While other cities in the San Gabriel Valley are looking to sales tax increases to help pay for rapidly accruing employee retirements, Baldwin Park wants to issue $55 million in pension liability bonds.
The city council voted unanimously to direct City Attorney Robert Tafoya to seek “judicial validation” and to accept a proposal from Ramirez & Co. for underwriting services. The city has to get permission from the Los Angeles County Superior Court to issue the bonds.
Once the bonds are granted, the money would go directly to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and could not be used for any other purpose, according to a city staff report. The city’s total unfunded pension liability was about $54.2 million as of June 30, according to the report.
The move exchanges one financial obligation for another at a lower interest rate. The annual bond payments will be smaller than what Baldwin Park sends to CalPERS, ultimately saving the city money.
The debt service is expected to be paid off by 2044, with the city spending $86 million at that point when interest is included. However, without the bonds, the estimated pension payments the city would make through that period would total $108.2 million, so the city expects to save $22.2 million. The savings would be used to help cover post-retirement health benefits. The city has yet to fund any of the $40 million liability for those benefits but would like to fund between 60 and 80 percent of it.
A food court with some established Asian eateries is headed to Chino Hills this September. Cravings Food Village, 4024 Grand Ave., draws from familiar restaurants throughout Southern California, along with some newcomers. This new Asian-inspired food hall is at the Chino Spectrum Marketplace, and inside a Chinese grocery store 168 Market.
The 17,000 square foot food hall comes from Buena Park-based Tawa Supermarket, the parent company for mega grocery chain 99 Ranch Market, and 168 Market.
Tenants for the forthcoming Cravings Food Village include: Cauldron Ice Cream, an Orange County-based liquid nitrogen ice cream shop; Asian-Mexican Dos Chinos, combining Latin and Asian foods; Mad Bun, which focuses on bao buns, with special flavors such as matcha; Oi Asian Fusion, a Filipino restaurant offering bowls; Pinky Promise, a modern Taiwanese-style bakery, and Tenori, which specializes in musubi.
The Claremont Colleges announced it would open a medical school in East Los Angeles County aimed at relieving a dearth of primary care physicians. The Keck Graduate Institute announced plans for a new school in Claremont, with a founding dean hired as early as next summer. The school could open within three or four years after that.
The Keck Graduate Institute, the latest in a consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate schools in the Claremont Colleges, includes a school of applied life sciences and a school of pharmacy. If approved by the U.S. Department of Education, its new medical school would focus on primary care and treating a growing Latino population in California. An undisclosed donor contributed funds to hire a new dean and staff, according to the institute. The future school could open within a leased space nearby for an undetermined number of students. The cost of the new school will be determined.
A Keck Graduate Institute School of Medicine could be the fifth medical school in Los Angeles County. Current schools include the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles. A Kaiser School of Medicine is now being built in Pasadena.
There is a projected shortfall within the decade of 9,000 primary care physicians who practice in low-income communities in California.
The number of homeless people living in El Monte more than doubled between the 2017 and 2018 counts, though city officials are hopeful that new affordable housing projects, outreach and additional shelter beds will help get people off the streets.
There were 514 homeless people living in El Monte during the January count, up nearly 118 percent from last year’s 236. By comparison, Los Angeles County as a whole saw a 4 percent decrease, according to numbers finalized late last week.
In January, 8,000 volunteers helped canvass 4,000 square miles and 2,160 census tracts to complete the count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
About half of people in El Monte experiencing homelessness were living on the streets, most of the others were living in vehicles, makeshift shelters or tents. But city officials said they were unaware of any changes in emergency shelters in El Monte and are working with the homelessness authority to determine the reason for that dramatic change.
The City Council in June submitted a homelessness plan to the county that will help direct Measure H funds raised by the quarter-cent increase in sales tax voters approved in 2017. The plan outlines six goals to address homelessness in El Monte:
Better understand the city’s homeless population and educate the community.
Increase engagement and links to the crisis response system.
Expand access to work opportunities.
Increase the number of available shelter beds.
Increase the number of affordable housing units.
Coordinate with regional partners.
The city is already making headway on 155 units of affordable housing. Construction is underway on the Baldwin Rose Veterans and Families development, meant for those who served in the military and low-income families, and on Palos Verde Apartments, which will house homeless veterans and low-income families. It’s in the planning phase for Ramona-Tyler, an affordable rental property. That’s in addition to the 40-unit Veterans Village property that houses formerly homeless veterans.
Other resources in El Monte include a weekly housing clinic aimed at assisting those at risk of homelessness and regular affordable housing workshops, the first of which was in March. Meanwhile, in the last year the El Monte Police Department increased the number of officers trained for outreach to those experiencing homelessness and works with a county mental health clinician to provide services.
The Glendora City Council announced the appointment of Adam Raymond, the city of Riverside’s chief financial officer, to be its new city manager. The statewide search resulting in Raymond’s selection was conducted by the executive search firm Peckham & McKenney, according to a city council statement.
Raymond comes to Glendora as a seasoned municipal government professional in Riverside, where he has served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Treasurer since August 2017. Prior to that, he served as Riverside’s Assistant CFO/Treasurer and Deputy Chief Innovation Officer, with duties that included leading the development of departmental and citywide policies and an effort to focus on customer service. Before Riverside, Raymond worked for Rancho Palos Verdes and San Bernardino, as well as a local auditing firm.
Raymond holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of La Verne.
His contract was approved by the City Council. His annual salary will be $209,000. His tenure as Glendora City Manager will start Sept. 4.
Ontario International Airport (ONT) will receive federal grants totaling more than $11.8 million for important infrastructure repairs.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants are being made through the agency’s Airport Improvement Program, which supports U.S. airports in upgrading and modernizing their infrastructure. They include:
$8.7 million to repair ramp aprons currently used by cargo aircraft.
$2.6 million to build a taxiway.
$314,000 for taxiway repairs.
$204,000 to install runway lighting.
Earlier this month, city leaders signed off on a pact with Maya Cinemas to bring in a 12- to 14-screen, state-of-the-art, 50,000- to 60,000-square-foot theater. The council first approved the concept February 2017, but the two sides needed to reach an agreement on key aspects of the plan.
As part of the deal, Maya will begin the process to purchase, at fair market value, a couple of city-owned properties for the development, which is expected to generate about $1.9 million in proceeds for the city.
The land involved includes:
A vacant lot on the southeast corner of Second Street and Park Avenue
The Gist Building located adjacent to the lot, which could be used as the site of a restaurant or retail use
Two parking lots situated along Third and Main streets