Council Preview: Sebastopol council preparing for relaunch, discussing new police practices and efficiency

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, October 19, 2021

city council preview

Scattered across the Sebastopol City Council’s Oct. 19 agenda are several items with the potential to define the city in its policing practices, economic relaunch, energy efficiency and water conservation and more.

Scattered across the Sebastopol City Council’s Oct. 19 agenda are several items with the potential to define the city in its policing practices, economic relaunch, energy efficiency and water conservation and more. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. over Zoom. The agenda and Zoom link are available here.

First, Sebastopol Police Chief Kevin Kilgore is slated to report on the state of recommendations from auditor Jerry Threet’s independent civilian review of the Sebastopol Police Department (SPD) back in June.

The council and community will get an update on what measures have been carried out following the July 20 update, what actions are up next and more information on how SPD’s website is being reconditioned.

Per the agenda, SPD announced that 96 of 140 guidances had been implemented, and since then 13 of the 44 recommendations left have been put into effect. The Sebastopol City Council is recommended to discuss the report and give direction to staff.

City going for an economic and energetic relaunch with a punch of public art

Later, the city council is to consider approving the city’s request for proposals for its relaunch and revitalization effort.

The budget for the one-year contract is $86,000 to encourage business development and investment and welcome consumers, according to the draft and agenda report. That’s in addition to working with city staff, the county, the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce, the Sebastopol Downtown Association and business councils.

The request document puts forth a schedule, in which the request for proposals itself would be issued Oct. 20 with a deadline for proposals on Dec. 4 and a notice of intent to award the contract for Jan. 18, 2022. Per the report, the contract would begin Feb. 1, 2022.

Further, a project for “comprehensive energy efficiency, water conservation and solar PV” is coming to the council for potential approval Tuesday, to improve city infrastructure.

The report states this project would involve applying energy efficiency practices to city infrastructure, modernizing city-owned water meters, enacting real-time water monitoring and hooking the library up with a new roof and solar PV, plus HVAC.

Overall, these efforts would cost $4,968,891, but with $30,000 pledged from Ives Park, the cost to the city lowers to $4,938,891 and “staff is proposing to finance the project under a Tax-Exempt Municipal Lease, over a 15-year period.” The report said the project’s “realized savings” would be expected to cover its cost during the 11.5 years to come.

Powering through artistically, council members are to consider approving sculptures to put on view at the Ives Park community sculpture garden. The Public Art Committee (PAC) has been developing the gardens by the park’s High Street entrance for a year and a half, with pads for eight sculptures to display, the report said.

At this time, the PAC chose six sculptures to seek council approval for. According to the report, staff and the PAC would decide where to put the sculptures upon approval and staff would also partner with the artists to install their pieces. The PAC would plan for the opening celebration and talk about what to assign to the other two sculpture pads at future meetings.

Demystifying the RFP, RFQ process

On top of that, the council will receive a request from Councilmember Neysa Hinton to modify the city’s purchasing policy to add procedures regarding requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for qualifications (RFQs).

The agenda report states cities contract for services and more through competitive bidding and through an RFP process via different departments, but “currently, there is no requirement as to when an RFP, RFQ or informal bid process is used,” or how.

The request is for the city to talk about making an official, consistent, transparent process to do that, seeking also a rule to use RFP and RFQ processes for things estimated to be worth more than $30,000, the report said. Ultimately, the item calls for staff direction on amending the policy.

Further, the council is scheduled to go over the city’s budget process and direct staff on any changes to be made.

Last, there is a discussion planned around the lack of any takers for an RFP seeking a municipal financial services consultant. The 2021-22 Fiscal Year Budget assigns $40,000 for the consulting services, the report said.

Staff look to the council for a “narrower RFP scope of work” and suggest that they hold off until the 2022-23 Fiscal Year to assess this again when hopefully there are more resources to devote to it.

Examples of a narrower scope included just focusing on a capital assets replacement program study or a financial advisor revenue enhancement strategy study, per the report. The final recommendation is for an ad hoc committee to be formed to “create and redefine request for proposal and return to council for review/approval at a future date.”

Following this agenda, the council and community will receive a report back on the Sept. 27 Laguna-area encampment clearing. Another report is scheduled on the status of the 2021-22 Fiscal Year’s approved budget items toward the meeting’s closure.

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