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This Week in City Hall: September 11, 2023

City Council to review the City Clerk's office performance and move funds to establish the Department of Housing and Human Services.

Welcome to our weekly digest on public meetings and agenda items worthy of your attention in the next week. This guide is part of our mission to provide everyday Riversiders like you with the information to speak up on the issues you care about.

City Council

City Council will meet in closed and open sessions on Tuesday, September 11, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. (agenda). Two items are on the agenda for public discussion.

City Clerk's Office Performance Assessment

The City hired Arroyo Associates, Inc. to conduct a $45,000 review of the City Clerk's Office. The review included a performance and benchmarking assessment comparing Riverside to other local cities and a financial review. A few opportunities for improvement are noted, but the overall results find the Clerk's office efficient, effective, and timely.

Establishing the Department of Housing and Human Services

At Council committees this summer, City Manager Mike Futrell championed establishing a new Housing and Human Services Department (HHSD) to consolidate the existing Office of Housing, Office of Homeless Solutions, and Public Safety Engagement Team (PSET) into one centralized department focused on housing, homelessness services, and community engagement.

Following the approval of the new department, the City Council is now being asked to appropriate $503,944 in new funding for the current year and transfer $10.12 million from the newly joined departments' previous individual funds to establish the HHSD. When fully staffed, the HHSD will have annual ongoing costs of $940,689. New positions proposed include a department Director, Deputy Director, Outreach Services Manager, Accounting Technician, and weekend outreach workers.

RPU Board

The Board of Public Utilities meets Monday, September 11, at 6:20 p.m. (agenda). The board will consider recommending the City Council refinance $165 million in existing bonds to streamline the City's financial obligations and save money on interest payments.

Commission of the Deaf

The Board of Public Utilities meets Monday, September 11, at 6:20 p.m. (agenda) and will receive a presentation on transportation and traffic-related topics that may affect members of the deaf community.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission meets Thursday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m. (agenda) for two public hearings.

  1. City staff recommends approving a proposed 24.73-acre residential development on the Southwest corner of Dauchy Avenue and Ferrari Drive for 53 single-family homes ranging from 3,026 to 4,679 square feet.
  2. City Staff proposes amendments to the Zoning Code to align the code with California state laws, clarify ambiguous language, and make "minor technical corrections." Highlights:
    • A 0.24-acre City-owned property at the southwest corner of Arlington and Indiana Avenues is proposed to be rezoned from Single-Family Residential to Commercial Retail.
    • The amendments propose prohibiting drive-thru restaurants in specific Mixed-Use Zones to align with the zones' intended purposes, such as reducing automobile dependency and encouraging pedestrian activity.
    • The amendments aim to remove unnecessary barriers to tattoo parlors in commercial zones, aligning them with other personal services like beauty salons and barber shops.
    • The amendments propose to allow RVs greater than 10,000 pounds GVWR to park in certain zones, provided they do not block visibility or encroach onto public rights of way.

Airport Commission

The Planning Commission meets Thursday, September 14, at 3:00 p.m. (agenda). Discussion items include a fuel fee hike from $0.05 to $0.10 per gallon, a $4 million loan for upgrades, and new rules for airport operations. Airport Manager Daniel Prather reports a 5.6% year-over-year increase in takeoffs and landings.

Budget Engagement Commission

The Budget Engagement Commission meets Thursday, September 14, at 5:00 p.m. (agenda) to discuss the Measure Z funding process.

Measure Z was a ballot measure approved by Riverside residents in 2016 for a one-percent increase in the City's sales tax rate. The tax became effective on April 1, 2017, and is set to sunset in 2036 unless reapproved.

Note: a previous version of this story incorrectly reported the RPU Board was seeking a bond issuance, not a refinance.