When the state of California ceased operating local redevelopment agencies (RDAs) in February of 2012, local governments created “successor” agencies which, by law, prompted them to operate until they were able to dispose of all the issues related thereto.
Cypress Finance Director Matt Burton announced this week that Cypress would be the first in Orange County to resolve all the issues with their successor agency and will hopefully be cleared to dissolved.
Since World War II, the local redevelopment agencies were structured to promote affordable housing in communities across California. The state assembly voted to end them in 2011 and the law took affect in February 2012.
Burton said the decade long effort in Cypress will go to the Orange County oversight board in September for official consideration. To dissolve, the law requires any successor agency to have all of their obligations paid in full, all litigation resolved and get the oversight board of approval, he said.
There is a $500,000 note that matures in 2029 that will have to be transferred to a neutral agency, but when that note matures, the parties will be paid in full and the completely resolved, said Burton.
“The goal is to have all parties agree to this,” said Burton. The council voted unanimously to allow Burton to submit the plan to end the city’s successor agency.
Also this week, Burton announced that Cypress is expected to be eligible to more than $1 million in CARES ACT funding to resolve the city’s expenses related to COVID-19. He said the funds will be good news for the budget but does not account for ongoing reductions to the general fund budget related to the pandemic.
On other issues, Council member Stacy Berry complained about two projects that she acknowledged were “lost causes,” but nevertheless said the city was moving forward in a pandemic ravaged world without even considering what a post pandemic regulation might look like.
Berry pulled the Police Department’s seismic retrofit project from the consent calendar to protest the “expansive and expensive modernization” planning that has swelled the cost of the project to $5.75 million.
She said no city can know what “workplace best practices” will be after the pandemic and how architectural standards might change.
“I am not in favor of moving forward with this extensive modernization,” said Berry.
Council member Paulo Morales chimed in to ask Community Development Director Doug Dancs about why the project now includes much more than the seismic retrofit, which was the initial intent of the project.
Dancs responded by saying a simple retrofit was one of several options presented earlier to the Council but the Council chose the direction now being pursued.
Morales asked Dancs about possibly bringing the pared down version back to the Council.
Council member Jon Peat said he supported the project as is. He said it has been decades since the police department has been modernized.
Also, Morales said without specificity that he was concerned about vendors “gouging” the city amid the pandemic.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mariellen Yarc said she supported the project, not wanting to “defund” any police project. “Sometimes,” she said, “you have to do the right thing, even if it is symbolic.”
When Mayor Rob Johnson indicated he supported the project as is, Peat moved to proceed with the police department’s seismic retrofit as is.
Even though Morales had asked staff to bring back the slimmed down version, he voted with the majority to move forward as is as the motion passed 4-0.
An undaunted Berry also brought up another “lost cause,” as she moved to make the Cypress Sports Park double soccer fields all natural grass.
Peat said the Council had earlier agreed to create one of each (articial and natural) then later determine which has more benefit and moved to proceed as earlier agreed. Berry questioned why install “expensive artificial turf,” saying “real grass” offers natural benefits
Peat’s motion passed 3-2, with Berry and Yarc voting against.
In other action, the Council;
• Heard Recreation Direction Cameron Harding complain bitterly about Orange County reversing directions on youth sports. He said a directive issued by the county on June 15 said youth sports could continue, prompting officials in Cypress “worked incredibly hard” to meet the guidance, only to learn on July 8 that county reversed itself. “It is extremely frustrating,” to say the least.
• Learned there is another Red Cross Blood Drive August 13 at the Community Center.
• Heard Chief Rod Cox say the commercial alarm billing for business would resume in September.
• Accepted the Oak Knoll Park Restroom and Concession project as complete at a final cost of $364,674.14.
• Heard the first reading of local ordinances changes required to bring them into Orange County compliance.
• Approved a tree planning contract for $118,875 with an $18,000 contingency for Brightview Landscape Services of Santa Ana.
• Approved a contract in the amount of $100,801 with a contingency of $15,200 for Premier Pipe, Inc. for a sewer system evaluation.
• Adopted a one-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Police Management Association.
• Approved a settlement agreement recommended by legal counsel Anthony Taylor with Helen Taylor in the amount of $85,000.
• Approved a task order for $31,070 for LSA to prepare an “Addendum to a Mitigated Negative Declaration” for a parking structure at 5701 Katella to serve United Healthcare.
• Approved a contract for David Volz Design for $69,984 and a $10,000 contingency for the Katella Ave. median restoration project.
• Approved a task order not to exceed $45,000 for Annealta Group for contract city planning services.
• Awarded an “on call” contract to Advantec Consulting Engineers Inc., Hartzog and Crabill, Inc., Iteris, and Linscott Law and Greenspan Engineers LLG, for $175,000 for city traffic engineering.