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City Manager's Update: May 29, 2019

Post Date:05/29/2019 11:00 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 ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us!

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

Best regards,
Oliver


Quote of the Week 

Certain kinds of intimacy emerge on a phone call that might never occur if you were sitting right next to the other person. 

– Errol Morris


Exciting Changes Coming To Public Works! New Office Hours Being Established June 3 For General Questions Regarding Public Right-Of-Way And Permitting Issues!

In order to enhance our customer service efforts, the Public Works Department has been working to develop a new over the counter office hour program where we will have staff on-hand to review any permit applications, consider development plans, and answer general questions regarding working in the public right-of-way.  In addition, during Office Hours, the City’s Public Works Inspector, our Engineering Technician, and our Senior Administrative Assistant will be able to issue permits over the counter should the applicant provide a complete application / submittal!

These new Office Hours will start on Monday, June 3, as follows:

  • Mondays and Thursdays - 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays - 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Prior to this change, the City’s Public Works Inspector was available by appointment only, and typically was in the field for inspections throughout the day.  With the institution of office hours, we are trying to respond to our customer needs by providing set times when applicants can speak with City personnel without having to make an appointment.  Of course, even with the new office hour program, the Public Works Department will still remain open during regular business hours, which are Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Public Works at (626) 932- 5575 or PWcomments@ci.monrovia.ca.us.


Mad Props To The City’s Administrative Services Team… Because Even As The GASBs Pile On, Our Accountants Keep Us Chugging Along!

It’s not one of the most glamorous jobs in the world… and it is a job where the best work is rewarded with an “unqualified opinion.”  What’s more, you know the team in this particular functional area is doing their job when you don’t hear about them at all.

Kind of like the offensive line for a football team… indispensable, under the radar.

And without a doubt, one of our most important and complicated service areas here at the City. 

You all know what I’m talking about…

Can we all give it up for our team in the Administrative Services Department?!?!?!?!?

As you may know, in recent years, there has been an increase in the complexity of financial reporting for governments, due to a demand for increased transparency and accountability in local government financial reports.  These requirements are governed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, also known as the GASB.  The GASB issues Statements, which provide the guidelines that help to promote reliable, transparent, and comparable financial reporting among governments. 

Since the GASB was first established in 1984, there have been ninety-one (91) different GASB Statements issued, with approximately 3-5 Statements issued each year.  And every time a new statement is issued, that means more work for our accounting team.

More recently, with an increased demand for transparency and accountability in the financial reporting for local governments, there have been a number of new and complex accounting standards that our City has had to comply with.  While these changes are beneficial and provide for a more informative and useful financial report for the end user, the technical complexity has without a doubt put a strain on local government accounting staff.  Some of the most impactful new GASB statements issued during the past few years includes:

  • GASB No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, and GASB No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions – These statements set standards for valuing and reporting the City’s pension liabilities, and require that the City’s entire pension obligation be reported within the City’s financial statements.  An actuarial valuation must be performed to determine the value of the City’s pension liability.
  • GASB No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pensions (OPEB), and GASB No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions – These statements set standards for valuing and reporting the City’s retirement benefits that are not pension related.  Similar to GASB No. 67 and No. 68, these statements require that the full value of the City’s liability be include in the financial statements and that an actuarial valuation be performed to determine the value of those liabilities.
  • GASB No.87, Accounting for Leases – This statement, which will be effective for Fiscal Year 2019-20, will change the current practice for the recording of leases, and will now require that both operating and capital leases be reported in the financial statements.  This is a significant change to lease reporting, as all operating leases, such as copier leases and any other type of lease arrangement the City is a party to, will now be required to be included as capital assets and liabilities in the financial reports. 

A full list of the GASB Statements can be found here.

Based on the GASB requirements, every year, after undergoing our annual financial audit, our Administrative Services team staff prepares the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which summarizes the financial data and financial position of the City for the prior fiscal year.  When complete, the CAFR is made available to the public, bond holders, and is published on the City’s website.  And given the increased audit standards, the process leading up to the CAFR’s preparation means that we are now on a year-round accounting and auditing endeavor which is requiring significantly more staff time than previously (and if you want to see / read our CAFR, click here!).

Here in Monrovia, we’re so blessed to have the people that comprise our Administrative Services Department.  It is through their work that we’ve been able to navigate a challenging and changing financial landscape with aplomb, and I for one am so glad that we’ve got such a talented finance team… one for which all of us can provide an “unqualified opinion!”


Special Budget Study Session Meeting On Wednesday, May 29, At 5:00 P.M.

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the City Council will be holding a special Budget Study Session this Wednesday, May 29, at 5:00 p.m. to review our proposed FY 2019/21 spending plan.


New GoMonrovia Pricing Structure To Take Effect On June 1 – $2.50 Shared Rides, $5.00 Classic Rides, And Always Just $0.50 For The Gold Line And Old Town Monrovia!

On Tuesday, April 16, the City Council held a Study Session to review the progress being made with the GoMonrovia Lyft Stabilization Plan that the Council authorized in December 2018.  Multiple levers were included in the plan to adjust to help make the GoMonrovia program financially sustainable in the long term.  These levers have included implementing new prices as of February 2019, as well as new registration requirements for Monrovia Transit for ADA riders and Lyft Concierge for call-in dispatch services in February / March 2019.  Additionally, LA County opted out of participating in the on-demand Lyft portion of the GoMonrovia program, so the unincorporated LA County areas adjacent to Monrovia were removed from the service area starting April 1. To learn more details about the changes highlighted above, please visit the website.

