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.

View All Posts

Dec 14

November 2016 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 3:57 PM by tdellasanta tdellasanta

City Manager's Monthly Report - November 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. However, 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 to the City Council typically goes out every Friday. 


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

November 17 Weekly Council Notes

Below is the Friday Council Notes. 

As a reminder, I will be out of town for my wedding anniversary (Hawaii) from Friday, November 18 through Saturday, November 26. I will have limited connectivity. Theresa and Joe have the conn in my absence. I will be trying to “disconnect,” but you know me, that’s darn near impossible. I am heading to the Recology Board Meeting at 2 pm this afternoon and will be leaving for home from there. 

Town Hall is CLOSED Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Articles of Interest

Below are some links to articles of interest. 
PG&E Atmospheric-Corrosion Meter Inspections

Every three years PG&E does household gas meter inspections for corrosion. PG&E has completed the 2016 scheduled inspections and have moved up the early-2017 inspections to this year. Beginning Tuesday, November 15, 2016, over 100,000 gas meters in San Mateo County will be inspected between Tuesday and the end of the calendar year. PG&E and private contractor (Underground Construction) crews will be conducting the inspections. These inspections used to be part of the monthly meter reading program, but with the SmartGrid roll-out, atmospheric corrosion is being inspected as its own program.

During inspections, customers may see a PG&E employee or contractor on or near their properties as they access the gas meter. This work will not affect gas service. In the event a meter cannot be accessed, PG&E will schedule a visit and inspect the meter on a future date. Inspectors may repair or replace gas meters as needed during their inspections or on a future date.

Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit. 

Inspections will begin in Daly City, Colma, Brisbane and South San Francisco and work their way south through the county. All inspectors will have an ID, be in a PG&E vest and hard hat, and have a PG&E placard on their dashboard. 

Joint Meeting with the Fire Board (Holiday Reception to Follow)

The Joint Meeting of the Fire Board is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13 from 5 pm to 7 pm. The Mayor and I met with Board President Silano and Fire Chief Schapelhouman on November 14 at 4:30 pm

The draft agenda topics are highlighted below. The final agenda is still in the works. 
  • Specific Project: 
    • Discussion of the Marsh Road Project and future access issues - bicycle/pedestrian/emergency acess
  • Future Needs: 
  • Discussion of the District’s CityGates(sp?) - Standards of Cover Update
  • Discussion of District Vision for Station 3 Growth - 5/10/20 Years
  • Discussion of the Medical Response JPA (how/who/process)
  • Transportation and Access: 
  • Discussion of the Town’s Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan (NTMP)
    • Discussion of new “sharrows” and bicycle paths
    • Discussion of Roundabouts and other Traffic Management Measures
    • Discussion of the El Camino Real Complete Streets Study
  • Community Education & Awareness: 
  • Discussion of ways to improve community education and awareness related to:
    • Residential Address Numbering Improvements
    • Designation of local Assembly Points
    • Designation/Maintenance of local ADAPT Storage Caches
    • Integration of local HAM Radio Networks
    • Local Disaster Preparedness Education
The conversation around the Medical Response JPA will be educational. Board President Silano connected with the San Mateo County Medical Services Group and has provided the following overview from John Odle, Executive Director of the Medical Services Group. 

"The JPA was formed in 1998 when the county was developing a new 911 ambulance contract. The Fire Agencies in San Mateo County had interest in providing paramedic first response to provide a higher standard of patient care. In order to do this the County required a collective approach, in other words a single entity to contract with. As a result the JPA was formed. The JPA has a Board made up of representatives from each City, Town, Fire District, and the County. Formation of the JPA allowed the member agencies to contract for paramedic first responder services and to receive revenue for providing those services.

The JPA Board approves a revenue allocation plan and operating budget on an annual basis. The current revenue allocation is $50,000 for each First Responder Unit (FRU). A FRU is a fire department vehicle that is staffed with a paramedic. We are currently compensating fifty-two FRU's across the County. Seven of the fifty-two are Menlo Park Fire Protection District (MPFPD) units. This means we allocate $350,000 annually to MPFPD. There are no expenses associated with the JPA funded by any source other than the revenue we collect for providing the paramedic first response services. This source of our revenues is a pass-through from the private ambulance contractor. In addition to the revenue the JPA receives, the Fire Agencies also receive durable equipment and consumable medical supplies from the ambulance contractor which helps to off set operational expenses. 

