At the June 10 Livermore City Council meeting, the pending downtown initiative was discussed. The main concerns expressed by council members were the direct and indirect costs of the process.
Citizens for a Livermore Central Park filed an initiative that outlines a new plan for the center of the city.
Councilmember Bob Coomber asked staff about the costs to put the initiative on the ballot, move Veterans Way eleven feet from its present spot, and the need for another RFP for the hotel developer.
City Manager Marc Roberts replied that when an initiative is filed, the council has the ability to request informational reports explaining any of the effects of the initiative at any point in the process.
City Attorney Jason Acala noted that if the initiative qualifies, three questions will be asked of the council.
- Should the Council request a final report, which must be presented within thirty days?
- Should the initiative be placed on the ballot?
- Should the initiative be adopted?
Councilmember Bob Woerner wanted to make sure there was flexibility in collecting information. Specifically, he wanted to be sure there was no harm in collecting and updating the information. Roberts answered there would be no problems with updating information.
Mayor John Marchand, referring to Coomber’s request, stated that if residents saw the costs, it might influence their wish to sign or not sign the initiative.
Councilmember Trish Munro wondered, “Why are we being asked again to spend private and public money that could be spent caring for the homeless, ensuring infrastructure is in good condition or developing community programs for all of us.”
Roberts made sure that the council was asking staff to develop the financial impacts both direct and indirect. Councilmembers agreed that staff should return with that information. Roberts will give direct costs, what does a special election cost, possible changes in land cost and land use areas, as well as a list of other possibilities to study. Councilmember Barry Fadem, the attorney for the initiative, was asked by The Independent after the meeting whether the initiative would require a special election with its extra costs. He replied, “No special election is required that would result in any additional cost to the City of Livermore. Pursuant to California law, the City Council has complete authority to place the initiative on the March 3, 2020 statewide primary ballot at no additional cost to the City of Livermore.”