What should have been a feel-good moment for the city council, the opportunity to deliver $48,000 worth of arts grants to deserving arts organizations, got off to a Rocky, er … rocky start as the kid gloves were threatened to be removed.
Before council discussion was over, those arts organizations who’d expected $7,500 grants faced losing hundreds of dollars, and the respect of the Arts Commission’s decision-making process would come into question.
The brouhaha began when Marilyn Hackett, Special Coordinator for Prayer Angels for the Military, addressed the council.
“Prayer Angels applied for an arts grant to fund its art programs and to mail packages to the troops. Prayer Angels was denied recommendation for funding by the arts council and we are here to address that,” said Hackett.
Hackett went on to describe a conversation she had with a woman named Rose who was a pilot in World War II and would be bringing her great-grandson Ted, himself a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, to see the Prayer Angels’ World War II musical “Wartime Romance, A Time to Remember.”
“Rose said she expects to cry during the show. I told her she would,” Hackett said.
Hackett said the tickets purchased would help Single Mother’s Outreach of Santa Clarita, Prayer Angels and Bridge to Home start new art programs that will improve people’s lives.
“We’re hoping the city council will continue to be part of the story and see the value of supporting this effort,” said Hackett.
Although the arts grants simply needed the approval of the city council, Hackett had a least one champion for her losing cause.
“I was a little disappointed the group didn’t receive any funding whatsoever,” said Council Member Marsha McLean.
According to the city, the arts grants applications were shared with the individual Arts Commissioners, along with rating sheets that included a scoring system from 0-to-100. The rating sheets were turned in to the Arts and Events Office and the scores were tabulated by staff, who calculated the average scores.
Prayer Angels did not score high enough to be awarded grant money.
McLean said she believed there was some “misunderstanding” during the process regarding Prayer Angels’ non-profit status. She proposed lowering the amount of funding given to arts organizations be lowered to $5,000 so more groups could get money. She didn’t want to make the change for this year because the groups had already been told how much money they were being awarded.
Council Member Frank Ferry didn’t see a need to change the rules since the Arts Commission could have awarded any figure up to the maximum of $7,500 and spread the money out however they saw fit.
“The committee could have come back with the top four getting 7 grand and then you would have found another 2 thousand right there,” said Ferry.
Ferry then brought up the idea of redistributing the money right then and there.
“They’ve received nothing. They have nothing until we approve it,” said Ferry.
Mayor Laurie Ender suggested that the Arts Commission had spent a long time reviewing the applications and their recommendations should be respected.
“I just appreciate all the work they did that went into this. It’s not an easy thing having sat on the community service grant. It’s actually kind of a horrible feeling because you can’t give everybody everything they want. So, I hate for us to make some arbitrary decisions about without looking at them,” said Ender.
McLean suggested Prayer Angels could be given council contingency money. Ferry didn’t understand why the council was treating the Arts Commission and the arts organizations so gently.
“We seem to have kid gloves because it’s an Arts Commission. And I’m just saying we constantly tear things apart that are brought to us by Parks and Planning because we’re the final body,” said Ferry.
McLean returned to her point that Prayer Angels may have scored higher on the Arts Commission tally had there not been confusion over the 501(c) non-profit status.
Arts Commission Chairman Paul Strickland was asked to clear up the voting process for the council.
“It was strictly objective when we reviewed them. And we reviewed them according to the criteria we were instructed to review them,” said Strickland.
There was a gap between the winning submissions and the two who were excluded, including Prayer Angels. However, Strickland said “in my heart” he supports Wartime Romance.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful story. But we did this very objectively,” said Strickland.
He said changing the Arts Commission’s decision would set a bad precedent because next year another group might appeal to the council to ignore the commission’s tabulations.
Ultimately, the city council voted to not make changes for this year, but to revisit how arts grants are divvied up next year.
So officially The Santa Clarita Ballet, Canyon Theatre Guild, Repertory East Playhouse and ESCAPE Theatre were the big arts grant winners as each organization was awarded $7,500.
The Santa Clarita Master Chorale will receive $7,000. The Santa Clarita Artist’s Association was granted $5,000. The ARTree Community Arts Center was awarded $4,137, while the Santa Clarita Valley International program was partially funded with $1,863.
Six of the applications were submitted under the City of Santa Clarita Presents category, which underwrites the rental costs for organizations utilizing the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, and three under the Community Arts category, which supports community arts programming and events not occurring at the Performing Arts Center.
