City Manager's Update: February 26, 2019
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!
Quote of the Week
Love's greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred.
– Barbara De Angelis
Do You Remember Tiger The Friendly Bulldog From Our 2/19 City Council Meeting? Well… She Has A New Home… Right Here With Monrovia… With A Member Of Our City Council!
At our last City Council meeting on February 19, you might recall that we met Tiger, a sweet, friendly, 14-month old female bulldog. During the meeting, Tiger impressed everyone with her outgoing personality, and she showed us all that she already knows how to sit and lay down!
Well, Tiger certainly captured many a heart with her performance at the City Council meeting, so much so in fact that we are delighted to share that she’s been adopted! What’s more, we all know her new owner, as we call him a colleague and a friend. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll let the picture below speak for itself! And congratulations to Tiger’s proud new papa – Mr. Alex Blackburn!
For Ambulance Transportation Services, Monrovia Is Now Being Served By Care Ambulance Services
We wanted to share some additional details with everyone regarding the fast moving situation with our ambulance transportation service provider. This past week, the evening of February 20, we learned that Schaefer Ambulance Services (Schaefer) entered bankruptcy proceedings. As you may know, Schaefer was been the entity under contract with LA County to provide ambulance transport services here in Monrovia.
Given that particular development, City representatives met with LA County personnel on February 21 to address service delivery challenge associated with Schaefer’s bankruptcy proceedings. Based on those discussions, the decision was made to have Care Ambulance Services assume control of Monrovia’s ambulance transportation operation on Friday, February 22, at 7:00 a.m.
Of note, while there have been numerous operational and logistical issues that we’ve been working to address associated with this transition, with the bottom line is that Monrovia continues to have ambulance transportation services available with no disruption in service delivery.
In addition, based on conversations with LA County, Care Ambulance Services will provide services for Monrovia for no more than 365 days. During the next year, LA County will be working to develop a new RFP process to procure a new operator to provide ambulance transportation services for our community, which is an issue that we will be watching and monitoring very closely here at the City.
To provide everyone with additional background regarding this situation, we also wanted to share some general details regarding how ambulance services are regulated. The overall framework for managing ambulance transportation is established by both the State and each individual county. Based on State regulations, some local cities (like Arcadia) have the right to perform ambulance services in-house. For all other areas that do not have that legal right, Los Angeles County has established nine (9) Exclusive Operating Areas (EOAs) throughout the County, and once per decade, the County will coordinate a bid process to allow private firms the chance to compete for providing ambulance services in those areas. Of note, Monrovia has been carved out as its own ambulance service area (EOA 2), and a map highlighting each ambulance transportation service area is included below for reference:
Again, we are working here at the City to ensure the continued delivery ambulance services here in our community, and as more information becomes available in the coming weeks, we will be certain to share those details with everyone.
Frontier Building Conversion Into A Mixed-Use Self-Storage Facility Almost Ready For Entitlement Hearings, Likely Set To Be Before DRC In May
During the past few years, staff has been interfacing with representatives from the development firm Overton Moore Pacific (OMP) on their plans for converting the current Frontier Building on Lime Avenue (115 – 127 East Lime Avenue) into a new use. We had at one point been working with OMP on a proposed residential project, however, those plans eventually evolved into a different concept to adaptively reuse the building for a mixed-use self-storage facility.
Our efforts assessing the OMP project have intensified during the past month, and based on our latest review, the proposed mixed-use self-storage project includes the following key parameters:
- 550 self-storage units (~86,389 SF of storage space)
- 4,470 square feet of ground floor retail / commercial space
- 1,247 squre feet of ground floor office space
The most current rendering we have of the proposed project is included below, and based on our efforts to date, it is anticipated that the overall project will be ready for Development Review Committee (DRC) consideration in May.
Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster Reminds Everyone… We Have Had Some Great Rainfall, But Groundwater Levels Still Remain Extremely Low, So Let’s Continue To Conserve!!!
This past week, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster issued a press release to remind everyone that even though we’ve had higher-than-average rainfall this year… our overall groundwater levels are still extremely low.
More specifically, the groundwater level has risen from a historic low of 169.4 feet (recorded just a few months ago on November 21, 2018) up to 179.7 feet as of February 21. While that’s good news, the groundwater level needs to be at 200 feet to be considered minimally safe, and should be at 250 feet to be healthy.
So how much water is our groundwater aquifer short from getting to 250 feet?
Well... we're only short around 52.9 BILLION GALLONS!
What all of that means is that we still need to conserve as much water as possible. Because while the recent rains have been terrific, the drought situation here in the San Gabriel Valley is still incredibly real, and our groundwater basin is still in bad shape. The full press release is included below.
