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Council approves two new city events, discusses emergency response plans 

City council receives update on Highway 46 East overpass project

Paso Robles City Council met Tuesday

– The Paso Robles City Council met for its regular meeting on Tuesday at the Paso Robles City Council Chambers. Mayor John Hamon teleconferenced in to the meeting from Fernandina Beach, Florida. Mayor Hamon was in Florida on city business, meeting with the executive director of the Cecil Spaceport outside of Jacksonville.

The meeting began with presentations, the first of which was presenting a life-saving medal to two Paso Robles Police Department officers, Josh Lewis and Alex Hascall, for their heroic actions in pulling a suicidal person off of the Niblick Bridge in late March.

Other proclamations were made for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Education and Sharing Day, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The council unanimously passed the consent agenda but pulled items four and six for further discussion. Item four was immediately discussed after the consent agenda vote. This item was the approval of the second reading on an ordinance to increase compensation for the mayor and council members. The council voted on the item separately with Chris Bausch being the only dissenting vote.

New events coming to Paso Robles downtown

Within the consent agenda was the approval of a request of the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association to stage the Horseless Carriage Club of America Show and Shine event in Downtown Paso Robles City Park on May 7, 2024, as well as a request of the Paso Robles City Library to stage the Summer Reading Program Launch Party in City Park on June 15, 2024. Both items were approved by the council Tuesday night.

The council then unanimously passed a resolution approving the 2024 Emergency Operations Plan. The Director of Emergency Services delegated the review, maintenance, and updating of the plan to Fire Chief Johnathan Stornetta. The plan contains operational concepts associated with the management of incidents, emergencies, crises, disasters, and catastrophes within the city, including earthquakes, hazardous materials incidents, mass casualty incidents, civil disturbance, terrorist events, wildland fires, adverse weather, utility disruptions, and public health issues.

Click here for details on the 2024 plan.

The next item on the agenda was to approve a consultant agreement and establish a city council ad-hoc committee for a General Plan amendment and rezoning process for the Olive Street area to allow for “More flexible land uses and design standards within the zone.”

Only three members of the council stayed to vote on this item, due to a potential conflict of interest for members of the council who own vacation rentals in the city. Council members Sharon Rhoden, Steve Gregory, and John Hamon all own vacation rentals, however, Steve Gregory was “rehabilitated” to be able to vote on the item, according to City Attorney Elizabeth Hull.

The three council members who voted on the item were Fred Strong, Chris Bausch, and Steve Gregory.

The city chose from multiple bids to receive consulting services from John F. Rickenbach Consulting at the cost of $86,000. City staff said they chose Richenbach because of his familiarity with the area and noted that his bid price was the lowest of the options. The item to contract consulting services was passed unanimously.

The two council members who will serve on the ad hoc committee are Fred Strong and Chris Bausch. Strong made the motion to nominate himself and Bausch because they were the two members of the council who do not own vacation rental properties. Gregory voted no on Strong’s motion, but the motion passed two to three with Bausch and Strong voting yes.

Budget discussion continues

The council then discussed the city budget for 2024 and 2025. On March 19, the council formally adopted goals for FY 2024-25 and 2025-26. Those goals and priorities have been incorporated into this preliminary budget analysis.

Budget development remains ongoing, with preliminary information presented in this report.

This is the fourth public discussion regarding city goals, priorities, and the fiscal outlook of the city over the next two years. The first was on Feb. 6, where staff outlined the budget process and timeline; next on March 2, with the council holding a special meeting on a Saturday morning/afternoon; and next on March 19, the council formally adopted the goals and priorities for the next two fiscal years; and on March 22, a coffee with the city manager session was held to provide the community with an update on the budget outlook and goals setting process.

The council unanimously voted to receive and file this report, and in a separate motion, voted to amend the budget for maintenance and operations and capital appropriations for FY 2023-24, to modify the General Fund ($225,000); ARPA Fund ($444,000) and Airport Fund ($96,000) as outlined in the report.

The council then revisited item six on the consent agenda, which was the rejection of all bids for a recycled water distribution system project. According to Utilities Engineering Manager Kirk Gonzalez, all of the bids that the city received for the job were incorrectly filed or missing required paperwork.

Gregory, Strong, Hamon, and Rhoden voted yes to re-advertise for the project. Chris Bausch voted no because he said he, “didn’t like spending an additional $50,000.”

Watch the full meeting on the city’s YouTube page:

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