Cloverdale city council

The theme of the April 14 meeting of the Cloverdale City Council is seemingly water — the council will be viewing a presentation on its updated water and sewer rate study and giving direction on whether or not to proceed to a public hearing with new rates, and will also be discussing whether or not it wants to join the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership. Additionally, the council will be reviewing an amendment to its polystyrene prohibition ordinance.

Public session of the council meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, and the full agenda can be found here. The meeting will be held virtually over Zoom, and will also be broadcast live on YouTube.

The council is slated to approve the following consent calendar items:

●    Approval of March 24 meeting minutes

●    Approve and authorize the participation in the California intergovernmental risk authority

●    Resolution accepting public improvements performed by Stratagem, LLC and KarmaDog, Inc. for the Boulevard North Subdivision and authorizing the city manager to release undisputed performance bond

●    Resolution authorizing the city manager to amend the master professional services agreement with Woodard Curran, Inc for risk and resilience assessment and emergency response plan

●    Resolution authorizing the city manager to execute a professional services agreement with West Yost Associates, Inc. to provide professional engineering services for pond solids removal projects at a cost not to exceed $129,675

●    Resolution adopting a roadway improvement project list for fiscal year 2021-22

●    Resolution approving agreement with Deep Valley Security for the purchase and installation of security camera and video intercom with access control at the entrance of City Hall

Water talks

Following a public forum held by the city and Hildebrand Consulting on April 6, during which Hildebrand presented the public with three potential capital spending amendments that would lessen the city’s proposed water and sewer rate increases, Hildebrand will once again present the council with water rate scenarios. Hildebrand also presented the different scenarios to the Cloverdale City Council during a meeting on March 24. This time, Hildebrand will come to the council with the suggestion that it adopt the third water and sewer rate scenarios, which represent the smallest of the proposed increases.

The third water rate scenario proposes a 6% increase in Fiscal Year 2021-22. Following that increase, it proposes 12% increases yearly from Fiscal Year 2023-24 to Fiscal Year 2026-27, with 6% increases in 2027-28 and 2028-29, ending with 3% increases from 2028-29 to 2030-31. This results in a cumulative increase of 67% over five years.

The third proposed scenario for wastewater rate increases begins with a 3% increase in Fiscal Year 2021-22 and shifts to 10% increases from Fiscal Years 2022-23 to 2025-26. The rates would then have 4% increases from Fiscal Year 2026-27 to 2029-30, with a 3% increase in 2030-31.

The scenarios take the city’s capital spending plan and defer spending as much as possible.

“It remains necessary to update the current water and wastewater rates, last updated in 2016 In order to ensure full cost recovery of projected annual operating expenses, capital costs and other factors including water demands within the water and sewer utilities. Most importantly, updating the rates will allow the city to address a backlog of deferred capital projects that are critical to ensuring safe and reliable water and sewer services,” states the council agenda packet.

If approved by the city council, Cloverdale residents should receive notice of the rates and public hearing by the end of April and a public hearing for the rate increases will be scheduled for June 9.

Water-saving partnership

Next, the council will be considering authorizing its membership for the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, which represents 12 water utilities that have joined to provide solutions for water use efficiency, according to the council agenda.

“The utilities include the cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati, Healdsburg; North Marin, Valley of the Moon and Marin Municipal Water Districts; California American Water-Larkfield, Town of Windsor and Sonoma Water (Partners). Each of the partners have water conservation programs that can assist customers in reducing their water use. The Partnership was formed to identify and recommend implementation of water use efficiency projects and maximize the cost-effectiveness of water use efficiency programs in our region,” reads the item summary.

If Cloverdale decides to become a member it would need to pay $22,000 annually, as well as adhere to a $38,500 minimum local annual program funding requirement, which is money that the city budgets and spends for water use efficiency. If the city joins this partnership, it wouldn’t need to pay for stormwater educations through the Russian River Watershed Association, which costs $10,000 annually.

Polystyrene amendment

On Jan. 22, the Cloverdale City Council adopted a model ordinance from Zero Waste Sonoma that prohibits the use of polystyrene foam food serve ware distributed by food establishments and food providers, prohibits polystyrene from being sold by retail vendors and requires food establishments and food providers to only provide single-use straws and utensils if asked.

Now, the ordinance is coming back for a slight amendment that prohibits per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food service ware products.

According to the council agenda packet, “An expanding body of research has revealed the potentially damaging human health effects related to ingesting these synthetic chemicals commonly used in and on single-use service ware products to repel water and grease. As a result, European countries, states and jurisdictions across the United States are taking steps to restrict the use of PFAS in food service ware and other consumer products.”

In addition to these three new business items, the council will issue a proclamation declaring April 2021 National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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