City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

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Sep 02

August 2016 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 8:52 AM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - August 2016

Monthly-report.pngWelcome to the City Manager's Monthly Report Blog! 

The City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed.

As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates (older emails get shorter) in favor of the most recent - although some will be duplicative if there is other relevant information included; I try to remove information regarding events that have already occurred; and I edit information that requires update - hopefully to make it more useful. Overall, the information is generally the same as it was presented to the City Council in their weekly Council email.

The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me via email or phone.

My weekly email typically goes out every Friday. 


George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

August 26 Weekly Council Notes

1. Agenda Look Ahead

The September 7 Study Session has 3 time-critical action items in addition to the two Study Session items: 


Belbrook Channel - The first is the award of contract for the Belbrook Channel. As you may recall, since we were going to be dark in August and the bid dates concluded in early August, in July, we asked the Council to authorize a contract award up to the engineer’s estimate. The public bids came in slightly over that amount. Because of the mid-October Regional Water Quality Control Board deadline for project work, we need a timely award of contract to give enough lead time for the project. This item will be a consent item. 

PAR Course Installation - The second is authorization for a budget amendment to hire a contractor to install the PAR course equipment at the Park. This item was budgeted in the last fiscal year, but staff was unable to complete the work under contract and failed to re budget the funds. In order to complete it in the current fiscal year it needs to be re-budgeted. This item will be a consent item. 

Corporation Yard Scope of Work - This item was to be on the July 20 Agenda, but I pulled it to expand the scope to include the Park Corporation Yard. As the Council is aware, we need to make some modifications to the Civic Center Corporation Yard to address ingress/egress issues as well as design. In doing so, it became clear that the Civic Center Corporation Yard is significantly impacted by the Civic Center Project and we need to think more creatively about how to address that compaction. Incorporating the Park Corporation Yard into the planning and programming for the Civic Center Corporation Yard will provide more opportunity. The timing of the Scope of Work allows the planning to be continuous with the Civic Center Project. 


Fire Services Report - I am preparing a brief staff report for Council discussion on fire service fiscal resource analysis. The issues to be discussed are not related to fire operations or service delivery. Rather, the report will focus primarily on fiscal review. I will be presenting a few options for the Council to consider in an effort to better understand the basic fire service needs for the community and the fiscal requirements to provide those services. 

The report is not intended to debate the quality or quantity of services delivered by the Fire District. It is intended solely to provide the Council with an opportunity to discuss whether we should move forward with an independent study to review the fiscal resources and demands of the community with respect to fire services. There are consultant firms that provide this sort of detailed analysis. The Fire District would be involved in any study ultimately undertaken by the Town. 

Volunteer Recognition Awards Program - I am preparing a brief staff report for Council discussion on a possible volunteer recognition awards program for the Town. 

2. SB 1436 Local Agency Executive Pay

SB 1436 was recently signed into law. It amends a current section of the law related to disclosure of salaries and benefits for executive staff of local agencies. The next time an amendment is made to my salary or benefits, in addition to what is already done (posting of any agreement or resolution on the Town’s website, posting of any staff reports with associated details, disclosure at a public meeting, etc.), the legislative body (Mayor) must in open session orally recite a summary of any salary and benefits to be paid to me before any action may be taken. 

3. Planning Commission Action - August 24, 2016

The Planning Commission met on August 24 and took the following action(s):

- Continued the public hearing on the heritage tree removal request at 70 Stern to September to allow addition time for further investigation into the health of trees and revisions to the tree replacement planting plan. 
- Approved the heritage tree removal permit at 207 Stockbridge to allow removal of 5 trees.
- Discussed conceptual ideas on revisions to the Zoning Code related to Sidewall and Endwall Regulations pertaining to contemporary/modern style architecture and directed staff to return with additional detail on potential revisions. 

4. Proactive Enforcement at HAWK Beacon

This morning, the PD conducted a pedestrian enforcement operation at the new pedestrian hybrid crossing at the intersection of El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue. Personnel present included Officer Jeff Rickel, Officer Ken Macdonald, Officer Jason Bollendorf, Sgt. Brad Mills, and Motor Officer Garrett Pene from the Burlingame Police Department. 
The event ran from approximately 0713 hours to 0912 hours. The officers issued 4 citations, 2 warning citations, and 1 verbal warning.  Included in these was a citation for an unlicensed driver and a citation for a $5,000 warrant out of the San Jose Police Department.  
Feedback from the officers about the HAWK beacon:

- Many motorists did not realize they could proceed through the light when it was flashing red, which caused some horn-honking by fellow motorists.
- The delay (after the pedestrian activates the beacon) is long enough to significantly stop traffic before the pedestrian even enters the crosswalk.

5. Retreat Report

Linked here is a copy of the Annual Retreat Summary from Nancy Hetrick. 

6. Animal Services Report - June 2016

7. Articles of Interest

Below are a few recent articles of interest. 

