The Cupertino City Council had plenty to keep it busy on Tuesday night, starting the open session late after a lengthy closed session wrestling with labor negotiation issues.
Mayor Mark Santoro said there was nothing to publically report on the negotiations with the City Employees Association and Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3.
Along with approving a letter to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District asking for tighter air emission controls on Lehigh Southwest Cement, the council took action on several issues. Below is the Patch wrap-up of action from the meeting.
$483K for Permitting Software
The Council unanimously approved a new contract with Computer Software Incorporated (CSI) and Avolve Software Corporation for an online permit tracking software system at a cost of $483,410. The amount includes implementation and annual maintenance for five years.
The software is designed to improve and shorten the permit process for developers and builders, said Community Development Director Aarti Shrivastava.
Once fully implemented, it will give the public 24-hour, 7 days-a-week access to the city’s online permitting system. Users will be able to pay for permits, schedule building inspections, and check on the status of plans. The company also has an application for iPads that can be used by staff out in the field.
CSI was chosen after a comprehensive search and comparison of 13 companies, Shrivastava said. Despite being higher in price than other packages, she said she expects the CSI package to cost less in the long run. For example, other companies charged more for additional services that CSI included in the one price.
It will take about one year to implement the software, she said.
Mid-year Budget Adjustment
Thanks to strong tax revenues for 2011-2012, and better than expected revenue from Senior Center classes and Blackberry Farm concessions, the city has $271,240 in revenue increases, according to Finance Director David Woo.
Sales tax revenues are estimated to come in at more than $412,000. Senior Center classes and trips are expected to bring in $89,000, while Blackberry Farm concessions should bring in $10,000.
On the other side of the balance sheet, the city expects to lose $240,000 from the state permanently taking away vehicle registration fee monies.
The council approved adjustments to the budget, funding several line items that match the $271,000 in expected revenue.
The expenditures include $12,000 for a new emergency notification system, $10,240 for volunteer services management software, and more money for senior center programs and Blackberry Farm concessions.
The money will also go to cover higher than expected costs for the November 2011 election totaling $70,000, another $70,000 for personnel litigation, and $10,000 for extra city attorney staffing.
Director of Economic Development
At the urging of the Chamber of Commerce, the council directed City Manager David Knapp to hire a new director of economic development. The position is funded in this year’s budget, but has gone unfilled since August 2011, when former director Kelly Kline left to take the same position in Fremont.
“With all the changes happening in Cupertino now, and in the future, it would be nice to have a director of economic development driving the bus,” said chamber representative Kevin McClellan.
He said a director would serve as a “point person” to help existing businesses remain and expand, as well as attract new businesses.
The council did not take a formal vote, but verbally expressed support for Knapp to proceed with finding a new director.
“The benefits of hiring a great person for this job can have a many fold impact on this city,” said Councilmember Rod Sinks. “Making Cupertino a better destination for retail with somebody whose full time job it is to listen to proposals and actively work to bring high tech and retail to this city is a long-term investment and is well worth it.”