At a 2/5/19 Council meeting that went on ’til just past midnight, the members of the Milpitas City Council (Mayor Rich Tran, Vice-Mayor Karina Dominguez, Councilmember Carmen Montano, Councilmember Anthony Phan, and Councilmember Bob Nuñez) voted on some items…

 

Some quick notes on what went down:

 

  • Council voted unanimously to increase water and sewer rates. Residents will see the first increase on April 1, 2019. For the average single-family residence, the increase will break down to an extra $3.52 a month for water and $3.67 for sewer. After that, the rates will continue to increase every first of July from 2019 to 2022. An example of what this will look like: Today, a single-family residence pays a total of $90.27 bi-monthly for sewer; by the time July 1, 2022 rolls around, that total cost will have increased to $124.14. Some reasons for the rate hikes: to improve water reliability; to update and replace aging infrastructure (to the tune of $46 million for water, between 2019 and 2023, and $75 million for sewer); water wholesalers have also raised their rates, and will continue to raise them annually by about 9%.

 

  • Council voted unanimously to confirm Mayor Rich Tran’s list of City Council subcommittees, as well as new appointments to those subcommittees. All 5 members also voted to allow Tran’s recommendation of Councilmember Carmen Montano for a seat on the Board of Bay Area Water Conservation & Supply Agency, along with its Regional Financing Authority. This term will expire on June 20, 2021. Due to a scheduling conflict, Councilmember Anthony Phan (who had just been appointed to the seat during a January Council meeting) is no longer able to serve. Mayor Tran and Councilmember Montano will be liaisons for the City/School Communication Subcommittee, the Finance Subcommittee, and the Transportation Subcommittee. (Previously, Tran, along with former Vice-Mayor Marsha Grilli, had both held liaison positions for the City/School Communication Subcommittee and Finance Committee, while the Transportation Subcommittee had not been active since 2016, and thus had no immediately preceding liaisons.)

 

  • Council voted unanimously to rescind the prior council’s direction on conducting a study on locations and regulations for digital billboards. Outfront-Allvision, LLC had expressed the desire to construct a digital billboard on Barber Lane, just south of the 237, on City of Milpitas property. For that to happen, they need a Site Development Permit, and to even apply for that permit, they need a signature from the property owner (the City). But instead of directing the City Manager to sign to allow for Outfront-Allvision’s application to be accepted, Council voted in favor of directing City Staff to move forward with a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, which would enable other entities to submit their own proposals. This will slow down the process, and give them a chance to carefully assess all their options. Staff has until the 2nd meeting in June to bring back their findings.

And here’s a rundown of all items from the Consent Calendar, taken from the Council’s Agenda. (As the Consent Calendar contains uncontroversial items requiring no discussion, Council was able to vote in favor of the following with a single motion.):

  • Adopt a Resolution declaring weeds on certain properties to be a public nuisance and setting a Public Hearing for March 5, 2019 to hear objections
  • Adopt a Resolution to approve Site Development Permit to construct a single-family residence on a vacant lot, zoned R1-H Hillside Combining District with a Site and Architectural (-S) overlay, at 529 Vista Ridge Drive
  • Approve out of state travel for Police Lieutenant Raj Maharaj to attend the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy 275th Session in Quantico, VA, from January 7, 2019 to March 15, 2019
  •  Approve out-of-state travel for two Milpitas Police Detectives so they may follow-up on a homicide investigation in the State of Washington
  • Approve Agreement with Pump Repair Service Co. for the water pump replacement at the Hillside Pump Station
  • Approve project plans and specifications and authorize advertisement for invitation for bids for the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Curb Ramp Transition, Projects No. 4283 and No. 4287
  •  Receive a report on emergency repair of Technology Drive water main and authorize payment of invoices associated with the repair activities
  • Authorize payment to County of Santa Clara Registrar of Voters for November 6, 2018 election costs
  • Adopt a resolution to support Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Subregion (This was added to Consent by Councilmember Anthony Phan.)

Removed from Consent:

The following items were taken off Consent for quick discussion, then voted on unanimously…

  • Approve the Agreement with Pump Repair Service Co. for the water pump replacement at the Tularcitos Pump Station
  • Adopt a Resolution approving the Safe, Clean Water Program Grant for Lower Penitencia Creek Pedestrian Bridge, Project No. 2005
  • Receive a Report on emergency repair of Montague Expressway storm drain pipeline and authorize payment of invoices associated with repair activities

Since they ran out of time, an item on approving a Capital Improvement Plan for the Pines Pilot Parking Permit Program had to be pushed to the next Council meeting, which is happening on February 19.

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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Comments (4)

  1. Great Job Milpitas Beat! You have my vote as the Best Local Online News Outlet in Silicon Valley! You are indeed a 5 Star operation. Victor G. San Vicente

  2. why was multi family dwellings not included in the water/sewer raise in new rates, voted on by council? It was my understanding that they would be included. Why should they be exempt?

  3. The notice to the public on utility rates did not include $55 million in bonds the city will obtain, $2.7 million transferred out of the water fund to the general fund also no mention of the garbage collection increased fee. The city employees did not want the public to know about facts that you need to know about your utilities and may stop a fee increase, but you are kept in the dark about facts that will put you in dept for the next 30 years.
    Karina Dominguez campaign literature stated she was for an open and transparent government. She just became a member of the council two months ago and already she proved her campaign promise was false. Richard Tan campaign literature stated he was for lower utility rates and a tiered water structure but voted to increase water rates. Non of the council members are for an open and transparent city government and are trust worthy.
    After spending 5 months of meeting, none of the water rate task force recommendations was approved. Who do your council members represent? Certainly not the public that voted them in to office. The public does not know who or what group is charging the water fund $2.7 million. The task force recommended the city establish a time card system to justify the indirect employees charging for service. Julie
    Mares, the city Manager, said she is working on it in a previous article to this website. How long does it take. The task force recommendation is presented to the city in April of last year. The city is charging the garbage collection company $4.7 million in fees. It clear that the city is using the utilities as a source of revenue to the general fund.

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