Final meeting of the year carries some weighty issues.On Tuesday night, Bob Kellar will open his last City Council meeting as Mayor, at least for the foreseeable future. As usual, the Council will elect a member to take up the 1-year term as Mayor, and that selection will likely be Mayor pro Tem Frank Ferry.
When the meeting gets down to business, there will be some sizable issues discussed, including mid-year budget adjustments, the final bridge of the Cross Valley Connector and the fate of public television in Santa Clarita.
Public Television will come into City responsibility after January 1st, and Tuesday will serve as the last chance for the Council to create some plan for the station. On October 28th, City staff had recommended that the City allocate $25,000 to operate the station for six months. This would have allowed for only playback of existing programming, and therefore a coalition of local businesses and organizations spoke in support of an organization called SCVTV, which offered a plan to operate the station.
SCVTV’s plan was originally deemed too costly, as it relied on initial City funding before fundraising efforts could be ramped up.
One of the bonuses of using SCVTV, however, was that it drew upon College of the Canyons, Hart School District, The Signal and KHTS AM-1220 to provide local content.
Rather than scrap the issue as a whole, the Council postponed a decision, providing enough time for City staff to meet with the businesses and organizations in supp ort of SCVTV. This discussion led to a potential plan to form a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) or a non-profit, in which each partner could contribute to the public television channel. This would allow for new content to be derived and the City could still support the station through Capital PEG Grants.
Creating such a coalition takes time though, and so City staff has recommended that they award $25,000 to SCVTV now to operate the station through the first six months of 2009, which would allow all stakeholders time to try and work out a detailed plan.
Here's what else to look out for at Tuesday's meeting:
- No new action on political sign restrictions. Santa Clarita’s legal staff have reviewed the City’s political sign restrictions and found them to be reasonable, and therefore are proposing no new changes.
- The City will vote on authorizing a $21 million contract to C.C. Myers to construct the last major portion of the Cross Valley Connector.
- Shrinking revenues may prompt some mid-year budget adjustments. City staff will propose necessary steps to keep the City in the black.