On the agenda: Point Molate legal settlement, homelessness, and a new tax proposal

On the agenda: Point Molate legal settlement, homelessness, and a new tax proposal
City leaders have sought $10 million in state funding to purchase and renovate the former Civic Center Motel into permanent supportive housing. Photo/Soren Hemmila

Plans to purchase the old Civic Center Motel, a $1.2 million settlement with the Point Molate Alliance and North Coast Rivers Alliance, Consideration of an Oil Refining Business License Tax Ballot, and several initiatives for unsheltered residents are on the Richmond City Council agenda for June 18, 2024.

Details of Point Molate Alliance settlement disclosed

The Point Molate Alliance filed a motion to recover its attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses on March 21 concerning CEQA litigation. The PMA sought $2,118,984, and the North Coast Rivers Alliance wanted $678,795. Under the agreement, the city will pay $1,225,000 from the Risk Management Insurance Reserve Fund to avoid time and expense in contesting post-judgment motions.

Point Molate development plans derailed, park plans move forward
After years of legal wrangling, a court has found that the environmental impact report for the proposed development of Point Molate was flawed, which environmental groups say clears the way for creating a new shoreline regional park. The Point Molate Mixed Use Project envisioned a mixed-use community comprising open space,

This item, and most of these items, are on the consent calendar and will be enacted upon together without discussion by the council.

Motel 6 purchase plans depend on state Homekey Grant

The plan to purchase the Motel 6 near the Richmond Civic Center is back on the agenda. The item will authorize $4.9 million in funding if a Homekey grant from the state comes through. 

City leaders have sought $10 million in state funds to purchase and renovate the former Civic Center Motel into permanent supportive housing for the city’s chronically homeless population.

Richmond seeks grant to turn Motel 6 into housing for chronically homeless
City leaders seeking up to $10 million in state funds to purchase and renovate the former Civic Center Motel into permanent supportive housing for the city’s chronically homeless held a community workshop at City Council Chambers Monday night to solicit feedback on the proposal. The city is partnering with

The motel owner and Walnut Creek-based affordable housing developer Novin Development previously agreed to the sale for $9 million. But after an appraisal of the property, Novin asked for a price reduction, which the motel owner wasn’t happy with. 

The plan is to convert the existing Motel 6 into 48 studio apartments and a one-bedroom apartment for an onsite property manager. The Civic Center Motel was rebranded as Motel 6 in 2023.

After some back and forth, an agreement was reached with the city to assume the developer’s rights to purchase the property for $6,220,000. The city will also waive applicable transfer taxes and outstanding transient occupancy taxes, and late fees up to $177,185 as part of the deal.

Another $300,000 for former Castro encampment residents 

An item would add $300,000 more cash for the Housing Consortium of the East Bay’s Castro Encampment contract for $2,498,686. The city received $4.8 million in Encampment Resolution Funding from the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2022 to provide housing for people living at the Castro vehicle encampment.

City staff expects more project costs and liabilities at the grant closeout, requiring more funds for the HCEB contract.

City closes Castro Street vehicle encampment
The last four residents of Richmond’s sprawling Castro Street vehicle encampment packed up their belongings and were placed into temporary or permanent housing Friday. City abatement crews, housing providers, and police began clearing the camp, towing cars and removing debris at 7 a.m. Friday. By the afternoon, the people

One hundred and two people living at the Castro encampment were eligible for housing. According to staff, 70 residents were placed in housing, including 15 who received housing vouchers obtained by the HCEB as of the end of April.

Service providers have been unable to reach 12 former residents, and nine refused housing offers. Two are in jail, two more are in the hospital, and one is in a shelter. Three clients were dismissed from the program, and two have died. One former resident was transferred to another program.

Contract amendment sought for RV removal services

The Community Development Department requests a contract amendment with Oliver’s Tow, Inc. to provide removal and demolition services of recreational vehicles relinquished at citywide encampments by those placed in housing to clear the encampments.  

The city received funding through the second round of the Encampment Resolution Project to ensure the wellness and safety of people experiencing homelessness in encampments. As the city assists people with housing their usually older, inoperable recreational vehicles, cars must be towed to prevent new people from occupying them.  

Police department hires investigator for use of force case

The Richmond Police Department has an open investigation of a high-profile use of force case that is being investigated. A contract was initiated; however, the amount of work required to complete the initial case will exhaust the funds initially set aside by the contract. 

The sole source contract with Chaplin & Hill Investigative Services LLC. for administrative investigations into police misconduct and use of force cases doesn’t mention the case, but the Richmond Police Department reported hiring an outside investigator to investigate a May 5 incident in front of Joe’s Market.

RPD hires outside investigator after video surfaces of officer hitting man filming arrest
The Richmond Police Department has hired an outside investigator after videos of an officer reportedly striking and handcuffing a man as he filmed an arrest near Joe’s Market at First Street and West Macdonald Avenue on May 5. On social media, Richmond Police Chief Bisa French said the police

Held over item from the last meeting

The final report of the Raftelis Workforce Analysis is back on the agenda after being continued twice since May 28.

The city was audited by the State of California and was directed to conduct a workforce analysis. The council approved a contract with Raftelis Financial Consultants. Raftelis has completed the study and issued the final report.

According to Raftelis, the city has been operating at 83 percent staffing for the past three years and relying heavily on overtime to meet core services but doesn’t have enough staff to meet residents’ expectations.

Richmond council deliberates: shore power mandate, staffing woes, and fireworks drones
A $3 million shore power system at the port, more money for Point Molate litigation, a talk about city staffing, an idea to replace Third of July fireworks with drones, and new commission appointments are on the Richmond City Council agenda for Tuesday night. Overtime use is the equivalent of

San Francisco Foundation grant for a housing fellow 

The San Francisco Foundation, a donor-advised fund, is providing the city’s Richmond Neighborhood Stabilization Corporation funding to support the city in implementing its recently adopted Equitable Public Land Disposition Policy. 

Kaitlyn Quackenbush was placed with the City of Richmond from June 2022 to May 2024 as part of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future Breakthrough Grant. Staff says the fellowship ended May 31, 2024, at a time when the city was in the midst of critical implementation efforts of the policy. 

Soccer fields, bike lanes, land disposition policy on the council agenda tonight
The Richmond City Council will ponder new soccer fields and a bike lane project, review the mid-year budget, and establish a land disposition policy tonight. The council will receive a draft of the Soccer Field and Park Amenities Assessment presentation. Staff recommends using $4.2 million in ARPA funds to

Consideration of a new oil refining business license tax 

A resolution approving the 2024-25 operating budget, a five-year capital improvement plan budget, and the oil refining business license tax are the only items listed as new business.

According to city finance staff, the City of Richmond will not be able to achieve a balanced budget without increased revenue streams and is seeking new sources of tax revenue. 

The 2024-25 Annual Operating Budget, presented to the council, underscores the need for increased revenue streams. The agenda report illustrates that the general fund currently cannot meet almost $34 million in budgetary requests from city departments.

On the agenda: Report calling for new Chevron tax warns of looming deficits
Two community groups will propose raising new revenue from oil refining to improve Richmond’s financial health at the upcoming city council meeting on May 21. The agenda item, proposed by Mayor Eduardo Martinez and Vice Mayor Claudia Jimenez, says oil refining negatively impacts the city. Communities for a Better

Staff says the city could raise new tax revenue from the oil industry and justify the tax by the negative impacts of the oil and gas industry on the city.  

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