Together, these changes have certainly made a difference in improving the ongoing expenses of running the GoMonrovia program.  However, as staff shared with the City Council in the Study Session, the program still faces a program budget deficit.  Due to this deficit, additional program adjustments will be needed to bring GoMonrovia costs in-line with available revenues.

To that end, staff will be proceeding with the following activities:

  • Institute a price shift of $1.50 for shared and regular rides.
    • $0.50 Shared ride for any ride to / from Old Town and the Gold Line Station.  Of note, the pricing for this trip would not be impacted.
    • $2.50 Shared ride anywhere else in the service area
    • $5.00 Classic ride anywhere in the service area

Additionally, the City Council directed staff to evaluate making trips to hospitals only $0.50 as well.  Staff will be working with Lyft in the following days to implement these changes that will take effect on June 1.

GoMonrovia Pricing Shift June 1


Monrovia’s Very Own Steve Baker Awarded The Waddingham / Doctor Award By The Conference Of California Historical Societies

Many thanks to Sandy Burud from the Monrovia Historical Society (and of Monrovia Legacy fame!) for passing this information along!  Because did you know that Monrovia’s very own Steve Baker has just been notified that he will receive the 2018-19 Waddingham / Doctor Award by the Conference of California Historical Societies, which is awarded to an individual who has given 25 years or more of consistent and outstanding service to a local historic society.

In Steve’s case, his service has been to four such groups – MOHPG (the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group), the Duarte Historical Society, the Monrovia Historical Museum, and the Monrovia Historical Society.

Steve is a fifth-generation Monrovian who was appointed the Official Historian for the City of Monrovia in 1991, was elected Monrovia City Treasurer in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009, 2013, and 2017.  He has been the Treasurer for the Duarte Historical Society and Museum for more than thirty years, and is currently serving as President of the Citrus College Foundation Board of Directors, President of the Monrovia Historical Society, Treasurer of the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library.  In his spare time, Steve serves as a board member for the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group, ChangeMakers and the Santa Anita Family YMCA.  In the past Steve has also served as Chair of the Santa Anita YMCA Board of Managers, President of the Monrovia Historical Museum, Treasurer of the Friends of the Duarte Library, member of the Historic Preservation Commission, and Treasurer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  He was also the Executive Secretary of the Rotary Club of Monrovia for seventeen years.  Oh… and he sings really well too!

I know that everyone joins in congratulating a true Monrovian on the occasion of this award… well done Steve!


Monrovia Fire & Rescue To Host Free Hands-Only CPR Training On “Sidewalk CPR Day” June 6

Monrovia Fire & Rescue will provide free hands-only CPR training on Sidewalk CPR Day, Thursday, June 6, at Library Park from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Every year, communities across Southern California learn how to save a life in just five minutes with a quick lesson from local firefighters and medical professionals through the coordinated LA County- wide Sidewalk CPR Day program.

Learning hands-only CPR helps local emergency responders by focusing on the first few critical minutes following a cardiac arrest.  Since the lungs and blood contain only enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for that amount of time, bystanders become heroes until emergency responders arrive on scene. With each chest compression using hands-only CPR, ordinary citizens can easily provide the ongoing blood flow needed to give the patient a much better chance of survival once responders arrive.

Don’t be a bystander in a cardiac emergency, be a lifesaver! For more information about this upcoming training, contact Captain Chris Huson at (626) 256-8119 or chuson@ci.monrovia.ca.us.

Sidewalk CPR


Removal Of The Remaining K-Rail In The Madison Fire Area Delayed Until Early June

In the aftermath of the 2013 Madison Fire, which burned more than 80 acres of the hillside, the City partnered with Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to install more the 5,600 linear feet of K-rail in key locations to allow for the reestablishment of hillside vegetation lost during the fire.  In October of 2018, the City coordinated the initial removal of K-rail along portions of Avocado Place, Crescent Drive, Heather Heights Court, Lotone Street and the upper portion of Highland Place.  In addition, as an added safety precaution, the remaining K-rail along the lower portion of Highland Place, upper Mauna Loa Drive, and Hillcrest Boulevard was left in place so that staff could assess the area during the rainy season.

Our plans to remove the K-Rail along the lower portion of Highland Place, upper Mauna Loa Drive, and Hillcrest Boulevard are still in motion, however the removal has been delayed.  Previously, the City had planned on coordinating the removal of the K-Rails beginning on May 28.  Unfortunately, due to some logistical issues, the K-rail removal process will be delayed by around a week or two.

Of note, the City does not anticipate the removal delay to be too long, and residents in the impacted areas will receive updated notifications once we have a solid new removal date scheduled.  In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of our project team at (626) 932-5575 or at monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.


Return Of The Soapbox Derby? New Community Group Being Led By Jeff Hunt Is Working To Bring The Soapbox Derby Back As A Fundraiser For The Boys And Girls Club Of The Foothills – Event Scheduled For September 7, From 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., In Coordination With The Streets Rods Forever Hotrod Car Show!

During the past few months, staff has been working with Monrovia resident Jeff Hunt, who has been inspired to develop a mechanism to assist fundraising efforts for the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills!  To that end, Jeff has been working to try and revive the Soapbox Derby, in coordination and partnership with the Hot Rods Forever group that coordinates an annual car show event in Monrovia.  

Recently, Jeff made significant progress on coordinating the event, and the City has received a formal application to coordinate the proposed event.  Those application materials are included below you’re your reference, and staff will be working with Jeff and his team in the coming weeks to coordinate additional program details.  Based on the information received by the City to date, the proposed Soapbox Derby will be held on September 7, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  For more information, please feel free to contact Soapbox Derby, LLC, at (626) 205-4786.

