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January 22, 2013

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held January 22, 2013 at 7:12 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Vice Mayor Hudson presiding. 
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Livingstone, O’Loane, Perkins, Vice Mayor Hudson.
ABSENT:  Mayor Clarkson.
STAFF PRESENT:  City Manager Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe, Police Captain Joe Gorton, Transportation Division Manager Lisa Bobadilla, Interim Parks and Community Services Director Karen McNamara, Finance Division Manager Candace Daniels, Public Services Division Manager Jeff Gault, Associate Engineer Christopher Low, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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Becca Lee, Isabella Otero, and Sydney Warren, members of Girl Scout Troop #32286, and Noe Antone, Mia Campbell, Kristin Jackson, and Morgan Malloy, members of Girl Scout Troop #32492, led those present in the pledge of allegiance. 

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The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda.  The Transportation Demand Management Advisory Committee meeting will be held on January 28, 2013.  There were no other changes or corrections to the meetings listed on the agenda. 

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(#4.1) Introduction of Cathy DeLuca, San Ramon Valley Street Smarts Coordinator; by Lisa Bobadilla, Transportation Division Manager.

Transportation Division Manager Lisa Bobadilla introduced Cathy DeLuca, the new San Ramon Valley Street Smarts Coordinator.  Street Smarts is a cooperative program focusing on bicycle and pedestrian safety for the Town of Danville, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Contra Costa County, and San Ramon.  Vice Mayor Hudson welcomed Ms. DeLuca.  Ms. DeLuca stated that she is excited to meet everyone and to work on the Street Smarts Program.

(#4.2) Recognition of the Quality Assurance Committee as Employees of the Month for January 2013:  Nicole Blazin, Christina Buna, Mike Fanelli, Jennifer Gault, and Kathi Heimann by Interim Parks and Community Services Director Karen McNamara.

Interim Parks and Community Services Director Karen McNamara provided information on the Department’s Customer Service and Satisfaction Plan.  The Plan’s goals are to: create consistent delivery of customer satisfaction; create a tool to measure service delivery; define service standards to which all staff can be accountable; and move from customer service to customer satisfaction to customer loyalty.  Areas for improvement were also identified.  Ms. McNamara recognized the members of the Quality Assurance Team including Nicole Blazin, Christina Buna, Mike Fanelli, Jennifer Gault, and Kathi Heimann.  The Team monitored the Plan’s success, customer input, and provided training.  This year’s achievements included a 90% response of excellent or good on several criteria.  Vice Mayor Hudson presented Ms. Blazin, Ms. Buna, Mr. Fanelli, and Ms. Heimann with a certificate and a gold star in recognition of their achievement.

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(#7.1) Minutes of the January 8, 2013 regular meeting.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt the January 8, 2013 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Mayor Clarkson was absent.

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(#8.1) Register of Demands as presented by the City Treasurer (Period ending December 31, 2012).

(#8.2) City of San Ramon Quarterly Investment Report (Period Ending December 31, 2012).

(#8.3) Ordinance No. 435 – Amending Sections B8-43 and B8-45 and Repealing Section B8-46 of the City of San Ramon Municipal Code Allowing the Engineering Services Director (or Designee) to Erect Signs and Establishing Speed Limits on Various Road and Streets.

(#8.4) Minute Order No. 2013-004 – Accepting the Work by Landscape Structures, Inc. and Robertson Industries, Inc. for the Athan Downs Playground Renovation (CIP 5423) as Complete and Authorizing the City Clerk to File a Notice of Completion for Each Contractor with the County Recorder's Office.

(#8.5) Resolution No. 2013-003 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with AECOM for Professional Services Related to the Preparation of Environmental Documents for the Revised Faria Preserve Project in an Amount Not to Exceed $175,300.

(#8.6) Resolution No. 2013-004 – Authorizing Staff to Submit a Grant Application to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for Transportation Development Act Grant Funds for Sidewalk Enhancement on Blue Fox Way.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.6 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Mayor Clarkson was absent.

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(#10.1) Annual Audit Report for the City of San Ramon for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2012.

Candace Daniels, Finance Division Manager, stated that the City received a clean audit.  She introduced Jim Babcock, shareholder, and Tricia Dittmar, senior manager, with Burr, Pilger, Mayer Accountants and Consultants who provided the report.  Mr. Babcock’s presentation included: the audit’s purpose and scope; audit results; and audit phases.  The audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and the standards for financial audits contained in Government Auditing Standards issued by the United States Comptroller General.  He reviewed the changes to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as a result of the elimination of the Redevelopment Agency.  Funds were moved from the City to the Successor Agency and a Private Purpose Trust Fund was established.  Mr. Babcock reported that the available General Fund ending balance of $8.9 million was $2.6 million stronger than estimated final budget.  Revenues available for expenditures were $1.4 million more than the final budget reflecting better than anticipated property tax, sales tax and transient occupancy taxes.  Expenditures were kept within spending limits by $1.2 million.  He thanked the staff for their cooperation and team work.

Cm. O’Loane requested an explanation for the statement in the Auditing Standards which read “awareness of pressure on the City or City management to achieve certain financial results”.  Mr. Babcock replied that auditors look at any incentive for information to be misstated.  Cm. Perkins thanked Mr. Babcock and City staff for their work.  Cm. O’Loane noted that principle payments were not made in 2013 because of bond refinancing but that the City will need to start paying on $1 million in long term liabilities next year.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to receive the Annual Audit Report was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Mayor Clarkson was absent.

(#10.2) Informational Report:  Dougherty Valley Tree Management.