As the Executive Director for the JPA, the only information I have to provide is what revenues are distributed by the JPA and any question you may have concerning our annual operational  budget. I have no information regarding individual members of fire districts such as the MPFPD."

Animal Services Report - October 2016

CalPERS Circular Letter on Pay Schedules

As an FYI, linked here is the recent CalPERS Circular Letter on Pay Schedules. The Town is compliant with the requirements; however, CalPERS is still picking through the remaining items on our recent audit and there may be a need to again, “re-adopt” historical schedules. Stay tuned as we work this out. There is no fiscal impact on the compliance effort, but it is nonetheless frustrating to adopt something only to be told that you have to re-adopt it because you included TOO much information. 

Closing the Gap - Building Facilities Fund

Staff continues to research how to close the gap of $1.2 million for the Building Facilities Fund. As mentioned, the $505,000 that the Town transferred to its Capital Facilities Replacement Fund can be traced back to the Building Fees. This can be reallocated back into the Building Facilities Fund. In addition, the are several projects over the past few years that have been assessed Construction Time Limit Penalties. These funds could also be transferred into the Building Facilities Fund. These total $385,800. 

The total of $890,800 from the needed $1.2 million will leave $309,200 remaining. The full summary of options will be coming to the Council in January. 

Holiday Reception

The Town’s Holiday Reception and Recognition for members of Town Committees and the Commission (as well as Staff) is set to follow the Fire Board Joint Meeting at 7 pm at the home of Council Member DeGolia. All members of Town Committees and Commission will be recognized at the meeting for their volunteer work through the year. 

November 4 Weekly Council Notes

Articles of Interest

Below are some links to articles of interest. 
Barbara Wood (Almanac) asked for a total of Town costs over the years spent on rail issues. We have had a number of consultants involved over the years but some have been pro-bono. Putting together the summary, those that charged for services - Capital Advocates, Stuart Flashman, and California Rail Foundation) totals $145,550 from 2009 forward. This will be provided to Barbara. 

Park Revenue and Event Log

Linked here is the Park Revenue Log and the October Park Events Log

October Police Report to the Transportation Committee

Linked here is the October 2016 Report to the Transportation Committee. This report goes to the Committee as part of their public agenda. 

Event Garden @ the Park

The Event Garden project is complete and via letter, the Town has accepted the work as complete. 

PG&E Self Report Notifications

PG&E is required to provide local government notification as part of a process required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) whenever they self-report any potential compliance issue we have identified. On October 18, 2016, PG&E self-reported to the CPUC an issue of non-compliance related to inadequate cathodic protection (CP) on gas transmission pipelines.
On June 5, 2012, PG&E provided the CPUC with a self-identified non-compliance notification regarding not promptly remediating 180 indications of inadequate cathodic protection (CP) on its transmission pipelines. On February 11, 2014, following an inventory of its records, PG&E issued an update to the 2012 self-report adding an additional 490 indications of inadequate CP on its transmission pipelines.  Following an expansion of the initial records inventory, PG&E has since identified 745 additional indications of inadequate CP that were not promptly investigated at non-routine monitoring locations (i.e. locations not part of the routine corrosion monitoring plan). 
PG&E has remediated 174 of the 180 locations (96%) identified in the 2012 self-report and expects to complete the remaining six locations by the end of 2016.  PG&E has remediated 429 of the 490 locations (87%) identified in the 2014 self-report and is working to complete the remaining 61 locations by the end of 2016.  PG&E has experienced project delays at 13 locations and anticipates that completion of these locations may not be completed until Q2 2017.  PG&E has remediated 502 of the 745 locations (67%) identified in the 2016 self-report and is working to remediate the remaining 243 locations by the end of 2018.

PAR Course Installations at the Park

Work is underway on the PAR Course Replacement Project. 

Planning Commission Meeting - October 26, 2016

The Planning Commission, at its October 26, 2016 meeting, took the following action:

- Approved the Heritage Tree Removal Permit at 56 Holbrook Lane to allow the removal of one tree.

- Continued the Heritage Tree Removal Permit at 167 Stockbridge Avenue for the request to remove two trees to the December 7, 2016 meeting in order for the applicant to propose further revisions to the plans as they relate to the trees for review by Town staff.
- Approved a Tentative Map and Lot Line Redesignation at 10 Sargent Lane to subdivide  the parcel into two lots and to designate the property line along the southwest side of the proposed new lot B as the front property line.  