 

Soap Box Derby App Front Soap Box Derby App Back

Soap Box Derby Summary Soap Box Derby Letter

Soap Box Derby Map Soap Box Derby Map 2


Charter Communications Be Installing New Cables In Front Of City Hall On Friday, May 31

On Friday, May 31st, Charter Communications has proposed installing new cable into existing conduits in front of City Hall (north side) by the E.O.C. They will need access to two existing vaults to install the new cable (one of the vaults shown in the picture).  Although they are scheduled to work on Friday the 31st, they will be required to post “No Parking” signs as early as Tuesday, May 28th.  The contractor, DSRM Cable Construction, will not be breaking ground however, you will notice traffic impacts.  They will begin working at 7:00 A.M. and anticipate finishing the work by 4:00 P.M. the same day.  Please be aware that parking in front of City Hall will be limited for the duration of this work.  If you have any questions, please call Public Works at (626) 932-5575.


Monrovia Reads Named By Beacon Media News As One Of 3 Finalists For Best Local Charity!

We are so excited to share that this past week, we learned that Monrovia Reads was named as one of 3 finalists for “Best Local Charity” by Beacon Media News!  If you are so inclined, we know that Monrovia Reads would appreciate your support in the voting push to be named as the favorite local charity!  To show your support, click here to vote for Monrovia Reads for best local charity!

  • Click on the link above and choose “Community” as the category
  • Then, choose “Local Charity” as the sub-category
  • Click on Monrovia Reads
  • Enter your email address and then click VOTE!

The voting period will last through June 6, so please vote today!


Monrovia Area Partnership To Unveil New Neighborhood Treasure On Saturday, June 8, At 11 A.M.

The City of Monrovia is excited to be celebrating its 4th Neighborhoods Treasure, Japanese Americans in Monrovia!  Monrovia families like the Uyedas, Tsuneishi, Asanos, Kurimiyas and others came to Monrovia to build the strawberry farms, the grocery stores, fruit stands, and much more.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, many Japanese Monrovians were sent to internment camps.  When the war finally ended, and these individuals were releases, many returned to Monrovia and graduated their children from Monrovia schools, resumed their businesses and continued to contribute to the growth of the community. Their contributions made significant advancements for local agriculture and business interests.  Monrovia’s Japanese Americans were true pioneers!

To join us for the celebration and block party on Saturday, June 8 at 11 am at 300 W Cypress.  Please RSVP online or by calling the City at (626) 932-5563.

NT Japanese Americans


Monrovia Area Partnership’s 13th Anniversary Block Party Is Scheduled For June 22, 2019, At 11 A.M., At Julian Fisher Park!

Join the Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) on Saturday, June 22, as we celebrate the 13th year of this amazing community based program! Since 2006, MAP has brought you great block parties as a way to get people out of their homes and into a common area and enjoy each other’s company. Join us as we keep the party going with family friendly games, free food and ICE CREAM! For more information, please see the invitation below!

June 22 Block Party


Special Events Galore In Monrovia As We Head Towards Summer!

Just a quick note to let everyone know to buckle-up… because it’s about to become a truly Monrovia-centric, community-focused summer!

During the past few months, the team here at the City has been busy preparing for a whole summer of fun and programming, and as has been our custom these past few years, the end of our Monrovia Days celebration signals the start of our summer programming!  Whether it’s our summer concert series, or our movies in the park, or our MAP events, or festivities put on by local non-profit groups… be on the look-out for terrific entertainment opportunities all summer long here in Monrovia!

As these different events occur, we’ll be sure to get the word out, but as a quick preview, take a look at the attached listing of upcoming events!  There’s something going on just about every weekend from now until September, so get ready!  Summer fun is just about here!

2019 Summer Event Schedule


Monrovia Community Garden Project Moving Towards Our Grand Opening In June!

We wanted to let everyone know that Monrovia’s Community Garden Pilot Program is on track to launch in June, and that to date, we’ve had tremendous interest from the community regarding this project!  As you may recall, the City has been working in partnership with Mountainside Communion to develop the initiative, and the garden is taking shape at the Northwest corner of Colorado Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue (303 West Colorado Boulevard), incorporating private raised beds for rent, educational workshops, community engagement, and a public demonstration garden for all of the community to enjoy.
 
To date, we’ve received 23 applications for the 21 available private garden plots!  We’re in the process of working with our partners at Mountainside to coordinate a review of the applications, and we’ll be paying special attention to prioritize usage at the community garden based on applicant accessibility to gardening options, date of application submittal, geographical representation, and overall interest in the program.
 
As we move ahead, we’ll be coordinating a formal ribbon cutting event to kick-off the program formally in June!  In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can find additional details online at www.monroviacommunitygarden.org.  You can also follow the building process and get updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Community Garden Logo

Community Garden Website

Community Garden Instagram

Community Garden Beds


Staff Set To Submit An Application For Proposition 68 Park Funds To Improve Lucinda Garcia Park

Recently, the State of California issued a notice of funding availability regarding funds to be distributed via Proposition 68, the State Park Bond Program.  As part of the overall initiative, the State is seeking to fund the creation of new park and recreation facilities in critically underserved communities across California.  There is $254.9 million available during this funding cycle, and applications are due August 5.

Given the grant funding criteria for this particular cycle, the only park improvement project that we have in Monrovia which would be qualify and be competitive for funding is at Lucinda Garcia Park.  And as illustrated in the pictures below, we could certainly use upgrades at the location.

