Archive for the ‘Supervisors’ Category

Supervisors raise salaries for Auditor-Controller, Clerk-Recorder, Treasurer-Tax Collector, exclude Assessor

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution recognizing National Health Center Week, August 4-10, at its meeting on Tuesday. Supervisors recognized the work of Community Clinic Consortium consisting of Lifelong Medical Care, La Clinica de La Raza, and Planned Parenthood of Northern California that provide high-quality, affordable. Comprehensive primary and preventive health care in the county’s underserved communities regardless of their ability to pay, insurance or immigration status. Health centers serve more than 160,000 patients in Contra Costa County a year. Attending the resolution presentation were from left, Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, Lifelong Medical Clinic Executive Director Lucinda Bazile, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill; Community Clinic Consortium Executive Director Alvaro Fuentes, Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, and Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood. Photos by Daniel Borsuk

Glover postpones youth summit to ensure safety following recent mass shootings

By Daniel Borsuk

Supervisors unanimously approved cost of living increases to three major elected office holders but withheld a salary boost for county assessor Gus Kramer citing “a salary adjustment for the Assessor will be considered at a later date once other issues in the Department have been resolved.”

That citation is in reference to an ongoing sex harassment case lodged against Kramer by county employees. Kramer would have been in line to have received a 1.96 percent cost of living adjustment increase that would have increased his pay to $208,013.

In compliance with a Dec. 11, 2018 Board Resolution, County Administrator David Twa said his office conducted a salary comparison of analysis of elected office officials in Alameda, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Solano counties and discovered in order to bring the salaries up to Bay Area average, the salary of Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell will rise 8.45 percent to an annual salary of $225,594. The annual salary of Clerk-Recorder Joseph Canciamilla will increase 5.48 percent to a yearly salary of $210,686. The yearly salary of Treasurer-Tax Collector Russell V. Watts will rise 4.77 percent to a yearly salary of $235,611.

There was no discussion from either the supervisors or public on the topic.

Blackhawk Country Club Donates $40,000 Per Year for 10 Years for Police Services

Notching a political victory in the tony enclave of Blackhawk, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood played a role for steering the Blackhawk Country Club to donate $40,000 a year over a 10-year span to help cover police services provided by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.

A dispute had erupted recently when the Blackhawk Homeowners Association, led by association president Ron Banducci, who had called on county supervisors to intervene in urging the Blackhawk Country Club to contribute funds towards the community’s police force that consists of three deputy sheriffs and one lieutenant. Up until now, the country club had not provided funds for police services since formation of County Service Area P-2A in 1985.

Since the creation of P-2A, homeowners have shouldered the financial costs for police protection, but the county club has never provided any financial assistance for P-2A coverage. Last May, Banducci, who also serves as chairman of the Blackhawk Police Advisory Committee, warned supervisors of “any backroom deal” like the one Burgis and the country club were then discussing, the 10-year, $40,000 a year donation.

Banducci did not return a Contra Costa Herald phone call to respond to the $40,000 a year donation consent agenda item at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. There was no comment from either the public or supervisors on the item.

“I appreciate the Blackhawk Country Club’s donation to the county to support supplemental law enforcement services in the Blackhawk community,” Burgis said in a statement to the Herald. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Blackhawk Police Advisory, the Sheriff’s Office and other community shareholders to support the level of police service that the community wants.”

In a July 26 letter, sent to Burgis, that lays out details about the donation, Country Club President Scott Batiste states that this is a donation, not a tax.

“Residents of P2-A have authorized a special tax for police protection services in this area,” he wrote. “The BHCC does not pay this tax. The BHCC Board of Directors has authorized making a donation to the County of Contra Costa of $40,000 per year to support the Sheriff’s law enforcement services in P-2A each year for a ten-year period.”

Over the next 10 years, the county will receive a donation totaling $400,000 from the country club.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors recognized two recent high school graduates who are recipients of Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarships. Overall 192 California college bound high school graduates were awarded scholarships in recognition for their academics and community work. At the presentation on Tuesday were from left Board of Supervisors Chair John Gioia of Richmond, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, Freedom High School graduate Amara Payne who will attend Los Medanos College, Concord High School graduate Assal Bastani who will attend the University of California Los Angeles, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville, and Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood.

