By Emily Aguilar
Eastvale – At the June 8 City Council meeting, Eastvale’s City Councilmembers dealt with a plethora of urgent matters, the conclusion of the voting district topic being the forefront of discussion.
Samantha Waterman led the evening by presenting an update on the Cadiz Water Project. The Cadiz Water Project’s goal is to conserve water in Southern California and prevent mass evaporation. Eastvale is currently home to an underwater reservoir that is at threat for evaporation. In order to protect that water, the Cadiz Water Project has been pumping water from a 34,000 acre underground reservoir and storing it throughout Southern California. Bootsma expressed discontent with the project, stating that he believes that the plan benefits the company as opposed to the state as a whole. Waterman defended her position stating that the project would help with sustaining water during the drought, to which Bootsma passively agreed.
Afterward, newly appointed Student Liaison Natalie Diaz reported the Eastvale Elementary production of the Jungle Book at the ERHS Theater on June 14-15. Eastvale Elementary also held an awards assembly throughout the week of June 20, and their final day was June 24. Their school year was scheduled to continue on July 5. RHIS is also looking for business partners to help sponsor their academic and scholarship programs.
The first public comment was given by Hari Dhiman from the Eastvale Chamber of Commerce, who spoke about the success on National Prayer Day. Some upcoming events include an election for a new board member. Angelo Navarez, who is also part of the Eastvale Chamber of Commerce, announced that Vince Ferragamo was selected to be the guest speaker at the annual Installation Dinner & Awards Banquet on July 19. Lastly, Eastvale resident John Kopp recommended that the staff read The King of California, a book that covers the history of California’s water wars.
All items were approved on the consent calendar.
Finally, the council moved to the third installment of the voting boundary maps. Although there were two maps displayed in a PowerPoint presentation presented by Doug Johnson, it should be noted that there were actually three maps the council was able to choose from: Draft A, Draft B, and Draft C. Draft C is available only to the council. In spite of the map they choose, citizens will nevertheless have to elect council members through their perspective districts, and they will have to vote for council members they wish to have represent said individual district.
In his presentation, Johnson assured that the maps were not only evenly divided by population, but that they upheld the California Voting Rights Act criteria. The only visible differences in the maps were that some districts appear smaller than others, or extend throughout different streets. Nevertheless, they are the same in terms of population. Another request during the presentation was to also adopt an urgency ordinance to officially change the voting system from an “at-large” voting system to a “by-district” election; this would be handled after the councilmen voted on a map.
After the presentation, John Kopp, a resident who had spoken during the public comment, expressed his desire to have the council choose map 5A. Nevertheless, the council decided in favor of Map C, much to Rush’s discontent. Rush was adamantly hesitant to motion Map C because it was not made public. In spite of Rush’s disapproval of the motion, the council adopted Map C as the official map in a 3-5 motion; Lorimore being the other council member to disagree. They also motioned to approve the ordinance.
Map C is currently available on the City of Eastvale website under the City Hall/City Council tab.
Afterward, the staff requested the council to increase Waste Management fees. Waste Management is allowed to increase their fees based on the costs of waste and recycling disposals and Consumer Price Index. Starting on July 1, the fees were set to increase by 2.33%, meaning that households would experience a $0.60 increase. The city also requested the council to shift the CPI method to the Water Sewer Trash Index. The council approved both requests. Additionally, the council approved a request to increase fees for hauling and picking up waste and recycled material.
The council also adopted a resolution to support the Active Transportation Program Cycle 3 Grant Application, which would provide money to install bike and walking routes for the Safe Route to School project. The city motioned to provide the project with $1,500,000. The city also reviewed the grants the city had received and the budget fiscal plans for the upcoming year.
Before concluding the meeting, Nissen stated that she would be attending a meeting regarding choosing a site for the civic center; Bootsma congratulated Press-Enterprise journalist Sandra Stokley on her upcoming retirement; and Tessari congratulated Councilmember Lorimore on his election to the Republican Central Committee.
At the June 22 meeting, the Community Foundation announced they had elected a new board member who is specialized in human resources and office management. They also announced the wine and beer tasting that would take place at the Picnic in the Park; in addition to the adult entertainment band that would be present.
The council then took a moment to distribute two certificates of recognition, the first one going to Sandra Stokley, who was a journalist who had covered Eastvale events for the Press-Enterprise. She had recently retired, and the city wanted to show her their gratitude for her work. The city also recognized George Alvarez, who was retiring his position as the Manager of Public Works in the city.
Student Liaison Natalie Diaz shared some announcements about Eastvale schools. She informed the audience that Eastvale Elementary and Ronald Reagan Elementary ended their school year on June 21, while Harada was scheduled to end on June 24. School resumed for all three schools on July 5. Harada Elementary also held a few successful events, such as the father and son baseball game in Rancho Cucamonga and a mother and daughter screening of Finding Dory at Edward’s Cinema.
Chad Blaze was the only speaker for the Public Comment portion of the meeting. Blaze, a resident of Norco, thanked Eastvale for helping Norco modify issues near Hamner and Silver Lakes.
Before motioning the items on the consent calendar, Rush pulled item 6.9 and discussed it. The item was a recommendation to implement adjustments to animal control fees, and Rush wanted clarification on how the fiscal impact would offset the costs of contracting with the County for animal services. Nissen addressed Rush’s concerns stating that the city had decided to keep the fees as adopted by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in order to control the fees of cost recovery. The council then motioned the items on the agenda.
The council approved a resolution to adopt a proposed diagram for selected districts in Eastvale. The council then approved another request to adopt an annual operations and capital improvements for the upcoming fiscal year. In order to prepare for the 2016 League of California Cities conference set to occur on October 5 – 6, the council selected councilmember Lorimore to be the representative delegate while councilmember Tessari would be the alternative representative.
Once they were able to dive through a few easy topics, the councilmen were presented with the proposal to have pole-mounted observation cameras implemented throughout the city. The purpose of these cameras is to regulate illegal activity occurring on streets where crime is prominent, such as Bellgrave, where illegal street racing has been prominent recently. The footage on these cameras would be accessed by the public if they request it from the city, then a password would be provided for that individual if there was a valid reason for viewing the footage. Councilmember Lorimore was hesitant about the cameras, claiming that he feels that surveillance would be violating privacy, especially since these cameras may be placed near private property. In order to address his concerns, Lorimore was assured that cameras’ outcomes would be reviewed on an annual basis in order to ensure that the city was not abusing the city’s privacy. Ultimately, it was requested that the council approve motion to purchase three pole-mounted cameras with the company Security Lines US, who have been in service for 13 years throughout the West Coast, and they also asked the council to amend the fiscal year budget to amount $27,000 that was allocated from the gas fund. The council approved it by a 4-1 vote, Lorimore being the only one to oppose it.
After a long discussion, the council returned to the other topics on the agenda. The council approved a 2-year contract extension and a 10% rate increase with Michael Baker International in order to work with their contract planning services. They also extended another 2-year contract and a 7.5% rating increase with the Interwest Consulting Group to provide engineering, building and safety services, and public works. Lastly, the council approved a renewal contract with HdL Coeren and Cone for Property Tax Services.
Before concluding, Nissen reflected on her experience with Sandra Stokley, stating that she will miss working with her. She met with Patrick O’neil, who will be taking Stokley’s place, and she stated that she looks forward to making him part of the community. The city staff briefly spoke about the upcoming Picnic in the Park, stating that Silver Lakes will charge $8.00 for parking while ERHS would have free admission, and they also spoke about plans to regulate traffic and crime on those three nights. It was also announced that Eastvale would hold the League of California Riverside meeting for the first time on July 11.