For the December 4 Council meeting’s invocation, Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli invited her sister-in-law to come in and light the Menorah in celebration of the third night of Hanukkah, and as a way of honoring our community’s diversity.
Milpitas’ new Fire Chief Brian Sherrard was sworn in. “It’s a privilege and an honor to be standing here before you as your new fire chief. I’m very excited to join such a proud, dynamic city, an engaged community, and a long traditionally well-supported fire department,” said Sherrard in front of a packed room of people, which included his parents, wife, son, and fellow Milpitas Fire Department members.
The Public Comments segment was full of speakers on Cannabis. This topic continues to be a charged one for Milpitas. In fact, the Planning Commission just voted on it the other night. And the First Reading of the ordinance to ban Cannabis will most likely go in front of the Council at the next meeting, on 12/18.
So here’s the deal: Garbage rates are going up 4.26%, effective January 1, 2019. A staff report was delivered on the Rate Year 2 Rate Adjustment for Milpitas Sanitation, Inc. This increase will apply to both residential and commercial customers. An example given at the meeting helped to clarify what to expect: For the 45-gallon cart, the cost will increase from $123.57 to $128.63 (a total of $5.26 per quarter). However, Milpitas still does have the lowest solid waste rate for residential within Santa Clara County. Reasons for the rate increase include an increase in industry costs in regard to labor, fuel, equipment, and processing.
The City Council received a report from City Staff on an updated 5-year forecast. Fiscal Year ’17-’18 saw a general fund operating surplus of $20.07 million. Staff brought some urgent needs forward, alerting the Council to items these surplus funds could go toward, including 3 entry-level fire fighters who could start at the Academy in January, go for about half a year, then be able to fill vacancies come their graduation in May. Other recommendations included one-time funding toward McCandless Park and the Skate Park. The Building and Housing Department also has urgent needs that City Staff feels must be addressed; Deputy City Manager Steve McHarris got up to talk for a bit about how the department isn’t able to keep up with the workload, as they are significantly understaffed. Permit plan reviews and inspections are under heavy demand via the real estate market, yet the department as it is now is unable to efficiently facilitate supply. Development activity has doubled in the past three years, increasing from $294 million to $607 million. As part of the Fiscal Year ’18-’19 adjustments, staff requested the addition of new positions to the department: one building official, one Administrative Analyst II, one Plan Review Manager, and the upgrade of 6 temporary positions to permanent ones. Building permit fees would fund these positions. This was a big topic that spurred a lot of discussion, so if you’d like to delve into it more deeply, you can do so here.