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SH City Council approves contract to audit EDCO services

Council also reviews mid-year budget, finds net finances on track

During+his+final+city-council+meeting+before+retiring%2C+Signal+Hill+Vice+Mayor+Larry+Forester+%28second+from+right%29+stood+with+councilmembers+and+Signal+Hill+Police+Department+Police+Chief+Chris+Nunley+on+March+12%2C+as+the+council+accepted+a+National+Night+Out+Award+from+the+National+Association+of+Town+Watches.+Pictured%2C+from+left%3A+City+Treasurer+Larry+Blunden%2C+councilmembers+Edward+Wilson+and+Lori+Woods%2C+Mayor+Tina+Hansen%2C+Nunley%2C+Forester+and+City+Clerk+Keir+Jones.
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SH City Council approves contract to audit EDCO services

During his final city-council meeting before retiring, Signal Hill Vice Mayor Larry Forester (second from right) stood with councilmembers and Signal Hill Police Department Police Chief Chris Nunley on March 12, as the council accepted a National Night Out Award from the National Association of Town Watches. Pictured, from left: City Treasurer Larry Blunden, councilmembers Edward Wilson and Lori Woods, Mayor Tina Hansen, Nunley, Forester and City Clerk Keir Jones.

During his final city-council meeting before retiring, Signal Hill Vice Mayor Larry Forester (second from right) stood with councilmembers and Signal Hill Police Department Police Chief Chris Nunley on March 12, as the council accepted a National Night Out Award from the National Association of Town Watches. Pictured, from left: City Treasurer Larry Blunden, councilmembers Edward Wilson and Lori Woods, Mayor Tina Hansen, Nunley, Forester and City Clerk Keir Jones.

Photos by Anita W. Harris | Signal Tribune

During his final city-council meeting before retiring, Signal Hill Vice Mayor Larry Forester (second from right) stood with councilmembers and Signal Hill Police Department Police Chief Chris Nunley on March 12, as the council accepted a National Night Out Award from the National Association of Town Watches. Pictured, from left: City Treasurer Larry Blunden, councilmembers Edward Wilson and Lori Woods, Mayor Tina Hansen, Nunley, Forester and City Clerk Keir Jones.

Photos by Anita W. Harris | Signal Tribune

Photos by Anita W. Harris | Signal Tribune

During his final city-council meeting before retiring, Signal Hill Vice Mayor Larry Forester (second from right) stood with councilmembers and Signal Hill Police Department Police Chief Chris Nunley on March 12, as the council accepted a National Night Out Award from the National Association of Town Watches. Pictured, from left: City Treasurer Larry Blunden, councilmembers Edward Wilson and Lori Woods, Mayor Tina Hansen, Nunley, Forester and City Clerk Keir Jones.

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During its March 12 meeting, the Signal Hill City Council authorized a contract with MSW Consultants to conduct an audit of EDCO’s waste-management services. The council also reviewed its mid-year 2018-19 Fiscal Year (FY) budget, agreeing to revise revenue estimates downward by $50,000, balanced by reduced expenses.

EDCO audit
The council approved a contract with MSW Consultants to audit the City’s solid-waste management provider, EDCO, prior to considering rate increases.

Kelli Tunnicliff, public-works director, said that the City’s 2009 15-year contract with EDCO allowed for annual-rate adjustments to compensate for increased operational costs, especially considering new state regulations regarding waste disposal and recycling.

An independent audit of the last five years of service before considering rate adjustments was a matter of sound fiscal practice, she said.

EDCO’s transfer station near California Avenue and Patterson Street– completed in 2012– provides $250,000 in annual revenue to the City and also benefits the community with electronic and other recycling services and household hazardous-waste cleanup, Tunnicliff said.

The council approved staff’s recommendation of hiring MSW for a $29,480 fee.

Dave Davis from MSW said the audit will be completed in 13 weeks, examining EDCO’s rate adjustments in the last five years, its franchise and other fees, its billing accuracy, revenue sharing and waste-tonnage reporting.

Budget review
The council reviewed the City’s financial results as of Dec. 31, 2018, covering the first six months of its 2018-19 FY, and approved a slightly amended budget and staffing-allocation change.

City Manager Charlie Honeycutt said that while expenses are projected to be slightly below initial estimates, revenues are also projected to be lower.

“The City will need to proceed with caution, especially as we begin to prepare next year’s budget,” Honeycutt said. “We’re beginning to see the retail sector in a bit of contraction, and our auto sales are flattening.”

Williams said that sales-tax revenue– representing 68 percent of total revenue– is projected to be about $50,000 below budget estimates.

“[There’s] a flattening trend in sales tax from auto sales, which peaked two years ago,” he said.