The Town’s Drone Ordinance is in draft form with the City Attorney’s Office. The limitations in the Park are restricted to certain areas of the Park, but prohibitions could certainly be extended to the entire Park at the discretion of the Council when the ordinance comes before you. 

City Manager Major Goods, Use or Service Agreements/Contract Awards as of August 26, 2016
As a reminder, the list below is provided as informational only. All items listed are authorized pursuant to the Town’s purchasing policy requirements and within the current year’s program budget(s). 
  • 2016 Firearms Agreement - Firearms Training Facility Agreement (RWC)
  • 2016 Fall Legends Baseball Agreement - Park
  • 2016 Steven Snider Agreement - Motorcycle Training Program
  • 2016 O’Grady Paving Overlay Project - Almendral Slurry Project
  • 2016 Juniper Hill - 2 Belbrook Way Right of Entry Agreement - Belbrook Culvert Project
Special Event Permits - as of August 26, 2016

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 

August 12 Weekly Council Notes

1. ECR HAWK Beacon Project - Ribbon Cutting

PG&E was very helpful in expediting their work on the HAWK Beacon for the Town. Their efforts have allowed us to retain the anticipated ribbon cutting on August 17. The ceremony will begin at the Fire Station at 3 pm. 

2. Marsh Road Project

Marsh Road will re-open on Saturday by 6 pm. Re-opening the roadway has been the single-focus priority as the project moves along. This is not the end of work on the project. There remains clean-up activity, punch list work, roadway striping, channel cleaning, signage/detour clearing and other miscellaneous work. In addition to the follow-up activity, the sewer lining project will need to complete their effort on a remaining section of line. This work will continue into the next week. All work should complete by August 26. During the clean-up activity there may be lane closures (with flaggers for two-way traffic) but the roadway will be open

We received a cost estimate to powder coat/paint the railing. We will return to the Council with a separate request to do so, if desired. This will be post-project and could be done with a simple lane-closure. Once the project is complete, take a look at the finished railing - we will return with the cost/color etc. after the installed railing has a chance to settle in and you can decide whether or not to treat it. In addition to treatment cost, there is likely a higher cost involved in maintaining a treated railing versus the installed version. 

3. PG&E Tree Removals

PG&E just applied for some tree removals on Walsh Road connected to their line clearance project. They submitted to remove a total of 40 trees, 11 of those trees are heritage trees. Staff has approved 4 of that 11 because they are dead/dangerous. We have denied removal of 7 trees. These requests will now move along to the Planning Commission. 

4. Annual Meeting - M-ALL

Staff held the annual meeting with the Menlo Atherton Little League with respect to the Ball Field. We discussed ways the Town could improve the use at the Field - everything from how storage areas were working out, to cleaning, to rented use off season, general field care/maintenance, and restrooms. We discussed ways that M-ALL could improve their use - specific field needs, shared-storage facilities, off-season coordination, etc. We discussed the new Park Bicycle Use Plan and the installation of a bicycle rack at the field. 

Also discussed was that in 2017, M-ALL is hosting the All Star Tournament. This is a tournament that gets passed around league to league for hosting. Most of the activity will occur at Burgess, but there will be some activity that will occur in Atherton. The dates will not be finalized until January/February, but the activity will occur post-season into mid-July. We are coordinating with other field users and Park renters. 

Lastly, M-ALL asked if the Town would allow them to consider more substantial outfield fencing - still temporary and installed/removed with the season - but more substantial/sturdy. We asked that they provide us with some options and we would consider the request. 

Overall - everyone has been happy with the facility, its use and uses as well as opportunities for improving.

5. National Election Activity

Staff is tracking political fundraiser activity in Atherton on August 21 with a tentative visit by Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine. If needed, a Special Event Permit will be completed. 

6. Local Election Activity

If by the end of today, Friday, August 12 the Town has not received any other qualifying candidates (beyond the 2 incumbents) for election, the Council has a couple of options to consider. At this time, only the two incumbents have pulled papers. Pursuant to State law, the Council may cancel the election and appoint the nominated persons (Lewis/Wiest) to their seats, or it may hold the election. The Election costs the Town about $15,000. If at the close of nominations, there are not more candidates than offices to be elected, the Council may:

1) appoint the nominated candidates
2) appoint any eligible voter if no one has been nominated (not the case here)
3) hold the election

This is not the first time this has occurred in Atherton but it has been a while. It last occurred in 2006 with Alan Carlson, Jerry Carlson, and Charles Marsala. The nominees were appointed and the election was cancelled. The vote was 4-0-0-1. Jerry Carlson abstained. 

If there are no other candidates that file, on Monday, we will publish a notice to the Council and public as required. Five (5) days later, the Council may hold a special meeting to either make appointments or continue with the election. As you know, in this circumstance, those appointed serve exactly as if elected. A decision to cancel the election and make the appointments must be made by the 75th day before the election - August 25. We will publish the notice as required. The Mayor is considering calling a Special Meeting for the week of August 22. 

