Council Preview – Watchdog Journalism and Community Engagement Making a Difference
By Robert Haugh
There isn’t anything too exciting on Tuesday’s Council meeting agenda. Nothing indicates the meeting will turn into a no-holds-barred steel cage match. We picked out a few of the issues that will likely generate some buzz.
Council Travel Policies
Watchdog journalism makes a difference. Mayor Lisa Gillmor requested an item to set travel policy for Council members. The policy “assists with regulating travel in order to ensure fiscal stability and the proper and equitable use of City resources,” says the staff report.
Transparency and fiscal responsibility. That’s a win for the community.
Infrastructure Assessment – Study Session
Assessing the City’s aging infrastructure was a critical concern of the entire Council at January’s goal-setting retreat.
Funding sources, current conditions, current and proposed projects, unmet needs and deferred infrastructure will be addressed. This will be interesting. Perhaps Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta’s comments in January regarding potholes in the City caused a little ruckus around City Hall?
You aren’t alone, Dominic. No one enjoys potholes.
Stadium Authority Budget – Study Session
There will be lots of numbers, and loads of information to digest. We will spare the space in this column, and just say, it’ll be interesting. We’ll likely write in detail after the meeting to highlight important data and council questions.
Salary Increase for Interim City Manager
Retiring Interim City Manager, Rajeev Batra, who has also been serving as Director of Public Works, is guaranteed a merit pay increase in 2017 ranging from two to to five percent. This is guaranteed as part of the MOU in the contract with his bargaining unit.
The staff reports suggests a five percent wage increase, effective March 12, 2017. His monthly salary will increase from $25,141 to $26,398. Is this really necessary, or will it be considered an attempt to spike his salary for his pension calculation?
2232 to 2240 El Camino Real Project
Another five-story development project slated for El Camino. This one comes from Summerhill Homes, and is adjacent to Santa Clara Town Centre where Calmar Cycles, Mayuri Restaurant, Verizon and Academy for Salon Professionals are now. This one is requesting 151 apartments.
At least this project is more in line with the General Plan. This project proposes 55 units per acre, which is compliant with the El Camino Real Focus Area – which allows a subtle increase in residential density, if there is access to transit.
But we expect similar neighborhood opposition as there was for the Moonlite project.