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Highlights from Feb. 16 Paso Robles City Council meeting 

city seal paso robles–Highlights from the regular Paso Robles City Council meeting held on Feb. 16, as sent by the City of Paso Robles, are as follows.

In compliance with social distancing, the council, staff, and the public participated via conference call. The public was invited to view a livestream of the meeting at www.prcity.com/youtube, to call into the meeting at (805) 865-PASO (7276), and to email public comment to cityclerk@prcity.com prior to the meeting.

The council took the following actions:

Received updates on COVID-19 and multilingual outreach: The SLO County Public Health Department is now administering vaccines to residents age 65 and older. The county is updating their website on Thursday mornings for the following week’s available vaccine appointments (www.emergencyslo.org/vaccines). The county continues in the Purple Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy (info at www.emergencyslo.org). As part of the city’s economic recovery efforts, the “Keep It Local” Gift Card Program is underway (www.prcity.com/keepitlocal), as is the propane assistance program (https://www.pasorobleschamber.com/). The city is expanding its multilingual communications efforts, including telephone translation services on the city’s info line (805-227-PASO), translating critical press releases and bilingual posts on social media. A multilingual resource list is available at www.prcity.com/coronavirus.

Approved a COVID-19 vaccination assistance agreement with the County of San Luis Obispo: The timing and scale of a countywide vaccination effort exceeds the operational capacity of the county and its public health programs. Through the COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Agreement, the county and the seven cities are committing to continue the collaborative efforts. The city will provide city staff and other resources, the costs of which will be reimbursed by the county with federal or state funding they receive dedicated to paying for this vaccination effort.

Approved a 79-unit senior low-income housing development and city fee deferrals: The project is located on a 4.21-acre parcel at the southwest corner of the Woodland Plaza II shopping center, south of Niblick Road and west and River Road. It will be a 79-unit senior (62 years of age and up) low-income housing development for active seniors. The project is a single building designed with varying heights ranging from 1-story to 3-stories. Amenities include a residents’ center, laundry facilities, central courtyard, community garden, barbecue area, pedestrian pathways throughout with connectivity to the commercial shopping center, a revised parking area, and a new ADA pathway for access to the Salinas River trail. Council approved a fee deferral agreement to defer payment of city water and sewer connection fees, development impact fees, and building permit fees (estimated at $1.2 million). City fees will be repaid over a 30-year period, with a simple interest rate of 3.75-percent, through a portion of the residual receipts available from the project. The fee deferral will help the project secure federal financing to keep rents for seniors who live there affordable for a period of 55 years. The city and housing authority previously entered into similar agreements for all four phases of Oak Park.

Began a public process to adjust sewer rates: The city provides for collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater for nearly every home, business, and other facilities in Paso Robles, funded primarily by sewer rate payments. Sewer rates have not been adjusted since 2016. As a result, Paso Robles has some of the lowest sewer rates in the region. The city is obligated by state regulations to maintain the integrity of its sewer assets to protect public health and the environment. Costs of meeting stringent state requirements regarding water disposal into the Salinas River are significant and required the completion of comprehensive upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. While expenditures have increased significantly since the last rate increase, revenues have decreased, due to lower water usage and a decision by Templeton to build its own treatment plant, reducing city revenues by approximately $700,000/year. Combined, these factors result in a necessary sewer rate increase. The Proposition 218 process requires the city to notify residents of the proposed rate increase in advance of a scheduled public hearing, and provide an opportunity for residents to protest the rate increases. Council voted to formally receive the January 2021 Wastewater Rate Study by Bartle Wells & Associates; commence the Proposition 218 notification, public hearing, and protest process for sewer rates for the next five years; and schedule a public hearing for April 20, 2021, at the regular council meeting, to consider the proposed rate increases and receive and consider any protests. Click here for related story. 

Held a study session on the Local Roadway Safety Program: The city was awarded a grant from the California Department of Transportation to develop a Local Roadway Safety Plan. The purpose of the plan is to establish the framework and process for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing roadway safety improvements for city streets. Paso Robles experienced an estimated $17 million in total societal costs associated with traffic collisions in 2019. Council provided preliminary input at the meeting. Residents are invited and encouraged to provide input on the plan and the city’s roadway system at https://pasorobleslrsp.mysocialpinpoint.com/. Feedback from stakeholders and the public will be analyzed and incorporated into the plan. City staff will return to the council to review the input and gather final comments, likely on April 6. The final plan will then be presented to the council for final adoption at a third meeting early this year, planned for April 20.

Approved an agreement with Wallace Group to prepare a site plan for the Union Road Safety and Training Center, and bid documents for Phase 1: In 2019, the city purchased 2930 Union Rd to be used for the Union Rd. Public Safety site. It will complement the two existing fire stations, provide reduced response times, and provide needed fire flows, as determined by the recent Insurance Services Offices (ISO) assessment. The site will also house a police department substation and training facilities for both departments. Council approved an agreement with Wallace Group to prepare bid documents for the first phase facility at the Union Road Safety and Training Center, and a final site plan for the ultimate facility. The fees for this work are $393,862.

Authorized the city manager to negotiate an amendment to the loan and sublease agreements for 1345 Park St.: City Manager Frutchey explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the ability of the Business Success Center (to be called “The Sandbox”) to open, and as a result, to pay rent to the city and to begin repaying the loan for tenant improvements. The council directed the city manager to negotiate a revised agreement that preserves the opportunity for the Business Success Center to succeed while making the city as whole as possible, and to return to council with the agreement.

Authorized the purchase of a type III fire apparatus and equipment: The type III fire apparatus is 4-wheel drive and highly maneuverable, can access more high-risk areas, has a specialized wildland firehose, and will meet the ISO regulations that the city has not previously met. The apparatus will be housed at Station 1 until the interim Station 3 is constructed. There will be a three-person team to staff the apparatus, funded by the SAFER grant.

There will be a special council meeting for visioning and goal setting on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Residents can register by sending their name and email address to cityclerk@prcity.com or by calling (805) 237-3888.  Once registered, they will receive an email just prior to the start of the meeting with the Zoom link. The meeting will be live-streamed and available to play later on YouTube.

The next regular council meeting is on Tuesday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m., via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube.

Public comment can be made during the meeting by calling 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing cityclerk@prcity.com.

 

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.