|TO:||HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL|
|FROM:||JOAN MALLOY, CITY MANAGER |
|SUBJECT:||INFORMATIONAL PROGRESS REPORT ON THE CITY’S STRATEGIC PLAN, FY 2019-20 THROUGH FY 2024-25, AND CITY COUNCIL PRIORITIES |
Staff recommends that the City Council accept this informational report on the progress and accomplishments on the Strategic Plan and City Council priorities made since July 2022.
STRATEGIC PLAN ALIGNMENT
This report is in alignment with Goal E, Strategy 3, of the Strategic Plan.
GOAL E: Communication and Outreach
Strategy 3: Create and implement a plan for conveying progress and outcomes from the City’s Strategic Plan to employees and the community at large.
The five-year (FY 2019-20 through FY 2024-25) Strategic Plan was initially adopted in 2019 as a tool to establish the priorities set by the City Council and ensure accountability in implementing the strategies.
Almost eighteen months ago, on August 5, 2021, the City Council held a Strategic Plan workshop retreat to review the midpoint accomplishments of the five-year plan and establish new strategies for the coming FY of 2021-22 and 2022-23. The Strategic Plan Midpoint Updates identified in the August retreat were formally adopted by the Council on October 12, 2021, Resolution 5840-21. The complete Strategic Plan can be found here: Revised Union City Midpoint Update
At the August 9, 2022, City Council meeting, staff provided a comprehensive review on the progress and accomplishments completed on the Strategic Plan Midpoint Update of 2021. The August 2022 staff report is attached (Attachment 1).
This informational report serves as an update on the progress staff has made since August 2022. For easy reference, Attachment 2 includes a dashboard of the specific strategies that are summarized in this report.
GOAL A: FINANCIAL STABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Foster fiscal health through disciplined long-term planning, cost control, heightened efficiency, increased revenue, and cost recovery.
A.5: Implement the City cannabis program to attain anticipated new revenue with a commitment to adapting where necessary in light of evolving Statewide trends.
- For Fiscal Year 2021/2022, Union City received over $500,000 in cannabis tax revenues (not including sales tax) from the existing Commercial Cannabis Use Permittees.
- In November 2022, the Union City Municipal Code was amended to allow for cannabis dispensary/retail use in the Neighborhood Commercial (CN) District, Community Commercial (CC) District, Visitor and Recreation Commercial (CVR) District, and the Professional and Administrative Commercial (CPA) District, subject to all existing regulatory and licensure requirements. In addition, the prohibition on cannabis dispensaries being located within 100 feet of a residential zoning district was eliminated because many commercial districts are adjacent to residential zones.
- The Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Master Fee Schedule was amended to increase Commercial Cannabis Application fees that are charged to applicants for cost recovery to keep pace with inflation.
- The City opened the cannabis application process on October 27, 2022, and will accept applications until January 9, 2023. A pre-application meeting was held via Zoom on November 2, 2022, to provide all interested parties an opportunity to discuss the application process with City staff.
A.7: Study and prepare for placement of a revenue measure for the November 2022 election that addresses the expiration of the half-cent sales tax; or prepare for $6 million in service cuts
Measure Z, which extended the local one-half cent sales tax for an additional nine years until March 31, 2034, was passed by the voters with 75% approval on the November 2022 ballot.
GOAL B: GOVERNANCE AND ORGANZATIN EFFECTIVENESS
Produce high quality service to the community through a commitment to local government best practices and employee development, support, and retention.
B.1: Align the provision of critical city services and Strategic Plan implementation with current staffing levels.
In December 2022, the City Council approved amendments to the Personnel Rules, which are the regulations and procedures for administering and managing the City personnel transactions to ensure fairness, equity, and efficiency. The changes to the Personnel Rules provided clarification and consistency and updated obsolete language.
B.6: Establish meaningful ways to recognize outstanding employee performance.
The City held its annual Employee of the Year Awards, which recognized an employee from each of the following groups: General Government, Police Department, and Public Works Maintenance/Community & Recreation Services. These “Employees of the Year” are cooperative, supportive, and participate in the achievement of organization goals; exhibit and encourage others to embody the values of the city organization; and are receptive and responsive to the needs of the community and fellow employees. Annually, Employees of the Year are honored with a City Council Proclamation.