The next meeting is scheduled for December 7, 2016.

Tax Rate Area Map and Educational Information

Staff has updated the Local Municipal Services webpage to provide education to the community on Tax Rate Areas (TRAs) and how property taxes are allocated. The information includes a step by step process to find their parcel on the County website to look up their tax rate area and detail. The information also includes a summary spreadsheet of all taxing entities in each TRA - as well as a map of all TRAs in Town. 

Almendral Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK) Timing

Staff continues to work with Caltrans to remedy the timing of the HAWK Beacon. 

Peninsula Humane Society - Shelter Article

Last week, as the Council is aware, there was an article related to abuse at the Peninsula Humane Society Shelter. Assistant County Manager Mike Callagy provided the below email following an inspection of the facility: 

"As you may be aware, last week several media outlets reported employee allegations of animal welfare problems at the Coyote Point Shelter operated by Peninsula Humane Society through a contract with the County of San Mateo and its cities. In response, the Health System immediately dispatched a small team to the shelter to investigate.
The team, which included Health System Chief Louise Rogers, Public Health Director Cassius Lockett, a veterinarian and other Health staff involved in the contract’s oversight, toured the facility for approximately two hours on October 27, 2016 and found no examples of inhumane treatment of animals or distress. As expected, the team reported the building is antiquated and in poor shape which reconfirms the need for replacement as is currently planned. PHS agreed to promptly address several repair recommendations made by our team.
The County takes these concerns very seriously and we plan to convene a more thorough review of the Shelter and its operations in November. I will keep you updated on our next steps and the conclusions drawn from the upcoming review."

Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project Comprehensive Agreement

As the Council is aware, Caltrain is working with all agencies along the electrification corridor to execute comprehensive agreement with each agency. The Town’s effort on this was suspended while the CEQA lawsuit progressed. Now that that has completed, Caltrain has re-approached the Town regarding the agreement. The agreement covers issues such as the issuance of Town Encroachment Permits, lay down construction areas, truck routes, noise, construction times, etc. 

Staff is working with Caltrain on the points of the agreement. 

As Caltrain moves forward with the Project and other sub-project connected to it, they will be sending out a series of mailers to affected residents in advance of work. The relevant work segments for Atherton are shown via this link: 

At this phase, the majority of the work will occur during the day but there will be some night work. The contractor will locate utilities, confirm soil conditions, and test cables. Once work starts (mid to late November) Caltrain will be updating the website on a weekly basis with what and where the activity will occur. They will also send out the weekly email notices, and check the project hotline and email regularly. 

The Town will replicate and release as much of the information as possible in a timely manner via our outlets (website/email). 

Solid Waste Rate Structures - Zero Waste

Menlo Park is developing a Zero Waste Plan and Rate Restructuring with the help of R3 Consulting that will overlay “cost-of-service” rates with incentives to meet community Zero Waste goals. The rate structure model could be made available to other SBWMA Member Agencies that are interested in aligning a potential rate restructuring with extension of the franchise agreement. The rate structure could provide benefits to those agencies that are interested. Menlo Park has reached out for partners in the cost of the study; however, they are not holding up the study to wait for partners. 

At this time, it does not appear that this is something the Town is interested in pursuing. The results of their study will be public and if, at that time, the Town believes there is benefit to pursuing something locally, we can do so. The waste stream for communities such as Menlo Park is vastly different than that of Atherton. 

Green Bike Lanes Feedback

Staff is putting together an Open Town Hall Feedback item for the green bike lanes on Middlefield Project(s). We will be asking a few open-ended questions (along with pictures), such as: 

- What do you like or not like about the green striping?
- Are there specific intersections where you think this treatment would be helpful?
- Are there specific intersection where you think a higher level of striping would be helpful?
- In addition to green striping applications at intersections, some communities have painted the entirety of the bike lane green along busy roadways. The Town is considering this along Middlefield Road - what are your thoughts?
- Are you familiar with other types of markings that you would like the Town to consider? If so, what/where are they?

The preamble will read something like: 

"The Town of Atherton has developed a Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and provide connectivity with adjacent agencies. One of the projects within the plan is to install green bike lanes at key intersections in Atherton. The Town already has green bike lanes at intersections on Middlefield/Encinal, Laurel/Encinal, Michael/Emilie and on Glenwood. The Town is seeking your thoughts and feedback on installing these same green bike lanes at other intersections throughout the town. In addition, the Town is considering installing green striping along the entirety of Middlefield Road (to include all of the intersections). Your feedback on this project is important as the Town considers moving forward with the project.”

