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Monrovia Today

2017 Fall Cover Small

News and Press Releases

City Manager's Update: November 14, 2017

Post Date:11/14/2017 9:57 AM

Hello everyone!

In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared.  As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at!

And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!

Best regards,


Quote of the Week 

Find what you love and let it kill you.

– Charles Bukowski 

City Council Approves CalPERS Response Plan to Put City on Sound Financial Footing Moving Ahead

At our City Council meeting last Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the City Council approved a multi-levered response plan to address looming pension costs related to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).  In short, over the past five years, CalPERS has systematically implemented a series of significant rate adjustments which if left unaddressed, would strain the City’s General Fund to the point of rendering the Monrovia insolvent as early as Fiscal Year 2021/22.

Over the course of several months and following considerable analysis and discussion, staff developed an overall CalPERS Response (CPR) Plan with various options to proactively address the dramatic annual increases in the City’s required UAL payments that will be instituted beginning July 1, 2018.  The CPR Plan involves implementing five key strategies that aim to reduce expenditures and grow revenues, including:

  • Adoption of Side Letters of Agreement with all employee bargaining units to increase employee contributions toward pension related costs, thereby saving the City around $300,000 annually.
  • Issuance of a Pension Obligation Bond (POB) to refinance all of the City’s existing UAL and pension liability debt, thereby stabilizing our pension liability payments at a uniform and level annual amount.
  • Adoption of a new UAL Funding Policy in the City to address any new future pension liabilities.
  • Increasing the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Rate from 10% to 12%, which if approved, would increase TOT revenues by around $400,000 annually.
  • Creating Community Facility Districts (CFDs) on new residential development projects of five or more units in the City, which, depending on development patterns during the next several years, could increase property tax related revenues by around $300,000 annually.

With City Council approval of the CalPERS Response Plan, staff will be working to implement the various components in the coming months to stabilize our overall pension costs and address the immediate and long-term financial challenges facing our organization.  

Public Hearing to Address Proposed Water Rate Adjustment Scheduled for January 16, 2018 – Public Hearing Notices to be Mailed Out to All Water Customers the Week of November 20, 2017 – Initial Residential Customer Costs to Increase by Approximately $17 / Month in March 2018

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the City Council also authorized staff to begin the Proposition 218 process that must be followed prior to adopting the proposed water rate adjustment scheduled for early 2018. The water rate adjustment is needed in order to absorb new fees being passed down to the nearly 30 water agencies in our region. These fees are being levied on the City by the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster (Watermaster) and the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) in order to address the water supply shortage in the Main San Gabriel Basin following the historic, decade-long drought. By instituting these fees, the Watermaster was able to purchase 40.7 billion gallons at a cost of over $100 million to replenish the groundwater aquifer that supplies our region and return the Basin to a healthy level to ensure a continued water supply.

Provided in the table below is a water rate review summary for a typical single-family residence with a 5/8 inch or 3/4 inch size meter.  Please note that nearly half of the City’s customer base is comprised of single-family residential customers.  Based on the proposed rate increase, the typical single-family residential water customer (who uses 15 units of water per month) will see a monthly increase in their water bill of $16.87 in Calendar Year 2018 (effective March 8, 2018).

However, it is important to note that the proposed water rate structure does take into account usage related costs, which means that the less water that is used by an individual residence, the less costs that will be incurred.  The chart below has been prepared to highlight how our proposed water rate increase would impact customers based on usage rates of 10 units / month, 15 units / month, and 20 units / month.

Proposed Water Cost Assessment

In addition, at build out in FY 2021/22, the new cost for water is expected to increase by around $37 / month more than what the typical residential customer pays today.  We know that this water rate adjustment will cause additional financial strain on residents and business owners.  It is important to note that a senior discount and economic hardship discount will continue to be offered to residents for whom the proposed fee adjustments would present an undue burden.

Also, it is important to emphasize that all of these new costs are pass-through costs which will be paid to the San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District for the purpose of importing water into our region.  A video explaining the drought related issues that have driven the need for this particular rate increase can be found online at the City’s dedicated water conservation website.

