The agenda for the next Cloverdale City Council meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 6 p.m. is small but mighty and involves some contentious and important issues for the city. The council will be revisiting the question of whether or not it wants to ban the distribution and discharge of fireworks for the remainder of 2020, it will review a resolution to amend the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Grant guidelines to allow for excess grant money to be used for utility relief grants and it will receive an overview of the 2020-21 budget, which includes predictions about how the city may be impacted by the economic fallout from COVID-19.
Whether or not the council decides to put a temporary ban on fireworks for 2020 has been a contentious issue over the past few weeks, starting with a discussion about bringing the item to city council during a subcommittee meeting earlier this month. When it came to the council as an urgency ordinance on May 14, the urgency ordinance failed the 4-1 vote needed to pass (it garnered a 3-2 vote with Mayor Gus Wolter and councilmembers Melanie Bagby and Marta Cruz voting in favor). Now, it will be coming back to the city council once again, this time as a resolution.
“The reason why it was brought as an urgency ordinance was more of the urgent nature of why this was being done, the decision was made, ‘well, let’s prepare an urgency ordinance.’ I think it was an oversight as far as the voting goes, nothing in here (the Cloverdale Municipal Code) says it needs to be an urgency ordinance,” said City Attorney Jose Sanchez during the May 14 council meeting, suggesting the item come back.
Those in favor of temporarily halting firework sales cite the early fire season, lack of police staffing and higher than usual amounts of brush on city property as reasons they believe fireworks should be prohibited for the remainder of the year. Those opposed to the resolution are worried about the financial impact it would have on local nonprofits who depend on selling fireworks as revenue, and fear that a temporary ban on fireworks will make it easier for the city to permanently prohibit them.
Neighborhood Improvement Grant
As part of the city’s 2019-20 budget, it adopted a neighborhood improvement grant program, which put up a total of $5,000 to go toward neighborhood-based projects and events. City staff have received and approved two grant applications (one for the senior center and another for the community garden) that total $2,000.
This agenda item asks the council to consider using the remaining $3,000 in grant funds to go toward utility bill relief for those struggling with COVID-19-related income loss.
If approved, city staff is recommending that the maximum amount available per applicant be set at $100, which would allow a total of 30 households to receive relief.
Since the city budget has another $5,000 in Neighborhood Improvement Grant funds set aside, the council is also being asked if they want to instead use those funds to provide utility relief to an additional 50 eligible households.
The council will receive a presentation about the city’s draft budget for 2020-21. The budget involves the city using approximately $1 million in reserve funds to close the anticipated gap in revenue and expenditures due to COVID-19.
The budget will come back to the council for a final review on June 10.
City council meetings are broadcast live on the city’s YouTube channel and over Zoom. Council meetings are also still being held at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd. To see the complete agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, click here.
Other meetings this week
The city’s Public Works subcommittee is scheduled to meet over Zoom on Tuesday, May 26 at 4 p.m. The subcommittee will be discussing a handful of items, including the possibility of issuing temporary use permits and modifying parking restricts for outdoor retail businesses and the Cloverdale Shuttle fare-free program for the next fiscal year.
To get the information to virtually attend the meeting, click here.
Read about how to watch public meetings from home.