After All The Requisite Noticing, The City Recently Removed Abandoned Property Removed From The Library
During the past several weeks, staff has been monitoring closely a growing amount of personal property being stored on the west side of the Monrovia Public Library, located near the intersection of Primrose Avenue / Palm Avenue. In addition, Monrovia’s Homeless Outreach Team has been making weekly contact with the individuals who have congregated in the area in an effort to provide information regarding available housing and social services options.
As part of that outreach process, the City’s Homeless Outreach Team had been inquiring as to who owned the property being stored at the Library, and we were told routinely that it did not really belong to anyone. To that end, City personnel has routinely been marking the property with the required 72-hour advance notification asking that the owner of the property move the items, or that the City would remove the property and store it at a City facility for a period of 90 days.
Recently, Officer Cindrich posted a 72-hour notice on the property located by the Library, and when the 72-hour period elapsed on February 20, no one had relocated or moved the items. The revelation was discovered by Police Agent Bartholomy and Police Officer Ortega, who had checked on the status of the property, determined that it had not been moved, and deemed it abandoned. Given that factor, Agent Bartholomy and Officer Ortega, along with our team from Public Works, removed a large amount of abandoned property, which has been processed and is now being stored at the Monrovia Police Department.
Many thanks to our Homeless Outreach Team, our Police Department staff, and our Public Works personnel for their efforts in addressing this particular issue! Here at the City, we’ll continue working to balance the needs of all members of our community, and this particular example outlines the possibilities that exist when we’re confronting issues in a holistic manner.
Footnotes – The City’s Sidewalk Poetry Program – Adds Six New Winning Poems To The Queue!
As you may be aware, in October 2016, the City instituted a new program to celebrate poetry throughout Monrovia. Called Footnotes (many thanks to Council Member Crudgington for the inspired program name!), the initiative stamps original poems developed by Monrovia residents into sidewalks all over the City. The Footnotes program works in conjunction with ongoing sidewalk replacement / repair efforts, which gives the overall effort an air of randomness that adds an “element of surprise” for pedestrians who may simply stumble across a piece of poetry imprinted in the ground.
Throughout 2018, numerous poems selected from last year’s contest were embedded in City sidewalks, and the response from the community has been terrific. This past week, we were delighted to select the winning poems for 2019!
Now with so many talented writers, it was hard to pick a selection of winners, but ultimately, the process yielded six winning poem submittals. Many thanks and congratulations to the program winners, which were submitted by:
- Rena Delgado
- Grace Howe
- Scott Iler
- Ray Mercieca
- Maria Ramirez
- Edna Teller
The winning poems are included below, and you can also find all six of them on the City’s website.
Each of the winning poems will eventually be stamped in more than one location so be sure to look for them when you are walking around town! And also… if you’re interested in participating in the program, start thinking about rhymes and other impeccable locutions, because the contest for the 2020 program submittals will be initiated later during the fall of this year!
Save The Date For 3rd Annual Monrovia Wine Walk On April 13, 6:00-9:00 P.M., In Old Town Monrovia – Tickets On Sale March 1!
The Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Wine Walk in Old Town, which is scheduled to take place on April 13, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Old Town! The goal of this event is to highlight Old Town businesses while supporting our local community. Participants attending this unique event will be invited to stroll through Old Town, exploring each business, and sampling the various wine offerings while also enjoying acoustic performances throughout Old Town.
Tickets for the event will go on sale starting March 1! Folks will be able to purchase tickets at the Community Center and several Old Town businesses, including Charlie’s House, PrimeLending, 3 Beauty Bar, Sauté, and Sunday’s Old Town Bistro.
For this year’s event, we’re trying something new! If you spend $100 in one shopping/dining experience in Old Town, you are eligible to buy 2 pre-sale tickets for the price of $35 each, instead of $40! That’s a $10 savings. To take advantage, be sure to save and show your receipt when purchasing your tickets. More event details to follow, so stay tuned!
Monrovia Renewal Is Coming To The North Section!
This week, the City’s Contractor – Sully Miller Contracting Company – will start saw cutting for street, concrete, and water line work for various locations throughout the North section project area. Please note that prior to work, Sully-Miller will be posting ‘No-Parking’ signs and circulating notices to residents in the affected areas. Residents will receive additional notice forty-eight hours prior to work beginning.
The North Section includes all areas located north of, and including Hillcrest Boulevard, Grand Avenue, and Greystone Avenue. The City’s Contractor, Sully-Miller Contracting, will be completing the infrastructure improvements, which includes:
- Roadway improvements to over 2,300,000 square feet of roadway
- Concrete replacement for sidewalk, curb, and gutter repairs
- Approximately 9,000 square feet of sidewalk replacement
- Approximately 27,000 linear feet of curb and gutter replacement
- Sewer improvements and repairs
- Removal and replacement of more than 5,250 linear feet of water pipeline
- Removal and replacement of approximately 175 water service lines
- Repairs and enhancements to the Oakglade Reservoir
- Maintenance to the tank including concrete treatment and sealing to mitigate any potential leaks, as well as additional site enhancements including improvements to the tank’s pipelines, valves, roof, and overall site condition.
