The Santa Clara City Council voted 5-1 to give City Manager Deanna Santana an 11 percent “merit-based” raise, increasing her salary from $403,320 to $448,492. The $45,000 increase, according to Council documents, is to offset the Council eliminating Santana’s housing voucher, which had previously amounted to roughly $45,000/year.
Council Member Raj Chahal was the lone “no” vote, saying he could not support the raise because Santana’s new salary increases her pension liability. The bump does not pass his “due diligence test,” he said, adding that his opposition has nothing to do with Santana’s performance.
“I do not think it is prudent to spend this type of money on this type of contract,” Chahal said. “Our compensation package is way, way more than any city.”
But the rest of the Council disagreed.
Council Member Kathy Watanabe said Santana is essentially doing three jobs — running the City, Levi’s Stadium and Silicon Valley Power.
“There is no CEO who would take a salary for less than half a million dollars,” she said. “As far as I can see, we are getting a deal.”
Monroe ‘Affordable’ Housing Project Moves Forward
The Oakland-based development firm slated to construct 65 below-market-rate apartments on the northeast corner of San Tomas Expressway and Monroe Street has gotten the go-ahead.
The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to allow Freebird Development Company to develop the 2.47-acre site, located at 2330 Monroe St. The three-story complex will host studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, some of which will be as low as 30 percent area median income, roughly $878/month.
In addition, a quarter of the apartments will be reserved for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Jan Stokley, Executive Director of Housing Choices, which works with the developmentally disabled, said such housing projects are critically needed as Santa Clara has roughly 700 such people.
“This housing project will address an important need for existing residents and one that is going to continue to grow,” she said.
Amenities onsite include a game room, 98 parking spaces, fitness center, laundry room, and 32,000 square feet of park space. The City still owns the land, and the ground lease is for 55 years.
A $5 million loan from the City, another $3.2 million loan from the County, a $13 million tax credit and $11.2 million in tax-exempt bonds funded the project. Construction could start as early as the end of the year.
Census Comes to Santa Clara
During a study session, Ray Mueller, a Census partnership specialist, walked the Council through the process of helping guide the once-a-decade, nationwide headcount that affects federal funding and districting.
Mueller said the Census is about “money, power and justice.”
He asked Council Members to share information about the Census with their constituents. Because many people worry their information will fall into the wrong hands, Mueller warned that Census takers will not ask for a Social Security or credit card number and will not enter your home. They will provide their badge when asked and will not require anything other than your name, address and phone number.
The Census begins in March. A list of Census events at the local library can be found here.
Consent Calendar/Deferred Business
The Council approved a $290,000 contract with Waterproofing Associates, Inc. for “on-call roofing repair and maintenance services.”
Members of the Council also pushed back discussion about the Valley Transit Authority’s multi-billion extension of the Bart system to include a Santa Clara station. The Council unanimously decided to take up the topic at its two-day goal-setting session Thursday and Friday.
Long-Time Council Member Patricia Mahan Leaves the Dais For The Last Time
Tuesday night was Council Member Patricia Mahan’s last meeting; she resigned last week, citing medical issues.
Although, Mahan took issue with how the City broke the news of her resignation — claiming it violated her privacy by publicly disclosing the reason for her resignation — Mahan listed her 10 proudest moments while serving on the Council, including the construction of Levi’s Stadium, the Mission Branch Library renovation and the City’s redistricting.
Accolades for Mahan’s spirit of perseverance, respectful discourse, willpower and ability to inspire others were abound as the Council said farewell to Mahan, who left the meeting after saying her goodbyes. The crowd gave her a standing ovation as she left the Council Chambers.
The Council’s next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 11 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.