Public Services Division Manager Jeff Gault stated that the most of the streets in Dougherty Valley have trees planted in narrow strips required by the Dougherty Valley Specific Plan (DVSP).  The City is responsible for more than 17,000 trees and will be responsible for more as parcels in Dougherty Valley are annexed into the City.  Some of the early trees are causing damage to the sidewalks and utilities within the planting strips.    

The existing trees as well as trees yet to be planted in the Dougherty Valley planting strips are a potential significant risk to City infrastructure.  As tree problems began to emerge in the planting strips, discussions between the City, developers, and the County resulted in some modified tree planting specifications for Dougherty Valley development.  In 2010, to comply with the SB 1881, turf and overhead spray irrigation is not allowed in narrow planting strips.  This helps control water and maintenance costs for all new development.  The City contracted with Tree Associates to develop a proactive, long- term tree management plan to guide the tree pruning and maintenance, and mitigate and reduce the likelihood of infrastructure damage from trees.

John Lichter, registered consulting arborist and owner of Tree Associates, reviewed the current situation regarding trees and infrastructure damage, the extent of the problem, and recommended measures to reduce infrastructure damage.  Root growth damage to infrastructure includes the potential for personal injury and liability.  He described the problems regarding repair costs, damage to or early loss of trees, and that the DVSP design intent was not achieved.  He noted that 27,000 trees in Dougherty Valley are more than 12 years old.  An additional 20,000 trees are proposed.  He noted that more than 70% of the trees are in a planting strip which is less than four feet wide.  Many trees are planted close to utilities.  He described the below ground excavation survey.  The survey discovered lifting sidewalks and damage to irrigation systems.  Mr. Lichter described the use of circular root barriers which are not as effective in deterring improper root growth as the use of linear barriers. 

Gordon Mann with Mann Made Resources Consulting Arborists reviewed the potential for infrastructure damages and provided mitigation options.  He stated that at least one-  half of the trees on the existing street and median and one-third of the trees on the slope will cause damage to infrastructure within 20 years.  At an estimated repair cost of $1,000 per site, the future liability will be $12 million.  He noted that the mitigation will have to be redone if the initial work is not done well.  The current annual budget for street tree maintenance in Dougherty Valley is $75,000.  Options for mitigating the tree damage to infrastructure include: removing or replacing trees; providing adequate space for trees; alternate construction or materials; irrigation layout; root pruning; and root barriers.  His recommendations included: matching tree species to the planter space; providing space for the trees; utilizing alternate construction materials; changing the irrigation line layout; avoiding frequent irrigation; root pruning; and using root barriers. 

Associate Engineer Christopher Low stated that staff is working on the acceptance of street landscape in Subdivision 8152 in Dougherty Valley.  There are 115 residential lots in Subdivision 8152.  The Chinese Hackberry trees were planted in the roadway planting strip in 2003 in compliance with the DVSP.  These trees have damaged utilities, meters, valve boxes, and irrigation within the planting strip as sidewalks and curbs have become damaged.  On January 15, 2013, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors accepted the end of the warranty for landscape improvements in Subdivision 8152.  At the February 12, 2013 Council meeting, staff will recommend accepting the trees so that the City can proactively address the tree problem.  Residents will be notified that trees will be removed and replaced.  The City is proposing that 80 of the Chinese Hackberry trees be replaced with 50 Trident Maple trees which will be adequately spaced between driveways, utilities, etc.

Cm. O’Loane asked if tree roots do not grow down as a result of using drip irrigation.  He noted that the soil was never tilled.  Mr. Lichter responded that clay and dense soil can impede root growth.  Cm. O’Loane asked what material the linear root barriers are made from.  Mr. Mann stated that they are made of polystyrene (brittle) or polypropylene.  Cm. O’Loane asked if irrigating grass exacerbates the problem.  Mr. Lichter stated that frequent lawn irrigation does not promote deep root growth.  The depth of root growth depends on a combination of tree species, soil conditions, irrigation, and root barrier.  Mr. Gault noted that some roots have grown around the irrigation head and piping.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the unit pavers are impacted by direct sun and 100 degree temperatures.  Mr. Mann stated that they have a long life span.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the City should have more tree varieties.  Mr. Lichter replied that a variety of trees is recommended.  Mr. Mann noted that they recommend using trees with similar forms so that a uniform appearance is maintained but diversity makes sense.  Cm. Perkins asked why sequoia sempervirens was not included on the do not plant list.  He asked what it will cost per year to avoid the projected $12 million problem and if a five year plan has been developed.  Mr. Gault responded that the Public Services Department has not determined the true cost but recognized the need for additional information and recommendations.  Cm. Perkins stated that the process needs to be prioritized and decisions made regarding how the problem will be mitigated in order to address 20,000 trees.  Mr. Gault stated that City staff is looking at the Dougherty Valley and how future trees will be planted.  Cm. Perkins noted that the Planning Department has a ‘do not plant’ tree list.  Vice Mayor Hudson asked staff to look at removing trees from the Lighting and Landscaping and establishing a separate fund to address the problem.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to receive the Report was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 4-0-1-0.  Mayor Clarkson was absent.

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Vice Mayor Hudson reported that the City has openings on the Architectural Review Board, Transportation Advisory Committee, the Transportation Demand Management Advisory Committee, and various County committees.  He encouraged residents to apply.  The application deadline is January 25, 2013.  He invited residents to attend the Community Budget Meeting on January 28, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the San Ramon Community Center.  He announced that the City Council will hold a Study Session to discuss Priorities and Goals for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 on January 29, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Boone House at Forest Home Farms.

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At 8:34 p.m., there being no further business, Vice Mayor Hudson adjourned the meeting.

Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved as presented at the February 12, 2013 City Council meeting 4-0-0-1; Clarkson abstained.

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