All necessary water, sewer, and concrete work - curb, gutters, and driveway approaches will be completed. View the map below to see what road work improvements are coming to your street.
We recognize that construction can be messy and inconvenient, and thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work through these improvements! For more information on what work will be happening on your street and general inquiries about the Monrovia Renewal project, please contact the Public Works Division at (626) 932-5575 or email the Monrovia Renewal Project Team. In addition, you can visit the Monrovia Renewal webpage for all the latest project news and updates.
Monrovia Renewal South Area Street Improvements – With Sunny Days Ahead, The Work Is Set To Launch This Week!
As we experienced some significant rain over the past few weeks, the construction schedule for paving operations in the South Section of the Monrovia Renewal Project has been disrupted and construction has been delayed. The forecast for this coming week is clear skies and rising temperatures, which make for perfect paving weather which means Sequel Contractors will be resuming work.
Beginning Tuesday, February 26, the City’s contractor will be cap paving the streets that have already received the first layer of asphalt. Work will last until approximately Wednesday, March 6.
The Cap Paving process will construct the final, 2” section of asphalt to complete the reconstruction of the roadways. During this process, there will be no parking sign posted on the impacted streets and access to your home or driveway may be restricted temporarily. The activity will take approximately one day at each location and, at the end of each day, you will have full access to your home, driveway, and on street parking.
The streets that will be paved in this wave include:
Residents on the impacted streets should be noticing the parking signs being posted and should have received a notice of work at their home. Should you have any questions or concerns about the construction activities or the noticing, please contact the Monrovia Renewal Project Team or (626) 932-5575. We know that construction can be messy and inconvenient and we appreciate your patience as we work to complete these improvements in your neighborhood.
We will do our best to minimize the impacts on residents and business. Construction notices will be delivered to all residents and businesses in the impacted area(s) prior to work taking place. The notices will outline the work taking place, a schedule overview, and information on associated impacts, such as parking restrictions and driveway access:
- Initial Notice – This notice will be distributed approximately one week prior to work commencing.
- Two Day Notice – A final notice will be provided two days before the activity begins to serve as a reminder of the upcoming work and associated impacts.
In addition, parking notices will be posted in the areas where parking will be impacted. During these activities, there will be intermittent road closures and parking restrictions. Streets and driveways may be inaccessible for intermittent periods during the day but will be accessible every night.
We appreciate your patience and support while we work to execute these improvements throughout our community! If you have any questions about the Monrovia Renewal Project, please feel free to contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or email@example.com. We recognize that construction can be messy and inconvenient, and we appreciate your patience through this process!
Fire Chief Dover Presents A Fantastic Overview Outlining Why Firefighters Do What They Do!
In a study session format prior to our 2/19 City Council meeting, Fire Chief Dover provided an insightful overview outlining how and why firefighters do what they do. During the session, the Chief illustrated why we have engaged in certain operating practices, and a copy of the presentation he used to guide the discussion can be found online.
City Awarded A $500k Planning Grant From SCAG To Conduct Additional Research / Analysis Related To Our GoMonrovia Program
We’re excited to be able to share that last week, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) formally notified the City that they are awarded us a $500,000 grant through the Future Communities Pilot Program. Our grant proposal, which was designed to evaluate alternative strategies to optimize our GoMonrovia mobility program, was awarded the maximum grant award amount through the Future Communities program (at $500,000).
Of note, the Future Communities grant program is intended to fund pilot projects that reduce vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and Monrovia was one of only eight municipal jurisdictions to receive funding. As the attached program overview chart from SCAG illustrates, the other award recipients were much larger agencies, and included the County of San Bernardino, and the cities of Los Angeles, Ontario, Anaheim, Riverside, Glendale, and Cerritos.
Given this grant award, the City has been allocated funding to institute two primary programs, including:
- An employer transportation subsidy program, which will be focused on trying to reduce single-passenger vehicle trips by leveraging the GoMonrovia public transit program.
- Provide funding to hire specialists that will further analyze GoMonrovia program data in an effort to determine if there are ways to further reduce VMTs and GHGs by instituting infrastructure upgrades, pricing model shifts,and other programmatic adjustments.
We are excited about this grant award, and will be certain to keep everyone informed as to our progress executing the provisions of this grant program during the next several months.
In 2018, Monrovia Experienced A 7.3% Increase In Part I Crimes When Compared Against The Prior Year In 2017
Recently, staff was able to complete our review of crime rates in Monrovia during calendar year 2018, and the results indicated that Part 1 crimes continues to increase. When compared with 2017, Monrovia experienced a total increase of 7.3% in our Part I crimes in 2018.
