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City Manager's Update: November 5, 2019

Post Date:11/05/2019 11:00 AM

Hello, everyone! 

I hope you all had a great weekend indulging in leftover Halloween candy! There are so many exciting projects and activities happening in this community, and this update has been prepared to share with you everything that is taking place. At a glance, you’ll find details regarding a State Auditor’s Report on Monrovia’s fiscal health, our contract with the Pasadena Humane Society, an update on the Library’s Strategic PlanCoyote outreach, and much more.

If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know, and I hope everyone has a fantastic week.

Sincerely,  

Dylan


Highlights In This Issue  


 

Response to State Auditor Report Listing Monrovia as Being in Poor Financial Health 

Last week, the California State Auditor released a report that named Monrovia as the #10 California city facing fiscal challenges. Regrettably, the State Auditor did not reach out to the City for the latest financial data before publishing these findings, and the information used was outdated and focused on narrow pieces of data. Over the past week, the City thoroughly reviewed the State Auditor’s report, and we wanted to take this opportunity to respond to these findings:

  • The City previously posted the Fiscal Year 2017-18 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which is the most recent audited financial document, not the Fiscal Year 2016-17 report, which is what the State claims.
  • The City has undertaken several significant and meaningful actions between 2015 and the present to address the financial condition of the City, including the CalPERS Response Plan, the Fiscal Resiliency Plan, Issuing $112M in pension obligation bonds, 5-year Water and Wastewater Rate Increases, Increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax (Hotel Bed Tax) by 2%, establishing Community Facilities Districts on new significant developments, and many other activities that have helped put the City on a solid financial footing. So far, none of this appears to be included in the State Auditor’s Report.
  • The State Auditor’s Report had a very strong focus on debt burden and retirement obligations. The City issued Pension Obligation Bonds in December 2017 to pay off all of the City’s existing unfunded accrued liability and pension liability debt, thereby stabilizing pension liability payments at a uniform and level annual amount. The issuance of the these bonds is expected to save the City over $43 million in interest costs over the next 30 years. Additionally, Council has adopted a funding policy that outlines how and when any new future pension liabilities that arise are paid off. Additionally, employees are participating in a giveback program that results in $300,000 additional savings each year, and reduced retirement benefit plans through PEPRA will save the City money moving forward.
  • The City has strong ongoing revenues to support our operations, especially our property and sales tax revenues. Sales tax has been strong over the years and trends at a 2-3% annual increase, on average. Property tax is also strong, and trends at about a 4% increase per year. The City has included a 4% increase in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget to maintain a conservative approach, but industry expert analysis is estimating a 5.6% increase in Monrovia.
Finally, it is important to note that many of the strategic fiscal policies put into place aim to bring about long-term financial stability, and do not show up when looking at the short-term financial impact. Projects like Monrovia Renewal take on large debt up front, in order to address urgent community infrastructure needs now, and then are paid down over time. Where we will really see a significant benefit is in the long-term savings that the City will achieve, and in the ability for the City to better manage and forecast our annual cash flows going forward.
 
In conclusion, the State Auditor Report is missing a significant amount of crucial information in their analysis, as the City has made significant strides since 2016-17 to improve our financial position. The City is on stable financial footing, and fiscal responsibility and sustainability remains a top priority for the City Council.

 

Pasadena Humane Society Price Increase
In recent months, the Pasadena Humane Society (PHS) has proposed significant cost increases to cities that partner for animal control (Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, and others). The rate increases range from 50% - 600% and are incredibly significant. The City of Monrovia has an existing contract, which won’t expire until June 30, 2021, so while the new rate proposals don’t affect us now, they will likely affect us in the future.
 
Two primary issues of concern are as follows:
  • First, PHS is modifying rates so that when any resident receives a service from PHS, the City is responsible for the cost through the Animal Control Contract. Second, PHS has made significant changes to their mission and even expanded their service offerings, yet they have never solicited input from the community partners (such as the Monrovia City Council) about whether the service levels are desired.
  • In essence, PHS is now offering more services and wants us to pay the cost, though we’ve never had a seat at the table. There will be more discussions in months to come, but I wanted to keep this on your radar.

Library Strategic Plan 4th Quarter 2019 Update

Much has been accomplished since the library’s strategic plan was introduced in 2017. Out of the plan’s 63 goal activities, 52 have been completed as of October 2019! Several major projects and new services were launched over the past two years, including: the Monrovia Reads Van, the CENIC Broadband Network, the Marketing Team, new telescopes, SciLab Workshops, and the annual Staff Learning Summit. Upcoming projects will include the Library Park Redesign and the launch of the marketing plan. Staff looks forward to building upon their successes as they continue to provide their very best for Monrovia!
 

 

Report Your Coyote Sightings

Coyotes are present in our urban neighborhoods year-round and play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control. However, coyotes can sometimes pose a potential danger to outdoor pets and humans, which requires us all to be vigilant and reduce our exposure by limiting potential food and shelter resources. To assist in tracking coyote interactions with humans and pets, the University of California Cooperative Extension has developed the Coyote Cacher online tool and interactive map. If you see coyotes in your neighborhood, you may use this tool to provide information to help inform researchers of evolving trends in human-coyote interactions.
 

