Signal Hill City Council approves accepting $223K in SB-1 funds to pave roads

2014 file photo of Signal Hill City Hall

Sean Belk

2014 file photo of Signal Hill City Hall

At its Tuesday, Feb. 25 meeting, the Signal Hill City Council agreed to accept $222,770 from the State’s SB 1 funds to pave the city’s roads. It also approved an application process to fill an open seat on the Planning Commission.

Road paving
Public Works Director Kelli Tunnicliff said that Signal Hill’s portion of the State’s Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA) for fiscal-year 2020-21 is estimated at $222,770, based on the city’s population. The council approved a resolution adopting the funds to repair its roads, including a major repaving of Spring Street.

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Spring Street in Signal Hill, site of a near-future overlay project using state and federal funds

Google Maps 2020

Including these funds, the City has accepted more than $723,000 from the RMRA, which is funded by SB 1: The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 that taxes gasoline and diesel fuel, Tunnicliff said.

However, Public Works has not yet spent any of that money to repair roads, pending the council approving a list of such projects in a pavement-management plan (PMP) sometime in the next few months, she added.

Because the State allows agencies to accumulate RMRA funds, the City has been saving it to offset the cost of a Spring Street-overlay project, which has been in the works since 2015, Tunnicliff said.

“We have a match that’s required under the federal grant for Spring Street, and so we’re using [around] $400,000 of [RMRA funds] to offset that grant funding instead of using General Fund money,” Tunnicliff said. “We will have closer numbers as we get into the design phase.”

She added that the City will need to spend about $1,000,000 per year on its PMP.

“So you can see that the money that’s there is a shortfall,” Tunnicliff said. “But when you accumulate some of the other [funds]— Measure R, Measure M, all of that— it accumulates to about a million-ish.”

The City used $411,000 from those other funding sources last year to repave Orange Avenue, which still needs ADA-compliant improvements, Tunnicliff said.

Tunnicliff added that because her department has not updated the PMP in a few years, she would like the council to review and approve it again to make sure it still fits the council’s vision for the city.

“Rather than spending on a method that didn’t necessarily align with the city’s goals, I thought that it was better to redo our pavement-management [plan], bring it back, and make sure that was in line with our funding sources,” Tunnicliff said.

Planning Commission
The council also approved an application process to fill a vacant seat on Signal Hill’s Planning Commission.

The seat became vacant after one of the commissioners— Tom Benson— resigned as of Feb. 18 due to moving out of the city.

City Manager Hannah Shin-Heydorn said that, per the City’s charter, the council appoints each of the city’s five-member commissions to four-year terms. Since it last made appointments in May 2019, the remaining term of the commission seat is through May 2023.

Recruitment for the seat will be open during the month of March, followed by candidate interviews in April. The council agreed that if it needed to interview 10 or fewer candidates, it would do so at its April 14 regular meeting but would conduct a special meeting on April 22 if it needed to choose from more than 10 candidates, in accordance with a previous resolution.

The new commissioner will begin serving at the next regular Planning Commission meeting following the appointment, on the third Tuesday of either April or May, depending on when the council makes the selection. Planning Commission members receive $125 per meeting, according to the City’s website.

Shin-Heydorn showed the council the new commissioner-application form that will be available March 2 on the City’s jobs webpage with nine mostly freeform-response questions.

Minimum requirements to serve on a commission include being a U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age, a Signal Hill resident for at least 29 days and a registered voter, Shin-Heydorn said. The open-narrative questions ask applicants to explain why they wish to serve and describe community service and other experience that qualifies them.

Councilmember Edward Wilson suggested adding a link to the application from the City’s Planning Commission webpage and allowing candidates to upload a separate document with their application if they choose.

Councilmember Tina Hansen said that the number of commissioner applications has been increasing in recent years and it’s important for the council to approve commissioners through the application process.

“We’ve always had more candidates than we needed,” she noted.

The next Signal Hill City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, March 10 at 7pm in the council chamber at 2175 Cherry Ave.