Supervisor Glover Postpones Youth Summit Over Mass Shooting Concerns

Citing the series of weekend deadly shootings triggered by ultra-right shooters in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg announced that the Youth Summit, a one-day event that he co-sponsors at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg has been postponed.

Originally slated to be held this Saturday, August 10 to draw thousands of youth in Contra Costa County, Glover announced at the supervisors meeting, “I will convene a meeting of the stakeholders, including law enforcement, to make sure we are ready to deal with active shooter scenarios and other public safety emergencies that may arise. The Youth Summit brings together a number of youth and I need to be confident as well as be able, to assure their parents that we have taken all reasonable measures to ensure their children’s safety at such a large public event.”

“As we review our protocols and formulate our plans, we will notify members of the public of our plans for a future youth summit,” Glover said in a press statement.

Approve $19.2 Million Multifamily Housing Revenue Rehab Bonds for Bay Point Apartment Building

Keeping in mind the county’s affordable housing shortage, supervisors approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of $19.2 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to finance the costs for the acquisition and rehabilitation of 88 units of rental housing known as Hidden Cove Apartments at 2900, 2911, and 2921-2931 Mary Ann Lane in Bay Point. The apartments will be initially owned at the time of the financing by Hidden Cove Apartments, LP, a California Limited Partnership.

OK Contract With Canine Companions for Independence

In another consent act, supervisors approved an agreement with Canine Companions for Independence to provide a dog to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. The dog offers comfort and assistance to victims of crimes during interviews, in-court testimony, and other traumatic situations. The cost of expenses for the care and feeding of the facility dog is estimated to be about $5,000 a year and will be covered from the District Attorney’s general fund budget.

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Supervisors seek members for Independent Oversight Committee for the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll increase

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

In 2018, voters passed Regional Measure 3 (RM3) which increased bridge tolls in the Bay Area and also established an Independent Oversight Committee. Each of 9 Bay Area counties appoint two members to the Committee. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking two members of the public to serve.

The RM3 Independent Oversight Committee (oversight committee) will be established by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) pursuant to Senate Bill 595 (which placed RM 3 on the ballot). The purpose of the Oversight Committee is to ensure that any toll revenues generated pursuant to the RM3 toll increase are expended consistent with the applicable requirements of the RM3 expenditure plan set forth in Streets and Highways Code Section 30914.7. The Oversight Committee shall annually review the expenditure of funds by BATA for the projects and programs specified in Section 30914.7 and prepare and submit a report to the transportation committee of each house of the Legislature summarizing its findings.

An individual interested in serving on the Committee must be a resident of Contra Costa County and meet the Streets and Highways Code Section 30923 (h) (3) restrictions below:

  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be a member, former member, staff, or former staff of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) or BATA.
  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be employed by any organization or person that has received or is receiving funding from MTC or BATA.
  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be a former employee or a person who has contracted with any organization or person that has received or is receiving funding from MTC or BATA within one year of having worked for or contracted with that organization or person.

The RM3 Oversight Committee is subject to open public meetings (The Brown Act). Meeting dates, frequency, and length of meetings will be established by the members of the committee. The location of meetings will be in San Francisco at the Bay Area Metro Center. BATA anticipates a stipend to members for meeting attendance. The term length for representatives is four years, and each representative is limited to two terms.

Applications are available online at https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/3418 or by contacting the Clerk of the Board’s Office at (925) 335-1900 or [email protected] Completed applications are due by 5 PM on August 9, 2019, and may be completed and submitted online, emailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, mailed or submitted to 651 Pine Street, Room 106, Martinez, CA 94553.

 

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Supervisors give green light to Habitat for Humanity Bay Point Affordable Housing Project

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

In recognition of the East Bay Regional Park District’s 85th anniversary, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution acknowledging how the park district has served the residents of Contra Costa and Alameda counties since the district’s founding in 1934. At the presentation were from left, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, East Bay Region Park District Ward 7 Board Member Colin Coffey, EBRPD Legislative Assistant Lisa Baldinger, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, EBRPD Governmental Affairs Manager Erich Pfuehler and Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen. Contra Costa voters approved a annexation to the EBRPD in 1964. Soon thereafter, Kennedy Grove and Briones were developed and opened as the first regional parks within Contra Costa County. In total, the park district consists of 122,278 acres, including more than 1,330 miles of trails, 235 family campsites, 40 fishing docks and 10 interpretative and education centers. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

SSI applications overwhelm county’s Employment & Human Services Department, hires 24 more employees

By Daniel Borsuk

A 29-unit affordable residential development planned for a Bay Point site donated to the Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay Silicon Valley got the green light from the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to proceed with construction.