Note that prior to implementing any property-related fee adjustments, the City is required to follow State-mandated Proposition 218 majority protest proceedings.  In accordance with Proposition 218 requirements, during the week of November 20, 2017, staff will be mailing public hearing notices to all affected customers detailing the proposed rate adjustment and the reasons behind the rate increases.  These notices will include a protest ballot that can be returned to the City to protest the rate adjustment.  If a majority (50% + 1) of affected customers protest the proposed rate adjustments, then the City Council will not be able to adopt the new rates.  If a majority protest does not occur, then the City Council can adopt the new rates after the public hearing on January 16, 2018.

Community Meetings Scheduled Regarding Proposed Water Rate Adjustment

The City has scheduled the following community meetings to give the community multiple opportunities to learn more and ask questions prior to the public hearing on January 16, 2018, including:

  • Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m., Library Community Room (321 South Myrtle Avenue)
  • Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m., Library Community Room
  • Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 10:00 a.m., Library Community Room
  • Monday, December 18, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m., Monrovia Community Center (119 West Palm Avenue)
  • Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 7:00 p.m., Library Community Room

If adopted at the public hearing on January 16, 2018, the new costs would become effective as of March 8, 2018.

Welcome Monrovia’s New Police Chief Alan Sanvictores!

Thank you to everyone who joined us last Tuesday to celebrate the swearing in of Monrovia’s new Chief of Police, Alan Sanvictores!  Chief Sanvictores was surrounded by his loved ones, the City Council, colleagues from the Police Department, friends from his prior military career, and police chiefs from neighboring cities, as he was sworn into his new position as the ninth Chief of Police of our terrific community.  We can’t wait to see all that he will accomplish together with the amazing men and women of the Monrovia Police Department as they protect and serve Monrovia!

Alan SanvictoresAlan Sanvictores

Historic Santa Fe Depot Renovation Expected to be Complete by the End of the Calendar Year!

Over the past year, the City has been working to carefully rehabilitate the Historic Santa Fe Depot, which is planned to be utilized as a café / restaurant once it is fully restored.  Community Development and Public Services staff have been carefully coordinating construction activities at the site.  We are pleased to share that the structural work is complete, and crews are now working to finish the installation of the windows, rain gutters, and completing minor touch ups.  At that point, the site will then be ready for the operator to come in to compete their interior tenant improvements.  Check out the amazing progress thus far, and stay tuned for additional updates as this major rehabilitation project comes continues through the end of the year!

Historic Depot 1Historic Depot 2

Historic Depot 3

Construction Efforts Continue at Julian Fisher Park through December 2017, New Basketball Courts Have Been Installed!

The major renovations at Julian Fisher Park are nearing completion! Over the last week, construction crews have been working to complete the sports coating on the new basketball courts as illustrated in the below picture:

JF Basketball Court

Over the next two months, the scheduled construction work at Julian Fisher Park includes:

  • Gazebo improvements
  • Installation of landscape improvements
  • Installation of new drought-tolerant landscaping interpretive sign

As a reminder, youth and adults are invited to enjoy recreational basketball at the Mary Wilcox Youth Center Gym, the playground / picnic space at Recreation Park, and any of our other park facilities!  Should you have any questions regarding construction, please call Lauren Marshall, Management Analyst, at (626) 932-5579, or email her at  For questions regarding recreational basketball at the Mary Wilcox Youth Center, please call Katie Distelrath, Recreation Division Manager, at (626) 256-8225, or email her at!

No Shave November in Full Effect! 

If you’ve seen some hairy City staff around town during the past few weeks… then you know it must be No-Shave November!  Thanks to the leadership of our Monrovia Police Officers’ Association, the City will be participating in a No Shave November Cancer Awareness Event!  As part of the effort, all City staff who participate by paying $20.00 (100% of which will be donated to charity) will be afforded the opportunity to forgo shaving during the entire month of November. 

Given that many cancer patients lose their hair, the “No Shave November” event is geared towards raising funds for pancreatic cancer research and awareness by embracing the fact that those who aren’t afflicted with cancer can grow their hair out! 

If you are interested in participating, you can register / sign-up at the Monrovia Police Department Detective Bureau.  At the end of the month, we’ll also be issuing awards for the following TV / movie inspired beard categories:

  • The Diesel Duck – Hybrid Diesel Brothers / Duck Dynasty Beard
  • The John Wick – Named after our favorite spotty beard actor, Keanu Reeves
  • The Tombstone – Best Cowboy Mustache
  • 50 Shades Darker – Like the original, only more intense

The competition will continue through Saturday, December 2, 2017, and we’re looking forward to seeing the full effects of a No Shave November!