Based on details included in our recently completed Park Master Plan, there are specific improvements called out for Lucinda Garcia Park, including:

  • Expand the park to the open space area located at the west end of the facility
  • Replace and upgrade the play equipment
  • Add all fall safety surfacing at the playground area
  • Install exercise circuit equipment along the pathway at the park
  • Repair the pathway
  • Upgrade the landscaping at the park
  • Make monument sign improvements
  • Install interpretive signage on the history of Lucinda Garcia and the park
  • Install a demonstration garden with drought tolerate and native species  

During the next several months, staff will be engaged in significant outreach activities in the neighborhood surrounding Lucinda Garcia Park to discuss proposed upgrades to the facility.  Among the outreach ideas that staff has developed include: 

  1. A pop-up ice cream social at Lucinda Garcia Park at the end of a school day
  2. Door-to-door outreach on Olive Avenue during a weekend or a weekday afternoon
  3. Hold a special meeting of the Community Services Commission at Lucinda Garcia Park
  4. Coordinate a community meeting at Lucinda Garcia Park
  5. Host a special meeting with YES interns at Lucinda Garcia Park

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to publicize additional details related to these outreach efforts.


Monrovia Renewal North Area Road Work Construction Activities To Begin In June

We are so excited to share with the community that the City’s contractor, Sully-Miller, will begin street reconstruction work in the North Section of Monrovia Renewal in just a couple weeks, with resident notifications going out during the next 7-10 days.  The planned street improvement work includes micro-surfacing, asphalt overlays, and full street reconstruction activities.  Street reconstruction will commence when pulverizing operations begin in early June, with paving operations to follow shortly thereafter.

As a part of the complete reconstruction, the streets will be pulverized to dirt in a multiple step process:

  1. Day 1: A machine will pulverize the existing roadway surface 10” deep to create new base material. This dirt material will be rolled and compacted to be driven upon.
  2. Day 2: A couple of days later, crews will return with large machines to remove 4” of the pulverized material. This dirt material will, again, be rolled and compacted to be driven upon.
  3. Days 3 & 4: After the material has been removed, crews will return to pave new asphalt on the street. Paving will be completed in 2 – 2” sections on two different days. We anticipate approximately 2 weeks between the initial layer of asphalt being paved and the final cap paving.

Although this process will take approximately 4 working days for each street section, there might be downtime between each phase meaning that the entire process might take a couple of weeks.

During this process, it is important to remember:

  • Although many streets will be turned to dirt, vehicles may still access the street (except for intermittent periods during active construction).
  • There will be parking restrictions in place during work hours however vehicles will be permitted to park on the street at the end of working days. PLEASE ADHERE TO ALL POSTED PARKING RESTRICTIONS.
  • Driveways will be accessible every night; however access may be limited during daytime work activities.
  • Pulverized streets may remain dirt streets for up to three weeks

The project area map below indicates the specific road work that will take place on each street. More details on the upcoming road work for Monrovia Renewal will be included in future updates, including dates and specific street locations. We appreciate your patience and support while we work to execute these improvements throughout our community!

Starting on May 20th, Sully-Miller will begin posting notification signs for the upcoming work and doing additional outreach ahead of the pulverization.  Over the next three weeks, Sully-Miller will be doing the following:

  1. May 20-24: Posting and Notifications
  2. May 27-31: Lowering manholes, layout and tie-offs
  3. June 3-8: Beginning of pulverization 

If you have any questions regarding Monrovia Renewal, please feel free to contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.


City Working To Address Monrovia Transit Complaints, Feedback Indicates That Some Don’t Like The Smaller Scale Vans That Have Been Deployed

During the past few weeks, the City has received feedback from those who use our Monrovia Transit ADA service that they don’t like the smaller scale vans that we recently deployed.  This was surprising news to staff, as we expected users of the program would appreciate the fact that it would be easier and faster to board and dismount from the scaled down ADA vehicles compared with the larger scale vans that we’ve been using previously.

Given the feedback we’ve received to date, staff is engaged in a comprehensive review of our options, including the possibility of bringing in a different type of ADA accessible vehicle for use in the future.  In addition, there have also been a few minor complaints regarding the dispatch operation from our ADA passengers and our GoMonrovia concierge riders.  As staff has analyzed those particular trends, it seems that the main cause of the problem has to do with a telephone dispatch system change that was coordinated by our transit and dispatch operation provider.  We’ve got a good game plan to address those problems, and staff expects the issues to be fully resolved here within the next few weeks.


Charter Communications Installing New Conduit On Parts Of Foothill Boulevard From Tuesday, May 28 – Friday, June 7

Starting on Tuesday, May 28th, Charter Spectrum is proposing to install new conduit for fiber optic cable and will be working through the week until June 7th.  Traffic impacts include Foothill Boulevard at California Avenue, Foothill Boulevard at Grand Avenue, with lesser impacts at Foothill Boulevard at Poinsettia Avenue and Foothill Boulevard at Norumbega Road.  Traffic control plans are attached for reference as there will be 3 phases of work to this project however, traffic impacts are expected as a result of all the work.  Working hours are from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. daily throughout the project schedule.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Public Works at (626) 932-5575.