7. Workout Space in Garage

The workout space in the garage has been re-opened. A policy has been posted that requires the following:

- When using the space, personnel are encouraged, but not required, to advise another member of Town staff that they will be using the space. Safety first. If you have a health condition that limits your activity, check with a doctor before using any of the equipment. 
- When using the space, personnel are required to open both operable garage doors a minimum of 2 feet to allow for cross ventilation within the space. 
- Use of the exercise area is prohibited during weapons cleaning or evidence processing activity. Use of the gym is discouraged for up to 1-hour after the processing of evidence related to narcotics and/or blood samples or active weapons cleaning. 
- Music and entertainment device noise should be kept within acceptable limits. 
- Weights and other workout equipment should be returned to a rack or placed in a safe location after use. 
- Secure the facility upon leaving the space. 

August 5 Weekly Council Notes

Below is the Friday Council Notes. 

1. ADAPT - Atherton Community Emergency Drill

Tomorrow (8/6), ADAPT will be hosting an Atherton Community Emergency Drill (ACED). The exercise is a joint training earthquake drill with resident volunteers, first responders, and Town officials. Members of the Council are welcome to attend and participate as ADAPT volunteers. We will be opening our EOC in conjunction with the drill (limited capacity). The reporting area for the drill is the parking lot directly behind the Police Department. The goal of the drill is to help better prepare the Town in case of a major incident, to improve collaboration between the Town, first responders and volunteers during an event, and to expose residents to what they can do in an emergency for themselves and to help others. 

2. Recent Articles
3. Letter from Congresswoman Eshoo - Flight Path

On August 1 the Town received a letter (copy) from Congresswoman Eshoo to the FAA regarding arrivals/departures at San Carlos Airport and the planned FAA solution. A copy of that letter is linked here

The letter continues to express concern that while the Surf Air trial arrival route might alleviate concerns in San Mateo County it may shift the problem to the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. 

4. County of San Mateo EMS Report for 2015-16

Linked here is an overview report of the EMS System for San Mateo County. The Report includes recent milestones, accomplishments, and an update on the challenges and initiatives ahead. 

5. Triple Flip Close-Out

As mentioned prior, with the close-out of the Triple-Flip, the State is settling up with counties and cities for sales tax revenue. The State Department of Finance has determined that the Town received too much tax revenue under the Triple Flip. The excess must now be refunded to the County for redistribution. The Town will be remitting $10,494.04 back to the County/State. Linked here is a copy of the letter from the DOF

6. Park Event and Revenues Log

Linked here are the July 2016 Park Events Log and the Park Revenue Log

7. Atherton Now July 2016 Report

Linked here is the August 1, 2016 Atherton Now Fundraising Report. There has been no changes to the data since the June 1, 2016 Report.

With respect to the Civic Center Project, in last week’s Council Notes I advised that the cafe in the historic town hall is being designed as a warming/catering kitchen. It is not being designed for a particular vendor or with a particular vendor in mind. There is a timing issue involved with amendments to the Town’s General Plan and Land Use ordinance to allow a commercial use. That is something that will be addressed post-project. The facility will be designed such that it can accommodate a commercial activity (mostly electrical and plumbing), but it is not being designed with any particular activity in mind. 

Subsequently, the question was raised as to why the Town would not be designing the space specifically as a cafe. My response was that the space is being designed as the most flexible space possible. That we should not design a full commercial space only to have the GP/Land Use process return as a no go. Nor should we design a space with specificity with the possibility that any future tenant then wants to change to suit their purpose. It is common in tenant arrangements to have a space improved specifically for the tenant’s intended use. Those costs could be recouped as part of the lease arrangement. 

Designing the space with specificity limits the Town. The Council has been clear that it is supportive of a cafe within the Civic Center. What that ultimately looks like is yet to be determined as there is no specific vendor in mind. Right now, my recommendation is that it is best designed as a catering kitchen - which will have space for appliances (refrigerators, warming areas, display case space/possibility) and adequate electrical/plumbing to accommodate expansion. For comparison, the recently renovated space at the Pavilion can be very easily renovated to be used as a daily operational kitchen. All of the updates for a commercial operation are roll-in appliances - not built-ins. The built-in needs are electrical, plumbing and ventilation. All of which are built into the basic model. 

I will bring this issue to the attention of the Council at the September 21 Regular Council Meeting. If alternative direction is needed with respect to my recommendation above, the Council can so direct.  

8. Marsh Road Project

The Marsh Road Project remains on target to be opened by August 13. We have elected not to host a formal ribbon cutting but will instead do a brief photo opportunity and press release. We will also be sending a letter of appreciation to all of the residents in the immediate area thanking them for their patience and cooperation during the construction. 

Below are a few recent photos from the project: 

- Photo 4496 - Temporary Sewer Bypass line being installed prior to the new sewer pipe under Marsh Road (Middlefield Road looking east)
- Photo 4493 - Base Rock being set in place prior to final paving of street
- Photo 4486 - New Marsh Road Guard Rail
- Photo 4468 - Base Rock and Guard Rail During Installation
- Photo 4466 - Longitudinal View of New Channel from Fair Oaks looking west.