Don’t Miss Canyon Park’s 2nd Kids Crafts in the Canyon Event on November 26, 2017, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.!

Monrovia Canyon Park is hosting another Kids Crafts in the Canyon Event on Sunday, November 26, 2017!  This time around, we will be building small planters and sowing them with California Wildflower seeds!  While November may seem late in the year to plant seeds, did you know that the best time to plant in California is actually in the autumn months, rather than the spring time!  California’s rainy season is very short and seeds and seedlings will do best if allowed to soak up all of our fall and winter rains. This allows them to establish their roots before giving us all those beautiful spring flowers!

If you are interested in building a small planter for wildflower seeds and learning more about our amazing native plants, please stop by the Nature Center between 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2017.  For more information, please feel free to call Monrovia Canyon Park at (626) 256-8282.

Monrovia Fire & Rescue Set to Support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) With a “Fill the Boot” Fundraiser on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Corner of Mayflower Avenue and Huntington Drive

Fill the BootWe wanted to let everyone know that the Monrovia Fire Department will be participating in the MDA “Fill the Boot” fundraising campaign on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the corner of Mayflower Avenue and Huntington Drive.  On an annual basis, our community typically raises between $3,000 - $5,000 through this event, and 100% of the proceeds go straight to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. 

Our team here at the City is proud to be able to participate in the MDA “Fill the Boot” event.  For more than 60 years, “Fill the Boot” has been a strong fire fighter tradition, giving families with muscular dystrophy in hometowns across America hope for the future and support for today.  A fact sheet about muscular dystrophy can be viewed on the City’s website, and we hope that on November 15, 2017, you’ll help #FillTheBoot!

Temporary Construction Bin on Lemon Avenue in Old Town as Studio Movie Grill Coordinates Their Theatre Upgrades

As you may already know, Monrovia’s very own Studio Movie Grill has begun its theatre renovation project!  Our terrific theatre in Old Town is undergoing major renovations that will eventually include the installation of a full menu, bar, and in-theater waiters.  These enhancements will be a wonderful and welcome addition to Old Town Monrovia.

As part of the upgrades, Studio Movie Grill is currently working on upgrading its seats so that every movie patron will have a high-back recliner!  The work should be complete prior to December 14, 2017.  To facilitate that work, the City has issued Studio Movie Grill an encroachment permit to locate up to two Athens trash dumpsters on Lemon Avenue (see the graphic below for the dumpster placement location).  The dumpsters should be there for no more than a month, and here at the City, we wanted to thank Studio Movie Grill for finding ways to minimize the ways that their construction will impact Old Town, especially as we get ready for the holiday shopping season.

Studio Movie Grill Dumpster

‘Tis the Season for Giving, so Help Us Stuff the Monrovia Fire Engine Full of Toys this November 24 – 25, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.!

Stuff the EngineJoin Monrovia Fire & Rescue for a special Spark of Love Toy Drive event!  On November 24 and 25, come stuff the Monrovia Fire Engine with toys to bring joy to a child in need this holiday season!  The Fire Engine will be parked in front of the Studio Movie Grill (formerly the Krikorian Theater) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so please help us fill it to the brim for those in need!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Monrovia Fire & Rescue at (626) 256-8181.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest is Nearly Here – Applications Will be Available Beginning on November 20, 2017

The very popular annual Holiday Home Decorating Contest, sponsored by the City of Monrovia, is right around the corner!  As part of the program, residents who decorate their homes for the Holiday Season have the chance to be recognized by the City in several decoration categories!

Applications for the Holiday Home Decorating Contest will be available beginning Monday, November 20, 2017, and can be obtained at the Monrovia Community Center or on the City’s website.  Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11.  The contest judging will take place on Monday, December 18, 2017, after 5:00 p.m. Decorations must be visible from the street, as judges do not exit the vehicle to view decorations.  All applicants will be entered in the Holiday Home Decorating Contest Map.  Award winners will receive a yard sign to display and be recognized during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, at City Hall in Council Chambers.