 


 

Monrovia Renewal North Area Improvements - Updates For The Week Of May 28

Monrovia Renewal construction activities in the North section will continue this week.  Monrovia Renewal construction activities in the North section will continue this week.  Sully Miller Contracting will:

  • Continue water main repairs on:
    • Norumbega Drive
    • Greystone Avenue
    • Prospect Avenue
  • Concrete work will continue on:
    • Hillcrest Boulevard
    • Cloverleaf Way
    • Seymour Place
    • Stedman Place
    • Scenic Drive
    • Highland Place
    • Ivy Way

We will do our best to minimize the impacts on residents.  Sully Miller will deliver notices to all residents 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:

  1. Initial Notice - This notice will be distributed approximately one week prior to work commencing.
  2. 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 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. View the map below to see what road work improvements are coming to your street!

Monrovia Renewal North Section Map


Monrovia Old Town Website Is Now Live!

Over the last several months, the Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board (MOTAB) has been hard at work developing a comprehensive and interactive website, aimed at providing the community a one-stop-shop to find information about all things Old Town Monrovia. We are pleased to announce the website, www.monroviaoldtown.org, is now live and accessible to everyone!

This new digital home for OId Town Monrovia features a ton of information and enhancements, including a listing of all the shops, businesses, and restaurants located in Old Town with easy links to the merchants website, direct dialing on your mobile device, and directions to convenient parking. In addition, the first Blog offers “How To” videos to help new users optimize their experience!

Log on today to learn more about what is happening in Old Town Monrovia, how to get to Old Town Monrovia, and once here where to park! See you in Old Town!


City Council Tentatively Approves Proposed Spending Plan From Potential Sales Tax Measure

Over the past few months, staff has coordinated more than a dozen outreach meetings to discuss the possibility of calling for a special election in November 2019 for our community to consider a sales tax increase. While the response from most of our community members has been generally positive, the question most asked was, “What will the City do with the $4.5 million / year generated if the sales tax measure is successful?”

Last Tuesday, staff prepared a study session for City Council and the public to go over the Sales Tax Measure in addition to presenting a proposed spending plan.

The proposed spending plan focused on pursuing local aspirational priority projects that have been put on hold due to lack of funding.  The proposed spending plan developed for consideration focuses on the following general fund priorities:

  1. Achieve a AAA Rating
  2. Fund an upgrade to the City’s Community Center
  3. Give money back to residents by lowering the monthly municipal services bill
  4. Continue to invest in capital upgrades, including parks, facilities and infrastructure
  5. Set a fixed amount of money aside for community priorities, such as affordable housing, community based organizations, and schools.

The City Council had a few follow up questions and requested that staff to do some additional research, but overall, approved of the direction in which we are headed.  Staff will continue to reach out to various community groups to gather additional feedback and will be expecting a call for elections by August 2019.  As the spending plan continues to develop, staff will continue to keep everyone apprised of any new information.


Annual Fire Department Brush Inspections Underway

It is that time of year again for Monrovia Fire & Rescue’s brush inspections! The Fire Department is now performing brush inspections for all properties located in the high-fire danger areas of town. We will be working with all of our impacted residents to coordinate all brush clearance activities.

Of particular note, in an effort to reduce the risk of fire danger for all of us in town, and to better coordinate our overall brush disposal programs, the City has partnered with Athens Services to provide roll-off-bins and bulky item pick-ups at no cost for impacted residents during the brush clearance season. Athens will be providing bins from May 1 – June 30 for residents in the brush zone. Residents should have received the annual brush clearance letter this past week. To coordinate getting your free bin, call (626) 256-8109 and the Fire Department will help coordinate bin delivery.

View more information related to our overall brush fire clearance activities.

2019 Brush Disposal Options


Improvements Coming To The City’s Library Calendar

During the past few years, the Monrovia Public Library has worked with a library calendar company called LibraryInsight to power our library calendar of events.  As our team at the Library has done some additional research about possible ways to enhance the library calendar, we have been in discussions with a firm called Library Market, which provides a new more interactive and user-friendly calendar management software program.  After meeting with Library Market, we identified that the new software would allow us to make the following improvements:

  • It has a user-friendly interface that is mobile-friendly
  • The admin side allows you to easily enter and update program information
  • We can use the software to allow online booking of study rooms
  • Registration is easy for both patrons and staff
  • The software will automatically notify program attendees 24 hours before an event with a reminder email and contact those on a waitlist if a spot opens up
  • Reports and statistics allow us to see how & when patrons sign up for programs or study rooms (helpful for Library Board or State Report)
  • They provide training for all staff and a customized manual specific to our library
  • Location maps on event listings to help direct patrons during off-site programs
  • Patrons can easily share events on social media (Facebook & Instagram) or via email with others
  • We can create disclaimers, program descriptions, and images that can be easily attached to multiple programs
  • They offer support via phone, email, and their help desk ticketing system
  • Patrons can easily filter events by age group, date, or topic

Some examples of public libraries that are currently utilizing the Library Market software include Helen Plum Library, Woodridge Public Library, & Adams County Library.

Based on our work to date, we anticipate the new Monrovia Library calendar going live at the end of June 2019.


SoCalGas Company Relocating / Lowering Pipeline On Melrose Avenue Prior To Road Construction

SoCalGas crews will be conducting a utility relocation/lowering project along Melrose Avenue (between Hillcrest and Scenic) and portions of Scenic Drive over the next 6-8 weeks.  As a result of the utility coordination efforts that have been undertaken between the Engineering Team and our Franchise Utility Partners, SoCalGas has been doing considerable exploratory work throughout the City to locate any potential pipeline or infrastructure issues that need to be addressed prior to the City’s construction taking place as a part of Monrovia Renewal.  During these efforts, SoCalGas found a shallow gas pipeline along Melrose Avenue, between Hillcrest Blvd and Scenic Drive, as well as the immediately adjacent portions of Scenic Drive.

