Sebastopol City Council Preview 2020

The Sebastopol City Council will meet (virtually) on Tuesday, June 16. You can watch it live tonight or at your leisure.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for this evening:

Upcoming city council elections

The council will be asked to approve a resolution calling for a general election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, for two city council seats, currently held by councilmembers Michael Carnacchi and Neysa Hinton. Both Carnacchi and Hinton are expected to run again. 

The nomination period for city council candidates will be open from July 13 to Aug. 7. Be aware that because of the closure of city hall due to the COVID-19 epidemic, those wishing to pick up election paperwork will have to make an appointment with City Clerk Mary Gourley at mgourley@cityofsebastopol.org.

Requirements for running for city council:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be a resident of the state of California.
  • Be a registered voter for not less than 30 days preceding the date of filing candidate papers.

Budget approval

At the last city council meeting on June 2, Sebastopol’s Administrative Services Director Ana Kwong introduced the interim budget for fiscal year 2020-21. The council is expected to approve the budget at this meeting. It is essentially a flat budget, with few changes from last year. The impact of COVID-19 is uncertain, but Kwong said the city had sufficient reserves to weather the downturn, at least for the next year.

Other consent calendar items

  • Councilmembers will vote on a resolution authorizing the pay rates and ranges for city employees.  
  • They’ll also be asked to approve a request from the Sebastopol Cultural Community Center to solicit bids for the remodel of the center’s kitchen, which was destroyed in the February 2019 flood.

Looking at police protocols

In response to the recent protests, the mayor, vice mayor and city manager will report on police procedures and policies, including actions already taken and other proposed changes. They will also set a specific date and time for a special city council meeting on this topic: the proposed date is Tuesday, June 23, at 6 p.m., with an alternate date of June 30 at 6 p.m.

Actions taken to date include the following:

  • Acting Chief of Police Greg DeVore has banned the use of the carotid hold by members of the Sebastopol Police Department.
  • Multiple councilmembers have signed the “My Brother’s Keeper’s Pledge,” from the Obama Foundation, which includes the following four points:
    • Review police use-of-force policies.
    • Engage the community by including in any review a diverse range of input, experiences and stories.
    • Report the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback.
    • Reform the community’s police use-of-force policies as appropriate.
  • The city has also contacted independent outside consultants to aid in the review of policies and procedures and an outside facilitator to conduct community listening sessions.

Presentation: Community Vitality Report

Former Sebastopol Mayor Craig Litwin and Johnny Nolen of CoMission will give a report on CoMission’s efforts and plans to revitalize local businesses and the community at large in the aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Discussion and consideration of approval of GoSonoma Act Expenditure Plan

The Sonoma County Transportation Authority’s (SCTA) current quarter-cent transportation sales tax, established by Measure M, will expire in 2025. The SCTA is considering putting a sales tax ordinance and expenditure plan called the “GoSonoma Act” on the November 2020 ballot. The tax imposed by the GoSonoma Act will be a 20-year quarter-cent sales tax that will not take effect until the tax imposed by Measure M terminates in 2025. The GoSonoma Act Expenditure Plan re-structures Measure M’s program categories to address roadway, bus, bicycle and pedestrian needs and eliminates the Highway 101 and SMART programs.

Does west county need another gas station?

The council will discuss and consider sending a letter of comment to Permit Sonoma on the question of whether the owner of the property at 5300 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, should be allowed to build a gas station on this site, which is located just east of town.

Sebastopol Solid Waste Collection Services annual rate adjustment by Recology Sonoma Marin

Recology Sonoma Marin is required to run rate adjustments by the city council of Sebastopol because the city is one of their franchisees. The proposed changes include the following:

Single family rates for single cans would go up by 1.7%, an increase of between 20 cents to $1.05 per month; the rate for the most commonly used 32-gallon can would go up by 35 cents per month. Commercial single refuse can rates would rise 2.1% per month, an increase of between $1 and $13 per month; the oft-used 4-cubic-yard bin would be $10 per month.

Other changes include increasing the rate for the commercial 96-gallon can by 5% or $14.50 per month and changing the bulk item pick-up rate from a flat rate to a variable rate based on market conditions by commodity. The current $50 per trip charge would rise to between $70 and $100 per visit.

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