The 12 categories that will be judged as part of the contest include:

  • Best Still Display – Decorations with no movement
  • Best Outdoor Display – Best overall outdoor decorations
  • Best Window Display – Decorations visible on or through a window that can be seen from the street
  • Most Effective Use of Lighting – Best outdoor lighting display
  • Best Decorated Outdoor Tree – Holiday tree must be in front of the residence
  • Best Neighborhood Effort – Street(s) with many homes decorated in a similar theme
  • Snowman Award – Best display using one or more snowmen
  • Children’s Choice Award – Best display that depicts a youthful theme
  • Santa’s Workshop Award – Best depiction of Santa’s Workshop in decorations
  • Holiday Spirit Award – Most festive display
  • Tim McKeehan “Best of Season” Award – Best overall holiday display in the City

For additional information, please contact the Public Services team at (626) 256-8246.  We can’t wait to see the decorations this year!

Join Us for Our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Parade on Thursday, December 7, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.!  Also… Don’t Forget to Submit Your Application to Participate in the Holiday Parade by Wednesday, November 22, 2017!

The holiday season is right around the corner and to celebrate this special time of the year, the City is hosting the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Parade on Thursday, December 7, 2017!  The evening is set to begin at 6:00 p.m. with the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Library Park, 321 South Myrtle Avenue.

Following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the City’s Holiday Parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. The parade will travel north on Myrtle Avenue from Chestnut Avenue to Palm Avenue. If you’re interested in submitting an entry to the Parade, please return the application to the Monrovia Community Center by Wednesday, November 22.

We also thank our partners, the Monrovia Old Town Merchants, who have sponsored the Holiday Parade for many years. Come out and join us for this fantastic community event!  And if you have any questions, please contact Lisa Hansberger at (626) 256-8246, or via email at

Exotic Car Show Event Set to Take Place in Old Town on December 2, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Car Show Being Coordinated / Sponsored by the Monrovia Police Officers’ Association as Part of Their No Shave November Activities

We wanted to let everyone know that the Monrovia Police Officers’ Association will be hosting a “No Shave November” Car Show.  The car show will be a fundraiser for Men’s Health and Cancer Research and will be held on December 2, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Library Park.

In a continued sign of how the Monrovia Police Officers’ Association partners with the community, representatives from the group have also offered free booth space to Old Town Merchants interested in participating.  For more information, please see the letter from the President of the Monrovia Police Officers’ Association, Seth Hermes.  Also, if you should have any questions or want more information, please email Seth at!

Our Region Needs Your Help to Conserve Water!  Phase IV Water Restrictions are Still in Effect for Monrovia as we Face Dire Water Supply Shortage

Our region is still facing severe water shortages!  Please watch and share Monrovia’s water conservation video to help spread the word about what’s happening in our region, and how it will be impacting us all in the coming months and years.  You can watch the full video online on the Monrovia Conserves webpage, where you will also find additional information on how you can make a difference by conserving water and limiting your outdoor water use.

Monrovia Conserves LogoPlease remember to water early in the morning or late at night to minimize water loss, and only water once every four days.  As outlined in the mandatory Phase IV Water Conservation Regulations, outdoor watering should be limited to:

  • About once per week (no more than every fourth day)
  • No more than 15 minutes per landscaped area. 
    • Note: The 15-minute limit does not apply to drip irrigation systems, new planting of low-water usage plants, or if reclaimed water is being used as permitted by law.
  • Only before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m.

Be sure to visit Monrovia Conserves for more information on Phase IV Water Regulations and for tips on how individuals can help our community save water together!

Monrovia Renewal Construction Continues in the Northwest Section of the City Between Colorado and Hillcrest Boulevards West of Myrtle Avenue

Construction is underway in the Northwest Section of Monrovia Renewal, and will be occurring over the next several months.  Monrovia Renewal is the City’s multi-year initiative to address needed repairs and make system-wide improvements to our water, sewer, street, and sidewalk infrastructure.  The Northwest Section of the project includes the area of town bordered to the north by Hillcrest Boulevard, to the south by Colorado Boulevard, to the east by Myrtle Avenue, and to the west by the western limits of the City.  The updated construction map outlines the latest improvements happening as part of the Northwest Section improvements for Monrovia Renewal… check it out and see what you have going on around your street!

