LocationAlhambra , CA
The Alhambra City Council’s special meeting by teleconference Thursday afternoon was focused on issues related to the COVID-19 emergency with City Manager Jessica Binnquist presenting an overview of how city staff and departments are dealing with the challenges.
Two key points revolved around finances. Binnquist told the council that the city has been awarded $596,000 in special Community Development Block Grant funding earmarked for coronavirus projects to assist low-income residents. These funds could be used for COVID-19 testing, as well as some form of housing assistance.
In discussing the testing site option, Binnquist suggested that second street south of Main across from Alhambra High School, now closed due to state mandates under “Safer at Home” regulations, might be a good option. Second street, at that location is a wide, one-way street going south.
In terms of housing, any CDBG funds would cover a three-month period and she stressed that there are several ways to think about this funding, which she hoped would “not be the only bite of apple” we get in CDBG funds related to COVID-19.
She presented the CDBG news as part of the update on city operations and said that more definitive explanations and options would be presented to the council at its next scheduled meeting on Monday at 2 p.m.
The second financial point involved city revenues which, even with the passage of Measure AL, the 3/4% sales tax in the March election, Alhambra will not be close to revenue projections for the year. She cited a teleconference call she was on with several other city managers from SGV communities and all expressed budgetary concerns. “Our revenues are expect to fall very short,” she said. City department heads are looking at the new fiscal realities as they prepare for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
Binnquist cited the excellent job that staff have done in keeping city operations running smoothly, often from their homes. “Police and fire are fully operational,” she said and noted that the senior ride program is going strong with occupants now required to wear face masks and vehicles being cleaned and disinfected more often.
She mentioned the city’s updated web site for offering helpful information on a variety of COVID-19 related assistance opportunities and services. The city has also had a strong and helpful presence on its social media sites.
Next up was the Council vote on seven items on the consent agenda. But Binnquist first asked that item nine, a consideration of an urgency ordinance repealing the city’s current emergency ordinance on evictions, be pulled from consideration and moved to next Monday’s meeting.
Item nine was in response to the L.A. County Supervisors’ vote earlier in the week to expand the terms of its own emergency measure on eviction protections which included an extended time period to repay past-due rent.
The problem here, according to Binnquist, is that the county measure still is awaiting its final language which is expected Friday. Binnquist said she didn’t want to council to consider a city action without having a chance to look at the finalized country measure.
The rest of the consent agenda passed on a 5-0 vote. Details on the consent items and the full council agenda may be found here.
Participating in the teleconference meeting were Mayor Ross Maza, Vice Mayor David Mejia, council member Katherine Lee, council member Jeffrey Maloney and council member Adele Andrade-Stadler.