On to other agenda items:
PLANNING COMMISSIONER APPOINTMENT, ITEM #13
City Council Member Bob Kellar won approval of his nominee Charles Heffernan to the city Planning Commission for the remaining term through July 31, 2012.
On December 18, 2011, Commissioner Bill Kennedy resigned his position on the Planning Commission creating an unscheduled vacancy.
Heffernan is a 25 year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, 10 years in Saugus and 15 in Valencia.
“In the time that I spent in the last 30 years as a civil engineer in community development related issues, I plan to bring that experience along with my experience as a citizen to bear on the Planning Commission,” said Heffernan.
For more on the biography from SCVNews.com, click here.
NEW SANTA CLARITA VALLEY SHERIFF’S STATION LOCATION, ITEM #15
The city council approved City Manager Ken Pulskamp’s plan to send a letter signed by all five city council members to Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca and Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors requesting that the appropriate individuals within the County of Los Angeles engage in a collaborative effort with the City of Santa Clarita to address the future provision of law enforcement services and facilities within the City of Santa Clarita and throughout the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station service area.
The letter, according to Pulskamp will request four items:
1. Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and funding plan to determine the appropriate size, type, and location of Sheriff Station(s) within the incorporated and other areas served by the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station.
2. Establish a regional Sheriff Station at a central location within the City of Santa Clarita, with smaller fully functioning stations strategically placed within the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station service area, to ensure rapid call response times and provision of effective law enforcement services within the communities served.
3. Request the County of Los Angeles deploy additional deputies within the unincorporated areas.
4. Due to the lack of certainty regarding the timing for construction of a new regional Sheriff Station, the County of Los Angeles should, within an identified time frame, modernize and update the existing Santa Clarita Sheriff Station.
“On February 27th, I received a letter from Supervisor Antonovich that expresses his full support for this agenda item,” said Pulskamp.
Council Member Marsha McLean said she assumed that Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ agendas were being monitored. The city council was surprised when at their meeting of February 14, the board unanimously authorized the county Chief Executive Officer to finalize the terms and conditions of two option agreements to provide sites for a new courthouse and future regional Sheriff Station in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“We kind of missed this one,” said McLean.
The agreement between Newhall Land and the County of Los Angeles provides for option agreements on two parcels of approximately six acres each. One parcel would be used for the construction of a new courthouse and the other parcel is envisioned to be used for the construction of a new regional Sheriff Station, intended to serve the entire Santa Clarita Sheriff Station service area.
The proposed price for each six acre parcel is $2,890,000 or $481,667 per acre.
The site is located in the unincorporated area at Castaic Junction, near the intersection of Interstate 5 and State Route 126.
The $37.9 million estimated cost for property purchase and construction of a new 45,000 square foot Sheriff Station is anticipated to be paid for through the sale of the county-owned Santa Clarita Courthouse, Administrative Center and Sheriff Station located at Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway.
The City of Santa Clarita contracts with the County of Los Angeles for law enforcement services. The City is one of the County’s largest contract law enforcement clients, with an annual contract cost of approximately $20 million.
According to the city, the council and city staff was not consulted regarding the proposed action. It also appears that Sheriff Baca had not been fully apprised of the actions being undertaken.
ARTS BLUEPRINT, ITEM #14
Rick Gould, Parks Director for the City of Santa Clarita, presented the Arts Blueprint to the city council.
“The Blueprint addresses multiply art areas at one time, and acts as a guiding document for the next phase of work for the Arts Commission,” said Gould.
The Arts Commission was formed by the city council in December 2009. Shortly after, the Commission began to develop the first phase of an Arts Blueprint. As part of the Arts Blueprint process, each Commissioner was responsible for an area of focus (Initiative) and developed a plan for that area for the next three years.
The five sections of the Blueprint are as follows:
* Art in Public Places
* Arts Education
* Arts Venues
* Leadership and Development
* Marketing and Communications
The development of each section involved conversations with various stakeholders, such as the leaders of the arts community, local professional artists and musicians, the business community, educators, developers, economic development experts, and local media representatives. Additionally, many of the sections used research of best practices from other communities. A survey of local residents was conducted to assess the current levels of arts activities and the needs for the future.
The resulting first phase of the Arts Blueprint includes 31 recommendations with several recommendations in each section. Once approved, the Arts Blueprint will serve as a guiding document for the Arts Commission and staff as they work to implement the recommendations over the coming years. The Arts Commission will begin work on the second phase of the Arts Blueprint shortly, which will address additional arts and culture areas in a process similar to the first phase. It is anticipated that the second phase of the Arts Blueprint will be brought before the City Council in 2013.