Please note that as part of the planned work, there are three (3) stages for the construction activity.  Those stages include:

  • If underground work is required to repair a water or sewer pipeline beneath your street, this will take place prior to the concrete or street repairs.
  • Concrete repairs to curbs, gutters, and driveway approaches will take place next.
  • Street repairs occur after all other work has taken place. Streets slated for repairs receive one of three treatments: a new top coat (slurry seal); a whole new top layer (mill and overlay); or the street is removed to dirt and fully reconstructed. 

Retired and Looking for Terrific Volunteer Opportunities?  Come to the Monrovia Providers Group Meeting on November 18, 2017, at the Community Center!

Monrovia Provides GroupThe Monrovia Providers Group will be hosting a meeting for those who are transitioning into retirement and looking for volunteer opportunities to make new friends, give back, and stay active. The informational session will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., at Monrovia Community Center (119 W. Palm Avenue).  See the flyer below for more information, and we hope to see you there!

Learn the Art of Quilting!  MOHPG and the Monrovia Historical Museum set to Host a Special Quilt Making Event on November 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

Learn the art of quilting at the Monrovia Historical Museum on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at a fun and interactive event hosted by MOHPG and the Monrovia Historical Museum!

The group will be putting on a November program will feature the art and craft of a local business.  Cat’s Quilting Corner, located at 505 S. Myrtle Avenue, is run by Cat Knudtson.  Cat and her mother, Dorine Nieuwenhuijis, will be sharing their many years of experience in the art of making a quilt.  Dorine started making quilts with her grandmother during World War II.  Because she was too young to quilt, her job at a “quilting bee” was to crawl under the quilting frame and put the needle back up to the top.  She started quilting again in the 1970s by taking classes to teach and repair quilts. Part of her experience includes repairing quilts for the Pasadena Museum of History.  Dorine retired in 2015 but continues to teach part-time and otherwise stay involved in the quilting business.

Cat opened her Monrovia store in July 2016.  The store enables patrons to purchase fabric and other supplies as well as offering quilting classes (often limited to 6 students) in the store itself.  Other services offered include custom quilting and repairs.

The event is being held by MOHPG in conjunction with the Monrovia Historical Museum, which is also the location of the presentation.  It will be held on Sunday, November 19, 2017, starting at 2 pm.  (The museum is open from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.).  Attendees are encouraged to bring in heirloom quilts to be evaluated.  Depending on the quilt, the mother-daughter team may be able to determine the age of the quilt, how it was made, and possibly its value.

The public is invited and refreshments will be served.  For more information, please contact Betsy Woodford at

Join Senator Portantino for a Millennial Open Dialogue at Pitzer College on November 29, 2017, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.!

Senator Portantino eventSenator Anthony Portantino is hosting another open conversation with millennials to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Join the Senator for an intimate conversation about today’s political climate and how millennials can make an impact through civic engagement.

You Can Continue to Stay Connected to the City of Monrovia on our Instagram Account!

Remember, you can now follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on all the terrific things that are happening in our community!  So start following us today (@cityofmonrovia), and we promise to fill your newsfeed with the best things going on in the City!  Also… be sure to join and engage in the conversation by using a few of these hashtags so we can see your amazing posts: #monroviaca #mymonrovia

HdL Headlines Newsletter

View the most recent edition of HdLs Headlines Newsletter, which highlights economic trends happening in California.

Interesting Story of the Week – Interstellar Traveler in our Midst… A/2017 U1 Could be the First Object We Have Ever Detected from Another Solar System!

Our interesting story of the week is brought to us by CNN, which is reporting that NASA scientists have discovered an object in space that appears to have originated from outside our solar system, coming from somewhere else in the galaxy.  If this is confirmed, it would constitute the first ever interstellar object detected by astronomers.

The object that has been identified is named A/2017 U1 and is moving remarkable fast at 15.8 miles per second.  Scientists think that the object is heading towards the constellation Pegasus and will eventually make its way out of our solar system.  To read more about this very interesting discovery, click on the link below!

This mystery object may be our first visitor from another solar system

Police Department Semi-Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report

View the most recent Police Department semi-weekly neighborhood watch report for the period November 6-8, 2017. During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 440 service events, resulting in 73 investigations.