Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Here is the column I've submitted for next week's Ross Valley Reporter.
October 4th Council Meeting: As I write this, we are preparing the next Council agenda for the regular Town Council meeting of October 4th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women’s Club. Among the agenda items are the following:
- Presentation by the County Engineer and the consultant MIG on the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program’s progress to date and the need for Fairfax to join Flood Zone 9
- Request for authorization to hire a contractor to install a three siren emergency warning system in town
- The formation of a Town Economic Development Committee, a recommendation from the Town Council’s last Strategic Planning session
- The formation of a Town Youth Commission, as recommended by the Fairfax Youth and Alcohol Task Force, headed by Council Members Mary Ann Maggiore and Lew Tremaine
- An update on the police consolidation study with the Town of
, being conducted by the Peace Officer Standards and Training organization San Anselmo
- Presentation by Marin Mediation Services on mediation services available to community members, at the request of Council Member Weinsoff who is bringing forth a resolution to encourage the use of mediation in neighbor-to-neighbor disputes
Strategic Planning Sessions: The Town Council has calendared its Strategic Planning Meetings for the remainder of the year on the following Saturdays in the Fairfax Women’s Club as follows:
- October 21st –
- November 18th – 9-Noon
- December 9th – 9-Noon
At these meetings, the Council will be delving more deeply into prioritization of goals and objectives and formulating different facets of a strategic financial plan.
Pandemic Flu Threat Community Meeting: The Fairfax Citizens’ Disaster Council is sponsoring a presentation by County Public Health Officer, Dr. Fred Schwartz, who will explain the pandemic influenza threat, the risks, and how you and your family can best prepare and respond to this potential disaster. The presentation will be held on Monday, October 16th at in the Fairfax Women’s Club and is open to everyone.
Be Prepared in 2007 Calendar Project: A recent Civil Grand Jury report found that the single most significant barrier to residents becoming more prepared for disasters is the lack of awareness and consequently the need for constant reminders about the importance of being prepared. As a means to raise awareness, the Fairfax Citizens’ Disaster Council is working to prepare a 2007 wall calendar with a disaster preparedness message for each month, specifically geared to
Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program Community Meeting: The next public community meeting which will provide an update on the Ross Valley Watershed program’s efforts is scheduled for Saturday, October 21st to in the Drake High gymnasium. from Attend to find out about the creek walks and clean up in preparation for this winter, the latest on the hydrolic modeling and creek studies, and the proposed funding mechanisms to finance the many changes needed in the
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
The goal of the group will be to focus on positive initiatives that will give young people in the Fairfax community a chance to participate in worthwhile activities that help them feel more engaged with each other and with the Town. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting.
Friday, September 22, 2006
With paint donated by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, our Public Works crew has been working this summer to repaint our lightpoles. As you can see from the photos, new green paint is sprucing up the poles which were previously white with paint chipping off. Thank you, Tom Bruce and John Tierney, of our Public Works Department, for your hard work on this project!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
New Economic Development Committee: The Town Council decided at its September 9th Strategic Planning Meeting to create a Fairfax Economic Development Committee, and I have agendized the issue for the upcoming October 4th Council Meeting. The Council considers this initiative to be so critical to the financial health of the Town that all five Councilmembers would sit on the Committee, along with a select number interested residents and local business owners. With Measure F set to sunset in less than four years, the Economic Development Committee would provide an important hands-on forum to assist the Council in establishing and promoting a long-term strategic financial plan for the Town.
Nextel/Sprint Neighborhood Meeting Held: On September 18th, a meeting was organized by Sprint/Nextel to discuss placement of a mini-telecommunications installation on the roof of
Approximately 12 residents were in attendance with good representation from all sides of the issue. Discussion included the need to keep the sites away from homes and toward the hilly areas around
From what was shared at the meeting, a cell site seems possible in or near
FEMA Update: While we are receiving payments toward some of our FEMA projects, it looks like we will be appealing six projects that FEMA has denied in part or whole. Three of these denials concern Town buildings for disallowance of Americans with Disabilities Act required upgrades. Furthermore, FEMA has not yet approved the project worksheets we submitted on Creek Road Bridge, Cascade Drive Storm Drain, and Peri Park Pedestrian Bridge, pending further environmental review by the federal agency. We have been in contact with the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) Public Assistance Officer to assist with facilitating these issues. On the issue of flood insurance, we still have a $120,000 claim outstanding on Town Hall as well as approximately $68,000 on the Fire Station.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Congratulations to the Fairfax Volunteers, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Citizens' Disaster Council for a fantastic Town Picnic and Disaster Preparedness Fair! Thanks to everyone who showed up and took part in the events! Here are a few photos I took.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Depending upon the particular situation of a city, cities can have limited or expanded powers in relation to the extent of control we can exert on the private marketplace in our society. When land is privately owned and controlled, as is the case with the Albertson’s site (owned by the Friedman family with the lease controlled by the leaseholder), a city is limited in the power it can exert in trying to bring a particular business or type of business to town. One place our power does come in is in the zoning process, whereby we can limit the type of uses in a particular zone to the types we would like to see there, those that are most compatible with community needs and preferences. For instance, sometimes a city might believe that there are too many types of a particular retail use already in place, such as liquor stores, and a city might pass a moratorium on those types of stores to keep others from opening, or rezone an area to disallow this use. The current Town zoning at the Albertson’s site allows a wide variety of uses beyond the sale of groceries.
Some cities decide to create redevelopment agencies to have more control over new development. This is a controversial topic, admittedly, but I just wanted to explain that redevelopment agencies are by law able to do things that cities alone cannot, such as entice certain types of retail development through tax incentives and provide funds and infrastructure improvements to attract private investment. Fairfax does not have a redevelopment agency.
