Looking Ahead At Tonight’s City Council Meeting

Quick Preview – Tonight’s City Council Meeting

By Robert Haugh

Some of the items on tonight’s (Oct. 25, 2016) City Council meeting agenda:

Presentation by Plenary Group regarding Public Private Partnership Approach for Financing the International Swim Center & Community Recreation Center Project

After reviewing the architectural design on Sept. 20, City Council adopted a resolution to allow the development of a new International Swim Center & Community Recreation Center inclusive of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and associated parking in Central Park. The next step is to consider various financing approaches including “public private partnership” (P3). The P3 model has been used successfully for various public works projects and may be an option for the City to design, construct, maintain, operate and finance the project.

The City agenda report states, “The Plenary Group has experience with P3 projects in California and approached the City to present information on the P3 model and potential for use in the International Swim Center and Community Recreation Center project. The intent is to provide the Council and community with a viable option to provide the significant initial and long term financing necessary to bring the project to construction. As an option, P3 will still need the support of a capital campaign with contributions from several sources of funding.”

The City is under no obligation to use The Plenary Group or this method to fund the project. The capital campaign components and potential use of Mitigation Fee Act and Quimby Act funds will be reviewed at a later date.

Appointments to Fill One Vacancy on the Board of Library  Trustees

Twelve applications were received to fill one vacancy for the Board of Library Trustees for the partial term ending June 30, 2017. Pursuant to Council policy, applicants to fill vacancies on the Board of Library Trustees are interviewed before a scheduled Council meeting. Interviews are set at 6 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. Council meeting

Senior Advisory Commission Vacancy

Senior Advisory Commission Chair Wanda Buck will give a brief presentation of the purpose and responsibilities of the Senior Advisory Commission to promote an opportunity to serve on the Senior Advisory Commission.

Applications for the Senior Advisory Commission are due Nov. 8, 2016 by 5 p.m. at the City Clerk’s Office. Interviews will be held Tuesday, Nov.22, 2016 at 6 p.m.

Proposed Rate Increase for Electric Service Effective Jan. 1, 2017

The City of Santa Clara’s (City) Electric Utility, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), is planning to introduce a resolution at the City Council’s Dec. 6, 2016 meeting to increase electric rates by three percent for all classes of customers, effective Jan. 1, 2017. This increase has been anticipated for some time, beginning with the Agenda Report supporting SVP’s 2016 increase that was heard at the City Council’s Dec. 8, 2015 meeting. At that time, the anticipated increase for 2017 was estimated at being between two and four percent

Subsequently, the City’s adopted 2016-17 budget for SVP reflected a three percent increase as of January 1, 2017. According to the Agenda report, “current projections confirm the need for an increase in 2017, and indicate that a similar increase will be needed in 2018.”

The proposed rate increase is “needed to cover the increased cost of generating and delivering power to SVP customers, including transmission access charges that apply to all energy that SVP receives via the PG&E transmission system and to the delivered cost of natural gas to SVP generation. Transmission charges have increased over 350 percent in the past 10 years and natural gas deliveries charges more than doubled in 2016.”

Other factors include continuing upgrades to SVP substations and distribution feeders, which are required to maintain SVP’s high reliability. Other aspects include the cost to acquire additional renewable resources, the continuing lack of hydroelectric power due to persistent drought conditions, and the need to replenish SVP’s cash reserve funds in order to maintain SVP’s current A+ bond rating.

Even with the proposed increase, SVP will continue to have the lowest system average rates in California (for a utility greater than 9,000 customers), and SVP’s rates will remain significantly below PG&E’s current rates:

The proposed increase is expected to produce additional revenue of $4 million in fiscal year 2017- 18 and $10 million in fiscal year 2018-19 and thereafter.

 Mobile Fueling in Santa Clara – New Business Needing Regulations

In February, the Fire Chief presented an informational agenda report on the status of mobile fueling in Santa Clara, advising the Council that the mobile delivery of gasoline did not meet current fire code regulations.

Council directed staff to work with representatives of Booster Fuels to look at possible innovative ways to accommodate this emerging business in Santa Clara. Booster Fuels allows customers to order gasoline via a smart phone application, and then have their parked vehicle fueled at their workplace. On-demand, mobile fueling of gasoline is an emerging business model becoming popular in major metropolitan areas across California, and the rest of the county.

Significant efforts at the federal, state and local level have been made to establish the regulatory framework necessary to allow for mobile  fueling.

Booster Fuel, Inc. is an application-based mobile fuel provider that has requested an operational fire permit from the Santa Clara Fire Department. Specifically, Booster Fuels requested authorization from the Fire Chief to address fire code prohibitions through the use of Alternative Methods and Means (AM&M) specific to their business model, and at various locations within the City of Santa Clara.

In their request for authorization, proposals were made to address fire safety, environmental protection, and specialized safety training for their employees. In evaluating their proposal, the Fire Chief and staff reviewed their application, inspected their mobile fuel vehicles, and consulted fire safety experts for their input on ways to address fire code prohibitions.

Fire code officials never envisioned or accounted for the mobile delivery of gasoline via smart phone application. Given this exclusion from the fire code, significant efforts have been underway at the national, state and local level to develop a regulatory framework to allow for the safe delivery of gasoline by these mobile fuel providers.

The Fire Chief directed staff to utilize the proposed regulations drafted by the State Mobile Fueling Task Force and work in collaboration with Booster Fuels, and the City Attorney’s Office to develop the regulatory framework necessary for approval of an AM&M application.

Under the fire code the Fire Chief has the authority to approve an AM&M when equivalent methods of protection can be identified to permit substitution and integration of new technologies. The proposed regulations will ensure mobile fueling operations are carried out in keeping with reasonable safety requirements, including those designed to protect the environment.

The AM&M application submitted by Booster Fuels was approved on September 12, 2016 for one location at the Oracle campus located at 4050 Palm Drive, and the Operational Fire Permit application was received October 3, 2016. Once the Operational Fire Permit is approved the conditions will establish the minimum safety requirements for mobile fueling operations, including but not limited to administrative controls over fueling sites, vehicle and equipment requirements, training requirements, vehicle inspection requirements, and adequate emergency response.

Staff will continue to work with representatives from Booster Fuels, the State Mobile Fueling Task Force, and the Fire Prevention Officers to amend the fire code at the upcoming International Fire Code hearing in Kansas City, and if not approved, will work with California code officials to craft mobile fuel safety regulations for approval at the state and local level.

View the entire agenda at http://santaclaraca.gov/government/council-meetings/view-online-meetings    The majority of this information comes directly from the Agenda report for the meeting.

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