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2019 City Council Priorities and Work Plan -- Comments

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2019 13:22:59 -0800

Hello Council,

I need to miss tonight's meeting. I'm writing after reading Staff Report
19-035-CC. Some comments:

1) MP needs a resident-focused vision for our future in 10 years. We also
need a short list of key priorities aimed at helping us get to that vision.
The CIP decision-making process would be greatly aided by having such a
vision, priorities (and values.) Without undue burden on you or staff, the
process of gathering public input towards creating a vision (priorities and
values) could start in parallel with other activites. Many of the current
major "silo" efforts in MP (i.e. Parks and Recreation Master Plan,
Transportation Master Plan) could have included collection of an overall
vision (and a short list of priorities) at the public input meetings. Of
couse, once we develop our vision we need to actually follow it! I'm not
talking about a meaningless activitity that will later result in
"shelfware" only. A City Satisfaction Survey, with built-in benchmarking
information, could also help with gathering information for our shared
vision. The Mayor might even think about a March "State of the City" talk
where he shared his vision for MP and collected input from participants.
Please let me know how I can be of help.

2) Our curent CIP prioritization process is broken. First, no residents
serve on the CIP Committee which meets privately and perhaps only once a
year. The details of that committee and how it operates is at the beginning
of the Capital improvement section of the annual budget. Next, many of the
current CIP projects lack financial and project specifics. The current CIP
prioritization criteria, listed in Attachment A, is very broad and it
includes no prioritzation metrix. Further, the criteria seems staff
developed. In other words, the 6 attributes (regulatory compliance, public
safety, preservation of city assets, improved efficiences, grant funding
timelines, and first in, first out) do not speak to an inspiring desired
future for MP! As a way to move forward, I suggest that you task the F&A
Committee with developing a draft new CIP submittal process. We also need a
process to better "clean up" the backlog of CIP projects and also a process
for ensuring that important infrastructure projects that aren't on the
list, but should be, get on the list.

3) I found the staff report confusing and hard to follow. While I realize
that these kinds of documents are difficult to write, more visual
presentation of information would help. Consolidating the information
better would also help. (Multiple documents were basically bolted together
into the report.) I see in the Staff Report that some projects will be
referred to a commission to prepare a project on a page, etc. In general, I
like the idea of delegating to a commission because it gives the residents
a more meaningful role. I am unclear, however, which projects might be
going to commissions. This idea could also possibly be extended where
commissions work to better consolidate the CIP projects that seem like they
could be combined.

The Projects on a page idea was originally suggested by the F&A Committee,
based on exmples from the City of Palo Alto. (The examples are in their
capital budget document.) However what the F&A Committee proposed, and the
current project on a page supplied to Council -- are very different!
Instead, staff should have gone back to the F&A Committee to try to work
out a compromise. The project pages also need financial details! Then, some
of the information in the categories does not fit the heading for the
category. For example, in the Formation of a Transporation Management
Association plan I see a category for School and District Partners -- but
the category only lists Stanford University! The level of information also
varies and needs some kind of internal quality control.

It's a worthwhile endeavor to create a MP project page template that is
resident focused, easy to read and follow and with the right level of
information for transparency and oversight. I suggest that you ask the F&A
Committee to develop the final template and perhaps set some "quality
controls" for the information coming in. Then we need a commitment from
staff to actually populate the CIP details.

Department heads should refrain from suggesting new CIP projects until all
current CIPs "under their watch" have enough information!

Once you decided on the CIP priorities, we also need staff's commitment to
adhere to your decisions! In other words,staff should accept the Council
priorities and refrain from attempts to push "pet projects" that aren't
your prioties (or the residents either). Again, having a shared vision for
MP would help to cutdown on renegade approaches and for us all to work
better together.

Best wishes for tonight. Thank you all for your service and see you March

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Tue Feb 26 2019 - 13:19:39 PST

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