GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
 

Minutes:  June 5, 2014 Meeting

 

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Minutes:  June 5, 2014 Meeting

 

Call to Order:  Gary Cursio called the meeting to order at 8:31 am, Redwood Room, Portola Hotel and Spa

 

Minutes of the May meeting were approved.

 

Present: Henry Rhunke, Gary Cursio, Rick Heuer, Rene Boskoff, Tom Rowley, Carol Chorbajian, Sam Teel, Janine Chicourrat, John Narigi, Rod Schinnerer, Nicole Charles, Bonnie Adams, Rick Aldinger, Tom Greer, Hunter Harvath, Jason Retterer

 

Guests: Mike McCarthy, City Manager, Monterey; Jim Forbis, Finance Director, City of Monterey

 

Executive Committee Referral: None

 

Member Issues/ADDITIONS:

 

Rene Boskoff added three issues:

 

·         Boskoff added comments on the Visit California program. The Visit California is proposing a $100 million program. There are concerns that the State will look for the hospitality industry to provide additional funding, It was moved by Heuer, seconded by Cursio and passed unanimously to actively support the position that Visit California should broaden its sources of funding.

·         Cursio reminded everyone re the Monning fundraiser. Ellis will send reminders to the GAC and Board.

·         Retterer discussed the County’s pending actions re: a fracking moratorium. He may ask to bring the matter back to the GAC in the future. Teel said he needed to tie the issue to its impact on hospitality.

 

Special Presentations/Roundtable/Action Items:

 

·         McCarthy and Forbis made a presentation on the status of the City Budget and possible tax measure:

o   The City is projecting a balanced budget for FY 2014-15.

o   The City projects a $1 million deficit next year but will present a balanced budget, primarily through reductions in infrastructure improvements and maintenance.

o   August 5 the City Council will decide if a sales tax increase will be put on the November budget.

o   A 1% sales tax will add $8 million annually to the budget. It is proposed to be spent on infrastructure ($8 million), Downtown Master Plan/Specific Plans ($1 million) and PERS side fund ($1 million).

o   The tax would sunset in 10 years.

o   The dollars would not go to salaries.

o   Monterey has been a leader in reducing future PERS costs. They cannot reduce existing costs due to contractual obligations. Future costs can be reduced.

o   Chorbajian asked about outsourcing. McCarthy said the City does outsource some services like trees. They are looking at outsourcing property management. Outsourcing is negotiable with the employee unions.

o   Rhunke asked how the City’s tax advisory committee is working. McCarthy said the committee is doing well and asking tough questions. He believes the Council will rely heavily on the committee’s recommendation. Chorbajian said there have been good exchanges and a lot of data collection.

o   Heuer asked if they would meet with taxpayers groups. McCarthy said they would.

o   Boskoff asked if it would be a general or special tax. McCarthy supports a general tax due in large part of the difficulty of passing a special tax.

o   Chorbajian said the current Council cannot commit future Council decisions on budget.

o   Rowley asked what was “magic” about a ten year tax. McCarthy said it was largely due to the perceived public tolerance for a tax measure. Heuer said there would likely be more opposition to a general tax while there is a chance to mitigate opposition with a special tax.

o   Teel noted Monterey has one of the highest per capita tax expenditure in the state.

o   Forbis said there was a substantial unfunded liability for PERS that is not going away. It can be reduced in the future but must be accounted for.

·         Rhunke asked about status of the Conference Center. McCarthy said it was moving forward. An RFP for a Project Manager was out.

·         Rhunke asked what the next hot topics will be. McCarthy said it would be the November elections for Mayor and Council.

 

Additions to the Agenda:

 

  • Previously addressed

 

Task Force Updates:

 

Coalition of Peninsula Businesses/Regional Water Project: Narigi reported:

·         The test borings at CEMEX went well. Most of the testing is completed. Some monitoring will continue.

·         Next step is permitting the test wells. That is pending with Marina and then Coastal Commission for permit approval. They expect approval in October with approval in November. Testing will take a period of time.

·         June will be a big month for GWR. If there are not signed source water agreements the size of the desal plant can be increased. Signed agreements are questionable.

·         The GWR externalities report is being deferred.

·         The cost of the project is now estimated to be closer to $300 million. Senator Monning has been instrumental in helping secure lower cost financing.

·         A search for a replacement for Bill Thayer on the MPWMD board continues.

·         MRWPCA rates are expected to go up July 1.

·         The COPB white paper is completed and will be distributed shortly.

 

Election Results: Ellis reported:

·         Measure was defeated. The District 2 race was close between Phillips and Mitchell could be decided as Phillips had nearly 50% of the vote. There were still several thousand ballots to be counted. Final results should be known the week of July 9.

·         The November elections would include council and mayor races for all of the cities except Carmel. Monterey races will be critical for hospitality.

 

 

Monterey County Business PAC: Cursio noted the PAC should be noted as an issues PAC. Adams suggested this did not need to be a regular agenda item.

 

Special Events Ordinance: Ellis reported:

 

·         The County’s Special Events ordinance “discussion draft” has been released. Public meetings were held in Big Sur and Carmel Highlands. The meetings were quite volatile.

·         Ellis said he had talked with Carl Holm. The County would be separating the discussion drafts into separate issues: Special Events, Short Term Rentals and Wine Corridor. Holm did say the County did not want to unduly curtail normal and customary events at hospitality sites.

·         Ellis cautioned against attaching any form of legal nonconforming/grandfather status to existing events as that could unintentionally restrict other events.

·         The County has begun discussions of a Noise Ordinance that might have a significant effect on the ability to have nighttime events. Ellis will continue to monitor.

 

Waterfront Master Plan:

Rhunke gave a quick update on the status with the Planning Commission. Chicourrat said the City needed to take a broader view of the effect of their plans. Rhunke said the plan will be back at the Commission June 24.

 

SACRAMENTO REPORT: Charles reported:

 

·         SB 936 (water project financing) has passed form the Senate to the House.

·         AB1320 (bare hands corrections) has passed from the House to the Senate.

 

Old Business

 

None

 

Announcements

 

ADJOURNED at 10:10 am to July 10, 2014.

 

Prepared by Dale Ellis, Government Affairs Director

Monterey County Hospitality Association