Of note, we saw an increase in both violent Part 1 crimes (3.0%) and non-violent Part 1 crimes (7.6%), and in addition, when we compare our 2018 crime numbers against calendar year 2015 (which is the year in which we recorded our historic low crime rate), Monrovia has seen a 31.2% increase in Part I crimes.
Digging a bit deeper into the numbers, an overview of the public safety issues we experienced last year includes the following details:
- In 2018, Monrovia experienced a total of 984 Part 1 crimes, whereas in 2017, we had 917 Part 1 crimes
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) designates the most major crimes that plague society in the United States as Part 1 crimes
- There are eight (8) Part 1 crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson.
- The 7.3% increase in crime in 2018 means that Monrovia had 67 more victims of crime last year than the prior year in 2017.
- The most significant increase in criminal activity were:
- We saw increases in aggravated assaults, burglary, and larceny:
- 5 more aggravated assaults in 2018 than in the prior year in 2017, a 19.2% increase
- 1 more burglary in 2018 than in the prior year 2017, a 0.8% increase
- 78 more larceny incidents in 2018 than in the prior year in 2017, a 12.1% increase
- We did see decreases in murder, rape, grand theft auto, and arson
- 1 fewer murder incident in 2018 than in the prior year 2017, a 33.3% decrease
- 2 fewer rape incidents in 2018 than in the prior year in 2017, a 16.7% decrease
- 13 fewer grand theft auto incidents in 2018 than in the prior year in 2017, a 15.7% decrease
- 1 fewer arson incidents in 2018 than in the prior year 2017, a 50% decrease
- We saw increases in aggravated assaults, burglary, and larceny:
A complete overview listing of our Part I crime activity in Monrovia from 2015 - 2018 is included below for your reference.
As we examine these numbers, it is important to keep in mind that similar and greater increases in Part I crimes are being seen throughout Los Angeles County and in the State of California. Law enforcement personnel have attributed these significant increases in criminal activity to the impact of State legislation that has been approved during the past few years, including AB 109, Proposition 47, and Proposition 57. Collectively, those three measures have impacted our law enforcement efforts in the following manner:
- Early release from prison of tens of thousands of criminals from throughout California, the majority of whom are from LA County
- Changes in State law that have made any shoplifting, theft, forgery, or fraud - where the value of the crime does not exceed $950 - a misdemeanor
- The personal use of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, have all been reclassified in California as misdemeanors
For Monrovia specifically, during the past several decades, the City engaged a number of important initiatives to reduce criminal activity, including implementation of a gang injunction and expansion of our overall Community Activist Policing bureau programs. Those efforts and initiatives made a real impact, as we saw crime trends decrease significantly over time.
However, given the changes in State law and the associated impacts on crime here locally in Monrovia, staff has been engaged in various strategies to address the real impacts of increased crime. To that end, we have helped coordinate and lead the development of a Statewide response to crime increases through the establishment of the Taking Back Our Community coalition. The coalition seeks to advocate for and support common sense changes to California’s criminal justice system, and additional information can be found on our website.
Monrovia Fire Department Experiences A 2.2% Increase In Calls For Service In 2018, As The City Is Now Responding To 599 More Calls For Service Each Year Than In 2014
On the other end of the public safety spectrum related to fire and rescue responses, the Monrovia Fire Department continues to see increased service level demands, with increased calls for service. When we compare our actual calls for service in 2018 (4,364 total calls) against 2017 levels (4,270 total calls), we had a 2.2% increase, with 94 more response incidents.
This trend has continued for several years, and in fact, when compared against service request levels in 2014 (when we had 3,765 calls for service), we have seen a 15.9% increase in fire and rescue service demand, which equates to 599 additional service delivery requests annually. A chart outlining our total service demand volume during the past five years is included below for your reference.
The increase in calls for service during the past several years did result in a redeployment of our fire department staffing in 2018, as we updated our operating structure at Fire Station 102. The updated deployment strategy was made in response to the consistent service demand increase we have seen of late. Historically, the Fire Department traditionally responded to somewhere around 3,000 – 3,500 calls for service per year, and our operation had always been designed to respond to that level of demand. However, in the past five years, we have seen a consistent increase in the need for our fire & rescue services.
Staff is currently analyzing all of the data collected from the past year in greater detail, and based on everything that we have seen, we do anticipate that 2019 will continue the trend of seeing a higher level of calls for service. Furthermore, here at the City, we’re in the process of developing a more robust reporting process to share additional fire department operational data on a regular basis, and we anticipate an initial presentation of that data in the next few weeks.
GoMonrovia Program Changes – Lime Will Be Ceasing Its Pedal-Bike Operations By March 15, 2019, City Assessing Other Bike-Share Provider Options
During the past few months, staff has been in discussions with Lime about their continued operation of a bikeshare program in Monrovia. Those discussions foreshadowed the possibility that Lime would discontinue their bikeshare program, and last week, the City received confirmation of some unfortunate news.