While the shallow gas pipeline was not causing any safety or service concerns in and of itself, the fact that the City would be pulverizing the street to dirt and reconstructing the roadway, representatives from SoCalGas and the City’s engineering team determined that it would be in the best interest of everyone to have this line lowered prior to construction taking place.

As such, National Pipeline (NPL) will be working in this vicinity for the next 6-8 weeks to lower the mainline as well as replace all of the residential gas service lines. Residents who are in the directly impacted area have received more specific/detailed communication from SoCalGas regarding this work and what to expect while it is taking place.  Once SoCalGas has completed their work in this area, Sully-Miller Contracting Company will resume the Monrovia Renewal related improvements in this area.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575. 


Monrovia Renewal South Section – City Is Working To Finalize A Plan To Complete All Of The Identified Street Repaving Work In The Area… Which Totals 1.35 Million Square Feet Of Street Repairs!

If you’ve been thinking that the City isn’t quite done yet with the South Section of Monrovia Renewal… you’d be right!

As you may recall, the South Section of our overall Citywide infrastructure improvement plan includes the entire portion of the City located south of the I-210 Freeway.  And during the past few months, the City has been working to develop an alternative plan to complete the street repair work for that particular section of town.

To date, we have been working with one contractor (Sequel Construction), however, for a variety of coordination and scheduling issues, here at the City, we have had to develop an alternative plan in order to finish the identified work.

To date, Sequel Construction has completed over 500,000 square feet of street improvements in the South Section.  However, there is still around 1.35 million square feet of street improvements that have not yet been started.  Given that factor, our Public Works Department is working to finalize a recommendation for City Council consideration in May that will allow us to effectively complete all of the remaining street work.  Based on our current review of existing street conditions, the streets located in the South Section that still require work include:

 5th Avenue  8th Avenue  9th Avenue Alta Street 
 Alta Vista Avenue  Anita Street  Beneath 210 Freeway  Bonita Street
 Diamond Street  Duarte Road  El Norte Street  Encino Avenue
 Encino Way  Encino Place  Enterprise Way  Evergreen Avenue
 Genoa Street  Hurtsview Avenue  Ivy Avenue  Monrovista Avenue
 Montana Street  Alamitas Avenue  Mountain Avenue  Myrtle Avenue
 Naples Street  Peck Road  Pomona Avenue  Shamrock Avenue
   Spanner Street  Venice Avenue  

A map highlighting the streets that still require additional work is included above. In addition, all of us here at the City appreciate the patience that the community has had with us as we’ve worked through executing our signature capital improvement initiative.  Monrovia Renewal has certainly been messy, but the end result is upgraded infrastructure throughout our community.  Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of our project team (626) 932-5575 or at monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.

Monrova Renewal Street Repairs - South Section


City Continues To Contemplate A Local Sales Tax Measure To Protect Local Funding From LA County

As you may recall, 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 LA County has the highest base sales tax rate in California?  At 9.5%, we have the highest sales tax rate in the State – higher than even Silicon Valley or San Francisco!

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 to a point where LA County has the highest sales tax rate in the State.  Since 2004, LA County has been able to eventually pass EVERY single tax measure that they’ve put forth to county voters, even when 2/3 voter approval was needed!

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.  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, 20 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.

Given all this information, the City is seriously considering a sales tax measure in 2019 because 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 by approving a local sales tax measure.  Since we know that LA County is planning these tax increase proposals soon, the opportunity to keep those funds here in the City under our own local control will not remain an option for too much longer.

Staff will continue analyzing the potential spending plan options and will be sure to keep the community posted moving forward.


Southern California Edison Planning Electrical System Improvements That Will Impact The 800 Block Of South Myrtle Avenue Beginning In Late May

Recently, the City received word that beginning in late May, construction crews and inspectors from Southern California Edison (SCE) will be coordinating a significant electrical system undergrounding improvement project that will impact Myrtle Avenue.  The construction work, which is anticipated to last 6 – 8 weeks, will involve trenching and excavating portions of the 800 block of South Myrtle Avenue, along with portions of Walnut Avenue adjacent west of Myrtle Avenue, in order to install new conduits, ducts, and other underground structures to reroute existing SCE infrastructure.  Of particular note, as part of the work, SCE will need to have a trench cut across Myrtle Avenue, which will require robust traffic control efforts.

Given the magnitude and potential impact of the project, the City will have a dedicated team working to manage the information and coordination of the work throughout the process.  Based on what we know, traffic on Myrtle Avenue will remain accessible for those needing to access Old Town, however, delays should be expected.  Work hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, each week.


Highland Place Debris Basin Could Be Removed By LA County, City Making Assessing Possibility Of Taking The Facility Over

As everyone may recall, after the Madison Fire, LA County installed a debris basin at the top of Highland Place to control and manage mud / debris flows.  The structure was built by LA County, and for the past ~5 years, LA County has managed and maintained the overall structure.

An engineer from LA County contacted our Public Works team to discuss the future disposition of the debris structure.  It appears that given we’ve hit the 5-year mark since the Madison Fire, LA County has given the City two options regarding the future of the debris structure, which are as follows:

  1. LA County will remove the structure
  2. LA County will convey the structure to the City, and we will be responsible for all operating and maintenance related costs moving forward

Pictures of the facility are shown below.

We’re still trying to sort out all of the details related to this particular issue, and as part of our research, we’re trying to determine if there was any arrangement or agreement that the City entered into with LA County regarding the structure.  Furthermore, we’re doing calculations regarding ongoing costs for managing the debris basin.