 


 

Tree Trimming Maintenance Scheduled In Old Town

On the week of November 11, West Coast Arborists will begin tree trimming on Myrtle Avenue from Foothill Boulevard to Huntington Drive. The trimming will be done on both sides of the street between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Please be mindful of posted parking notices.

 
Learn More About Where Construction Activities Will Take Place. 


Library Volunteers are the BEST!

We are very lucky to have so many amazing volunteers that give selflessly their time to support the library each day. In fiscal year 18/19, they provided over 8,000 hours of support for duties that ranged from tech help at the Reference Desk and signing up summer reading families to programming and outreach. Our programs and services are enhanced each day by our awesome volunteers. They help us provide the very best for Monrovia. THANK YOU to all our volunteers! Learn How You Can Get Involved.

 

 


 

Monrovia Chamber of Commerce Hosts Community Prayer Breakfast

On Friday, November 22, 2019, Monrovia's civic, business, and religious communities will gather and give thanks at the 54th annual Community Prayer Breakfast. The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce invites you to this morning filled with prayer, music, and gratitude. Please share the news of this event with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Register For The Prayer Breakfast.

Community Prayer Breakfast


 

San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust Stakeholder Meeting

The SGV Regional Housing Trust has coordinated two stakeholder meetings for the general public to learn more about this developing agency and what it aims to address. The SGV Council of Governments will provide a high-level overview of housing trust funds, what's being proposed for the SGV Regional Housing Trust, and will solicit feedback from participants on what they would like to see in an SGV Regional Housing Trust Fund.

  • Workshop #1: Thursday, November 7, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    • Location: El Monte Aquatic Center (11001 Mildred Ave; El Monte, CA)
  • Workshop #2: Tuesday, November 12, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    • Location: Glendora Public Library (140 Glendora Ave; Glendora, CA)

Learn More About The Regional Housing Trust Fund


Special Election on November 5

On Tuesday, November 5, Monrovia voters will have the chance to consider Measure K, a local sales tax initiative that, if passed, would keep these Monrovia sales tax revenues local to reinvest into the community. We hope that you will remember to vote this Special Election Day on November 5!

 


Monrovia Renewal Construction Updates 

North Section 
Monrovia Renewal construction activities are ongoing in the North Section Project area, which is the area of the City located to the North of and including Hillcrest Boulevard, Greystone Avenue and Grand Avenue.  This week, road work will take place on:

  • Base Paving will begin on streets that are being fully reconstructed, including:

    • Melrose Avenue, Scenic Drive, Ridgeside Drive, Briarcliff Road, Canyon Boulevard, and Grand Avenue
      • Full reconstruction streets receive pavement in 2 courses, a base paving and a cap paving. This first section is the base paving and the final cap paving will follow in the near future. 
      • Note that due to dusty conditions, increased watering down of these streets will be taking place during the week and on the weekends, and reduced speed limit restrictions are in place.
  • Grinding Operations will begin on streets that are receiving an asphalt overlay, including:
    • Portions of Norumbega Drive, Bradoaks Avenue, and Ridgeside Drive 

South Section  
Roadwork activities are set to resume on the remaining streets in the South section during the week of November 11. The remaining streets include portions of Myrtle Avenue, Evergreen Avenue, Bonita Street, Montana Street, and two of the I-210 underpasses.  

 


 

SCE Work To Take Place On Duarte Road Between California Avenue And Myrtle Avenue 

Throughout this week, SCE Crews will be working to replace overhead fiber optic cables on existing poles. There will be no construction work. However, traffic control will be in effect, as there will be some impact on the west bound lanes of Duarte Road. SCE has coordinated with METRO staff regarding any potential shutdowns.

 


 

 

 

Utility Billing Scam Warning 

Unfortunately, we have been alerted to a scam going on in Monrovia! A handful of residents have called to say they were contacted by someone who said if they didn’t pay their utility bill, their water would be shut off. This is a scam, and residents should not pay anyone calling about their water bill, and should notify the police.

Sign Ups Begin for the Winter Youth Sports

Registration is now open for the Winter Season of the Youth Sports Program featuring co-ed Volleyball. All 4th, 5th and 6th grade boys and girls have the opportunity to join the indoor volleyball team. The season will run from November 23 to February 1, with practices held at the Mary Wilcox Youth Center at Recreation Park (843 E. Olive Ave.) on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and games on Saturday mornings. The price for registration is $35 for Monrovia Unified School District residents and students, and $70 for non-residents.

Development Spotlight

There are currently 5 projects in the development pipeline that staff would categorize as significant. These include the Adaptive Reuse of the Monrovia Market Building (approved on Oct. 1), the Overton Moore Pacific Self Storage Project in the former Verizon Building in Old Town (anticipated City Council review on Nov. 19), 127 Pomona Multi-Family Development with 310 units at Station Square (Planning Commission review continued on Oct. 29), the Alexan Multi-Family Development with 436 units at Station Square (anticipated Planning Commission review on Nov. 13), and the Arroyo at Monrovia Station Multi-Family Development with 302 units (anticipated Planning Commission review on Nov. 13). For more details, visit the Development Spotlight or Building Monrovia webpages.


Additional Upcoming Events

 


Neighborhood Watch Report

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 400 service events, resulting in 74 investigations.

View The Neighborhood Watch Report