Lime, which has been engaged in the micro-mobility revolution during the past year, notified Monrovia that they will no longer be operating their bikeshare program. Given the way that micro-mobility has evolved of late, Lime is intending to focus solely on their scooter business, and outside of some very limited circumstances, they will no longer be providing pedal-bike services moving ahead.
Based on our discussions with Lime, all of the bikes operating in Monrovia are in the process of being collected, with the goal of removing them all by March 15. In addition, anyone who has a remaining balance in their Lime account will be able to request a refund of their monies through Lime customer service.
In the meantime, we did want to let everyone know that the City is already exploring different bikeshare options to replace Lime as our partner. Of note, there are two promising avenues that we are currently exploring.
First, Lyft is working to develop their own micro-mobility platform, complete with shared bicycles. To that end, we have discussed expanding our partnership with Lyft to include bikes in our community.
In addition, Monrovia is also eligible to participate in the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) e-bike-share program. The SGVCOG recently went through the RFP process and is intending to award a contract to Gotcha Mobility, LLC. City staff will be evaluating this option moving ahead.
Staff has also researched other potential options for offering a bike-share program in our community, and in the coming months, and will be sure to keep everyone posted as the situation develops.
City Set To Have The Freeway Underpasses In Town Cleaned On February 25!
Have you ever driven under one of the I-210 Freeway underpasses in Monrovia and thought… wow, it’s really dirty down here?!? Well, we’ve had that same thought here at the City, and on February 25, we will be working to do something about it!
Based on feedback from various sources, the City has made plans to conduct a comprehensive cleaning of all freeway underpasses in Monrovia, starting on February 25. This work will include the I-210 underpass at Mountain, Shamrock, California, Myrtle, Magnolia, Mayflower, Monterey, and Huntington.
We anticipate that it will take between 3 – 4 nights to complete the work, and in an effort to work around daily traffic, the City’s contractor will begin work each evening at 10:00 p.m. We also anticipate that the cleaning efforts will be completed by 6:00 a.m. the following day.
Water & Sewer Rate Adjustment Went Into Effect January 1 To Pay For Additional Groundwater Supplies, New Rates Appearing On Recently Printed February Bills
As you may recall, the City was forced to institute updated its overall water rate schedule based on the Watermaster’s decision to purchase additional water for our groundwater basin. And as noted earlier in this report, the Watermaster did recently issue a press release to remind everyone that even though we’ve had higher-than-average rainfall this year… our overall groundwater levels are still extremely low. So low, in fact, that despite the recent rains we’ve had, our aquifer is still 52.9 billion gallons of water short from being at a healthy level!
To that end, the updated water rate schedule adopted by the City instituted new water costs effective January 1, and include the following changes:
- Sewer Rates
- For the typical single-family residential sewer customer, the sewer rate will increase by $0.24 / month, to $9.29 / month (currently at $9.05 / month)
- Water Rates
- For the typical single-family residential water customer, the water rate will increase by $7.57 / month, to $65.28 / month (currently at $57.71 / month)
- Please note – the water rate adjustment is being instituted to fund the regional Watermaster plan to purchase and import water into our aquifer.
Although the rate adjustments took place at the beginning of the year, residents will see the changes on their February 2019 utility bill. For more information, visit us online.
The Development Review Committee Has Set A New Meeting Time, Moving From 2 PM To 4 PM Every Other Wednesday!
At a Special Meeting of the Monrovia Development Review Committee (DRC) last week, the Committee members unanimously voted to change their regular meeting time from 2:00 p.m. every other Wednesday to 4:00 p.m. every other Wednesday. The purpose of the time change is to better accommodate our applicants’ schedules and ensure a quorum of the Committee members. You can learn more about the Monrovia DRC, access DRC Meeting Agendas, and download an official copy of the new DRC Meeting Schedule on our website.
Monrovia’s Very Own Bob Bartlett Memorial Recognized As One Of The Top 19 Best Architectural And Site-Specific Mosaics In The World By The Mosaic Arts International
This past week, the City learned that the 18th annual Mosaic Arts International Exhibition Series selected the Bob Bartlett Memorial as one of only 19 architectural and site-specific mosaics from around the world to be recognized. This means that renderings of the mosaic art-work located in Station Square will be on display in Nashville, TN, from January 26 – May 19 as part of a special exhibits containing mosaic works from across the globe.
The segment that the Bob Bartlett Memorial was recognized in was juried by Kim Emerson, Award Winning Public Artist and Founder of the San Diego Mosaic School, San Diego, California, USA. Furthermore, the 19 installations selected will be represented at the Nashville Public Library Art Gallery through print and digital images, video, and a collection of ephemera provided by the artists. Materials on display will including drawings, sketchbooks, materials samples and tools that will provide visitors a unique perspective into the process of creating a large-scale mosaic work. The exhibition features the works of 19 artists from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Brazil. For more information on the full 2019 Mosaic Arts International Exhibition Series, visit their website.
