COWncil Roundup – June 22nd, 2010

June 24, 2010

The COWncil met for a quick meeting on June 22nd, with COWncil members Mason and Boynton absent.

The meeting began with a proclamation recognizing Irene Zwierlein as the 2010 Mayors’ Diversity Awards Honoree. Ms. Zwierlein was honored by the San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce back in May of this year and the COWncil recognized her achievements last night – among them, serving on our Town’s History Committee. Head of the History Committee Thalia Lubin lauded Ms. Zwierlein after the COWncil’s action.

The COWncil then moved on to the consent calendar of non-COWntroversial items. However, this time, three of the six items were pulled for more discussion. First the COWncil had some questions about Barkley Park revenue. They asked how many stop lights there are in Town. There is just one, the stoplight at the Farm Hill Boulevard light. The 280/ Woodside Road stoplight is not in the Town jurisdiction. There were some questions about why it has taken so long for the restrictions on parking along Woodside Road to come into effect. The consent calendar then was eventually passed in its entirety. Among the items it covered were the reauthorization of the Town’s participation in the COPS program (Citizen’s Option for Public Safety). A $100,000 state grant which partially funds two deputy sheriff positions that we share equally with the Town of Portola Valley and their equipment costs. Woodside also contributes $116,242 from the General Fund to fund those positions.

The COWncil was also required to respond to a 2010 San Mateo County Grand Jury Report “The Effectiveness of Red Light Traffic Camera Enforcement.” The Report has caused some stir by suggesting that the cities that use the cameras are more interested in revenue than traffic enforcement. Woodside approved a response letter stating essentially that the Report doesn’t apply to the Town as it is “highly unlikely” that a camera for our lone traffic light “will ever be considered, given the Town’s experience with the intersection.”

The COWncil also approved an agreement between the Town and San Mateo County for payment of our sanitary sewer fees, and approved the Town Manager’s Report.

The General Plan Update was next on the agenda, with a short discussion of an updated schedule the topic of consideration. Per the COWncil’s request, Jackie Young, the Director of Planning and Building, who has been shepherding the process, added three in-depth study sessions in September and October for the COWncil to examine and make final changes before the Update gets subjected to an Environmental Impact Report. Other than some vague assertions from the COWncil that there might be a way to speed up the process by a month or so, the discussion was remarkably short. The process continues to grind on, with the projection being that the plan will be approved sometime next June.

The COWncil’s final action for the evening was the review and approval of the Town budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The budget is balanced, with a few interesting provisions regarding more funding for the Backyard Habitat program, and the possibility of Town grants for residents to make their properties more fire safe.

The meeting concluded with Mayor Burow telling the COWncil that he would be unable to represent the Town at the upcoming League of California Cities Conference and Expo in San Diego in September. He threw it open to any interested COWncil member who wanted to go. We think participation by our COWncil is important and there is a lot a COWncil member who attends can learn from other cities.

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