Walnut Council Recap

By Raymond Mendoza

Walnut – The City Council started its June 24 meeting by honoring Mt. SAC softball player of the year, Celina Felix, who plays catcher for the local community college.  Mayor Nancy Tragarz said she and the other council members were proud to have Felix play for Mt. SAC and represent the City of Walnut. Tragarz congratulated her on her accomplishments and also encouraged other young adults in the City to remain active in sports.

The Council then approved the minutes for the May 12 Budget Workshop, and the May 27 and June 10 City Council meetings, before moving onto the Public Hearing section.

Both Public Hearing items were approved by the Council, the first being an ordinance for small residential rooftop solar energy systems and inspections, while the second was for an adoption of the 2015 Congestion Management Program local development report.

The Council approved several of the items on its Consent Calendar, including Resolution No. 15-34 for claims and demands in the amount of $644,478.84; the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) unfunded pension liability lump sum repayment; the appropriation for post-employment benefits (OPEB) fund; the approval of agreement between the Los Angeles Gateway Region Integrated Regional Water Management Joint Powers Authority and the City of Walnut for cost sharing for the NPDES permit requiring monitoring of harbor toxic pollutants; and the approval of a one-year contract with Continental Building Maintenance, Inc. for City-wide janitorial services with no rate increases.

The Council also spoke about a license agreement between the City of Walnut and Verizon Wireless, over the establishment of a new telecommunications facility. The topic had been brought to the attention of the Council before, and was met with extreme opposition from Walnut residents.

Many residents attended the City Council meeting just to speak out against the placement of the  telecommunications facility, which was planned at Snow Creek Drive (in Snow Creek Park), with concerns about health, safety and lack of need for the facility. After much discussion, the Council decided to continue its discussion on the item, with the possibility of a different location. The Council approved to discuss the item during its July 22 meeting.

The Council also denied the Great Enlightenment Lotus Society use of the Walnut Senior Center, which was its final Consent Calendar item.

Next, the Council approved the 2015-16 Walnut Successor Agency Budget totaling $3,969,290, before hearing from the Mt. San Antonio College Development Task Force. Community Development Director, Tom Weiner, outlined the proceedings of the task force, which has 15 Walnut residents meeting two times each month to speak about issues concerning Mt. SAC. The task force asked for $6,000 from the City’s general fund reserves for a City-wide mail notification about the college’s proposed parking structure, and for the Council to continue to fight Mt. SAC from taking legislative steps in Sacramento allowing the College to make construction efforts a reality with less residential involvement. However, the Council baulked at the $6,000 price tag and instead agreed to have the City’s staff look into alternate cost saving measures that would inform the public about Mt. SAC and its construction plans.

The Council then adjourned with plans to meet on July 8, at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.