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The Civic Minute: what’s happening at Citrus Heights city hall (March 8)

Although the city council’s regularly scheduled meeting for March 8 has been cancelled, highlights from the most recent council meeting include an update on the city’s $60.3 million budget, plans to rebuild affordable housing on Sayonara Drive, public comment on the new SmaRT Ride bus service, and the approval of a nearly $2 million roadway improvement project on Sunrise Boulevard.

Present: Mayor Steve Miller, Jeff Slowey, Bret Daniels, Albert Fox
Absent: Jeannie Bruins
Meeting length: 1 hr. 7 min.

Quotable: “No sense having a meeting if there’s no business.” – Mayor Steve Miller, responding to a recommendation by the city manager to cancel the March 8 meeting, in light of city staff not having any items or public hearings needing to be heard by the council.

  • Retirement costs. During a study session held just prior to the council meeting, Assistant City Manager Ronda Rivera provided an update to the city council on recent California Public Employees’ Retirement System policy changes, which will result in a significant increase in the city’s annual costs. The current annual CalPERS contribution paid by the city each year is $2.9 million, but by 2024-25 that number is projected to rise to $5.5 million.
  • SmaRT Ride. During public comment, community member Arthur Ketterling said he appreciated the city working with Sacramento Regional Transit to launch the new on-demand SmaRT Ride pilot program, which allows residents to be picked up and taken anywhere in the city — similar to Uber or Lyft. Ketterling said his experience with the new program had been overall positive, but commented that the SmaRT Ride bus had been an hour late in picking him up, on at least one occasion.
  • Replacement affordable housing on Sayonara Drive. The council voted 4-0 to approve a city staff recommendation to extend the deadline to replace previously demolished units on Sayonara Drive until 2022. In an effort to clean up blight on the street in 2010, state redevelopment funds were used to demolish 15 multi-family structures on Sayonara Drive. As a condition of the funds use, the city had a statutory requirement to replace 35 affordable housing units, or 70 bedrooms, on the street. Councilman Jeff Slowey asked whether the city could remove its obligation to replace the units by paying back the funds to the entity or entities who initially provided the funds, a question which the city attorney responded that she would look into.
  • Criminal justice reform. Citrus Heights City Council members voted 4-0 to back a new ballot effort that seeks to enact tougher penalties for certain crimes, reform the parole review process, and expand DNA collection. See full story: Citrus Heights City Council endorses ballot effort to ‘fix’ Prop 47
  • $1.7M roadway contract. In a 4-0 consent-action vote, the council approved the award of a $1.76 million contract to All American Construction, Inc. for continuing the Sunrise Boulevard Complete Streets Improvement Project by adding a continuous sidewalk, bike lane and street lighting along the west side of Sunrise Boulevard between Locher and Sayonara drives.
  • $340k drainage contract. In a 4-0 consent-action vote, the council approved the award a $340,600 contract to Caggiano General Engineering for a drainage project intended to “eliminate localized flooding and drainage problems for residences along Baird Way between Mariposa Avenue and Holly Drive.” The project will replace an existing storm drain on Baird Way with a larger pipe and also construct a new swale.
  • City budget update: Assistant City Manager Ronda Rivera gave a midyear budget update for the current fiscal year, which has a $60.3 million adopted budget and concludes on June 30, 2018. Rivera said sales tax is the main source of revenue for the city’s general fund, representing 40% of the total general fund revenue of $35 million. Two-thirds of the general fund’s expenditures goes to cover police services, while the remaining funds cover expenditures for community services, fleet and facility management, planning, building, engineering, and other services. Rivera said after staff conducted a midyear review of the general fund, revenues from property tax transfers and motor vehicle licensing are higher than anticipated and are projected to bring in more than $400,000 in additional revenue, while interest earnings are projected to be about $35,000 less than expected. She said the initial budget had called for $284,000 to be taken out of the city’s reserves to balance the budget, but the additional revenues will now leave the city with a projected surplus of about $100,000.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled to be held on March 22, at 6360 Fountain Square Dr.

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