Mark Your Calendars: “Read Across Monrovia” Returning March 7 At 8:00 – 9:00 A.M.
Monrovia Reads is back again and we are looking for volunteers to sign-up! As you may know, Read Across Monrovia places individuals at Monrovia schools to read to children from grades Pre-K to 5th grade! Read Across Monrovia will take place on Thursday, March 7, from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. If you are interested, please fill out the attached registration form and return to Joanne Spring at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Joanne via email or at (626) 358-1952!
Speaking Of Monrovia Reads… Don’t Forget To Attend The Annual Monrovia Reads Fundraiser, “So All May Read,” On March 7 At 6:30 P.M. At The Doubletree Hotel
There is no doubt that Monrovia Reads is one of the premier nonprofit agencies in Monrovia, and we wanted to encourage everyone to make plans to attend the annual Monrovia Reads fundraiser, So All May Read. The event is scheduled to take place on March 7 at 6:030 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel (924 West Huntington Drive). Of note, Stephanie Cox will be honored at the event with the Literacy Legacy Award for her Little Free Library Project. Additional details can be found in the flyer below.
Monrovia Evaluating Potential Sales Tax Measure In 2019 In An Effort To Counter Planned LA County Tax Increases
At Monrovia’s State of the City Address held last week, Mayor Adams announced that the City would be considering a local sales tax measure in Monrovia this year. Now with any proposed tax increase, there’s always the question of why. Because certainly, the overall tax burden in California is high, and government should not unnecessarily impose new taxes without sufficient justification. So to that end, the question of why Monrovia would be considering a sales tax increase is certainly fair and deserves a thorough explanation.
The City is contemplating the possibility of placing a sales tax measure on the ballot in 2019 for voter consideration because of current taxation trends in LA County. Because did you know that today, in LA County, we now have the highest base sales tax rate in California?
Yes, that’s right. At 9.5%, we now have the highest sales tax rate in the State. Higher than in the Silicon Valley. Higher than in San Francisco. Higher than anywhere in California.
And given the high sales tax level we’re currently paying here in LA County, we are in fact pushing up close to the local sales tax limit! Because with LA County’s current base sales tax rate at 9.5%, the vagaries of State law means there is only 0.75% of available sales tax capacity remaining.
You may be asking how we got here in LA County, to a point where we have the highest sales tax rate in the State. The answer is fairly simple – you see, since 2004, LA County has been able to eventually pass EVERY single tax measure that they’ve put forth to county voters. Even when LA County has needed 2/3 voter approval, they get it.
And when LA County passes a sales tax measure, the funding doesn’t come to us here in Monrovia. Instead, we end up paying WAY more than we get back. In fact, on average, we get only 10 cents back of every sales tax dollar we contribute to the County, and there are several instances when we get back even less than that.
Take for example 2017’s Measure H quarter-cent sales tax to fund services and help prevent homelessness. The tax will raise about $355 million per year across the County, and Monrovia contributes around $2.6 million per year towards the measure. Despite contributing millions, Monrovia has only received $30,000 from the County – or about 1% of what we’ve paid into the overall program. And to add salt to the wound, cities that have received tens of millions of dollars from Measure H for homeless services – cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach – have not paid a single penny into the Measure H fund.
Now the reason that cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach don’t pay the Measure H sales tax is because those communities approved measures to keep their funds local and away from LA County. There’s a cap to how much sales tax rates can be raised in any city, and once you reach that cap, LA County can’t impose any additional sales tax increases, even if the increase is approved across the county.
In fact, across LA County, 19 of the 88 cities have reached the maximum sales tax rate of 10.25%, and another 9 cities have increased their sales tax rate to 10%. Those cities that have reached the 10.25% cap do not pay for additional LA County taxes, but are still able to receive the funds collected. Like in the Measure H homeless tax example noted above, cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach, who had previously reached 10.25%, have access to the new taxes generated, despite not paying a single cent into the fund.
Now given all that information, here’s what the City is concerned about, and here’s why we’re seriously considering a sales tax measure in 2019.
LA County is looking to go back out to the voters to ask for additional sales tax increases in 2020 and 2022. We know that LA County is laying the groundwork for an AQMD sales tax measure, and we’ve also heard that the County is looking at an additional sales tax increase for more money for homeless support services. And based on the County’s track record, it is more than likely that they’ll get both sales tax measures approved.
And if history is any guide, what that means is Monrovia will end up paying a lot, and we’ll only get back around 10% of the amount we contribute.
Unless, that is, we do something in Monrovia to protect our resources and keep our money local.