On a 4-0 vote supervisors approved Habitat for Humanity’s Pacifica Landing Project on a 2.42-acre site that was willed to the nonprofit organization with the intent to build affordable housing on the vacant Pacifica Avenue property next to the Rio Vista Elementary School. Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond was absent.

There was no public opposition aired at the Supervisors meeting, but at the County Planning Commission meeting there were concerns about the lack of off-street parking and the loss of 13 trees that the developer, Habitat for Humanity, has since addressed and mitigated.

The Bay Point affordable housing project will be the second Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay/Silicon Valley development in Contra Costa County. The nonprofit organization spearheaded the construction of a 45-unit affordable townhouse development at the Contra Costa Centre/Pleasant Hill BART Station.

Mike Keller of Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay/Silicon Valley expects construction of the Pacifica Avenue project to get underway by October or November.

“This is a good project,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, whose district includes the development site. “Habitat for Humanity does good work. I’m in favor of it.”

The project will include a mix of two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom residences ranging in living area from 992 to 1,442 square feet. The townhomes will be two-story, single family residential units and will be developed in tri-plex and five-plex clusters throughout the property.

The proposed subdivision will provide 51 uncovered surface parking spaces for the residences and seven additional guest parking spaces.

Elevation of one of the Pacifica Landing Project housing units.

Board Issues Bonds for Other Housing In Bay Point, Pittsburg

In related affordable housing board action, supervisors voted to approve as consent agenda items two resolutions authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds – one of not more than $19.2 million to finance the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of an 88-unit, multi-family housing rental development called Hidden Cove Apartments located at 2921-2931 Mary Ann Lane, also in Bay Point. A second bond issuance of $42.4 million will be for offering mortgage loans or otherwise providing funds to finance the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of multifamily rental housing, including units for lower income households and very low income households for a borrower of 200 units of multifamily rental housing units known as Marina Heights Apartments located at 2 Marina Blvd. in Pittsburg.

In the event the two bonds are issued, the county will be reimbursed for costs incurred in the issuance process. No county funds are pledged to secure the bonds. The Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department oversees the program.

SSI Applications Overwhelms County Department

Supervisors learned expansion of the CalFresh program on June 1, has squeezed the county Employment & Human Services Department to hire 24 additional staff since July 7 because the department has received 3,562 Food Stamp applications, Kathy Gallagher, Employment and Human Services Director, reported.

Effective June 1, persons receiving Supplemental Security Income/Supplementary Payments through the Social Security Administration are eligible for CalFresh or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This development has triggered a surge of CalFresh applications that has partially hobbled the Employment and Human Services Department’s ability to promptly process applications.

Initially, the county department expected to receive 2,512 applications for CalFresh, but the rising number of submissions is forcing department officials to reconfigure personnel needs. “We can handle this,” Gallagher assured supervisors.

“I’m glad that the SSI Cal Fresh benefit for each recipient to live on is now $900 a month,” remarked Larry Sly of the Contra Costa Food Bank.

Environmental Health Chief Underwood Leaving

The Contra Costa Herald has learned that Contra Costa County Environmental Health Department Director Dr. Marilyn Underwood will be leaving her post. It was announced during the Board of Supervisors meeting, but supervisors were unavailable to comment about Dr. Underwood’s announcement.

Dr. Underwood has led the county environmental health department since March 2011.

The Herald has learned from one source that the environmental health chief, who has overseen or been involved in the Keller Canyon Landfill/Hunters Point Naval Shipyard radiation case, the countywide anti-litter program along with other environmental health duties, has decided to retire.

Neither Dr. Underwood nor her press contact were available for comment at before the Herald’s deadline.

