The Fresno City Council on Thursday (Oct. 12) will hear three key presentations on quality-of-life issues:

Rental Inspection Program

The ballyhooed rental inspection program was supposed to start last month. As the Fresno Bee reported, it has not. City staff will update the council on how the program is ramping up.

All 10 positions in the Anti-Slum Enforcement Team have been filled. The city is working with Bitwise to complete development of the rental database registry. Beta testing is expected by the end of the month.

The inspection unit will be housed under the Development and Resource Management department. While the inspectors have been hired, they are still looking to hire a supervisor.

As city staff writes, the inspection program will: “include baseline health and safety inspections as outlined in the Rental Housing Improvement Act.  All residential rental properties shall be subject to a baseline inspection, pursuant to a random sampling formula, to determine whether or not violations of Health and Safety Standards exist.  The City will make available online a sample rental inspection checklist, which shall clearly define and describe criteria applied to determine whether or not violations of Health and Safety Standards exist on rental properties.”

When will the program start? The city’s prediction is early 2018.

Saving Water

The city will also hear an updated water conservation plan. While Gov. Jerry Brown lifted drought regulations for most of California, they remain in Fresno County. The main component is amending the four periods of watering regulations. During Stage 1, residents can water three days a week from May to November and once a week for the rest of the year. In a Stage 4 situation, that changes to one day a week from May through November and none for December-April.

The main component is amending the four periods of watering regulations. During Stage 1, residents can water three days a week from May to November and once a week for the rest of the year. In a Stage 4 situation, that changes to one day a week from May through November and none for December-April.

The water ordinance would also limit restaurants to serving water upon request only, and limit hotels from automatically changing towels unless upon request.

Fines for excessive use would range from a warning on the first monthly violation to $200 on the fourth. Termination of water service is a possibility for egregious violators.

Parks, Parks, Parks

The council will also hear the updated Parks Master Plan. This is the first master plan since 1989. City staff will say that an increase of $17 million is needed to the parks department budget to provide space the people want.

Currently, there are 1,023 acres of park space. The master plan states that 1,113 more acres are needed now, with an estimated 1,769 more needed by 2035. The cost per acre ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. Staff estimates that 30% of the parks are in poor condition.

In a recent survey, residents stated they want picnic areas, community gardens, dog parks, soccer fields and splash pads.

Also on the Agenda

  • The city council is set to approve a five-year extension through 2027 with Pardini’s to provide catering at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center. The deal will see Pardini’s commission to the city-owned venue increase by 2.5% (to 27.5%). This translates to $1.7 million a year. Pardini’s has been the caterer since 2014.
  • The council will also finalize its ordinance to effectively outlaw outdoor CRV recycling centers in the city. The council passed it unanimously Sept. 21.
  • $20 million contract is on the agenda to re-pave one of the runways at Fresno Yosemite International airport. Most of the funds come from a federal grant. Security Paving Company of Sylmar won the construction bid. It was protested by the second-lowest bidder, Teichert Construction Co. of Sacramento. However, an independent administrative hearing officer upheld the city’s decision.

More candidates make it official

Two candidates in the District 3 Fresno city council race filed paperwork with the city clerk: Tate Hill and Daren Miller.

German Firm Will Operate Bullet Train

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand recently participated as part of a Valley delegation that went to Spain to learn more about high-speed rail. Now The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the HSR board is scheduled to grant a German company the rights to be the early operator of the bullet train.

Clovis Airbnb Update

The Clovis city council on Monday (Oct. 9) voted 5-0 for city staff to come up with a plan to regulate short-term rentals (under 30 days, like Airbnb). The plan still has to be crafted then go through the planning commission before reaching council again.

Department of Fairness

GV Wire has reported on problems that SCCCD Trustee Eric Payne has had with the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission. We must also mention that fellow trustee Richard Caglia was fined last year $214 for failing to timely file a pre-election statement.

Top journalist coming to town

Robert Costa, political reporter for The Washington Post and moderator of Washington Week on PBS, will deliver a lecture at the Save Mart Center Monday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. Not only is his speech free, but parking is gratis as well! Check back on GV Wire later this week when I interview him about covering Trump, unnamed sources and does he get confused with another famous broadcaster?

 

 

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