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On The City Council Agenda – May 6, 2014

Hidden Agenda ClipartIt’s been a nice but short vacation since the Tustin City Council had an extra week off this past month. And, while the last meeting in April was extremely short, don’t expect that to happen again, at least for awhile.

Highlighting the agenda this week is a second go at implementing a land exchange between the city and the Army Reserve that would, in effect, move the Army Reserve to another parcel of MCAS property off Warner Avenue and Redhill. The deal had already been agreed upon a few months ago but, the bureaucracy is never satisfied. The Feds wanted a few changes to documentation and to the deal itself. City staff assure us the essentials are the same and the most important issue for the taxpayer, a no cost swap, is intact.

Although construction of new Reserve facilities will take some time to complete (I’d say at least two years), the city has agreed to a lease back of the existing facilities to the Army at no cost to them. Relocation of the Reserve Center is a win-win for the city and the Feds. Let’s hope it sticks this time.

If you plan on buying one of the recently approved homes being built by Standard Pacific, expect to pay for the privilege through a Mello-Roos tax being pondered at tonight’s meeting. The City Council will no doubt go along with staff recommendations to saddle new homeowners in the area with a $29 million dollar bond issue to finance what should be financed by the developers and the city.

The tax includes infrastructure for the TUSD as well. However, an opt-out clause would lower the tax should the school district decide to finance their own CFD in the same area. Either way, the new homeowner should be wary as the CFD(s) could cost a significant amount with a questionable return. Our opinion is that Mello-Roos should have been eliminated along with Redevelopment Agencies.

In other business, city staff are recommending a change to city ordinances in regard to Waste Reduction and Recycling Plans. As new state laws have been effected, city ordinances require modification. As staff anticipate future changes to state CALGreen laws, they are suggesting incorporating future changes by reference. A great idea as long as staff stay on top of future changes.

Closed Session

Conference With Legal Counsel – Initiation and Exposure to Litigation, 2 items each.

Conference With Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

Conference With Real Property Negotiators

MCAS Property – Tustin Unified School District

Boys & Girls Club – 580 W. 6th St.

MCAS Property – South Orange County Community College District

MCAS Property – Pacific Coast Investors

U.S. Army Reserve – Land swap, current facilities for equal parcel located at Warner & Redhill

Regular Session

Public Hearing Item 1

Community Develpment Block Grant Funding Allocation, Fiscal Year 2014-15 Action Plan. $688,674. Proposed recipients include:

Boys & Girls Club

Senior Meals

Graffiti Removal

Laurel & Mercy House

Parks and Recreation Department

Public Facilities Improvements

CDBG money will also be used to finance the Old Town Study.

Resolution 14-30 – Accept Armstrong Avenue and Warner Avenue Improvements.

CIP NO. 10048 – Accept Improvements for the Tustin Legacy Fire Station Relocation Station No. 37.

Regular Business

Request Travel Approval – Mayor Murray to travel to Washington DC with OCTA, ACC-OC and the Orange County Business Council for unspecified purposes. Cost of conference is $2,800 including travel expenses. The only thing we have to wonder is, whose interests will Murray be advocating for since he is a member of all three entities. For that matter, why isn’t ACC-OC, a quasi-governmental PR agency funded solely by represented cities, or OCTA paying Murray’s way?



On The City Council Agenda – January 21, 2014

Hidden Agenda ClipartI hope everyone is having a great Martin Luther King Day. We are finally cooling off as the rest  of the country embraces another round of freezing weather. It is days like this that remind me why I live in our town Tustin.

It seems the city and the US Army have finally come to an agreement on a property exchange. For more than a year, the city has been pestering the Feds to exchange their current real estate, next to the District Shopping Center, for another parcel located near Warner and Redhill. The idea, of course, is to allow the District to expand while keeping the Army Reserve Center within the confines of the city. Actually, I think the city council could care less about the Army but they do want to serve their masters at the District. Sales tax, after all, is the bread and butter of a city.

This works out for all parties as the Army was in the process of planning new facilities at the current reserve center. According to the staff report, those efforts will now be directed toward the new location. The Army has agreed to submit their plans for comment and to obtain grading permits. This should be interesting over the next few years to see what happens if the plans don’t conform to Elizabeth’s vision. The city has a habit of holding up the permit process when they don’t like what they see. The Army, on the other hand, has a habit of not caring about permits, etc.

Oh yeah, and the “no-cost” agreement includes $170,000 payment to the feds by the city for they cost of the transfer. They also have to make sure water and sewage are in place.

The rest of the agenda has the usual suspects. Along with the final discussion on the Army property swap, there are two other issues, including on between the city and the school district.

Staff are asking the one Public Hearing Item on a development agreement for a 375 home housing tract on the MCAS property be continued to next month due to legal issues. Expect this to be worked out and back on the agenda.

There is little on the Consent Calendar of real interest. However, it should be noted the staff are planning a bocce ball court at Peppertree Park. A great addition that I’m sure our senior will appreciate. But, why only two courts? Oh, and staff may want to revisit the proposed resolution as, according to that, the original intention was to establish a water play area.

Item 13 on the consent calendar is for a grant application for federal funding for parks related programs. The $260,000 grant can be used for virtually anything park related. Staff have already targeted Frontier Park for the bulk of the proceeds. This is one item that could probably use some discussion either now or when the grant is approved.

That’s it for this week’s Tustin City Council meeting. The year is starting off by cleaning up old issues. With an election year up for grabs and two city council seats up for grabs, lets hope it stays that way so our intrepid heroes can concentrate on the important stuff.