Supervisors Approve New Ammunition Distributor for Sheriff

Supervisors approved Sheriff David O. Livingston’s request to change its new Winchester Ammunition Distributor from Adamson Police Products to Dooley Enterprises. Winchester has informed the Sheriff’s Office that they had to change distributors in Northern California from Adamson to Dooley. The supervisors’ consent action will permit a new purchase order with Dooley Enterprises as the new Winchester Ammunition Distributor for the Office of the Sheriff. The new purchase order with Dooley Enterprises, Inc. is in the amount of $450,000 for the purchase of ammunition for the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021.

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Supervisors approve $13 million plan to reduce number of mentally ill in county jail

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

May is Foster Parent Recognition Month

The Contra Cost Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14 recognized May as Foster Parent Recognition Month. Supervisors’ resolution noted there are approximately 1,100 children and youngsters in foster care in the county. At the ceremony, supervisors presented the resolution to first time foster parents Patricia and Ryan Streeter of Antioch, who became the foster parents of two-month-old Samuel. The couple are the parents of their eight-year-old biological son Josiah. The supervisors’ resolution noted the importance of Foster Parent Recognition Month in Contra Costa County for “being provided with a safe, secure and stable home environment, along with the compassion and nurturing of foster relative and non-relative families….” Photo by D. Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.

Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.

Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.

Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.

“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.

The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:

  • “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
  • “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
  • “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
  • “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
  • “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
  • “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
  • “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
  • “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
  • “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
  • “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
  • “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
  • “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
  • “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”

Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:

Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project

Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.

Emergency Driving Program

Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.

Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center

Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.

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Supervisors ramp up sales tax discussion before approving $3.69 billion 2019-20 budget

Monday, May 13th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented resolutions of recognition to Scott Walchek, founder NS president of Trov, a Danville-based on-demand insurance company, and to Sylvia Lewis vice president of Sigray Inc., a Pacheco-based X-ray technology company, for both companies being 2019 Innovation Award finalists and winners. Photo by Daniel Borsuk.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a status-quo $3.69 billion budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year at Tuesday’s meeting, but supervisors made more noise about the possibility they could be pushed to propose a countywide sales tax measure to cover rising labor and health care costs averaging about 3 percent for 2019-2020.

“We need some type of local tax revenue, but there is nothing under consideration right now,” Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond told the Contra Costa Herald after supervisors approved next fiscal year’s spending plan that attracted several critics of Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston’s $10 million budget increase request over recent charges one deputy had sexually and physically abused female inmates at the West County Detention Facility. That deputy has been dismissed by the sheriff.

When County Administrator David Twa initially presented the 2019-2020 tentative budget at an April 23 meeting, supervisors had sparingly talked around the tax issue idea, but at the May 7 meeting all five supervisors were more outspoken about the potential tax idea.

Citing how Alameda County produces $150 million in annual revenue from its sales tax, Gioia said, “We struggle with less.” In addition to Alameda County, San Mateo and San Francisco counties financially benefit from revenue coming from a sales tax.

“John is absolutely right, “said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover. “We need another revenue source. We need to continue to grow our resources.”

District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis hinted she could possibly support a sales tax measure given the current state of the county’s inability to deliver public services while adequately fulfilling the financial and health benefit needs of employees. “We are leveraging our dollars and our employees. We can do better,” Burgis said.

Vice Chair Candace Andersen doubted a countywide sales tax measure would win voter support. “I don’t know how a sales tax measure would get passed by the voters,” the supervisor from Danville said.

Supervisors OK DA Investigators Association Labor Pact

Supervisors unanimously approved a new four-year labor contract with the District Attorney Investigators’ Association. Investigators will earn from $8,293.27 per month to $11,480.60 per month based on seniority. The contract runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2023.

8-Unit Pacheco Townhouse Approved

Without opposition from the public, supervisors unanimously approved developer Andy Akay’s plans to construct an eight-unit townhouse subdivision development at 214 Center Ave. in Pacheco. The three-story development will be constructed on a vacant .49-acre parcel of property. Each unit will have a two-car garage. The two bedroom and three-bedroom units will have living areas of 2,199 square feet to 2,203 square feet each.

