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This week at City Hall: March 8

A government fellow program may be approved for California Baptist University, the Budget Engagement Committee will have a busy Thursday including an update on allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds, and the city is a step closer to digital signage.

A photo of the entrance to Riverside City Hall.
City Hall in Downtown Riverside

City Council Meeting

Item 12: Naming community room after former Riverside Councilmember Andy Melendrez

On Tuesday, City Council will consider renaming the community room at Bobby Bonds Park after former Councilmember Andy Melendrez. Melendrez served the city from 2006 to 2021. A plaque would be placed outside the room to read, “Andy Melendrez Community Room,” as well as a mural of Melendrez painted by a local artist. It was not specified where the portrait would be placed.

Item 14: Approving Government Fellow Program partnership

The council will consider approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with California Baptist University and Stanley Prep out of Torrance, Calif. The MOU would implement the Government Fellow Program with the City of Riverside. According to city documents, Stanley Prep is an educational firm that partners with CBU for the fellow program, with participants coming from South Korea.

The city says the participants from South Korea would be from various governmental levels in the country, with the fellow program being an outlet for those individuals to receive first-hand experience and conduct research on the different ways Riverside officials approach issues.

Water Committee

Item 3: Presentation on the history of Riverside’s water resources

On Wednesday, the committee will receive a presentation on the history of Riverside’s water resources. The presentation looks at Riverside’s water history dating back to 1869 and includes pictures of the city from the late 1800s. The presentation also discusses the formation of the Riverside Water Company and the Gage Canal Company. Committee members will receive information on the city’s water pumping rights out of four local water basins: Bunker Hill, Rialto-Colton, Riverside North, and Riverside South.

Airport Commission

Item 8: Riverside Municipal Airport’s operation and activity report

On Thursday, the commission will receive a report on Riverside Municipal Airport’s (RAL) operations and activities from July 2021 to January 2022. According to the report, comparing takeoffs and landings of January 2021 and January 2022, RAL saw a 7.3% increase in 2022. Overall, in comparing takeoffs and landings in 2020 and 2021 RAL saw a 3.6% decrease in air traffic in 2021.

Budget Engagement Committee

Item 6: Update on the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds

On Thursday, the committee will hear an update on the $36 million worth of funds that the city received during the first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act. Of the $36 million, $5 million will go toward a Bordwell Park project, $6 million to small business and micro-business grants, and $1.5 million for childcare support. More on where the money is going can be found here.

Item 7: Update on renovation and expansion of Riverside Art Museum site

The committee will receive an update on the renovation and expansion of the Riverside Art Museum site off Orange Street and Mission Inn Ave. The site is currently in the design phase —which was previously delayed due to COVID-19 — with current estimates of construction costs reaching over $31 million. The expansion will look to add additional spacious galleries, expand the museum’s nature lab, and have dedicated classroom space. All construction of the site would be funded through Measure Z.

Item 8: Recommend city match funds for California library expansion grant application

The committee will consider recommending that City Council allocate $6.5 million in Measure Z funding for a grant application. Such funds would allow the city to apply, on behalf of the Riverside Public Library, for the California State Library Building Forward Library Infrastructure grant program. The grant, which is for $5 million, would require a 50% match commitment from the city. The additional $1.5 million of Measure Z funds would go toward general services and the SPC Jesus S. Duran Eastside library project.

Item 9: Potential expansion of the Public Safety Engagement Team Program

The committee will discuss a proposal to expand the Public Safety Engagement Team Program, which currently monitors concerns related to the ongoing challenge of unhoused residents and its impact on the quality of life in Riverside.

If approved, the proposal would add five code enforcement officers, six outreach workers, and four police officers to the program. Additional funding would be supported by Measure Z, with city costs estimated at $1.3 million.

Item 10: Financial update for the second quarter of 2021/22 fiscal year

The committee will also receive a second-quarter financial report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. According to the city’s presentation, as of December 31, 2021, Riverside has seen a $21 million budget deficit. The committee will also receive an overview of funds received via the Measure Z grant, the electric fund, the water fund, the sewer fund, the refuse fund, and the public parking fund.

Financial Performance and Budget Committee

Item 2: Proposal for digital signage across Riverside

On Friday, the committee will receive an update on a proposal for eleven different electric billboard signs across the city. Four of the signs would be located near both the 90 and 60 Freeways and another seven will be located across various streets in Riverside. The billboards are created by the Lamar Advertising Company, which operates billboard signs across the U.S. The proposed contract is for 30 years.