Rialto City Council modify landscape and street maintenance report, unhappy with city staff report

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On Tuesday, July 23rd, Rialto City Council approved the Engineer’s Reports and Ordering of the Levy of Assessments for Fiscal Year 2019/2020 for Street Light Maintenance District No. 1, Resolution No. 7540 for Landscape Maintenance District No. 1, and Resolution No. 7541 for Landscaping and Lighting District No. 2; but with a modification.

“The Landscaping and Lighting Act of 1972, beginning with Section 22500 of the California Streets and Highways Code, requires the City Council to order the preparation of an Engineer’s Report each year which details the levying of special assessments for the three separate Special Districts established within the City of Rialto,” said Acting Public Works Director Sean Grayson.

“The City established SLD 1 throughout the entire city to fund the operation of the city’s street light system consisting of over 3,750 street lights, and to fund costs for tree trimming and maintenance. Proposition 218 limits the special assessments levied in SLD 1 to the historic maximum special assessment prior to November 1996,” continued Grayson.

Another area explored in the report was possible savings in regard to converting landscape around the city from turf to drought tolerant landscape.

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“Council requested an analysis of water and labor costs resulting from recent conversion of turf areas to drought tolerant landscaping, in accordance with California Water Use Reduction Mandates. The primary purpose of the turf conversions was to reduce potable water consumption for landscaping purposes in accordance with State water use restrictions and reduction mandates,” Grayson said.

“Downtown Riverside Avenue median conversion provides an accurate basis for determining the reduction in water consumption because it has a water meter dedicated to the entire area converted from turf to drought tolerant landscaping. The conversion project on Riverside Avenue included the medians between Foothill Boulevard and the railroad tracks located just north of 1st Street,” continued Grayson.

According to the city council agenda, the general plan consistency includes preserve and improve established residential neighborhoods in Rialto, create distinctive gateways at all entry points into Rialto and for individual districts or neighborhoods, design new streets to be pedestrian friendly, achieve quality aesthetic design of all signage in the City of Rialto, provide high-quality and environmentally sustainable landscaping, encourage neighborhood preservation, stabilization, and property maintenance and ensure high-quality planned developments in Rialto.

Due to city staff not providing the council with accurate numbers on tax increases for forthcoming improvements, council decided to only approve the report and not the tax increase.

“Looking forward I do agree we need to do some turfing and add some decorative elements. The upfront costs are going to be a little more, so we need to get as much bang for our buck as we can. Our goal is to make Rialto look good and make it pleasing for our residents,” said Councilmemeber Joe Baca Jr.

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott expressed his disappointment with the city staff report.

“I’m not going to vote for any increase in this city without having the questions that I asked answered. And frankly, I think the answers we received to our questions were not accurate,” said Scott.

“I’m not going to continue to vote on taxing the residents of this city when staff doesn’t want to respond to the elected officials who have to respond to the community. I represent the community, I don’t represent city staff,” concluded Scott.

For more information, visit yourrialto.com.

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