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Paso Robles City Council meeting highlights for June 2 

City Council meeting highlights

–Highlights from the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2, as submitted by the City of Paso Robles, are as follows.

In compliance with social distancing, the Paso Robles City Council, staff, and the public participated via conference call. The public was given the opportunity to view a livestream of the meeting at www.prcity.com/youtube, invited 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 update on the peaceful protest in Paso Robles: Tuesday’s Black Lives Matter protest drew nearly 125 peaceful demonstrators. The march ended with a unifying prayer led by two of the protesters alongside Paso Robles Police Chief, Ty Lewis, and protesters disbursed peacefully. Chief Lewis provided the council with an overview of the protest and commended the protesters for maintaining a peaceful protest. Mayor Martin had addressed the protesters, made a number of commitments on behalf of his office and the city, including calling for a mayor’s panel to discuss and combat racism, and to continue to provide a voice to protesters’ concerns.

Received an update on COVID-19 pandemic situation, response, and recovery: Staff provided an update on the current number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county and city and reported that the testing now available in Paso Robles at the Veterans’ Center is through Friday June 5th and will then be moving to the Veterans’ Center in San Luis Obispo (free for those who do not have insurance to cover costs.) The county remains in Stage 2 of reopening, pending state release of Stage 3 guidelines and permission to move into Stage 3. Local businesses in Stage 2 are encouraged to review state guidelines required for each business to reopen and to self-certify as safe and open. Information is available at emergencyslo.org/reopening.

Awarded construction contracts for downtown road repairs: As part of the Six-Year Street Maintenance and Repair Plan approved by the council on Feb. 4, 2020, the council designated the following street segments to be repaired in FY 2019-20: 10th Street – Vine Street to Spring Street, 9th Street – Spring Street to Pine Street, 6th Street – Spring Street to Pine Street, and Park Street – 6th Street to 9th Street. During final design, it was deemed efficient and cost effective to include 8th Street from Spring Street to Pine Street, and 7th Street from Spring Street to Pine Street, so that this entire area of the city could be repaired in one phase. Council approved a construction contract award to Ferravanti Grading and Paving for $1.29 million, plus a potential 10-percent contingency to be approved by the City Manager only if needed. The council also awarded a contract for $58,390 to Pavement Engineering, Inc. to perform density testing of the compacted asphalt, as well as performing testing of every 750 tons of asphalt delivered to ensure adherence to specified mix parameters.

Authorized staff to submit safe routes to school grant applications: Council authorized staff to submit two Safe Routes to School grant applications to SLOCOG. The first is for a $289,000 project to complete pedestrian improvements around Flamson Middle School; the council also authorized a $40,000 local match to increase the city’s chances of obtaining that grant. The second grant is for an additional $84,472 on top of existing grant funds for the installation of pedestrian enhancements at Daniel Lewis Middle School; Council also committed to the installation of the improvements as part of the overall Creston Road Corridor Design even if ATP grant funds are not awarded for the broader Creston Road project.

Approved downtown parklets with several conditions: The local business community has been convening roundtable discussions, including city staff participation, to determine how to best approach economic recovery from COVID-19 an ensure the ongoing viability of Paso’s local businesses. At its last council meeting, the council approved Enhanced Dining in City Park, one of the recommended measures to expand outdoor dining opportunities. The council directed staff to return with additional information about parklets downtown. Based on the additional information provided, and the expression of broad business support for the concept as demonstrated by a survey showing 80-percent support and by several written and verbal public comments, the council approved a one-year city-wide parklet pilot program, to be revisited in ten months, with the following characteristics; parklets are to be limited to food and beverage businesses, primarily restaurants and tasting rooms; staff to collect permit and use fees for the encroachment permits, allowing them to be paid on a quarterly basis over the first year; to make approval of downtown parklets only contingent on the applicants and/or the Paso Strong community organizations securing the commitment of private parking in the downtown to offset the parking lost from construction of each parklet; to create one or a few template designs for parklets with some consistency in design that is also reflective of the surrounding structures; to explore how to make parklets available for the exclusive use of the patrons of the business receiving the permit; and to limit the parklets to five on a first-come, first-served basis, with additional parklets requiring council approval. The additional approval can be sought while processing the subsequent applications, to avoid delaying construction.

Provided continued direction on the proposed FY 2020-21 budget: At its previous meeting on May 19, the council directed staff to pursue a priority-based approach to budget reductions that retains General Fund reserves at 30-percent of expenditures. The updated projected General Fund budget deficit in FY 2020-21 is $13.0 million. To maintain 30-percent reserve balances, utilization of reserves needs to be kept at or below $5.7 million, resulting in needed budget reductions of approximately $7.2 million. At this meeting, council considered alternative approaches and directed staff to: eliminate over $4 million in capital improvement program funding; reduce funding for the replacement of city fleet, facilities, IT equipment, and ADA infrastructure by $1million; and a number of program contractions that reduce the operating budget by approximately $2 million. Council directed staff to prioritize essential services, which they defined as police, fire, water, and wastewater services. Staff will return with a detailed budget for adoption on June 16th. Staff will continue to track revenues and prepare for a first-quarter budget review in October to determine if additional reductions are necessary.

This represents just a subset of the total actions by the council. The full agenda can be found at https://www.prcity.com/agendacenter and the audio from the meeting can be found at https://www.prcity.com/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2 or www.prcity.com/youtube.

The minutes will be available as part of the packet for the City Council’s next regular meeting.

The next regular City Council meeting takes place on Tuesday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube. Public comment can be made during the meeting by 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing cityclerk@prcity.com.



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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.