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Politics

This week at City Hall: Feb. 8

The mayor looks to maintain Riverside's global sister cities, local food trucks to see tightened regulations, and American Rescue Plan Act spending plans updated in the Budget Engagement Commission.

A photo of the entrance to Riverside City Hall.
City Hall in Downtown Riverside.
The Raincross Gazette

City Council Meeting

Item 11: Purchasing $2 Million In Construction Vehicles

On Tuesday, the City Council will look to approve the purchase of six new construction vehicles for the Public Works Street Maintenance Division. The vehicles will be replacing seven vehicles from the city, three of which had been in use by the city for at least 33 years. The total cost of the new vehicles will be $2,032,805. The most expensive being a freightliner patch truck costing $654,140 and a freightliner dump truck for $504,576.

Item 15: Adopting Sister City Handbook

Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson will be recommending that the council adopt a Sister City Handbook that will provide guidance on maintaining existing sister city relationships. Riverside currently has nine sister cities, including Hyderabad, India, and Jiangmen, China. The handbook includes rules on establishing a new sister city relationship and expectations that the city has after that relationship has been established.

Item 16: Grant from Kaiser Permanente Operation Splash Program

The council will consider accepting an $84,150 grant from the Kaiser Permanente Operation Splash Program. Riverside has received funding from Kaiser for over 10 years. The grant money has helped find initiatives, including subsidized swim lessons and junior lifeguard classes.

Item 17: Purchasing 30 Additional In-Vehicle Cameras for Police Vehicles

City Council will consider the purchase of 30 Watchguard In-Vehicle Video Systems for the Riverside Police Department. The slated cost will be over $180,000, with funds coming from Measure Z funding. Since September of 2020, the council has authorized the purchase of 130 other vehicle cameras and 315 body-worn cameras. Excluding the cameras under consideration, the cameras have cost the city over $1.7 million.

Item 19: Purchase Order Approval for Free Shade Tree Coupon Campaign

The council will look to approve over $460,000 in funds for the city’s Free Shade Tree Coupon Campaign. The campaign collaborates with Parkview Nursery and Louie’s Nursery and allows Riverside Public Utility customers to obtain one free tree a year. According to the city’s presentation, they’ve given out over 247,000 trees since the program began in 1999.

Item 22: Adopting Agreement for 4th of July Shows

The approval of a Fourth of July Firework show contract with Pyro Spectacular out of Rialto will be under consideration. The contract would be for the next three years and cost the city $225,675. The location of the firework shows has been a hot topic for many residents. The current proposed sites are La Sierra Park and Ryan Bonaminio Park.

Many residents on the Facebook group “What’s Going On in Riverside County” have voiced that they would like the firework show to be on Mount Rubidoux and not at Ryan Bonaminio Park. Former Riverside Ward 1 Councilmember Mike Gardner said in a Facebook post, “I do feel strongly that fireworks should be launched from the top of Mount Rubidoux where they are clearly visible from much of the city rather than from Bonaminio Park, which is in a low spot and from which far fewer areas of the city can appreciate them.” The post has over 300 thumbs up or hearts.

Item 24: Housing Element Update

The City Council will be receiving and filing an update on post-adoption modifications made on the city’s Housing Element Plan that was initially filled in September. There will be no changes to the initial rules or policies set by the council, but modifications to the document wording for five different programs within the plan. That includes the city clarifying size limitations for group homes and Riverside publicizing the availability of CALHFA grants for accessory dwelling unit developments.

Item 29: Amending Regulations on Mobile Food Vendors

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider proposed rule changes for mobile vending/food trucks in the city. Currently, the city limits food trucks to sell only pre-packaged food. The Land Use, Sustainability and Resilience Committee discussed the issue in September and is recommending that the city make the following modifications to the city’s rules: Create a time limit for food truck operations, clarify the differences between an alley and street, complete more research on allowing trucks in Business Improvement Districts, accounting for food trucks operating on private property, and potentially ban food trucks from operating at parks as sidewalk vendors.

Water Committee

Item 3: Water Resources Fact Sheet

On Wednesday, the committee will be receiving a presentation on Water Resources in Riverside. According to the committee’s presentation, Riverside has received 100% of its drinking water from local groundwater sources since 2009. According to the document, unless the city makes further investments in its water infrastructure, it will be unable to meet current and future water demands by 2030.

Parks and Recreation Commission

Item 3: Update on the SPC Jesus S. Duran Eastside Library Project

The commission will receive an update on the SPC Jesus S. Duran Eastside Library Project. Under review will be three different conceptual designs for the library. The proposed library will be next to Bobby Bonds Park, with the Board of Library Trustees last reviewing the proposed plans in December.

Budget Engagement Commission

Item 5: Update on Use of $36 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds

On Thursday, the commission will receive an update on the city’s expenditure plan for funds Riverside received during the first allocation of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city has received over $36 million from the plan, a portion of which will fund the following: $1.6 million to offset broadband last-mile broadband installation costs in underserved areas, $1.8 million for the development of El Dorado Park, $5 million for the design and construction of a new gymnasium at Bordwell Park, $2 million for non-profit grant support, $6 million for small and micro-business grants, and $1.3 million to make up for parking revenue the city lost asa result of the COVID-19 pandemic.