City Manager's Update: November 19, 2019
There are so many exciting projects and activities happening in Monrovia and this update has been prepared to share with you everything that is taking place. At a glance, you’ll find details regarding a very special project completed in Canyon Park, an amazing event to kick off the holiday season, and much more.
And by the way, if I’m in an overly happy mood this week, it’s because the Morgan High School Trojans (Morgan, Utah) are State of Utah’s 3A Football Champions! On Friday the 15th, they played Juab at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. I dropped all of my obligations for the day, drove to St. George and cheered on the Trojans as any good alumni would. It was a wonderful day and a long-time coming. Sometimes, the best days in life are spent with old friends and making new memories.
If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know, and have a fantastic week!
Highlights In This Issue
- REI #OPTOUTSIDE Campaign Comes to Monrovia Canyon Park
- The City of Monrovia Presents the Thankful & Grateful Holiday Gathering
- The Historic Anderson House Museum Needs Your Help!
- Letter Writing Station Now Open at the Library
REI #OPTOUTSIDE Campaign Comes to Monrovia Canyon Park
On Tuesday, November 5, 55 employees from REI in Arcadia, visited Canyon Park to launch their #OPTOUTSIDE campaign. Their goal was to give back to their community by making a significant impact and improving an outdoor experience for others. REI employees spent over two hours removing Ageratina adenophora, an invasive non-native plant species from our riparian ecosystem along the waterfall trail. This invasive plant changes the environment, making conditions less favorable for native plants and alters the flow of our water system. Removal of this invasive plant requires hand pulling and uprooting the plant from Canyon Parks waterfall stream bed. REI employees spread across the stream covering approximately 1 mile of the waterfall trail, reducing the threat of non-native invasive plants and restoring the biological integrity of Canyon Park. Many thanks to REI employees who truly made a difference in Canyon Park!
The City of Monrovia Presents the Thankful & Grateful Holiday Gathering
Join your neighbors and friends at Monrovia Library Park for a Thankful and Grateful Holiday Gathering! This FREE event will include: Live Entertainment, Truck Petting Zoo, Library Story Times, Community Booths, Arts & Crafts, Hay Rides, and a Community Art Project. At 7:30 p.m., don't miss a special guest who will assist in the lighting of the Holiday Tree in Library Park!
Monrovia Public Library’s Veterans Resource Center Recognized by Senator Anthony Portantino
The Monrovia Public Library’s Veterans Resource Center was awarded a California State Senate Certificate of Recognition on November 11, 2019. Senator Anthony J. Portantino awarded the certificate to the library for supporting veterans and ensuring their access to resources. Veterans Coordinator, Mabel Cross, accepted the award on behalf of staff and dedicated volunteers who serve veterans and their family members in the community. Visit the Veterans Resource Center online to learn more.
The Historic Anderson House Museum Needs Your Help!
The 1886 George H. Anderson House museum needs a new roof. It’s crumbling so badly that from inside you can see the sun shining through. The Anderson House is one of the first ten homes built in Monrovia. It is maintained by the Monrovia Historical Society as a museum, giving visitors a walk back in time. It's filled to the brim with every imaginable item a family had in the 1800s. It was built in 1886 by John Anderson for his family after he built the very first commercial building in Monrovia -- the Monrovia Hotel. His son George lived in it until 1975 when it sparked the formation of the Historical Society, whose sole mission was to preserve and share it.
You can help protect this unique treasure. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made through the following methods:
- Mail a check to:
Monrovia Historical Society
PO Box 1898
Monrovia, CA 91017
Note: Anderson House Roof Fund on your check
- Visit the Historical Society website
- Visit the GoFundMe page
You are invited to share these links with friends and on social media – the wider the word is spread, the better.
The Monrovia Historical Society is 40 years old this year, formed specifically to care for the Anderson House. Scores of folks have donated their time, money, and treasures to give us this priceless gem. It’s our turn to make sure it doesn’t disappear. If you would have questions, need a formal request or a grant application sent to your group, please email the Monrovia Historical Society at or call Sandy Burud, Vice President at (626) 675-8323.
Letter Writing Station @ the Library
Come to the Youth Services area of the Library and write a letter to someone special. You can write to Santa and let him know what you want for the holiday, send a letter to a deployed member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or write to your favorite book character. This passive program strengthens penmanship, spelling, vocabulary, and communication skills. The Letter Writing Station will be available from November 4 through December 7, 2019. Be sure to visit the Monrovia Public Library online to view their entire calendar of events!
Help Fill The Boot!
Monrovia firefighters will be on the intersection of Huntington Dr. and Mayflower Ave., on November 20, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., for the annual Fill the Boot drive, helping raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Donations will help sustain funding towards MDA’s medical research, specialized care centers, summer camps and various charitable platforms, including support systems for children, adults and their families affected by neuromuscular diseases.
Assemblymember Holden to Host Holiday Open House & Shoe Drive
Assemblymember Chris Holden will host the Annual Holiday Open House and Shoe Drive on Tuesday, December 3, at 5:30 p.m. The community is invited to come discuss legislative and community issues, and to learn more about services offered through the district office. In the spirit of the holidays, a shoe drive will be held in partnership with Shoes That Fit to provide socks and shoes for local children in need. Learn more about the Open House & Shoe Drive.
Monrovia Renewal Construction Updates
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, paving operations will continue on portions of:
- Bradoaks Avenue, Norumbega Drive, and Greystone Avenue.
Paving operations are scheduled to begin on Monday, November 18 in the South Section Project area. It is anticipated that paving will take three days and include the following locations:
- Myrtle Avenue from the southern City limits to Duarte Road
- Evergreen Avenue from Myrtle Avenue to Mountain Avenue
- And portions of 5th Avenue, Montana, and Bonita.
Motorists should expect traffic delays in all of the work areas. Please drive safely and adhere to all posted traffic control, detour, and parking restriction signs.
In the coming weeks, crews will focus on the installation of roadway striping and the raising of all manholes and utility covers.
General Construction Cleanup
As major construction activity is winding down in the Monrovia Renewal work areas, construction crews will be focusing on clean-up activities and punch list items that include, removal and cleanup of all construction materials, restoration of any damaged areas of streets, sidewalks, and parkways and general housekeeping. It is our goal to ensure that when construction is complete the work area is in better condition when we began work. Please be sure to contact our Public Works Department at (626) 932-5575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns or items that need to be addressed.
Response to State Auditor Report Listing Monrovia as Being in Poor Financial Health
Recently, 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.
Report Your Coyote Sightings
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.
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 Dec. 11), the Alexan Multi-Family Development with 436 units at Station Square (Planning Commission review on Jan. 15), and the Arroyo at Monrovia Station Multi-Family Development with 302 units (Planning Commission reviewed on Nov. 13). For more details, visit the Development Spotlight or Building Monrovia webpages.
Additional Upcoming Events
- Monrovia Chamber of Commerce Community Prayer Breakfast | November 22 | 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.