The Cypress city council paid tribute to retiring city engineer Kamrah Deadbeh at their May 24 meeting, saying after more than two decades of service he had become a valuable member of the staff.
“He’s one of the most valuable members of our public works staff,” said Doug Dancs, the city’s Director of Public Works.
Dancs said Dadbeh “has been involved in every major engineering construction project in the city, including the city hall, community center and police department modernization projects.”
Dancs told the council that rough estimates are that Dadbeh has overseen or engineered more than $100 million worth of projects during his time with the city.
“He’s shed a lot of intellectual blood sweat and tears, getting these products built. The public should be proud to have such a dedicated person who has watched over these essential components,” said Dancs.
Cypress Mayor Jon Peat told Dadbeh “it’s been a pleasure working with you over the years,” as he invited the retiring city engineer to “enjoy his retirement” and his family.
“Thank you for your service,” said Peat.
Also, the Cypress council awarded a contract to Hinderliter de Llamas and Associates (HdL) to provide full-service business license registration, renewal and auditing services.
According to the staff report, the Municipal Code requires all commercial and residential businesses operating in the city obtain and maintain a business license. Businesses are required to renew their license annually and the City issues approximately 3,500 licenses each year, collecting approximately $1.2 million in tax revenue.
Business licensing is a complicated, highly specialized function overseen by the Finance department.
In 2017, the City Council approved a contract with HdL Software, LLC to provide a new, web-based business licensing system, according to a report from Matt Burton, the city’s Director of Finance and Administrative Services.
The system enabled businesses to register, renew and pay for their annual license online. A city employee, a Senior Licensing Specialist, used the HdL system for all licensing matters and provided onsite support at City Hall, according to the report.
“Sadly, the Senior Licensing Specialist passed away unexpectedly late last year and leading the City to reassess how best to meet the City’s ongoing business licensing needs,” it said.
In addition to providing business licensing software solutions to local governments, HdL offers a turnkey, full-service business tax solution which includes administration, discovery and audit services,” the report concluded.
Before a vote on the consent calendar, Council member Anne Hertz asked that Burton clarify the licensing system’s relationship with the city.
Burton’s memo said the transition to HdL has been seamless and business owners using the new services appear satisfied with the new way of handling business licensing matters and the associated technology does come with the licensing arrangement.
The city will enter into a five-year contract with HdL in which the contract continues tax revenue audit and discovery services for which HdL receives 35% of any newly discovered, unlicensed or underreported business taxes.
Further, Burton’s framework suggested the cost for HdL to provide full-service administration of the business license program is $15 per license and includes web-based software, customer service, printing and mailing, and all State required reporting and remittance.
With 3,500 business license accounts, the total annual cost is estimated to be $52,500. However, the City will no longer have to pay a separate fee for the HdL software ($14,000) or mailing costs ($4,500) which results in a net annual cost increase of $34,000.
Anticipated salary savings due to vacancies in the Finance Department will be available to cover the cost of the contract in FY 2021-22, the memo said, and these staffing vacancies will be reviewed and evaluated in the coming months and future budgets will incorporate the recommendations associated with the analysis.
In other action, the city:
• Renewed the Cypress Corporate Center Landscape Maintenance District No. 1 for maintenance of the landscape and irrigation system located at the berm on the north side of the Stanton Channel and establishing a public hearing for July 12, 2021.
• Approved plans and specs for concrete rehabilitation project 266, which includes a contract for $140,290 and contingency of $21,000 to CJ Concrete Construction, Santa Fe Springs; an inspection task order for TRC/Vali Cooper and Associates for $16,312 and a contingency of $2400.
• Approved a timeline approved in January 2021, the city Council directed the staff to work with the city’s solid waste hauler, Valley Vista Services, to develop an organic recycling program to comply with newly enacted state laws. The new services include organic recycling programs for single family homes and providing additional programs for commercial and multi-family customers and are anticipated to begin in Januar