At its regular meeting on Wednesday, May 12, the Cloverdale City Council will discuss its newly vacant council seat, consider proclaiming a local emergency due to drought conditions and annual assessments for Landscaping and Lighting Assessment District Zones 1-7. The council will also reorganize, selecting a mayor for the term ending in December 2021 and appointing a vice mayor, if necessary. Open session for the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. To view the full agenda, click here.
Prior to addressing new business items, the council will issue a proclamation declaring May 16-22 as “National Public Works Week.” It will also view a presentation by Cloverdale Library Commissioner Reece Foxen providing an update on the Sonoma County Library system and the Cloverdale Regional Library.
Lighting and Landscaping Districts
First on its agenda, the council will be holding the second of three city council meetings regarding annual review of the Lighting and Landscaping Assessment Districts.
On Feb. 10, the council began the required annual proceedings for the 2021-22 Fiscal Year and appointed Coastland Civil Engineering as Engineer of Work. According to the council agenda item, “At this time the council typically adopts the Resolutions of Intent to levy and collect assessments. The Resolutions also include preliminary approval of the Engineer’s Report and set the date for the public hearing. At the third meeting, the council will conduct a public hearing and may then authorize the levying and collection of assessments for FY 2021-22. At that time, the assessments cannot be increased above those stated in the Resolutions of Intent and the preliminary Engineer’s Report. For FY 2021-22, assessments are proposed to increase for one of the seven zones in the District, Zone 6 – Brookside Terrace. The assessment for Zone 1 – Jefferson Springs is proposed to remain at last year’s rate, while assessments for Zone 2 – Vintage Meadows, Zone 3 – The Cottages, Zone 4 – The Vineyards, Zone 5 – Ioli Ranch, and Zone 7 – Sunrise Hills are proposed to decrease.”
The council will consider proclaiming a local emergency due to drought conditions in the city, as well as a related resolution suspending new or enlarged water system connections due to drought.
At its meeting on April 28, the council declared a Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency within the city, prompted by current drought conditions. At the county level, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors declared a drought emergency on April 27.
According to the council agenda, “The adverse environmental, economic, health, welfare and social impacts of the drought pose an imminent threat to people, businesses, property, the environment and recreation in the city of Cloverdale. The city council’s declaration of a Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency and established a water use reduction goal of 25% for the city of Cloverdale. Section 13.05.050 of the Cloverdale Municipal Code section 13.05.050 establishes water uses restrictions that apply during a Stage 2 Water Shortage Emergency, and those restrictions are now in effect. However, further restrictions may be necessary in order to meet the city’s 25% reduction goal.
“New or enlarged connections to the city’s water system will counter efforts to decrease demand and conserve the city’s water supply. Cloverdale Municipal Code section 13.05.030 authorizes the city council to suspend new or enlarged water service connections after the declaration of a Stage 2 Water Emergency. While suspending new or enlarged connections is a significant restriction, this restriction is necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare due to the serious threats posed by the ongoing drought. If adopted, the suspension of new or enlarged water connections will go into effect on May 13, 2021, and remain in effect until lifted by the city council.”
Council vacancy and mayor seat
Lastly, and perhaps the most notable item on Wednesday’s agenda, is council discussion on how it wants to fill the council seat that had been held by Jason Turner. Turner resigned from the council on May 4.
Per California Government Code, the council has 60 days from the start of a council vacancy to either fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling a special action. According to the council agenda, the council has until July 2, 2021 to either make an appointment or call for a special election to fill Turner’s seat. Whoever is chosen or elected to fill the seat will hold it until it would regularly be up for election — in this case, November 2022.
Filling the seat by appointment
The agenda outlines the process of filling the council seat by appointment as the following:
“There are no state laws or Municipal Code provisions establishing specific procedures to make an appointment. No formal application process is required, and the city council may appoint any eligible person to fill the vacancy. The city council can decide to simply nominate individuals or go through an application and interview process. If the city council opts to fill the vacancy by appointment and hold interviews, the Brown Act requires the interviews conducted by the majority of the council to be held in open session.
Regardless of which appointment process the council decides to use, the appointment must be completed prior to July 2, 2021.
If the council desires to fill Councilmember Turner’s seat via appointment, the council shall provide direction to staff on the appointment process and address the following:
1. Does the council desire to enact an application process (including a call for applicants, an application with questions, public interviews, submittal of nomination paper with signatures and more)?
2. If so, determine a timeline that the council would prefer to meet in order to make the appointment on or before July 2, 2021 to include:
a. Application period - Staff recommends a minimum deadline of two weeks prior to the scheduled interview date.
b. Expected interview date(s). The interviews must be conducted in an open public meeting – Regular council meetings are May 26, June 9 and June 23, 2021.
c. Expected appointment date.
Filling the seat by election
According to the agenda, “Pursuant to Government Code §36512 (b)(1), if the council calls a special election, the special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election. The person elected to fill a vacancy holds office for the unexpired term of the former incumbent (to December 2022). The Sonoma County Registrar of voters has suggested that this special election date be set for Nov. 2, 2021. The estimated cost of a special election is between $16,000 to $26,500.”
The council will also be discussing who of the council to appoint as mayor, a position that Turner held. The positions of mayor and vice mayor are elected for a one-year term by the city council, typically in December. With Turner gone, the council will have to reorganize and appoint a mayor. If need be, the council will also discuss appointing a vice mayor, who will serve as the presiding officer in the absence of the mayor.