiti in a timely manner. He said that his community takes care of graffiti inside his community (Elm Park) but he needed the city to pick up the slack on the outskirts of his community.