New 4:30 PM Start Time for Regular City Council Meetings
With the start of 2018, City Council meetings now begin at 4:30 PM. Items that generate high levels of public interest will be heard after 6:00 PM. The earlier start time allows for more thoughtful discussion of significant community issues.
The City announced two new department head appointments. Joe Bride is the new Public Works Director after serving many years as Deputy Director. Jon Edelbrock is the new Community Services Director/Lifeguard Chief.
Recent lawsuits filed against the City have raised questions about the impact of litigation on the City’s budget and financial health. Though not all cases get big publicity, the City pretty much always has litigation going on - whether cases filed against the City, or less frequently, cases initiated by the City. The city has insurance that pays litigation expenses, subject to a deductible, and the city has reserves that are set aside in part to cover the city’s share of litigation expenses. (Most litigation costs are not covered by the monthly flat fee retainer that is part of the City Attorney’s contract.)
Much of the City’s pending litigation has nothing to do with the highly visible lifeguard and STR cases - including years-long Code compliance litigation (restaurant/parking), Time Warner (PEG funds), and a railroad tracks death. It is important to note that some litigation will generate revenue for the City (the anticipated outcome of the Time Warner case); in other instances, litigation is something we knowingly accept as a likely cost of effectuating important Community Plan goals -- for example, protecting neighborhoods through STR restrictions, and the lawsuit challenging the City Hall/Town Hall project, which the City won. The Sandpiper will publish a more detailed study of this complex topic in our next issue.