This should go live in the coming week. 

M-ALL All Star Tournament - 2017

M-ALL will be before the Council at the November 16 meeting to provide information on their Spring Season and the District 52 All Star Tournament. The tournament rotates around the District and it is M-ALL’s turn to host. They will be requesting time in July 2017 to accommodate. Some of the games will be played at the Park. Special Requests will include: 

- Extension of M-ALL field use rights at Burgess Majors and Willie Mays Ball Park at Holbrook Palmer Park (HP) through July 15.  This is an extension beyond M-ALLs typical use through June 30.  The All Star tournament is estimated to take place between July 1 and July 15.  The final dates will be determined in February by Little League’s Western Region.
Operation of the Snack Shack at Burgess during the tournament.  A temporary Snack Shack setup at HP to provide food and drinks to players and families.
- The use of our PA system during the tournament to play the National Anthem and introduce players before each game. (NOT PLAY BY PLAY)
- The ability to hang signage (tournament banners) and field decorations (e.g., red, white, blue bunting) at the fields.
- Restrooms to be open during the tournament and cleaned each evening.
- Additional trash cans to accommodate the increased users and for them to be emptied each evening.

Costs for the above, to include use fees, would be paid by M-ALL. 

Meeting Regarding Menlo College/School | Cartan Field

Staff will be meeting in early December to begin the process of reviewing compliance issues at Cartan Field. 

Turf Repairs at the Park

Staff is reviewing turf repair needs at the Park and will be meeting with M-ALL to discuss field needs. 

Second Dwelling Unit Law

On Monday, staff participated with the County’s 21 Elements Group (Housing) and Goldfarb & Lipman Attorney’s who presented SMCO jurisdictions a summary and legal opinion on the new State Laws amending Gov’t Code 65852.2 making it easier for property owners to create second dwelling units by right.  Most changes do not appear problematic to the Town, with the exception of the timing and conversion of existing accessory buildings to Second Dwelling Units (SDU) 

(see **  Primary Staff Concerns below). 
Summary of Substantive Changes to Existing Town SDU Ordinance

- Timing: need to take action within 120 days &  must specify this timing in Ordinance
- Parking: Spot can be tandem spot or in setback and we cannot require parking under certain conditions.
- SDU’s in existing structures:  Town must ministerially approve an SDU if contained within existing main residence or an existing accessory building.
**Primary Staff Concerns

Timing – local Ordinances must by updated by Jan 1, 2017, or local ORD is null & void, and only State standards apply. At this point, best case is Council meeting in December 2016 and Council January 2017, then Ordinance is not effective until March 2017.  Given the State’s late delivery of info, staff is investigating the possibility of an urgency ordinance adoption process. 
SDU’s In Existing Accessory Buildings – this would allow existing, legal detached accessory buildings (i.e. pool houses, guest houses, etc.) to be converted to an SDU, without consideration of additional setbacks.  The concern here is that these buildings, for the most part, are only 10’ from side & rear property lines, while our SDU Ordinance requires the location to meet much larger setbacks with slight encroachment (closer to ~40-48’’).  New detached units, would still need to meet our more stringent SDU setbacks.

Public Funds for Private Benefit

As the Council is aware, when a tree falls across the public right of way, staff will facilitate clearing of the public right-of-way, but the adjacent property owner is responsible for clearing the edges of right-of-way. In the past, the Town has not “charged back” the cost of using Town resources to clear the roadway. Much of this is circumstance dependent and in some cases, the Town itself may be obligated as the responsible party, but in general, there have not been chargebacks on a consistent basis. 

With the wet weather season approaching staff discussed this issue at a recent staff meeting to develop an audit process to track work done in the public right-of-way that needs to be charged back to adjacent property owners. This process will be followed moving forward. The law is quite clear that the Town cannot use public funds (staff time and resources) for private benefit - even when the staff time and resources are clearing the public roadway or drainage channel. If the source of the issue is private, the cost of Town work must be paid for by the private property owner. Sometimes, this will involve a very fast demand on the property owner to clear the roadway, if they cannot do so (out of town, late call out, no resources, etc.) the Town will do so and invoice the property owner.