Staff’s initial reaction to the news is that the City seriously needs to consider taking the debris basin facility over.  It’s become a vital part of our debris management plan here in Monrovia, and of note, according to our team, there is currently around 10’ – 12’ of debris behind the basin right now!

We’ll be sure to continue analyzing this overall issue, and as additional information becomes available, we will be sure to pass the details along.

Highland Basin 1 Highland Basin 2 


Southern California Edison Engaged In Ongoing Repair Work Here In Town For The Remainder Of 2019

In response to the devastating wild fires in Southern California recently, Southern California Edison has been coordinating with City staff on scheduling high priority repairs related to fire safety which will take place over the next 9 months.  SCE staff has identified a number of needed repairs to their infrastructure citywide, ranging from replacing conductors, cross-arms, cabling, anchoring poles, pole replacement, or simple miscellaneous repairs.  Each of these needed repairs has been given a priority level designation (1-3) with 3 being the highest priority repair.

To date, SCE staff has identified approximately 200 Tier 3 repairs that need to be completed by May 31 in their designated high fire zone.  In addition to the Tier 3 repairs, SCE staff has identified an additional 350 Tier 2 and Tier 1 repairs that need to be completed by the end of the year (December 31).  In total, that means SCE will be repairing approximately 550 various pieces of equipment throughout town over the next 9 months.  Public Works staff is coordinating with SCE staff on permitting, scheduling of work, and ultimately coordination that helps SCE complete their interim and final completion dates.  Because of the volume of work, this will likely mean that SCE will be working seven days a week between now and the end of May to meet the first interim completion date for Tier 3 repairs.

SCE will be sending out mailers, door knockers, and other notification letters to the residents in the impacted areas in advance of the work.  Additional notification will be required when SCE needs access to private property as well as additional notification that results in any temporary power outages.  If there are any questions regarding SCE’s activity, please visit SCE’s website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Public Works at (626) 932-5575.


City Preparing To Take Over The Parking Lots Located On Lime Avenue Adjacent To Old Town… Which Means More Downtown Parking Is Coming Soon!

We wanted to let everyone know that additional parking is coming to Old Town!  During the past several years, the City has been engaged in discussions with representatives from Monrovia Lime, LLC, regarding the possibility of obtaining the right to utilize the ~150 parking spaces located on Lime Avenue, just east of Ivy Avenue, as illustrated in the map below in yellow.  The smaller of the two lots is located between First Indonesian Baptist Church and the George Anderson House Museum.  The larger of the two lots is just east of the Anderson House.

Lime and Ivy Parking Lots

We are happy to report that after more than a year of dialogue, the City has now acquired the right to utilize those two parking lots, which will be available for general public use by the end of May 2018.  During the next few weeks, City crews will be working to make minor upgrades to both parking lots (weed control, lights, new painting, etc.), and we anticipate that the lots will be available for public use soon thereafter.  We will be certain to keep everyone apprised of our progress moving ahead.


Annual Citywide Sewer Cleaning Program Set To Begin, With 200,000 Linear Feet Of Sewer Lines Set To Be Cleaned By July

We wanted to let everyone know that this week, the City started our annual sewer maintenance program, and our team has been deployed in concert with a private contractor (Houston Harris) to coordinate an initial cleaning of ~250,000 linear feet of sewer lines throughout the City.  And just in case you didn’t know… 250,000 linear feet is equivalent to nearly 47 miles!

Overall, the City’s sanitary sewer system contains approximately 92 miles of sewer line comprised of various sizes (ranging from 6” to 24” diameters) and materials (including iron, steel, and vitrified clay).  Given that quantity of sewer lines, our sewer maintenance program includes the cleaning of around 250,000 linear feet of sewer pipelines annually.  The crews in the field now are using a method known as hydro jetting to clear any possible sewer blockages, and additionally, our team will be coordinating the inspection of the sewer lines utilizing closed circuit video.  Other maintenance activities include root removal and pest control programs.

During the next few months, we will be coordinating this sewer maintenance work, and if you see large equipment located throughout town at sewer manholes… rest assured, our team is hard at work keeping the brown in the round!


Water Pipeline Repair On Canyon Boulevard As Part Of Monrovia Renewal North Section Is Nearing Completion!

Sully-Miller crews have completed the water pipeline repair along Canyon Boulevard. They will continue making all necessary connections of the new pipeline to the water system but this work will be confined to the site and area surrounding Oakglade Reservoir. This work will segue to the planned site and tank improvements that will be completed at Oakglade Reservoir. As the final part of these improvements, crews will return later this summer to complete the road construction that is planned for Canyon Boulevard. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to complete these improvements.

Canyon Boulevard Pipeline

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Public Works Division at (626) 932-5575, or via email at Monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.  Additionally, updated construction schedules and notices will be available on the City’s website and on the City’s social media accounts.  And please know that all of us here at the City appreciate your patience during these periods of construction activity!


Are You Looking For A Premier Summer Science Program? If So... The Junior Researcher Summer Academy Might Be For You! Space is Limited And Going Quickly! Reserve Your Child's Spot Today!

As part of the City’s focus on educational programming for our youth, we are pleased to announce the Junior Researcher Academy, hosted by the City and the Oak Crest Institute of Science!  Now, teens in Grades 7-9 can participate in one of three summer sessions for $100 per session (scholarships are available):

  • Session 1: July 1 – 12 (*no session on July 4)
  • Session 2: July 15 – 26 - FULL
  • Session 3: July 29 – August 9

Participants have so much to look forward to, including getting introduced to a variety of scientific fields through hands-on experiments with real research scientists!  To register or if you have any questions, contact the Monrovia Community Center at (626) 256-8246 or visit us online.

