Sebastopol City Council

Sebastopol City Council

Sebastopol City Council members approved all but one of the five initiative fund projects discussed and considered for distribution at its June 4 meeting.

The City Council Initiatives Fund, which was created in 2010, allows councilmembers to allocate funding to initiatives or projects of their choice.

Each councilmember is allocated one-fifth of the total Initiatives Fund budget, which for the fiscal year 2018-19 is a total of $2,500, resulting in $500 for each member.

Councilmembers can use their entire share, transfer funds to another member’s initiative/project or refund them to the city’s General Fund.

An outdoor shower for Ives Pool

City Manager Larry McLaughlin said Mayor Neysa Hinton and Councilmember Una Glass elected to use their funds to install an outdoor shower at Ives Pool.

The city provided an outdoor shower temporarily while the Ives pool showers were being remodeled. When that work was completed, many swimmers asked for a permanent outdoor shower.

“We could not use the one we supplied temporarily because it was not ADA compliant, so we have a project to give them a new one,” McLaughlin said.

For the birds

Next was the approval of councilmember Sarah Gurney’s initiative after a representative from the National Audubon Society spoke in public comment.

A spokeswoman discussed the swallow nests at Community Center Youth Annex that were destroyed by a city worker on May 2.

The Audubon Society requested the city make a donation toward their work restoring the swallow colony. Gurney will donate her funds to that project.

Friends around the world

Vice Mayor Patrick Slayter elected to donate his share to the Sebastopol World Friends Scholarship Fund. The organization links Sebastopol with its sister cities, Takeo, Japan, and Chyhyryn, Ukraine.

Sebastopol World Friends runs an exchange program for junior high students and others. Students from Sebastopol travel to Takeo and Chyhyrun, and students from those cities visit Sebastopol. Though it’s relatively inexpensive for a travel program, there are many who cannot afford to participate. Scholarships make it possible for students who can’t afford the travel expenses to take part.

“He has typically, for the last several years, donated his council initiative funds toward that scholarship,” McLaughlin said.

Giving a hand to downtown

Councilmember Michael Carnacchi is planning to direct his funds toward the Sebastopol Downtown Association. The money will pay for banners, which Carnacchi is proposing go up for the anniversary date of women’s suffrage, urging people to vote.

“He’s going to propose banners to celebrate that, and he put his money toward that potential project, which has not yet been approved,” McLaughlin said.

It was unclear to some councilmembers that they had to “use it or lose it” when it came to the funds. McLaughlin said they had to figure out this month what they were going to do because the funds couldn’t be held for the next fiscal year.

McLaughlin said he wasn’t sure Carnacchi had completely prepared where he was going to use his funds.  With the new fiscal year starting on July 1, councilmembers need to use the funds by June 30.

The council will vote on Carnacchi’s initiative at its next meeting.

“It’s not clear there will be banners,” McLaughlin said. “It’s really in the councilmember’s discretion. They all vote on it, but they all respect each other’s wishes.”

The next city council regular meeting is scheduled for June 18 at 6 p.m. in the Sebastopol Community Center Youth Annex on 425 Morris St. The meeting’s agenda will be available  at ci.sebastopol.ca.us.

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