City manager formally announces resignation
The Healdsburg City Council worked on several housekeeping items at their May 4 meeting, including a vote to approve a renewed three-year contract with the Humane Society of Sonoma County (HSSC) for animal services and approval of changes to the wording of the city’s Growth Management Ordinance (GMO). They also made a formal announcement of the resignation of City Manager David Mickaelian, who’s set to leave his post July 3, and discussed the progress of the small business loan program, which was approved at their last meeting in April.
The three-year renewal contract for continued animal care services through the HSSC was approved unanimously by the city council Monday night. The old three-year contract was set to expire June 20.
The total contract amount for services is $761,400, or $253,800 a year, according to the agenda item report. This is an 8% increase from the initial annual services charge of $18,000.
Lt. Matt Jenkins of the Healdsburg Police Department said the price increase is due to an increased cost in wages, vaccines, spay/neuter medicines, subcontractor costs and administrative costs.
He added that the shelter hopes to bring on additional resources, such as youth camps, additional medical resources and dog training classes.
“Under the contract, the Humane Society of Sonoma County provides complete animal care control services under the city’s animal control ordinance and under California state law,” Jenkins said.
These services include operating a “no kill” philosophy shelter, animal adoption and stray and abandoned animal intake, license compliance and field services that are subcontracted out through North Bay Animal Services. Subcontracted services include responding to barking dog complaints and vicious animal reports as well as patrolling dog parks and removing dead animals from city right of ways.
In 2019, 210 animals were brought into the Healdsburg shelter, including strays, surrendered and abandoned animals. Three hundred and twenty six animals were adopted out of the shelter that same year, according to Jenkins.
City councilmember Joe Naujokas asked if the shelter has seen any trends in terms of animal intake or adoption and Jenkins said the Healdsburg facility has seen an increased amount of animal adoptions.
The original agreement with HSSC went into effect in 2014 after an extensive “Request for Proposal” and citizen review panel process.
“It was a tough time for animal welfare in Healdsburg at that time, because the other shelter had gone bankrupt, so I was really excited that our board at that time was willing to take the leap of faith to come to Healdsburg and provide the control and complete the building,” said Vice Mayor Evelyn Mitchell, who also serves as a board member for HSSC. “Even though it was pretty challenging for quite a few years, I have to say that they stuck with it and as Matt said, they are expanding services to the humane education classes, medical, media rooms and dog training classes, which I hear people love, so it is a real pleasure for me to be able to offer a resolution … approving the professional services agreement.”
Changes to GMO policy
City council also approved some wording changes to the GMO policy to reflect the passage of Measure H.
Measure H, a measure that alters some of the language in the city’s GMO to allow for the sale in addition to the rental of an average of 50 multifamily income-restricted units, was approved by voters in March.
The measure passed with 68.23% of the “yes” vote and 31.77% of the “no” vote. Consequently, the current GMO has to be updated in order to allow for the sale, in addition to the rental, of a number of income-restricted units.
Farewell to city manager and loan program update
Healdsburg Mayor Leah Gold formally announced the resignation of longtime Healdsburg City Manager, David Mickaelian, whose last day is set for July 3.
Gold said Mickaelian provided his resignation during a closed council session meeting on Monday morning.
“Council took action, we unanimously, although very reluctantly, voted to accept the resignation of our city manager in early July. We also discussed how to keep the high level of excellent management that we have come to rely on under David Mickaelian,” Gold said.
Mickaelian will be taking a general manager position with the Tahoe Donner Association in Truckee.
“It is a good opportunity for myself, it is bittersweet to be leaving the organization,” Mickaelian said of his departure.
Neither Mickaelian or Gold gave any hints as to who would potentially take over his role, however, Mickaelian noted that over the next few months he will continue to work with city staff and the council to wrap up important projects such as the city budget.
In a message to the community via the city’s Facebook page, Mickaelian wrote, “I have loved working for this city and working with you, our Healdsburg community members.”
Healdsburg local, Dave Kiff, who’s been contracting with the city to help with COVID-19 business recovery, provided a brief update on the city’s small business loan program, which was approved at the city’s last council meeting.
The program aims to provide loans capped at $15,000, with a potential three to four-year pay off term, to local brick and mortar businesses.
So far, the city has received 98 loan applications most of which met program qualifications.
Kiff said they’ve started reviewing applications and that most businesses say they hope to use money from the loan for rent, payroll, utilities and other similar needs.
Kiff said they hope to start releasing loan money next week.