The Rohnert Park City Council held their meeting on February 9. The meeting was broadcast on Cable T.V. Channel 26. It lasted three hours. There were problems with sound throughout making it difficult to follow this meeting. You had to strain to hear the voices. Another problem is the scrolling transcript at the bottom of the broadcast. It covers up a portion of the screen, masking parts of PowerPoint presentations.
Mayor Gerard Giudice presented two proclamations. The first declared February 2021 as Black History Month. The proclamation stated, “Black History Month seeks to emphasize the countless contributions made by African-Americans in all aspects of our nations fabric, including but not limited to, Education, Government, Civil Rights, History, Law, Science, Literature, Medicine, Music and the Arts.” Also, that, “Black History Month provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the great strides that we have made to ensure freedom for all people, regardless of race, color, or creed in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness and we recognize that our work must continue.” Vice Mayor Jackie Elward accepted the proclamation.
The second proclamation recognized February 12, 2021 as “Chinese New Year.” It stated, “The Chinese Lunar Calendar is made up of a cycle of twelve years, and each of them being named after an animal. This year marks the ‘Year of the Ox.’” According to the Chinese calendar, 2021 is the “Year of the Metal Ox,” and Chinese astrology specialists believe babies born in the year of the “Metal Ox” are considered lucky. Metal symbolizes longevity, stability, self-control, and it is believed that those born this year will have plenty of great things in their lives. Newly appointed Planning Commission Member Fanny Lam accepted the proclamation.
Sonoma County presented their draft Five-Year Strategic Plan. Introduced by District 2 Supervisor David Rabbitt, Katherine DiPasqua, the Project Lead, reviewed the plan. The purpose tonight was to solicit the city’s input to the draft prior to the final adoption by the Board of Supervisors in March. The five pillars of the proposed plan are: Healthy and Safe Communities, Organizational Excellence, Racial Equity and Social Justice, Climate Action and Resiliency and Resilient Infrastructure. City input, if any, is requested by February 12. Given the short notice and time frame formal input is unlikely. However, in the Q&A two concerns were raised: the need for collaboration with cities and for funding to make the goals achievable in partnership with the county.
Finance Director Nishil Bali reported on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year 2019-20. His report stated “Despite the pandemic, the city was able to maintain a balanced operating budget where total sources exceeded total uses without spending down General Fund balance for the seventh consecutive year. This continues the city’s journey toward improved financial sustainability.” The Independent Auditors Report, 250 pages in length, was conducted by the Pun Group, LLP. The auditor issued an unqualified “clean” opinion that the city’s financial statements are fairly presented in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. There were no material misstatements found during the audit.
The council voted to approve Resolution 2021–12. This was a Development Area Plan for Vast Oak North Phase 3B currently under construction in the University District. The project plan includes parkways (streetscapes/streetscape landscaping and sidewalks), parking locations, refuse pick-up locations, lot types, maximum lot coverage, building setbacks and front door locations. Phase 3B covers 120 single family homes.
City Manager Darrin Jenkins led a discussion about the city’s proposed “Climate Change Emergency Resolution.” A key element of the draft resolution was that “the Council of City of Rohnert Park establishes the climate emergency and development of the Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy as a top council priority and directs staff to work with the RCPA and coalition members to integrate climate change considerations into new policies.” RCPA is Sonoma County’s Regional Climate Protection Authority. They were formed in 2009 and adopted a “Climate Emergency” Resolution in September 2019. Jenkins said fiscal impacts were unknown but that $200,000 should be set aside to fund a full-time staff position to guide the city’s efforts on Climate Change. Council members requested time to take a “deep dive” into the issue. Jenkins will bring the draft back to the council at the next meeting for their input. The council will likely vote on it the first meeting in March.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for February 23, 2021. The agenda should be available 72 hours in advance on the city’s website at: Meeting Central - City of Rohnert Park (rpcity.org).