PHANTOM TERRACE, ITEM #12
The city council voted unanimously to grant the City Manager Ken Pulskamp the authority to execute a Pre-Annexation Agreement between the City of Santa Clarita and Phantom Terrace Associates subject to City Attorney approval.
On August 23, 2011, the City Council approved the North Copperhill Annexation and directed staff to submit an annexation application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
The annexation area included the area generally east of San Francisquito Road, and west of Bouquet Canyon Road, between the existing City boundary on the south and the Angeles National Forest on the north. The annexation area also included territory south of Bouquet Canyon Road, north of Plum Canyon Road in the vicinity of Plum Canyon Elementary School and Santa Catarina Road.
On December 17, 2008, Phantom Terrace Associates received County approval for 29 single-family homes located on 82.23 acres located at the terminus of Phantom Trail in the community of Saugus. The development included public streets, a privately maintained park, and approximately 67 acres of privately owned natural open space.
The City monitored the project as it progressed through the County entitlement process and did not oppose the development. The project is consistent with surrounding neighborhoods and would extend and finish a stubbed cul-de-sac in an existing residential area. The project is consistent with the City’s General Plan.
The application for the North Copperhill Annexation was submitted to LAFCO in October 2011. Los Angeles County is currently preparing a tax-sharing agreement for the annexation. Once the agreement has been completed, it will be brought to the City Council for consideration. When the City Council has taken action on this matter, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will then consider the agreement. When the tax-sharing agreement is approved by both the City and the County, LAFCO will proceed with the notification and protest hearing for the annexation area. The annexation should be complete by summer 2012.
OLD TOWN NEWHALL LIBRARY, CANYON COUNTRY AND VALENCIA OPERATING ACCOUNTS. AWARD CONTRACTS FOR FURNISHINGS, FIXTURES, AND EQUIPMENT, AND AUTHORIZE INCREASED SPENDING AUTHORITY, ITEM #8
The city council voted unanimously to award contracts and authorize expenditures totaling $1,981,800 for library furniture and electronic equipment in accordance with the library programs and building floor plan, and increase expenditure authority as identified below:
Award contracts for purchase and installation of furniture in the amount of $703,800, including contingency, to the following:
Interior Office Solutions in the amount of $190,000;
BKM Office Environments in the amount of $180,000;
Agati Furniture in the amount of $26,000;
Yamada Enterprises in the amount of $230,000;
KI in care of Innerspace Systems in the amount of $63,000;
Lyons Workspace Products in care of Innerspace Systems in the amount of $1,600;
Arcadia in care of Innerspace Systems in the amount of $1,200; and
Innerspace Systems in the amount of $12,000.
Award contracts for purchase and installation of electronic equipment in the amount of $848,000, including contingency, to the following:
Lenovo in the amount of $78,000;
Dell Computers in the amount of $25,000;
Bibliotheca-ITG in the amount of $533,000;
AWE in the amount of $20,000;
Datalink Networks in the amount of $35,000;
Insight in the amount of $36,000; and
Laptops Anytime in the amount of $121,000.
Authorize an increased expenditure in the amount of $430,000, to existing contracts as follows:
LPA, Inc., in the amount of $300,000, for architectural design services; and
MNS Engineers, Inc., in the amount of $130,000, for staffing services.
Authorize an easement to Southern California Edison to provide underground service to the Old Jail.
Authorize the City Manager or designee to execute all documents, subject to City Attorney approval.
The following items were passed as part of the Consent Calendar:
NATURAL GAS BUSES, ITEM #4
ENTER INTO ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT WITH CITY OF FRESNO, AND CONTRACT WITH GILLIG FOR THE PURCHASE OF TEN, 40-FOOT COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG) BUSES
The city council authorized the city manager to execute a contract with Gillig for the purchase of 10, 40-foot CNG buses, in the amount of $4,844,200.
Santa Clarita Transit has a fleet replacement program that meets the Federal Transit Administration’s 12-year life cycle for transit vehicles. Twenty-one diesel buses have reached their useful life and are scheduled to be replaced over the next 18 months. With approval of this action by Council, the City will be able to replace 10 of the 21 vehicles this year, with the balance scheduled to be replaced next fiscal year. All ten replacement buses will run on compressed natural gas (CNG). This approval would also bring the City more in line with the desired capital replacement schedule, in which approximately 1/12 of the transit fleet is scheduled for replacement each fiscal year.
