Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

February 17, 2004 > Union City

Union City

City Council Meeting for February 10, 2004

The meeting began with a presentation by representatives of the Union Sanitary District regarding improvements to the Alvarado Treatment Plant. Improvements mainly involved the laying of new pipe. The public raised questions about complications such as sinkholes. The USD assured the public that sinkholes were considered in the initial planning, and that they would not be an issue.

Next on the agenda was Chabot College President Robert Carlson's proposal of a $498,000,000 bond known as Measure B to be used in the upgrading of Chabot facilities. Carlson began his proposal by reminding the Council that Chabot is a 40-year-old facility, and that this year it lost 1,000 potential students due to budget cuts. He continued by explaining Chabot's economic impact on the Union City area, citing that Chabot employs over 700 people, and that 80% of Chabot graduates remain in the area to become valuable contributors to the local economy.

Carlson reported that the impact on business sales in the area is an estimated $400,000,000 more than it would be if Chabot was not around. Carlson concluded his proposal by stating that the college plans to grow to 19,000 students in the next ten years, but that in order to do so a bond to "rebuild the campus and provide new equipment" is required. Lastly, he reminded the Council that the state has no provisions for rebuilding facilities such as community colleges, and that this bond request was only the 3rd request for such a bond in the 40 years of Chabot's existence. Mayor Green recommended support for Measure B, and concluded this area of the agenda with "Go Gladiators". Measure B will be on the March ballot.

During oral communication, a representative of a local healthcare facility spoke in order to advocate Measure A, which would raise sales taxes in order to provide for local health services. The representative pointed out that the Union City healthcare system is a model system, and that it would be a small price to pay to raise sales taxes in order to save a system so valuable.

Following oral communications was an update on the 2003/04 Union City budget. Current estimations assert that so far, this year's revenues are running slightly higher than last year's, while this year's expenditures are running slightly lower. As for the major sources of revenue, property taxes are estimated to be running "just about" on budget; sales taxes are $327,000 (4.4%) below budget; franchise fees are running $100,000 below budget; vehicle license fees are running $300,000 (8.8%) below budget; current service charges are $370,000 (22.0%) above budget; building and miscellaneous permits are running $225,000 (17.6%) above budget. Over all, the total revenue is expected to be roughly $137,000 (.40%) below budget, which is considered by staff to be "on target."

Following this presentation, Councilmember Elias pointed out that the city was not just blowing its money, but a statement from a member of the public asserted an otherwise unfelt anxiety in light of such optimistic and early estimates, as they are based on projections and best-case scenarios. His suggestion was to advocate Measure K to generate more funds for the city. Councilmember Vernaci followed this statement by informing the Council that a measure is in the works in order to prevent the state from taking local money without holding a local vote for approval.

Next on the agenda was a motion to authorize a request for proposals process for machine vending rights in Union City Facilities. The planned proposal would offer a vender exclusive, city-wide rights to place vending machines in city facilities such as parks and city buildings. The money generated by the machines would provide for general funds. Conditions for the proposal would include 5 or 10-year duration for the contract, an estimated $15,000 exclusivity fee, a $10,000 annual vending rights fee, and an estimated $25,000 - $50,000 generate per year. The city would maintain control over the placement of the machines, and would pay no maintenance fees for the machines. Approved.

The consent calendar for this meeting included a motion to set a hearing date to consider the recovery of a cost for abatement of a dangerous building at 14 Union Square. This item was pulled off the consent calendar by Mayor Green, who then asked a series of questions regarding relocation, and eventually moved to pass the item. Approved.

The next item on the consent calendar was a motion to amend the Zoning Code in order to alter the regulation of certain types of permitted and conditionally permitted uses of warehouse space. Councilmember Elias asked a series of questions regarding the amendment's clarification regarding different interpretations of the definition of an "indoor" facility. He was assured by staff that any possible violations would be referred to the planning commission. The item was passed.

 
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