■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
The Hemet City Council chambers were packed April 25 as the meeting opened with a touching tribute to Hemet Police Department’s K-9 Jack in tribute of his life and service. Jack lost his life to cancer April 23. Members from the community, the Hemet Police Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department all joined to show their support in an emotional council chamber.
The agenda addressed the third quarter financial update, weed abatement, massage parlor ordinance and the Memorandum of Intent regarding Diamond Valley Lake Recreation. Councilman Russ Brown was absent; this is his second absence since his Feb 7 appointment. He was also absent from the March 28 meeting.
City manager subject to quarterly performance reviews
A special city council meeting took place at City Hall April 20 for the public employee performance evaluation of City Manager Alex Meyerhoff and a conference with the city attorney regarding anticipated litigation. After about two and a half hours of closed session, City Attorney Eric Vail reported out on Meyerhoff’s performance evaluation that “council has completed the evaluation and has indicated that they will come back for quarterly status reports. That is the only reportable action on that.” There was no reportable action on the anticipated litigation.
Third quarter financial update
Administrative Services Consultant Joy Canfield gave a third quarter financial update (as of March 31). As of now, the budget has the potential to balance for FY 16/17. General fund revenue is up $2,031,992 (9.6 percent) over the same period last year. According to the staff report, the increase is inflated due to timing differences in the receipt of sales tax revenues this year. The Triple Flip Program, which reduced monthly sales tax payments received from the State of California by 25 percent, was still in effect through the first half of fiscal year 2015/16. Adjusting for the timing differences, revenue is up 4.4 percent. Both property and sales tax make up more than 50% of our city’s revenue composition.
Expenditures are on target at 70.9 percent year to date and up less than 1 percent over last year. Canfield stated that “we have done a good job at keeping the expenditures flat.” The water fund’s revenue is up 7.6 percent with expenditures up 43 percent. The explanation for the increase in expenditures is due to capital expenditures and groundwater management. Water fund revenues totaled $7,294,532 and, according to the staff report, are “7.6 percent higher than the same period last year.”
Weed abatement public hearing set
The city has determined that approximately 380 parcels in the city limits of Hemet are overrun with weeds, rubbish and/or refuse. The council adopted a resolution declaring weeds to be a public nuisance and set a public hearing May 23 for objections to proposed weed abatement. Per the staff report this hearing “offers notice to property owners and establishes an opportunity to be heard as to why said weeds should not be abated.”
There is no anticipated impact to the general fund. Property owners who object to the proposed removal of the weeds, rubbish, refuse and dirt should attend the May 23 Hemet City Council meeting at council chambers at 7 p.m., when objections will be heard and given due consideration.”
Massage parlor signage requirements
Massage parlors will now have to post a sign “in every massage establishment in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment, or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees, that conforms to the model anti-human trafficking notice promulgated by the Department of Justice pursuant to Civil Code section 52.6’” according to the staff report. The city also implemented a zero-tolerance policy.
“The city may elect to seek suspension or revocation of the license upon any violation of the chapter (new subsection a), and that if revocation is sought the City may suspend the license pending a determination on the revocation” at the discretion of the city manager.
City signs MOI for Diamond Valley Lake recreation plan
Hemet was the last party to officially enter into the Memorandum of Intent regarding Diamond Valley Lake Recreation area. The ad-hoc committee was formed back in 2015 and is comprised of representatives of the city of Hemet, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, EMWD, Valley-Wide Recreation and Parks District (Valley Wide), Riverside County, Senatorial District 28, Soboba Band of Lusieño Indians, the Western Science Center, and members of the San Jacinto Valley business community and public.
Some improvements include camping and recreational vehicle overnight accommodations, a recreation lagoon, an expansion of the active sports complex with ball fields and support facilities, expanded leisure spaces along with a running, walking and bicycling trail below the Diamond Valley East Dam. There are still no plans at present to allow body contact on the main body of water.