B.11: Develop and implement a marketing plan to aid in ensuring key positions are filled, including the use of targeted recruitment incentives such as hiring bonuses) for difficult-to-hire positions.
The police department has taken a 3-stage approach to achieve this goal:
- Digital Media - The department has hired digital media company to create short videos that run on paid campaigns such as Google, YouTube, and other social media platforms. These videos focused on local diverse candidates that link interested applicants to an updated website for an overview of our organization.
- Employee Referral Incentives - Current employees in an organization with high morale can be one of an agency’s best tools in the recruitment of new employees. By offering a referral incentive program, employees are rewarded for their efforts in helping to alleviate the staffing crisis. Any police department employee who refers a new, sworn employee receives a $5,000 referral bonus at different junctures in the hiring process.
- Authorization to over-hire based on forecasted vacancies - Filling vacancies in a sworn classification is a long process. The recruiting, hiring, and training takes from 12 to 18 months and the success rate is less than 50% from the initial recruiting phase to the completion of field training/probation. Desirable candidates tend to receive multiple job offers and will not wait weeks or months for a police department to have a vacancy. The City Council authorized the Police Department to over-hire up to four sworn positions to prepare for projected retirements. This allows the organization to have a replacement employee recruited, hired, and trained in anticipation of upcoming vacancies. With the targeted recruitment effort, the City has been able to recruit and hire 42 new employees, including 30 sworn employees and 12 non-sworn employees.
B.12: Increase the staff efficiency and responsiveness by improving the design of and access to self-serving options.
City staff migrated multiple applications and surveys in 2022 to online forms. The new online forms, like the Cannabis Permit Application, provide automated response validation and eliminate the need to physically receive and validate applications. IT staff made over 165 changes in 2022 to the City’s’ website.
GOAL C: ECONOMIC, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC SAFETY.
Institute a forward-thinking business, land use development, housing, social services, and public safety strategies that promote community growth and innovation.
C.1: Analyze the feasibility of transforming warehouses to attract high-value industrial and commercial uses for the benefit of the community
As an outcome of the discussion regarding this strategy, the City Council provided feedback to prepare design/performance standards to ensure future industrial developments are well-designed and can accommodate a variety of flex-industrial uses including office and research and development. It is anticipated that these standards will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council in February/March 2023.
C.2: Facilitate the build out of the greater Station District Area through the construction of the Quarry Lakes Parkway, completion of the pedestrian rail crossing, and implementing the recommendations of the Southern Alameda County Regional Rail Integration Study to make the Station District a passenger rail hub served by ACE and Dumbarton Rail.
- On July 12, 2022, the City Council held a Study Session on the status of Quarry Lakes Parkway, the Gateway site, and the rail hub. For a complete overview, the link to the staff report and PowerPoint presentation are provided. Coversheet (novusagenda.com)
- City staff and project engineers met with staff from the US Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to discuss the Quarry Lakes Parkway project’s permitting and drainage strategies on September 8, 2022. Regulatory agency staff expressed concurrence with the project’s drainage plans.
- The City’s preliminary engineering consultant for Quarry Lakes Parkway Phases 1 and 2, Mark Thomas & Company, Inc., completed preliminary engineering (30% designs) for Phases 1 and 2.
- The City executed an amendment to the consulting services agreement with Mark Thomas for final design of Quarry Lakes Parkway Phases 1 and 2 on November 22, 2022.
- The City executed a Consulting Services Agreement with Mark Thomas for preliminary engineering (30% Design) of Quarry Lakes Parkway Phases 3 and 4, on November 22, 2022. A kick-off meeting for Phases 3 and 4 preliminary engineering was held between City staff and the consultant team on November 29, 2022.
- City staff continue to engage with Union Pacific Railroad (UP) staff on the construction of the BART pedestrian at-grade crossing. For the past several months, City and UP staff have met monthly to discuss design submittals, preemption calculations, UP’s review comments and the anticipated project schedule, with the focus on improvements at other public at-grade crossing locations required by UP. The City recently approved an amendment to the consulting services agreement contract with Rail Surveyors and Engineers, Inc. (RSE) on December 13, 2022, to support this work.