Monrovia has the opportunity to get ahead of this situation by approving a local sales tax measure. Based on LA County’s track record, it’s only a matter of time before they eat up the last 0.75% of local sales tax capacity remaining. And because that is the case, the question we’ll have to answer as a community isn’t whether or not Monrovians want to pay more in sales tax.
Instead, the real question we need to address is whether we want to send our money to the County for their use, or if we want to keep those funds here in our City under our own local control.
Here at the City, we are incredibly sensitive to the fact that no one wants to pay more taxes, with the tax burden already being so high here in California. But we also know that LA County is planning these tax increase proposals soon, and the opportunity to keep our money local will not remain an option for too much longer.
Given this set of facts, the City will be exploring the option of putting a sales tax measure on the ballot for our residents to consider in 2019. And during the next few months, we will be working to engage the community as we coordinate multiple outreach initiatives to learn more about this topic and see if a local sales tax measure could be a viable solution for Monrovia.
Throughout the process, you have our commitment that we will be sharing as much information about this matter as we have available.
New GoMonrovia Fares Now In Effect: $1.00 / Shared Ride, $0.50 / Shared Rides To/From Old Town Or The Gold Line Station, And $3.50 / Lyft Ride
A modest $0.50 increase for most Lyft rides through the GoMonrovia program is now in effect, as outlined below:
- Maintain fares at $0.50 Shared ride for any ride to / from Old Town and the Gold Line Station
- Institute $0.50 price increase per ride for all other GoMonrovia service area locations effective February 2019, as follows:
- $1.00 Shared Ride
- $3.50 Classic Ride
Those applying the GOMONROVIA code to their phone for the very first time will get default access to the $1.00 / Shared ride option until the first of the following month, when they will get access to all three pricing options. Users who would like access to the $0.50 Old Town/Gold Line Shared ride option and $3.50 / Classic ride sooner can email the City for assistance or call (626) 256-8234. The email should include your Lyft account information (phone number or email address). The pricing options can be applied to your account within 1-2 business days.
Monrovia Dial-A-Ride – ADA Transition Occurring Through Month Of February, Registration Will Be Mandatory Beginning March 1
Speaking of GoMonrovia, I wanted to let everyone know that we are pressing forward and making good progress on the transition of our dial-a-ride vans to a closed ADA system, where riders will have to get pre-registered in order to access the vans. Of course, all ambulatory, non-ADA customers have the option of utilizing Lyft for their public transportation needs.
Based on our progress to date, starting in February, the City will be requiring that individuals be pre-registered with the City in order to use our ADA vans. That pre-registration process requires that passengers provide proof of their ADA needs through simple certifications (doctor certification, DMV notice, or other proof of ADA need). We plan on utilizing February as a transitional period, though, and no customer will be turned away from service during the month. However, as we hit March 1, we will be mandating that advance certifications be obtained prior to dispatching our ADA vans for passenger pick-up.
Have A Drought Tolerant Yard And Want To Show It Off? Apply Now For The New City Sustainable Landscaping Recognition Award!
During the past few months, the City has been looking for ways to promote water conservation through the development of sustainable landscaping gardens. To help promote the initiative, staff has developed a sustainable landscape recognition award, whereby program winners will be recognized by the City and receive a $25 credit on their water utility bill!
Help promote water conservation by showcasing sustainable landscaping! Through this new program, residential water customers of the City of Monrovia may enter their sustainable landscape for a chance to be recognized by the City. Applicants may also nominate a neighbor's sustainable landscape.
In addition to being recognized by the City, winners will receive a $25 credit on their water utility bill! To enter in this program:
- Applicants must be a City of Monrovia residential water utility customer.
- The drought-tolerant area should be in the front yard visible from the street.
- No more than 50% of your landscape should be turf.
- No more than 30% of your landscape should be non-permeable, such as concrete.
For more information about this new program, water conservation, and how you can help, please contact (626) 303-6601.
Cold Weather Winter Homeless Shelter Schedule For The East San Gabriel Valley
As developed by the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition, winter shelters will be available beginning December 1, 2018, and will remain active in various parts of the San Gabriel Valley through March 1, 2019. The City has distributed the schedule to key members of our team to ensure that those who are in need of help and services have access to the information. Visit the Coalition online to learn more or contact the Emergency Assistance Center at (626) 333-7204.
Take This Brief Survey To Help Guide Efforts To Improve The Lives Of People Living With Dementia In Monrovia
Over the past several months, members of the Monrovia Providers Group have been working tirelessly to create a “Dementia Friendly Monrovia.” This is an official designation under Dementia Friendly America, whose aim is to help improve the quality of life for those living with dementia, as well as improve their interactions with business owners and other community groups by providing education and training on recognizing the signs of dementia.
The Dementia Friendly Monrovia Committee has created a survey to identify Monrovia’s strengths, gaps, and priorities for action to raise awareness of dementia. By having your insights, the group can determine ways our Monrovia community can take action to build on existing resources and to fill gaps to provide additional support.