In any case, this is the perfect segue to inform you that at the Town Council’s Strategic Planning meeting held last Saturday the 9th, the Council decided that being proactive in terms of revenue enhancement for the Town was important enough to create a committee dedicated to this cause. I was directed to add the creation of an Fairfax Economic Development Committee on the next regular Town Council agenda for October 4th. The Council’s idea was to formulate such a committee and invite residents and business owners with a keen interest and insight in revenue enhancement to serve on the committee. The Council considers this initiative so crucial to the Town’s future and with the sunsetting of Measure F in less than four years, that the discussion at the Strategic Planning meeting focused on having all five Councilmembers serve on the committee, in addition to community members. This committee can serve as a tool for us as we formulate a long-term strategic financial plan for the Town and solicit ideas and input from the community on how we can continue to pay for the services that we have all come to benefit from and enjoy.
Why am I speaking of revenue enhancement and economic development in the same blog entry as an update on Albertson’s? One of the Town’s main sources of general fund revenue (the legally unrestricted revenue that we can use to pay police officers’ salaries, for instance, to ensure that we have a safe community) is sales tax. Our Albertson’s grocery store was in the top five sales tax generating businesses in Town. Even though most food is non-taxable, there were enough other taxable items to put the store’s sales tax that high up in the revenue stream. Like all cities in California, Fairfax receives 1 cent out of every taxable dollar purchase in Town. The Town Council is rightly interested in what might be coming in as a replacement business, not just because of how it affects the Town’s general fund, but because of how it affects you as a stakeholder in this town, our community character, and our collective future.
Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on this issue. I can be reached at 458-2345 or at my email link to the right on this page.
The goal of the group will be to focus on positive initiatives that will give young people in the Fairfax community a chance to participate in worthwhile activities that help them feel more engaged with each other and with the Town.
Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Sprint/Nextel is hosting a neighborhood meeting on Monday, September 18th from 7-9 p.m. in the Women's Club to explain their proposal to install a mini-telecommunications facility at 6 School Street Plaza as part of its wireless nextwork. We received the attached notice with more detail. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Here is a press release we issued yesterday.
The Town of Fairfax is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Roth as its new Finance Director. Ian comes to the Town from the
In August, the Town of
“I consider this a real success for the Town of
“Ian’s expertise will be a great help in the Town’s strategic financial planning efforts,” added Mayor
Ian is a resident of San Anselmo and is married with two children in the
Ian’s first day with the Town of
San Anselmo Town Councilmember Ian Roth has accepted the position of Finance Director for the Town of
Roth said that when this job opportunity arose it was one he couldn’t pass up, and he realized that it would be incompatible to hold both offices. “I have enjoyed immensely serving the citizens of San Anselmo and I know I will still participate in San Anselmo as a concerned and involved resident.”
Mayor Barbara Thornton noted that the Council will be “sorry to lose the energy and enthusiasm that Ian brought to the Council. His contributions to the Town during his tenure have been exceptional.”
At the regular meeting of September 26, the San Anselmo Town Council will consider the process for replacing Councilmember Roth.
Town Budget: The Town Council adopted a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2006-07, which does not rely on our general fund reserves to balance. The budget contains a conservative projection of property tax growth at 7% and targets an expenditure projection of approximately 5% growth, very much in line with previous Town budgets. We are moving forward on a number of many important and ambitious projects, some of which I will provide periodic progress reports on in this blog.
Town Management Salaries: The Council approved increases for our six current management positions. Some of the positions were 29% to 47% behind their comparator positions in local public agencies. With the increases, the Town remains the lowest paying municipality in the county, but the adjustments were fair and meant to assist us with retaining the excellent management team that we now have in place. Our managers are responsible for implementing the many projects that you will see happening this year.
Solar Permit Fees: The Town Council took the unprecedented step of adopting a resolution which waives all fees for solar power installations in the Town of
Town Attorney: The Town Council approved a contract with the
COPS Funding: The Council approved a resolution to renew our Citizens Option for Public Safety (COPS) funding, which is a federal grant that augments our Police Department’s budget by $100,000.
Emergency Operations Plan: With input from our Citizens’ Disaster Council, the Council approved an update to our Town’s Emergency Operations Plan, which serves as a working guide for us to follow before, during, and after disasters strike.
Response to Grand Jury: In response to a County Civil Grand Jury Report on disaster preparedness, the Council approved a report that outlines the steps we have taken to encourage Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) in the community, as well as the work of our newly-reconstituted Citizens’ Disaster Council and our efforts to promote disaster preparedness in our community.
Single-Payer Health Care: The Council adopted a resolution urging the legislature and Governor to support healthcare for all Californians, as proposed by Senate Bill 840, the California Health Insurance Reliability Act. Furthermore, September 21, 2006 was deemed Single Payer Health Care Day in
Friday, September 08, 2006
On September 17th, the Town's Disaster Council will host a Fairfax “Disaster Preparedness Day” from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Bolinas Park. See the flyer for more details.
On the same day, the Town's first "Townwide Picnic" being sponsored by the Fairfax Volunteers will be held at the Central Ballfield in Fairfax from Noon to 5:00 p.m. A flyer is posted here.
For more information, please contact Maria Baird, Community Resources Coordinator, at 456-5652.
I'd like to introduce Susan Waters, our new Administrative Assistant. Susan most recently worked for the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, in an administrative capacity, for five years. In her position with the Town, she is responsible for customer service, assisting with financial transactions, and helping customers with planning and building permit questions. Susan is a resident of San Anselmo. Please join me in welcoming Susan to the Town of Fairfax!