Junior Research Academy 2019


The 6th Annual Monrovia Music Fest Is Scheduled For Sunday, June 2, 12pm – 7pm, At Library Park!

The 6th annual Monrovia Music Fest is back!  The event features a vast array of regional and national music throughout the day. The Fest features a craft beer garden, food trucks, artisans, vendors, art, free kids’ activity booths hosted by nonprofits, and the Bark Park where leashed, friendly dogs are welcome.  So plan to bring the family and friends for a nice afternoon listening to music in Monrovia!  For more information, please visit Monrovia Music Fest!

2019 Monrovia Music Fest


Visit Www.Buildingmonrovia.Com For All Of Your Development-Related Questions

To provide more information on the unprecedented development interest taking place in Monrovia, the City has spent the last few months creating a new website focused on helping residents and businesses not only learn more about each project that is being considered, but also answer frequently asked questions about the impacts these development may have on the community.  The website includes pages on all the major areas of concern, such as: 

  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Affordable Housing
  • Water
  • Public Safety
  • And more! 

The City held a joint City Council / Planning Commission to review the upcoming major development projects that will be considered for entitlements starting later this year.  The Commission, Council, and community members provided valuable feedback at the meeting that will help guide next steps as these projects move through review.  The major projects that are likely going to be considered by the City this year include: 

  1. Trammel Crow Residential - "The Alexan Specific Plan"
    • A 436-unit project proposed to be built at 1625 South Magnolia Avenue
  2. Fifield Realty Corporation - "West Pomona Transit District"
    • A 310-unit project proposed to be built at 123 West Pomona Avenue
  3. MW Investment Group - "Arroyo at Monrovia Station"
    • A 284-unit project proposed to be built on the City block bound by South Magnolia to the west, South Primrose to the east, West Evergreen to the north, and West Pomona to the south
  4. City Park-and-Ride Lot
    • A proposed ~130 key Cambria hotel project located on the City's park-and-ride lot at the southwest corner of Myrtle Avenue / Pomona Avenue.

We do hope that you take the opportunity to look through www.buildingmonrovia.com and learn more about all of the exciting developments that are taking place in Monrovia! For in-depth details on each project and to track each project as it moves through the development process over the next several months, you can also visit the Development Spotlight page on the main City website.

Building Monrovia Homepage


New State Regulations Have Further Eroded Local Control Over Housing Decisions

As the City prepares to consider several large-scale development projects, one housing note that we wanted to share with everyone relates to the impact that recent State legislation has had on our local land use controls as it relates to housing development.  As you may recall, in 2017 and in 2018, the State approved a series of legislative amendments to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), which combined has reduced local government authority to deny or reduce the density of proposed housing development projects.

To highlight how those pieces of legislation impact a municipality’s ability to regulate development, a full memo on the matter can be found online. In particular, I wanted to highlight some of the key changes that staff is currently grappling with:

  • The new regulations adopted by the State stipulate that if a project conforms to a City’s applicable development standards (i.e., no variances or exceptions are sought), it will be extremely difficult for the City to legally deny any housing project.
  • Furthermore, while a City can still institute a design and neighborhood compatibility review process, the City essentially now cannot deny a housing development project, or impose conditions that the project be developed at a lower density, unless strict findings can be identified which indicate that a project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety.

Again, a memo outlining all of the new State mandated housing development regulations that we are contending with can be found online.


Are You In Need Of Accessible Transportation? Register For Monrovia's Dial-A-Ride Program!

As of March, Monrovia Transit serves passengers with ADA needs only. This change is being made to ensure the ADA accessible vehicles are reserved for those who need special accommodations.  All passengers with ADA-related needs wishing to take advantage of this service should complete this short, one-time application, including providing back-up documentation showing disability eligibility, sign the waiver, and return both to the Community Center (119 W. Palm Avenue).

Monrovia Transit Changes Effective February 1 2019Monrovia Transit Changes Effective February 2019 Flyer in Spanish


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!

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 vcastellanos@ci.monrovia.ca.us

  • 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.

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. 


Key Links & Help Keep Monrovia Beautiful:


Interesting Story Of The Week – No Matter How Cute The Lemur Looks, Just Don’t Go Trying To Steal It To Be Your Pet!

Our interesting story of the week comes to us from www.geek.com, which reports on a burglary story right in our back yard!

It appears that Aquinas Kasbar, a 19-year-old California man from Newport Beach, recently plead guilty to breaking into a zoo and stealing the oldest-living ring-tailed lemur in captivity in North America.  The misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine.

Based on details in the story, it appears that Kasbar wanted the lemur for a pet.  And so he did what any lemur-seeking owner would do… he broke into the Santa Ana Zoo, used bolt cutters to cut a hole in the enclosure for lemurs and capuchin monkeys, and stole a lemur named Isaac.

 Lemur

This story is particularly interesting because at 32-years-old, Isaac the lemur is the oldest living ring-tailed lemur in captivity in North America.  Typically, the animals live up to 20 to 25 years, and of note, the “ring-tailed lemur is on a list of the 25 most endangered primates, and ring-tailed lemurs are endangered, in part, because of the illegal pet trade.”

To read more about this cautionary tale that illustrates why you should never go stealing any pet from the zoo, click on the following link!


Police Department's Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report

The Police Department’s weekly neighborhood watch report for the period May 16 - May 22, 2019, has been included for your review and reference.  During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 388 service events, resulting in 77 investigations. 

A copy of the report can be found at the following link: Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report

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