Sebastopol City Council to push for vitality, unhoused community services goals and more

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, October 5, 2021

city council preview

The Sebastopol City Council will be in for multiple discussions relating to the city’s ongoing and future recovery and well-being in terms of its economy and vitality, its unhoused community, movement through its streets and more at the regular city council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 over Zoom.

The full agenda and Zoom link is available here:

Top of the agenda for discussion and action is the consideration of approval of the request for proposals for the city’s relaunch and revitalization effort, meant to boost economic recovery from the wildfires, flooding, the pandemic and more in recent years.

The document request for proposals document contains a suggested schedule to issue the request Oct. 7 with a deadline for proposals on Nov. 22 and notice of intent to award the contract as of Jan. 18, 2022.

The city council has set $86,000 aside in the 2021-22 fiscal budget to hire a contract employee or consultant “to develop and sustain a strong local economy to provide business and residents with, among things, the necessary municipal services to maintain the community’s high quality of life.”

Per the report, the successful candidate would “not only identify steps the city can take to promote the creation of a robust retail environment in the city, work with cross-promoting events, but also create city events to showcase Sebastopol and enhance community engagement and cross-promoting of events.”

Next, the city council is considering approval for changing its bike plan and converting the Class II Morris Street bike lane to sharrows. City staff has already received several proposals from contractors to take out the lane striping and markings and put in sharrows so cars and cyclists may share the lane.

The report from City Engineer Joe Gaffney recommends the council direct staff to replace the Morris Street bike lane with sharrows by minute order and “by motion, pass a Resolution amending the Public Works Streets budget to add $8,000 for the modified striping on Morris Street.”

Later on the agenda comes a discussion on creating a city council committee, the ad hoc “Committee for the Unhoused.” The proposal asks that the council form the committee to run until Jan. 31, 2022 and focus on the city’s shelterless community “needs and impacts” in support of West County Community Services (WCCS).

WCCS is coordinating city efforts to serve unhoused people in Greater Sebastopol and one of the committee’s tasks would be to come up with how to treat issues outside of WCCS’ contract.

The suggested ad hoc committee would have two appointed council members and would not call for public meetings, the report said. The committee would also give direction on appointing a standing committee for issues facing unhoused people, if need arises.

Further, the city council is slated to discuss and consider two-year term limits for the Climate Action Committee, which staff and committee members recommended would be staggered. The report continued that members would be allowed to seek more terms.

Last, the city council is to consider directing staff to amend the purchasing policy that has “procedures for Request for Proposals/Request for Qualifications,” the report said. While the document calls for staff direction, the agenda schedules this item as “consideration of approval of RFP/RFQ Process.”

The meeting is to begin with the consent calendar and end with reports from the city council, the city manager and/or the city clerk. A special closed session meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. to conference with legal counsel over litigation known as V. Murphy vs. City of Sebastopol and anticipated litigation, before the regular public meeting.

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