C.3: Develop a multi-departmental approach to address homelessness through coordination with staff, community organization and Alameda County.
- The City is recruiting for a part-time Homeless Program Outreach Worker position. This position is funded by the Permanent Homeless Local Housing (PHLA) grant, and once hired will work under the Homelessness Programs Coordinator/Case Manager, assisting in outreach and support to the CAREavan program, unhoused individuals, and encampments. This staff person will also help assess needs and identify appropriate community resources to support unhoused individuals and families.
- In additional to the CAREavan safe parking program that is operated by Union City, the City partners with the Fremont’s Clean Start service to provide mobile shower and laundry support to unhoused people in Union City twice per week.
- The City regularly convenes its interdepartmental team to address the circumstances of homeless individuals and encampments within City boundaries.
- A report to the City Council on the status of homelessness in the City will be provided in the near future.
C.4: Work with the Union Landing Property Owner’s Association to ensure Union Landing remains a destination for shoppers through property improvements, on-going property maintenance, and a continued focus on public safety.
Staff has been working with the Union Landing Property Owner’s Association to re-landscape, repaint and update the Union Landing monument signs located along Dyer Street. This was a public/private partnership with shared costs from the Property Business Improvement District (PBID) and the City.
C.5: Promote housing development for all income levels in the community by updating the zoning ordinance to include objective standards for new multi-family residential development in order to streamline the review of applications for housing developments, and update the Housing Element, to facilitate the development of affordable housing.
State housing element law requires cities to accommodate State forecasted housing demand for all income levels. This is accomplished through housing policy and the identification of sites to accommodate population growth. As part of the 2023-2031 housing element cycle, the City is mandated to identify sites that can accommodate 2,728 additional housing units.
In July 2022, staff submitted the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element to the State of California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) for review; and on November 8, 2022, the City Council held a public hearing to amend the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance to align land use with the proposed Housing Element to accommodate the housing growth. Staff is in the process of responding to the comments from HCD on the Draft Housing Element submittal and expects to be resubmitting to HCD in the first quarter of 2023.
Attached is the link to the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element:
Housing and Safety Element Update | Union City, CA
The Planning Division is also working on the creation of objective development standards for new multi-family developments to streamline review of housing projects. A robust outreach process associated with that effort wrapped up in October. A draft of the objective development standards will be brought to the decision makers for review in Spring/Summer 2023.
C.11: Complete the General Plan Update, the Station District Specific Plan, and the Hillside Specific Plan.
The City Council adopted the 2040 General Plan Update on December 10, 2019, and the Station District Specific Plan on October 25, 2022. Both documents were amended to comply with the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element.
C.12: Provide employee training for emergency preparedness and conduct disaster response drills.
A Disaster Service Worker training was developed and rolled out to Department Heads in December 2022. The training will be presented to all employees in the first quarter of 2023, which will also include Personal Emergency Preparedness training.
C.15: Continue to review development permitting processes to streamline service, improve efficiency, and develop a communication plan to disseminate modifications to staff and customers.
Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance were approved in September 2022, which streamlined review of single-family residential developments including addition of objective design standards and removal of certain types of planning review. The ECD Department is continually refining its internal processes to better facilitate on-line application submittals.
C.16: Assess the feasibility of using a private provider to add high-speed internet with the goal of reducing Union City ISP costs and enhancing internet speed for businesses and residents.
Staff partnered with a consultant to analyze the conduit owned by the City and connected to over 60 traffic signalized intersections. The study results will be made available to staff in early 2023. In 2022, staff enabled LTE (wireless broadband) connectivity to all the City traffic controllers and multiple pedestrian safety systems such as rapid flashing warning signs, crosswalks and signals. The LTE system is not fully operational, yet.
C.20: Facilitate the development of entitlements and closing on the sales of the Gateway property to generate revenue to fund the construction of Phase 3 and 4 of the Quarry Lakes Parkway.