If you are a Monrovia resident, click here to take the 10-15 minute anonymous survey.
The survey is a product of collaboration with Azusa Pacific University, Alzheimer's Los Angeles, Blue Marble, and Dementia Friendly America. If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Kirschenbaum via email or (626) 446-8000. You can follow the group on their Facebook page.
This Week’s Happenings At The Monrovia Public Library!
The Monrovia Public Library is a special community gathering place that makes a difference in the lives of children, teens, adults, and families of all kinds. Experience all that the Library has to offer by visiting us in person at 321 S. Myrtle Avenue, and if you have any questions, contact the Library at (626) 256-8274!
Red Cup Challenge 2019
Calling all future engineers! Can you build a tower out of 100 red Solo cups? How high will it go? Drop by the Youth Services Area this month and take the Red Cup Challenge! Work alone or as a team and see if you can build a tower to the sky.
Pro-active Tutoring provides pre-screened tutors at no cost to library patrons. Tutors assist students from grades K to 8 in subjects such as math, language arts and reading. No registration required.
- Every Monday and Tuesday, during the school year, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Library Story Room
Novel T's Book Club
Join us on the fourth Tuesday of every month for a lively book discussion featuring a new facilitator each month. This month’s book is Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif. Book Club meets in the Library Community Room. 6:30 Snacks and chit/chat – 6:45 discussion begins.
- Tuesday, February 26, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m., Library Community Room
Conversation Groups @ Monrovia Public Library
Culture and Conversation: Practice speaking English by discussing and reading the ‘News for You’ weekly newspaper in a friendly and relaxed setting. Build confidence in your work, school, family and social life. For more information, call (626) 256-8273 or email email@example.com
- Every Wednesday, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Library Heritage Room
Speak Easy: Join us for round-table talking and practice speaking English in a friendly and relaxed setting. New topics weekly, including: popular culture, work and jobs, health, and more. Build confidence in your work, school, family, and social life.
- Every Thursday, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., in the Library Heritage Room. For more information, call 626-256-8273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sing, move, play, listen, create, and celebrate music Through fun interactive participation, children will learn basic elements of music that help develop their mind, body, and soul. For school aged children, ages 5 - 8 years old.
- Thursday, February 28, 3:45 - 4:30 p.m., Library Story Room
Ebooks & Digital Magazines are Available 24/7
Check out an ebook or listen to an audiobook on your commute using Overdrive’s Libby app. If you have little ones, visit TumbleBooks, where you’ll find digital copies of popular picture books and chapter books for kids. We also have digital magazines from RBdigital, including some of your favorite titles like Rolling Stone, Popular Mechanics, Martha Stewart Living, Highlights, National Geographic, Newsweek, and so much more! All free with your Monrovia Library Card. Just follow the link to learn more.
Keep Up-To-Date On The City’s Pending Projects By Visiting Our Development Spotlight Website!
Given the significant development projects that are pending in Monrovia, the City has created a “Development Spotlight” page on our website. This page gathers all of the major projects in one place for you to explore key development initiatives in the community, and it also provides an overview of the projects that are in the pipeline. In 2018, the City approved the 296-unit Richman Residential Project, the 109-room Marriott TownePlace Suites Hotel Project, and the 154-unit AvalonBay Project. As we prepare for 2019, there will be several other significant housing and mixed-use initiatives that the City will be considering. So if you have any questions regarding the development activity happening in the City, please be sure to visit the “Development Spotlight” page on our website!
Key Links & Help Keep Monrovia Beautiful:
- City News and Highlights
- Meeting Agendas and Minutes
- Graffiti Removal and Gift Card Program
- Abandoned Bulky Items Reporting and Raffle Program
Interesting Story Of The Week – An Extinct Gigantic Bee Comes Back To Life After An Incredible Discovery In Indonesia
Our interesting story of the week comes to us from CBS News, which reports that natural history and conservation photographer Clay Bolt recently discovered that the world’s largest bee isn’t extinct! Called Wallace’s Giant Bee (named after Alfred Russell Wallace, who discovered the giant bee species), “the big, black wasp-like insect [is] as long as an adult's thumb, and it was extinct – or so scientists thought. The massive bee was rediscovered alive in Indonesia last month, decades after it was last seen.”
Wallace’s Giant Bee is also known as, Rafa Ofu, which means king of bees. According to the article, little is known about the insect, other than the fact that it has a dark body about 1.5 inches in length, making it four times larger than the typical European honeybee!
To read more about this once-extinct bee come back to life, please click here!
Police Department's Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report
The Police Department's weekly neighborhood watch report for the period February 14 - February 20, 2019, has been included for your review and reference. During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 355 service events, resulting in 79 investigations.
A copy of the report can be found at the following link: Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report