COWncil Roundup – July 26th, 2011

August 3, 2011

The Woodside Town COWncil held a long meeting on the 26th, to clear their plates before going on a month’s vacation during August. COWncilmember Gordon was unable to attend the meeting.

During COWmunications, a representative from WHOA – the Woodside-area Horse Owner’s Association – presented a check for $3,000 to the Town to support the trails system. The COWncil was reminded that the next annual Day of the Horse is this October 8th.

Items of interest on the consent calendar included the reappointment of Jean Savaree (of the firm Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone) as the Town Attorney, continuing the arrangement with the firm that has been in place since 2004. The COWncil also approved $50,000 for the Peer Review of the long-running update of the Town General Plan, and $25,000 for biologist consultant services for environmental studies of the Menlo Country Club.

In her report to the Town COWncil, Town Manager Susan George noted that the California Legislature has managed to continue the Citizen’s Option for Public Safety (COPS) Program despite the budget problems in the State. The program provides money to local communities to pay for additional police protection and helps pay for Woodside’s contract with the County Sheriff’s office. Just a few weeks ago, Susan had thought that the program would be phased out entirely, and she and the COWncil brainstormed options for future police services. They were prepared to phase out one of the patrol cars that serve Woodside and substitute an additional partial time motorcycle officer, in order to save money. This idea might still need to be put into place in the future since the continuation of the COPS program depends upon raiding the vehicle license fee coffers that used to flow to local governments. Thus Woodside will experience a $25,000 loss from our General Fund (instead of the $100,000 loss which had been anticipated). The Legislature also might look at the program again mid-year, instead of next year – so it could be canceled after all!

Also in the report was information on the update of the Residential Design Guidelines, a topic we’ve been following we are very concerned about. The COWncil’s subcommittee has met four times on the issue and more information on their progress will apparently be available sometime in October.

Susan also noted that after the COWncil’s August recess, her long tenure as Town Manager is close to being over. She stated that she only has six more regular Town COWncil meetings left before she retires from Woodside.

The Town COWncil then spent time on General Plan zoning inconsistencies and the possibility of changing zoning on dozens of parcels throughout the Town, a prospect that had plenty of folks concerned and showing up to the meeting.

The Town also approved a reduction – again – in the fine for a homeowner who had trees illegally removed at his residence. There were certainly mitigating circumstances. Later, the COWncil approved COWncilmember Sue Boynton as their voting delegate to the League of California Cities annual conference in late September. This year it’s being held close to home at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Finishing up the Town’s business for the next month, the COWncil approved an increase in the rates it charges citizens for the use of staff time. While charges for a few positions were unchanged (clerical workers, laborers, and interns), and one position (Senior Project Manager) was reduced by 6.5%, most other positions received a bump.

The COWncil then adjourned late in the evening.

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