Chaplaincy Services Contract Approved

Supervisors also approved as a consent item a Sheriff-Coroner contract with the Bay Area Chaplains, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $162,000. The Bay Area Chaplains will provide chaplaincy services in adult detention facilities from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Services will include providing materials, counseling, bible studies, worship services and responding to crisis and emergencies involving inmates or staff.

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Supervisors review proposed $3.7 billion budget, discuss potential new tax

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Supervisors were presented Tuesday a proposed $3.69 billion budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 that sparked dialogue among supervisors of potentially developing a new tax source in order to support the county’s growing service needs, especially in the areas of health, medical, employment and human services.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget consists of $1.7 billion in county imposed general fund revenue that is approximately the same level of local tax revenue budgeted for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year. State and federal funds make up the other $2 billion in budget revenue.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to instruct county administrator David Twa to present the budget for adoption at its May 7 meeting. Vice chair Candace Andersen of Danville was absent at the time of the vote.

“After several years of relative stability, we now enter a period of needing to adjust our county budget to meet challenges due to uncertainties to countywide revenue streams (especially in the Health Services and the Employment & Human Services departments), compounded by sharply rising wage and benefit costs,” County Administrator Twa wrote in his 2019-2020 budget presentation. CCCo Budget Presentation 19-20 Draft

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year county officials plan to wrap up labor negotiations with the Physicians and Dentists Organization that represents workers in the Health and Human Services and at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Clinics, the District Attorney Investigators Association, the Deputy Services Association and the In-Home Supportive Services Association.

Even in a good economy, Contra Costa County employees find themselves underpaid on average 5 percent to 8 percent of what their counterparts earn at similar jobs in the Bay Area. Supervisors listened to a number of speakers representing the county’s health care system, Contra Costa CARES, that the county needs to boost salaries of its healthcare workers 8 percent if it expects to retain employees.

For next fiscal year, county medical director Anna Roth proposed that the supervisors approve a 3 percent cost of living adjustment, designate $135 million in county general funds, count on $1.6 billion in revenues, but expect expenses of $1.8 billion. The department plans to expand the West County Behavioral Health Center next year, she said.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill upon noticing a projected a combined general fund deficit from health services and human services of at least $30 million.

Noting how other Bay Area counties like San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo can adequately pay county workers because of additional tax revenues streaming in from property and sales tax sources, board chair John Gioia of Richmond said, “Other counties have robust tax revenue resources. We don’t have that.”

“You say we need more money,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “We have to be creative.”

Employment and Human Services Director Kathy Gallagher said to balance her department’s budget for 2019-2020 she will have to eliminate 67 positions. For next fiscal year, EHS will have 1,904 fulltime positions in order to operate its diverse operations such as Adult Protection Services that has undergone some criticism for alleged financial abuse of its clients.

Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston has proposed a $7 million increase for salaries and benefits for his 685 sworn officers and 350 non-sworn personnel. For next fiscal year, the sheriff plans to hire three additional sworn officers. Planning for a proposed 128 bed mental health facility for the West County Detention Center in Richmond is back on track after being sidelined for rising construction costs, mostly related to steel tariffs.

With $44 million proposed for the District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Diana Becton plans to increase staffing in the human trafficking unit by $1 million. The DA Office has 222.5 positions on the payroll of which 102 are attorneys, 33 are investigators, 17 are victim/witness experts, and 70.5 are administrative support.

A $3.7 million project at Buchanan Air Field is one of the big tasks on drawing boards for the Public Works Department next fiscal year, department director Brian Balbas said, but the biggest challenge is retaining staff. With a $254 million budget and 545 employees, Balbas said his department is hampered by a high turnover rate of more than 20 percent when workers find better paying jobs at other counties or in the private sector. “The focus for 2019/2020 will be in recruitment and retention,” he told supervisors.

Public Defender Robin Lipesky said in addition to handling 6,900 misdemeanor cases, 3,747 felony cases, and 450 bail hearings, her department handled 600 Stand Together Contra Costa legal consultations, a new duty of her department. Citing a decline in the county’s juvenile population and a decline in the juvenile hall population, the department plans to cut 22 juvenile justice positions, she said.

Supervisors Salary Ordinance Approved

On a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Candace Andersen of Danville and Diane Burgis of Brentwood casting the dissenting votes, supervisors approved an ordinance that will raise their salaries at an established percentage, 65 percent of the annual salary of the Office of Superior Court Judge, effective January 1, 2021.

