The Santa Clara City Council heard a report about how a potential ballot measure could help with the City’s infrastructure needs. Council members dug deeper into why money is coming in from Levi’s Stadium but not ending up in the City’s general fund. They also agreed to subdivide a lot on Mission Boulevard.
The Council took another step in addressing its nearly $600 million in infrastructure needs. A report from City employees Tuesday night detailed the process for moving forward with a ballot measure in November that would raise money to begin filling the City’s behemoth capital improvement chasm.
Although the item was a simple note and file, there was surprisingly little discussion on a topic that looms large over the City. The topic piggybacks on previous discussions regarding the state of the George Haines International Swim Center, which the City recently closed again.
In July, the Council approved hiring a public opinion research consultant to assess how viable the measure was likely to be. With the hiring of San Francisco-based Tulchin Research and its partner Orinda-based Team CiviX, the City is slated to conduct public outreach, said Cynthia Bojorquez, assistant city manager.
City employees plan to check in with the Council at least three more times, beginning March 12 with an update on community engagement sessions. Because the Registrar of Voters deadlines are rigid, the Council will consider ballot language at its July 9 meeting, prior to its summer hiatus.
Bojorquez said the measure is far from a panacea.
“We are mindful that no matter how successful we might be at the ballot — and I hope we will be — resources will be limited and a focus on prioritization will be needed,” she said. “As much as we would like to fund all of our unfunded needs, that just isn’t a realistic expectation, given our need is so great.”
Levi’s Stadium Finances Under the Microscope
The Stadium Authority also discussed revenue from non-NFL events at Levi’s Stadium. The Board opted to pull the quarterly report from the consent calendar — items typically voted on in bulk with one motion without much discussion.
During that discussion, Council Member Suds Jain had a variety of questions regarding specifics of how money the City makes from non-NFL events flows to the general fund.
Kenn Lee, the City’s finance director and treasurer of the Stadium Authority, told Jain that while some money typically held in reserves could flow to the general fund, a large chunk of it is being held in legal contingency until disputes between the City and the Forty Niners Management Company (ManCo) regarding paying for police costs is resolved.
The item opened a can of worms with Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who bemoaned the report’s omission of concert specifics and questioned the accuracy of financial reporting for concerts through the first part of 2023. With so many “mega, mega” concerts, such as Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Ed Sheeran, the money the City made — roughly $6 million — is “unbelievable,” she said.
“These numbers in no way are in any way accurate, because of the success of those concerts,” Gillmor said. “It is wrong. There is something wrong. Look at the numbers. I don’t see how anyone can argue that those are accurate.”
Jain, who pulled the item from the consent calendar, said withholding the specifics of each concert at Levi’s Stadium from the public makes sense, likening it to negotiating a settlement agreement in public.
The motion to note and file the report and authorize an $845,725 budget amendment to cover the legal contingency passed in a 4-2, with Council Member Kevin Park away from the dais and Gillmor and Council Member Kathy Watanabe voting “no.”
Santa Clara Council Divides Industrial Lot
The subdivision of a parcel in an industrial area of Santa Clara passed unanimously. The Santa Clara City Council approved dividing a property located at 2360 Mission College Blvd. into three separate parcels — one for retail, one for a common lot and another for office space.
The 6.4-acre site hosts a six-story office building and an equal height parking garage along with 5,000 square feet of undeveloped retail. The parcel is located in the industrial and research and development area of the City, near the Intel campus.
Reena Brilliot, acting director of community development, told the Council the division is consistent with the general plan and is to facilitate the owner’s financing on the existing office space, which, she said, “is complicated” by having the other two lots conjoined.
No members of the public commented on the project.
Consent Calendar Spending
- A $200,000 purchase order with Andy’s Roofing Co. Inc. and Rainy Day Roofing, Inc. for roofing repairs.
- $493,000 for the purchase of renewable energy from Zero Waste Energy Development Company.
- A $102,194 amendment to a contract with Packet Fusion, Inc. for telephone system support. Total contract: $428,864. This contract has the option for three, one-year extensions, for a total contract amount of $653,864.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.
Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.