In what started out as a productive meeting, Live Oak Council members approved the Application Design Phase for the 2017 Community Development Block Grant Program for the chance to be awarded $47,900 in CDBG funds. Live Oak has had many successes with CDBG grants in the past such as for rehabilitating the Oddfellows Hall, the Maple Park Project, River Front Project, Live Oak Skate Park along with many other projects.
Management Analyst Alison Schmidt remarked the City has received several million dollars in the past in CDBG funds.
Mayor Jason Banks stated he would love to see high speed internet and underground wiring added to the list of possible projects should the City receive a portion of the $5 million total available.
A lengthy discussion followed regarding changing Live Oak's Municipal code related to Water and Sewer Capacity and Connection Fees.
Council woman Diane Hodges was happy that the amount for water for single family use and wastewater were now going to be lower.
It was quickly pointed out that the connection fee for water at Dollar General was $34,000 for the 20,700 sq. ft. building but at the new rate the it would be $58,000 for the same size building.
Mayor Banks asked that the new rate not be accepted as the City needed to be more competitive, closer to what Gridley and Yuba City charge noting that there are 300 houses to build still in Live Oak.
"Let's wait til those are built before raising our connection fee," the Mayor suggested.
The matter was tabled until a study session could be arranged to discuss further.
In other matters, the City of Live Oak received $10 million in Tiger Funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation over the summer for the State Highway 99 project.
City Engineer Scott Roles reported that the State of California approved $26.5 million for three projects which will be consolidated into one later.
"The actual design will not be done for a year. We are accepting funds but there is a lot of the work to be done. The next deadline, for start of design is December. A resolution giving the Mayor authority to sign the agreement was approved by Council understanding that there will be amendments.
Many residents came to support Recology for their waste services as the City considered interest from Republic Service in entering into a bid process. Recology has served the City of Live Oak at least 38 years possibly 40 and residents made it clear they wanted them to stay.
Mayor Banks stated he hoped Recology would sharpen their pencil more when submitting their next bid.
Residents such as Kathy Baland were appreciative for the excellent service along with community involvement noting they give almost $200 for the school's recycling workshop.
"Every time we ask them they provide to the community," she stated.
It was noted that when customers forget to put their trash bins out and call, employees come back later in the day to remove the trash.
The subject of utility rate adjustments brought differing views of the action taken at the last meeting when the Council voted 5-0 to start the process over and shelve the $100,000 study done by Hansford Economic Consulting.
City Manager Jim Goodwin came prepared to discuss options Wednesday night but was essentially shut down by Mayor Banks.
The Mayor and Goodwin disagreed on the direction given to staff at the September 27 meeting asking City Attorney Brant Bordsen for direction but Bordsen pointed out he was not at the meeting in question.
Vice Mayor Aleks Tica and Council woman Hodges expressed interest in looking at the study to possibly be able to use part of it.
When the question of a study session was brought up by Tica Hodges stated they had already had four study sessions each lasting five hours.
Hodges pointed out the matter could not be voted on Wednesday night and Bordsen agreed stating it could be put on a future agenda for consideration.
Goodwin stated he was not asking for action at this meeting, merely providing options for the future - such as adopting sewer rates as proposed, adopting sewer rates as proposed and adopting water rates at 95 percent of HEC proposal or starting over.
Council woman Hodges stated, "I just wanted a discussion to look at options to acknowledge we were going to lower sewer rates and let the public know and bring input," with the Mayor agreeing transparency and honesty is important.