Effective June 30, each supervisor will earn a monthly base salary of $9,736.75, equivalent to an annual salary of $116,841.

From July 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019 supervisors will each earn an annual salary equal to 60 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge as prescribed by the state legislature. Supervisors will receive another salary boost effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 at a base of 63 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. A third and final salary hike equal to 65 percent of the annual salary for the Office of Superior Court Judge in Contra Costa County would go into effect after January 1, 2021.

In addition to the pay increases, each supervisor will receive reimbursement for “reasonable expenses incurred in the conduct of such office” and “eligibility for an eighty-five-dollar monthly contribution to the county’s deferred compensation plan in the same manner as other exempt management employees.”

Each supervisor will also receive an automobile allowance of $600 per month and, in addition to the automobile allowance, mileage at the rate per mile allowed by the Internal Revenue Service as a deductible expense, for all miles driven by the supervisor on county business outside that supervisor’s district.

Supervisors OK Revised WCCTAC Transit Mitigation Fee

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved revised property transportation mitigation fees developers in unincorporated parts of the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee area of El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo that have been in place since 1997.

No one spoke either in favor of or in protest against the fees that are assessed to go towards construction of transportation projects.

Since the inception of the WCCTAC transit mitigation fees in 1997, $11.6 million has been raised to help alleviate transportation impacts from residential, commercial or industrial development, said John Cunningham of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.

Revenues from the transit mitigation fee cover 19 percent of the construction costs of transit projects in the WCCTAC area. Some of those projects include $9,672 towards a $50,903 San Pablo Avenue complete streets project, $156 for the I-580/Harbour Way Interchange pedestrian and bicycle access improvements, $10,175 for the Hercules Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, and $20,749 for capital improvements to the I-80 Express Bus Service.

Accessory dwelling units are exempt from the revised transit mitigation fees that will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will increase or decrease every July 1 thereafter based by the annual percentage change in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index for the San Francisco Bay Area for the 12 month period ending with the February index of the same year in which the increase or decrease will take effect

The new WCCTAC transit mitigation fees are multi-family residential, $5,439 per dwelling unit; senior housing, $1,469 per dwelling unit; hotel, $3,481 per hotel unit; retail/service, $6.59 per square foot; office, $8.12 per square foot; industrial, $5.56 per square foot; storage facility, 0.76 per square foot; and other, $7 per square foot.

Red Cross Community Services Award Recipients

As a consent items, supervisors adopted resolutions honoring Bryan Canty of Antioch as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Good Samaritan Award, Samantha Barhouse, also of Antioch, as recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Disaster Service Award, and the San Damiano Retreat Center of Danville, as the recipient of the 2019 Red Cross Community Service Award.

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County Supervisors agree to raise salaries on 4-1 vote

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Antioch’s Delta Veterans Group honored

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution recognizing the services of the Delta Veterans Group, a nonprofit organization founded by veteran J.R. Wilson. Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood presented the resolution to Wilson at Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting in Martinez. Since 2012, the Delta Veterans Group has sponsored its annual Stand Down event at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) in Antioch. At the event veterans can receive full medical treatments, court and legal services, DMV, chaplain services, housing, addiction and mental health counseling, employment and many other community services. Veterans are also provided clothing, meals, sleeping tents, and a safe place to stand down. The next Stand Down event will be held in September at the Contra Costa Event Park. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Contra Costa County Supervisors approved on a 4-1 vote the ordinance that ties their base salaries to 60 percent of the salaries of superior court judges. Supervisor Candace Andersen cast the dissenting vote. The pay raise goes into effect for the period between July 2, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019; then increases to 63 percent of judges’ salaries for 2020 and finally to 65 percent of judges’ salaries thereafter.

Supervisors will receive the same periodic increases as are as granted by the legislature to the judges as recommended by the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee.

Supervisors waived the reading of the ordinance and fixed their April 16 meeting for adoption of the ordinance. Two weeks ago, supervisors had voted 3-1 with Andersen opposing and Supervisor Diane Burgis absent due to recuperation from heart surgery.