In terms of expenses, Williams said that at 50 percent of the fiscal year, department expenditures are at 42 percent overall.

“Departments are right in line with the Fiscal Year 2019 financial plan,” he said. “This goes for general-fund salary and benefits, as well as maintenance and operations.”

In terms of personnel, Hannah Shin-Heydorn, deputy city manager, said that the City looks at vacancies as opportunities to evaluate staffing. She said that there are currently three vacancies in janitorial services, due to a separation, retirement and promotion.

“Staff worked with the Signal Hill Employees Association to develop a proposal that would reduce the number of authorized maintenance workers by one,” she said, “resulting in salary and benefits savings, which would be used reclassify an existing maintenance-worker position to senior maintenance worker and increase the City’s existing contract for janitorial services to include cleaning of the police department jail-cell area.”

The council authorized staff to make those changes, which Shin-Heydorn said will result in fiscal savings of up to $11,000 per year.
Williams said that the next budget workshop would be May 30, with the 2019-20 FY budget to be adopted June 25.

Samantha Mehlinger (left) and Pierce Nahigyan (right), respective Long Beach Business Journal editor and staff writer, shared the history of their 32-year-old paper during the March 12 Signal Hill City Council meeting’s “small-business spotlight.”

Small-business spotlight
Editor Samantha Mehlinger and staff writer Pierce Nahigyan from the Long Beach Business Journal, 2599 E. 28th St., shared the publication’s history during the council’s “small-business spotlight.”

“The first edition was actually called the ‘Long Beach Airport Business Journal,’” Mehlinger said, holding up a March 15, 1987, copy of the then monthly publication.

She said that publisher George Economides took out “Airport” in 1988 and moved the business to centrally located Signal Hill in 1991. The newspaper currently serves Signal Hill, Long Beach, Carson and west Orange County, focusing on business and community issues.
“For more than two decades we’ve been publishing an annual special focus on the city of Signal Hill,” Mehlinger said. “We’re working on one right now for the 95th anniversary.”

Mayor Tina Hansen presented the paper with a proclamation to recognize its 32nd anniversary.

Clinton Holsinger, an American Red Cross volunteer, spoke to the public after receiving a proclamation recognizing “March is Red Cross Month” during the Signal Hill City Council meeting March 12.

Presentations
Hansen also presented a proclamation to Clinton Holsinger, an American Red Cross (ARC) volunteer recognizing “March is Red Cross Month.”

Hansen recounted that ARC was established more than 100 years ago as a humanitarian organization providing services to those in need, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or citizen status.

“We applaud our Los Angeles region heroes who give of themselves to assist their neighbors when they need a helping hand,” she said.

Holsinger said that such proclamations help spread awareness of ARC and recounted his work helping those who suffered from the recent fires in Malibu.

“The Red Cross just goes in and doesn’t ask any questions; [it] just gives whatever support that’s needed and is always on watch,” he said. “There are people on-call 24 hours a day, no matter whose house burns down or what disaster occurs.”

Signal Hill Police Department Police Chief Chris Nunley shared with the council a National Night Out Award from the National Association of Town Watches (NATW) for his department’s participation in the 35th Annual National Night Out Against Crime.

Nunley said that the event was held on Aug. 7, 2018, at Signal Hill Park and was the city’s 15th annual such event. He added that out of 16,790 cities nationwide, NATW recognized 152 winners, Signal Hill among them.

He described the event as including artists, races, animal adoptions and a free raffle.

“It was hot this year,” he said. “Police Explorers were handing out over 500 free snow cones to kids and adults.”

Election results
Councilmember Edward Wilson congratulated the March 5 municipal-election unofficial winners. Per the City’s website, unofficial election results show that Tina Hansen was re-elected and Keir Jones (currently city clerk) elected to the city council. Carmen Brooks was elected as city clerk and David Hopper as city treasurer; both had run unopposed.

Hansen invited the public to an annual mayor’s reception on March 26 at 8pm at the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach, right after the council reorganizes, to include the new officials and select a new mayor.

Measure N also passed, which moves the municipal election date to coincide with the statewide election in November, beginning in 2020, effectively shortening current councilmember terms by four months.

Tuesday’s council session also marked Vice Mayor Larry Forester’s final meeting before his retirement. Hansen said that the City will host a retirement party on April 2 at Ten Mile Brewing Company in Signal Hill.

“Larry has been my supporter and my friend and my mentor for all these years,” Hansen said, referring to her 25 years on the council.
Jones commended Forester for being a role model in the LGBTQ community.

“I’m also really greatful for Larry,” Jones said. “He also had a big part in why I’m sitting here today, and he’s been a great mentor.”

The next Signal Hill City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, March 26, at 7pm in the council chamber at 2175 Cherry Ave.

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SH City Council approves contract to audit EDCO services