Pleasanton City Council postpones amending Water Utility Ordinance

At the May 16 Pleasanton City Council meeting, council unanimously postponed considering amending the Water Utility Ordinance, to a time when City Manager Bruce Pearson and City Attorney Bobby Maldonado can bring options to the council to amend the portion of the Public Works Ordinance that was discussed.

Pearson began by stating the city needs to account for loss revenue, based on tenant occupancy.

“We have experienced a number of accounts over the last several years, where we have had to shut the water off, only to find out the tenants had moved out,” said Pearson.

He added that while it is an unpopular subject to discuss, it is not fair for good rate citizens who work hard to have to pay what others owe. Pearson then recommended that council give some direction to amend the Water Utility Ordinance.

Some parts of the ordinance state, “Metered water falls on the responsibility of the property owners, their agents and or tenants.”

Pearson said it has been strongly suggested by Maldonado to amend the ordinance.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to honor and pay our utility bill. The water utility and the wastewater utility are different from no other. The phone company does not expect the other residents to pay someone else’s phone bill,” said Pearson.

He recommended that council ask him and staff to bring an amendment for Title 5, Chapter 50.01 of the Public Works Ordinance.

City Councilwoman Kathy Coronado (Dist. 3) said she understood, but she could not see justifying charging a landlord for his tenant’s debt. She did think some wording was needed in the ordinance that was more specific. Her other suggestion was that the renter’s deposit be sufficient to cover an average bill.

Pearson said he understood what Coronado was saying and that it is a touchy subject. He said this is about those renting month to month.

Councilman Roger G. Garza (Dist. 5) said he agreed with Coronado. Councilman J.R. Gallegos (Dist. 4) suggested that if someone doesn’t pay their water bill, they lose their deposit. He asked if the deposit could compensate for the bill. Pearson reiterated that the problem is the city has a lot of month-to-month people and he doesn’t know if you can charge different deposits, as that needed to be checked with City Attorney Bobby Maldonado. He also explained that in one particular case, the deposit was $150 and the bill was $600. Gallegos asked how the city allowed that to happen and Pearson responded that there is one person who is allowed to make any adjustments or exceptions for late payments or exceptions for payments, and that is all documented on paper, and that is the utility billing clerk. Councilwoman Jeanne B. Israel (Dist. 6) then made a motion to postpone this item, to a time when Pearson and Maldonado can bring options to the council to amend the portion of the Public Works Ordinance that was discussed.

Other business

In other business, council unanimously approved the preliminary plat for the Corgey Road 3.54 Acre Subdivision.

Also approved unanimously was the final plat for the 817 Bryant Street Subdivision. This is located by Ramey Insurance and City Engineer John Metting said the drainage issues have been resolved.

Councilmembers unanimously approved granting a variance for the Building Setback Ordinance for duplexes at 410 and 414 San Antonio Street.

The council voted 6-1 to grant a variance for the Building Setback Ordinance for a carport at 410 and 414 San Antonio Street. Abstaining from voting was Mayor Clinton J. Powell. Code Enforcement Officer Earl Peterson explained that he stopped the construction and asked them to get a permit. It was also located in the setback. He did not recommend approving the variance. Coronado made the motion to approve the variance and also said she hates going against Peterson’s recommendation, but it is a carport (not a closed in structure). Mayor Powell asked if the item was approved, is there anything to stop it from being closed in, in the future. Peterson said if it was closed in, it could become a hazard and obstruction and that could be denied.

Council unanimously adopted the International Code Council, 2012 Building Codes and Amendments.

The ordinance was also unanimously adopted, which establishes a Burn Ban Ordinance within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Pleasanton.

The first reading was conducted of the ordinance replacing the Ground Sign and Billboard Ordinance.

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