Staff has worked extensively with the engineering consultants to create a site plan that addresses storm water treatment that would be acceptable to the permitting agencies and maximizes open space and developable property for the community. An updated site plan was shared with the City Council on July 12, 2022, during the City Council Study Session on the status of Quarry Lakes Parkway. Attached is the link to the staff report and PowerPoint presentation for a complete overview. Coversheet (novusagenda.com)
C.22: Increase fines for illegal fireworks, develop and implement a public communication campaign about fireworks, consider banning the sale and deployment of all fireworks if the threat to community safety is not significantly reduced during the 4th of July season.
In 2022, staff implemented an on-line fireworks system to standardize the application for all fireworks permittees to ensure fireworks sales and taxes were being consistently documented and reported. In partnership with the fireworks vendors, staff developed and implemented a robust public education and outreach program about the proper use of “safe and sane” fireworks and penalties for the illegal use of fireworks. This educational program will be instituted annually. Staff also completed a thorough audit of all staffing expenses to ensure full cost recovery for implementing the fireworks program.
GOAL D: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Create a healthy, sustainable community and maintain and improve the City’s infrastructure.
D.3: Develop a citywide information technology strategic plan and establish an IT committee to prioritize investments, implementation, and staff training.
In September 2022, the City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2022/23 – 2026/27 Union City Information Technology Services (ITS) Department Five-Year Strategic Roadmap that focuses the City’s resources on the efficient and effective use of technology to deliver City services. A link to the staff report can found here: Coversheet (novusagenda.com)
This is the first five-year plan that the City has prepared for information technology services.
D.4: Evaluate development impact fees for new development infrastructure: Decoto Industrial Park Study Area (DIPSA), Transportation Impact Fee, Fire, Parks Facilities Fee, Railroad Preemption Fees.
On September 13, 2022, staff presented a report to City Council to seek recommendations for projects to be used to update the Capital Facilities Fee and other development impact fees. City staff will use these recommendations to guide Phase 2 of the impact fee update, which will identify capital projects and their costs, and be used to formulate new and updated fees.
D.9: Create and implement a plan to maintain and upgrade the City’s buildings.
Staff presented to the City Council on August 9, 2022, an informational report on the current conditions of city hall and other city facilities. The report concluded the importance of preparing a Facilities Master Plan. This also aligns with the Council’s strategy Goal A, New Strategy for 2021, Number 2., “Determine the feasibility of a revenue ballot measure……. to fund a new city hall/library.” The first step in such a consideration would be a Facilities Master Plan to identify cost, need and citywide priorities. Attached is a link to the Informational Report on Current Conditions of City Hall and Other City Facilities staff report: Coversheet (novusagenda.com)
D.12: Prepare RFP for Franchise Agreements for solid waste and recycling collections with emphasis on selecting vendors with resources to implement organics legislation.
In Fall 2022, City staff began initial discussions with Tri-CED and Republic Services regarding potential for contract extensions of existing franchise agreements.
D.13: Enable a robust cyber security and information technology disaster recovery service
City staff has enabled a new data backup system that allows for quicker system restoration and data anomaly detection.
GOAL E: COMMUNCATION AND OUTREACH
Build strong connection with community partners, residents, and employees.
E.6: Launch the newly formed Sales Tax and Utility Users’ Tax Oversight Committee, support their efforts to review tax revenues and expenditures, and make reports to the City Council and community at-large.
This Committee was re-established late 2021 and met four times in 2022 to review the revenues and expenditures of the one-half cent sales tax and the utility user tax. Annually, in the spring, the Committee reports to the City Council.
E.10: Collaborate with the Arts and Culture Commission and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to place murals on the Kennedy Park BART pillars.
The Arts and Culture Commission meets quarterly and has made initial contact with BART to understand their process of adding art to BART-owned property.
Staff continues to work towards the Council’s Strategic Plan goals and strategies as expeditiously as possible with current staffing levels. Staff is planning a City Council retreat to review and update the Strategic Plan for the new City Council in the summer of 2023.
There is no fiscal impact to the General Fund by receiving this report.
Staff recommends that City Council accept this informational report on the progress and accomplishments on the Strategic Plan and City Council priorities made since July 2022.
SERENITY MLAY, MANAGEMENT ANALYST I
SERENITY MLAY, MANAGEMENT ANALYST I