ON THE AGENDA: City Council February 13, 2024
A 5:30 start for block grant presentations, development code amendments, and new poles and light for Luckie Park
Editor’s note: It’s not on this agenda but TBID sponsorship and event grants are due on February 15. There are two levels of granting available: sponsorship grants up to $3,000 have a relatively simple application, and grants for $3,000 - $20,000 require a bit more work to complete. Close to $200,000 is available to fund events in 2024. If the February 15 deadline feels a bit tight, there is a 2nd deadline on April 1. Guidelines and applications at Visit29.org.
While this is the first open meeting since City Council met on January 23, Council members have been busy meeting out of the public eye, presumably working on a City Manager appointment. The list of meetings, the subject per the agenda, the report given, and any notes on content from the meeting minutes are below.
January 9: Anticipated Litigation — “no reportable action”
January 17: Public Employment, City Manager — “no reportable action.” “The City Attorney provided guidance on the interview process and the importance of confidentiality of the prospective applicants for the City Manager position.”
January 30: Public Employment, City Manager — “no reportable action”
February 7: Public Employment, City Manager — minutes not yet available
It’s clear that our City Council as advised by their City Attorney intends to continue the lack of transparency evident with these closed sessions and lack of required reporting. In addition to the closed sessions listed above, City Council conducted eight closed meetings in 2023. All of us at The Desert Trumpet are concerned that the City is too often conducting business out of the public eye and failing to do the reporting required by the Brown Act. They are also accruing City Attorney expenses because any closed meeting must be held in the presence of the City Attorney.
As usual we will cover the agenda highlights. We encourage our readers to review the full agenda for this meeting.
WORKSHOP: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Presentations for 2024-2025 Council is meeting 30 minutes early to receive information on several applications for funding. As we reported in our agenda summary for January 23, Council prefers to use money received from Community Development Block Grants to fund City projects, then allocate general funds for requests from non-profits for community projects. Three-minute presentations will be made by Reach Out Morongo Basin, Twentynine Palms Community Food Pantry, Morongo Basin Unity Home, and the Twentynine Palms Public Library Adult Literacy program followed by questions from Council. Each organization’s project details are attached to the staff report for this item.
The Consent Calendar usually consists of routine items approved with single vote, such a meeting minutes and City expenses. Additional items for this meeting include a brief Treasurer’s report and expenses for road overlay.
Development Code Amendment - Article 3 Administration, Permits and Procedures This item may sound familiar from our January 23 agenda preview. As it turns out, there was a technical issue with the presentation so the hearing was postponed.
The City continues to bring its development code into compliance with the State and correct inconsistencies; public hearings were held about these changes by the Planning Commission in their October 17 and December 5 meetings last year. These code changes include Approval Requirements, Fees and Deposits, Site Plan Review, Administrative Use Permit, Conditional Use Permit, Planned Development, Specific Plan, Sidewalk Vending, Transient Peddling and Soliciting, Mobile Food Trucks, and Historic Preservation.
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
Designation of a Delegate and Alternate Delegate for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Annual Regional Conference and General Assembly. From the SCAG website, “Founded in 1965, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is a Joint Powers Authority under California state law, established as an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues.” The localities represented are Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in addition to 191 cities and six transportation commissions.
This year’s General Assembly is May 2-3 in Palm Desert. Sponsors include the Port of Long Beach, Charter Communications,Spectrum Enterprises, and Rutan and Tucker— which happens to be the firm of our City Attorney.
Luckie Park BallField Light Pole Replacement and Upgrade. The replacement of 22 dilapidated wood light poles and dated lights at Luckie Park landed in the top three priorities during last year’s strategic planning sessions. Only one bid was received— from Qualite Sports Lighting, which was responsible for the lighting at Knott’s Sky Park. The quotes are in and the costs are as follows:
Steel light poles and LED light fixtures: $778,328.00
Contingency in case of electrical issues: $254,155.00
The quote doesn’t include disposal of the 22 wood poles. Details of the bid are in the staff report for this item. Council has the option of accepting the bid or re-bidding the project.
You have an opportunity to comment on these agenda items and issues important to you at every City Council meeting. Please use the opportunity to question your City Council members on the issues affecting our City. Comments on agenda items take place during the discussion of that item. Comments on non-agenda items take place near the end of the meeting. The Brown Act prevents Council from commenting on non-agenda items.
To comment, pick up a green (or occasionally gold) form at the entry desk, fill it out, and hand it to the Clerk, who is usually sitting in front of the Council bench on the right side. The public can also send comments via email to City Council Members and the cc to Cindy Villescas, the Council secretary. We suggest requesting that comments be read at the meeting.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. Please note that we do not allow anonymous comments. Please be sure your first and last name is on your profile prior to commenting. Anonymous comments will be deleted.
Share this post, it’s free!
The Desert Trumpet is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Thanks to our paid subscribers, we’ve met $1,390 of our $10,000 goal. Won’t you considered upgrading to a paid subscription or making a tax deductible contribution?