In casting a negative vote again this week, Andersen said, “I still have my reservations. We still earn Bay Area salary, but this isn’t a full-time job. It’s more than a full-time job. I can leave my house at 8 a.m. and not return until 10 p.m.”

Consider Exempting Transportation Impact Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units

Supervisors can be expected to adopt a policy aimed at exempting the imposition of public transit fees on homeowners wanting to build accessory dwelling units to homes as a jab of slowing down the Bay Area’s runaway rising housing costs.

Supervisors on Tuesday instructed county Conservation & Development Department (CDD) officials to draft a policy that would halt the levying of transit impact fees on ADU applications in unincorporated Contra Costa County, a move that could lift a financial burden off the shoulders of homeowners wanting to add living units onto their homes. ADU transit impact fees are imposed taxes for public transit improvement or road construction to mitigate increased public transit patronage and automobile trips stemming from ADU construction.

Based on county data, since 2017, there’ve been 130 ADU’s approved, 42 interior conversions and 88 new footprint additions approved.   County records also show 130 ADU permits were issued via administrative means such as variance or deviation from the standards. Total ADU tax revenues data collected during that two-year period was unavailable.

“Ultimately, however, the reduction and or elimination of traffic impact fees would unavoidably create a funding gap.” warned CDD Director John Kopchik in a memo to supervisors. “That gap cannot be filled using the fee program’s revenue and must be backfilled with other sources.”

So far there has been political posturing locally and out of Sacramento concerning the status of ADU transit fees, but housing affordability advocates have maintained ADU transit fee are part of the reason for the Bay Area’s housing unaffordability crisis.

Leading the charge on the ADU fee exemption conversation at the county level has been board chair John Gioia of Richmond who has been tuned into the ADU and tax exemption discussions at West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee level.

Gioia said by exempting the transit fees it would remove financial barrier on homeowners wanting to add onto their homes. In West County, the additional costs a homeowner pays on average per ADU is $10,000 the supervisor said.

Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville praised the ADU transit fee exemption fee proposal saying” It’s a great way for families to stay together.”

CDD staff is expected to present a draft ordinance on the ADU tax exemption proposal sometime either in June or July.

Mitchoff Gets Heat Over Library Closure

The upcoming closure of the Pleasant Hill Public Library drew protests from upset community residents, some of whom accused Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill of playing into the hands of real estate interests by closing down the library too soon.

Besides the construction of a new library, the county in conjunction with the city of Pleasant Hill are making way for the construction of a housing development on county owned property long vacant nearby the library.

The outdated library will be demolished in late spring or early summer to clear the site for a new library that will eventually feature a café, a used book store and shelf space for 70,000 books. The new library will be completed in 2021 and according to Pleasant Hill residents like Dick Offerman that won’t help middle school students who rely on the library to study.

Mitchoff took issue with Offerman’s statement that the library’s closure would negatively impact middle school students.

“I’ve visited the library when middle school students are there and many of them are playing video games rather than studying,” she said.

Pat Morgan also of Pleasant Hill criticized supervisor Mitchoff for not doing enough in keeping the old library open.

“It’s unacceptable. This demonstrates real estate money interest. Greed. It’s shameful, “she said.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to District Attorney Diana Beckton (center) and nine persons for their work in defending crime victims’ issues and their rights at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. The event marks the District Attorney Office’s commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13. This year’s awardees are Juliann Marlang for Special Courage, Sarah Alpert for Making a Difference, United Parcel Service driver Jesse Gregory for Above and Beyond, Sandra Guiterrez-Banales for Victim Advocate, Laura Muro for Support Staff, Senior Inspector Rick Rivera for DA Investigators, Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler for Attorney, Detective Joseph Nunemaker for Law Enforcement and Nancy Kenoyer for Probation Officer. Vigils were held on Thursday, at the Family Justice Center, in Concord and Pittsburg City Hall. On Saturday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. the Survivors Speak National Healing Vigil will be held at the Sojourner Truth Church 2621 Shane Dr., Richmond. This year’s theme – Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future – encourages commemoration, honor, and respect toward the crime victim advocates, allied professionals, and selfless volunteers who have worked for increased rights for crime victims. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Consent Items Approved

Supervisors approved the Sheriff-Coroner’s request to purchase Automated License Plate Reader cameras in the Discovery Bay area for an amount not to exceed $283,000. The ALPR camera capabilities are not only for the detection of stolen vehicles, but also as an investigative tool for persons and property crimes.