There is no impact to the General Fund with this procurement. The City has $3,875,360 in Federal 5307 transit grants funds programmed to cover eighty percent (80%) of the total contract amount and $968,840 in MOSIP funds programmed for the remaining twenty percent (20%) local match.
DIAL-A-RIDE ITEM # 3
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) WITH THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (METRO) FOR PROPOSITION A INCENTIVE GRANT PROGRAM FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012 – 2016
Each year the City of Santa Clarita receives Proposition A Subregional Incentive Funds that support Dial-A-Ride operations. An MOU must be executed between the City and METRO for the use of the funds. The funds offset the City’s and County’s cost of providing paratransit services in the Santa Clarita Valley.
JUNE 30, 2011 COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT AND AUDIT COMMITTEE LETTER ITEM #5
The City’s independent audit firm, Caporicci & Larson, Inc., has completed the City’s and Agency’s annual audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Caporicci & Larson, Inc., conducted the audit in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, whereby an audit plan was prepared and followed to obtain reasonable assurance the City’s and Agency’s financial statements were free from material misstatements. The audit included a review, on a test basis, of documents supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The audit also included assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall general purpose financial statement presentation. No significant findings were noted as a result of the audit.
COMMUNITY SERVICES GRANTS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-12, ITEM #7
The city council approved Community Services Grant Committee’s project recommendations for Fiscal Year 2011-12, in an amount not to exceed $72,000.
For approximately 21 years, the City of Santa Clarita has provided funds for community organizations through the Community Services Grant Program. Each year, a Community Services Grant Committee is assembled to determine funding categories, review and rate applications, and make final funding recommendations. This year’s grant selection committee included Councilmembers Laurene Weste and Bob Kellar; Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission Chair Matt Halliday; and City staff from the Finance Division, City Manager’s Office, and Administrative Services Department. Grants awarded in the past funded equipment upgrades, facility renovation projects, roof repairs, and wheel chair access integration.
The Committee selected Community Benefit as the priority funding area for this year’s grant program. Twenty-four applications were received, with grant requests totaling $113,995.54. This year’s proposed Community Services Grant Program will fund 15 grant applications. The maximum amount for funding each application is $5,000 (see Attachment A for a list of proposed projects and agencies).
SUCCESSOR AGENCY OF THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA ADOPT THE RECOGNIZED ENFORCEABLE OBLIGATION PAYMENT SCHEDULE AND ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR THE PERIOD OF FEBRUARY 1, 2012, TO JUNE 30, 2012, ITEM #9
The city council, acting as Successor Agency for the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Clarita, adopted the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule.
As part of the dissolution process for the Redevelopment Agency, the City, acting as Successor Agency for the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Clarita (Successor Agency), must undertake a number of administrative actions.
The General Fund is not impacted by the proposed actions. Upon appropriation of the additional tax increment revenue, all funds are available in the Redevelopment Obligation Retirement Fund (392) to cover the proposed administrative budget and all other Recognized Enforceable Obligations.
JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA AND THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES APPROVING THE NEGOTIATED EXCHANGE OF PROPERTY TAX REVENUE RESULTING FROM THE PROPOSED VISTA CANYON/FAIR OAKS/JAKES WAY ANNEXATION, ITEM #10
The city council voted to adopt a Joint Resolution of Negotiated Exchange of Property Tax Revenue for the proposed Vista Canyon/Fair Oaks/Jakes Way Annexation.
On May 10, 2011, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 11-11, initiating annexation proceedings for the Vista Canyon/Fair Oaks/Jakes Way Annexation area with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). On July 28, 2011, the application was submitted to LAFCO.
Upon approval by the City Council of the joint resolution, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will schedule a hearing to consider the joint resolution. Subsequent final steps include up to two LAFCO hearings for the annexation. The first, a general public hearing anticipated for Spring 2012, followed by a “protest hearing,” if necessary. This process will take several months to complete.
The proposed joint resolution provides for a transfer of property tax revenue from the County to the City in the amount of $587,513, for the first fiscal year. For each fiscal year thereafter, the proposed joint resolution provides for the transfer of specified ratios of annual property tax increment attributable to each of the 62 respective Tax Rate Areas.
Also included as part of the annexation process is the transfer of County park land in Fair Oaks Ranch to the City. The park area is 6.28 acres and, upon transfer to the City, will continue to provide recreational opportunities to area residents. A draft transfer document is attached.
The service expenditures related to this annexation are offset by the revenue to be collected from within the annexation area. This annexation is fiscally neutral and will not have a negative impact on the City of Santa Clarita.