March 2, 2018
A proposal for a ballot measure to limit Mayors of Dixon to two terms was soundly defeated by the city council this past Tuesday. Ironically, the only yes vote was Mayor Thom Bogue who made the proposal.
The other four councilmembers – Ted Hickman; Devon Minnema; Steve Bird; and Scott Pederson all voted no. If the motion had passed, the measure would have been on the June ballot, and would take effect beginning with the 2020 election.
The Pardi Market site (southeast corner of First and A streets) was a hot discussion. Council members were told almost another half-million will be needed from preliminary steps. Vice Mayor Hickman lambasted that amount, while council Devon Minnema renewed his call to sell the property so private parties will develop it.
Other issues at the meeting included a Mid-Year set of amendments to the current fiscal year. The Deputy City Manager Joan Michaels Aguilar presented a report noting strong growth in revenues, particularly in sales tax and property tax receipts.
The General Fund Budget adjustments are for increased revenue total $867,337, according to the report. For the fiscal year to date, the city has received about 47% of expected annual revenue, with the to date receipts totaling $8.163 million. The city has also received more from development fees, due to new residential and commercial construction.
The report notes Expenditures to date are just over 42% of the annual budget, with $7.985 million spent through December. The requested increase includes new police technology to “comply with “certification requirements”: and to fund a consultant “to complete a project and assist on a recurring basis.”
The Capital Outlay budget about $89,000 for such items as a heater for the competition swimming pool and the training pool as well as a backwash for the training pool. An HVAC system for the Police Department is increased to $28,485 – due to bids coming in higher than expected.
The budget to pay legal fees was also increased, but the amount was not in the report – with the explanation offered only stating “a variety of factors has necessitated a mid-year adjustment.” Fees paid to the City Attorney have been a heated issue, with those payments reaching almost one-million dollars the past fiscal year. Doug White and his firm Churchwell-White were hired after the previous City Attorney had billed the city just over $400 thousand, which was considered extravagant.
White has been paid over $80,000 to fight Dixon’s Independent Voice over the council’s award of the Legal Notices contract – that amount will climb dramatically now that the case in in the Appellate Court. While the IV filed its brief on time, White’s firm requested a 30 day extension to reply. Despite its stable of attorneys and support staff, the firm did not have the ability to respond in the allotted 60 days.
The Legal Notices contract at issue is worth less than $20,000 – and the IV bid was 40% lower than the competition, with more than double the maximum distribution.
Other legal billings from White include paying for his insistence that Public Records Act (PRA) Requests be vetted by his office, rather than the City Clerk who is the legal custodian of those records. Several PRA requests are still languishing, even as long as five years.
March 2, 2018