They also approved and authorized the Sheriff-Coroner to execute a contract with the State of California, 23rd District Agricultural Association (Contra Costa County Fair Board), including all indemnification of the State of California, to pay the county an amount not to exceed $35,000 to provide law enforcement services at the County Fair for the period of May 15-19, 2019.

Approve the collection loss write-offs in the public housing program in the amount of $106,729.09 for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, which is up nearly double from the $50,381.06 in collection losses for the same quarter in 2018. The Bayo Vista housing development in Rodeo led with the most loss write-offs with $73,470.36 followed by the Vista del Camino housing development in San Pablo with $10,501.

Supervisors also approved new Housing Choice Voucher payment standards for the Housing Authority that goes into effect April 15. Studio to three-bedroom sized unit payments standards have been reduced between $19 to $101 while the four to seven-bedroom sized payment standards are being increased between $121 and $175.

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County Supervisors approve funding for Kirker Pass truck lane, Northern Waterfront Initiative

Friday, March 1st, 2019

By Daniel Borsuk

With Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood absent from the meeting because she was recuperating from successful heart surgery on Monday, Contra Costa County Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve a variety of consent calendar agenda items during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26. They included the following, the first two of which will benefit Antioch residents:

Kirker Pass Road Truck Lane Funding

Supervisors awarded a $14,153,763 contract to Granite Rock Company to construct the Kirker Pass Road Northbound Truck Climbing Lane project. Construction is set to begin this summer to add a truck lane on Kirker Pass Road from the Concord Pavilion to Hess Road. The addition of the lane is designed to reduce accidents caused by trucks traveling up Kirker Pass Road. Other contractors and their bids at the Jan. 22 disclosure were: Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc., $14,886,666; Ghilotti Construction Company, Inc., $15,225,077. 60; Gordon N. Ball, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Flatiron West, Inc. $15,528,038.20; Granite Construction Co, $16, 073, 185.10; O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. $16,073, 788 and DeSilva Gates Construction, $17,500,000.

Waterfront Initiative Funding

Supervisors approved the new funding allocations of $142,500 to implement approved Northern Waterfront initiatives planned for 2019-2020. Those expenditures included $50,000 for the Hercules site exploration for bioscience, $12,000 for a May forum, $10,000 for State Lands/Crockett waterfront access, $70,000 for collaborative marketing and a marketing video. Supervisors had budgeted $500,000 in 2017 to cover Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative projects. Since the initiative’s launch, the only expenditure since then has been the $263,000 to consultant contracts or grant match.

Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle Funding

Spending $1.3 million from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District budget to buy a Type I Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle that will be owned and operated by the county fire district. The acquisition of a new Type I Hazardous Material Response Vehicle will allow the fire district to own and operate its own vehicle. Since the formation of the county’s Hazardous Materials Team in 2016, the team has operated a vehicle on loan from the California Office of Emergency Services. That vehicle was recently out of service for over 30 days while it received warranty related repairs in Sacramento. That compromised the Contra Costa County team’s ability to respond to hazardous response incidents. Buying this vehicle will permit the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to respond to future hazardous material response incidents.

Emerging Aeronautical Technologies to Be Promoted at County Airports

Supervisors permitted County Airports Director Keith Freitas to promote and market Buchanan Field and Byron Airport as testing locations for emerging aeronautical and aeronautical related technologies. There will be no financial cost to the county general fund associated with the promotion and marketing campaign. Airport staff and any county counsel staff time will be charged to the Airport Enterprise Fund.

Paying Additional $11,000 to Winchester for Sheriff’s Department Ammunition

Supervisors agreed to pay an additional $11,000 to buy Winchester ammunition for the Office of the Sheriff because after more than 20 years, Winchester has changed its ammunition distributor in Northern California from Adamson Police Products to Dooley Enterprises. In 2017, the Office of the Sheriff executed a new purchase order with Dooley Enterprises as the new Winchester ammunition distributor to meet future training and duty ammunition demands. As a result of the change in the purchase order. the county will have paid $411,000, not $400,000 for the purchase of ammunition for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

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