Town Council: Meeting Notes – Mar. 2nd

Sometimes the interesting and need-to-know items are deeper in the agenda. It can happen that way because of the way the agenda is laid out and presented. Such was the case this week, all the way down in item 11. Staff Informational Reports E. OpenGov Online Budget Preview. Kyle Batista, Financial Analyst, presented this item. And let me state from the start, Kyle likes pie charts! He presented the Online Budget Book as well as the Transparency Portal. This OpenGov is a game-changer for access and understanding of the Town budget. The Budget Book shows all of the budget details with links and their connections to each other online. They are making it easier for community members to research and educate themselves on Town budget policies and priorities. And then, at the same time, the Transparency Portal shows revenue and expenses in real-time. I can barely get that from my bookkeeper! Very exciting for all those who say they want the info, and here it is. Both should be live in July of this year. See his short presentation 1:47:12 on the video.

The meeting started on a somber reminder of the unfortunate event that happened at Veteran Homes three years ago this month with a Presentation of Remembrance Proclamation for Pathway Home And then a fitting shout out with a Recognition for Health Care and Essential Workers Appreciation Week March 1-5, 2021.

The Consent Calendar included Resolution Number 21-4038 Approving the Fifth Amendment to Napa County Agreement Number 3265 (Upper Valley Waste Management Agency Joint Powers Agreement). As you will remember, we gave you an overview of this item two weeks ago, and the Council voted unanimously to approve the Fifth Amendment. The Town of Yountville will remove over $45,000 in yearly expenses for garbage collection and collect a Franchise Fee from the Upper Valley Disposal Service, which will exceed $100,000 yearly into the General Fund. The Town also agreed to recognize and maintain SB 1383 Organics Recycling. We now await the remaining members of the JPA to adopt this resolution, as is expected to be completed in mid-April. 

The monthly financial report reminded us the Town remains behind budget in Sales Tax and TOT collection, and the Town has not drawn down the Revenue Stabilization Fund. A bit of good news at this point and cautiously optimistic as the County reopens. And more good news was presented by Danielle Zoeller, Facility & Event Specialist. Wow, is this Town prepared for a strong return to the rental and events market post COVID restrictions. Check out the website, yountvilleevents.com. The Zoning and Design Ordinance update continues to move forward as the Ad Hoc Committee folds the design elements into the Zoning Ordinance to streamline the process. Expect at least two June meetings for public feedback at the Zoning/Design review Board before a final presentation and action by the Council in July. The Hopper Creek path is complete, and check out the fantastic drone footage of placing the bridge into its place at 1:43:01 in the video. 

The Council spent the most time and discussion on hearing and discussing Limiting Special Event Permits in Yountville Parks. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) meet over three meetings to understand and gain insight into the five-year pattern size and frequency of special events. They recommended limiting events. There are Town sponsored events in the parks, think Movies in the Park, the Easter Hug Hunt, and non-profits, and any group of over 200 people. Over 25 guests gathering at the park need a permit, and 200 + require an event permit. And do realize that no matter the size of any group at a park in Town, the park is never closed off and still open to the public. The PRAC made recommendations for limiting events, but all Council members were not clear on what issue was needing to be solved by all these limitations. Council member Mohler stated she watched all the PRAC meetings held on this subject and still felt, “What are we trying to solve and why?” She felt some did not want to have any events at Yountville Park (north part of Town) and move them to Veterans Park. She reminded us that there are neighbors around Veterans Park, too. The Mayor felt the timing was odd to start limiting the possibility of events before they have even begun to start. The consensus was to send the item back to the PRAC for further review and Town Manager, Steve Rogers, stated this was then a good time to review the Special Permit guidelines. 

The Council gave Meeting Reports with the Vice Mayor announcing that the NVTA had fully funded the Vine Trail from St Helena to Calistoga (personal aside, not Yountville to St Helena, yet); the meeting was adjourned to a Closed Session to discuss labor negotiations for Town staff. Hmmm… maybe now is the time we all need to remind the Council what an amazing job the staff has done these previous 12 crazy months.

Read the meeting agenda, or watch the video recording.

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