The city council received a recent report on the pandemic’s impact, in addition to appointing new seats and approving employee wage increases.
During the Dec. 13 city council meeting, City Manager Marc Roberts, the city’s director of emergency services, noted that since the council last met, the new omicron variant was reported to the World Health Organization and the first confirmed case in the U.S. — in California — was reported on Dec. 1. He further noted that the booster was recommended for everyone 16 years and older, and public health officials have reminded everyone to test before and after holiday gatherings.
“One to three days before and three to five days after, even if you don’t have symptoms,” Roberts continued.
Alameda County will lift the indoor masking requirement in public spaces not subject to state and federal masking rules when the county reaches the moderate or low transmission tier for at least three weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations are low and stable, and 80% of the county’s total population is fully vaccinated.
“The county has provided additional direction for what low and stable means,” he said. “That means that COVID patients have to be occupying fewer than 3.3% of total beds, and right now we’re meeting that standard as just over 2% of seven-day hospital beds are being allocated to COVID patients.”
Roberts noted that, countywide, the region hasn’t yet met the moderate or low transmission tier for three consecutive weeks, and the vaccination rate is just below 80%. In Livermore, he said the local vaccine clinics have been incredibly successful.
“We’ve distributed more than 4,100 vaccine doses at clinics held at May Nissen Park, Sunday Farmers Market and Robert Livermore Community Center,” Roberts said.
In Livermore, Roberts reported that COVID-19 cases even after Thanksgiving have remained relatively stable. With 72.5% of its residents vaccinated, the city still falls just behind the county, which has 77.6%.
Mayor Bob Woerner pointed out that the definition of “fully vaccinated” is evolving to include the booster. He wanted to know if the county anticipates changing its orders considering omicron. Roberts believed there would be a likelihood of a revision to the guidelines for easing mask requirements if there is a case rate or hospitalization increase.
New Vice Mayor, Advisory Committee Appointments
During the meeting, Woerner announced that Councilmember Gina Bonanno has agreed to fill the role of vice mayor for the coming year. First, he thanked current Vice Mayor Trish Munro for her service and presented her with a plaque.
The mayor then appointed Bonanno to serve on the City Council Subcommittee on Advisory Bodies for the period of Jan. 1 - June 30, 2022, alongside Councilmember Brittni Kiick, who was already serving on the Subcommittee.
City Employees Set to Receive Raises
The city manager, city attorney and executive management will receive raises effective Dec. 6, 2021.
The city manager position will now earn $296,851 annually (a 2.5% increase); the city attorney bumps to $279,010 (a 3.5% increase); and department heads will see an increase of 2.5%.
The increase of the department heads’ salaries follows a similar 2.5% raise for management employees in July of this year.
Consent Calendar Items
In addition to other funding approvals on the consent calendar, the council adopted a resolution authorizing the purchase of three 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EVs from National Auto Fleet Group in an amount not-to-exceed $104,411.
“I just wanted to point out to folks that the phasing in of electric vehicles to replace our fossil fuel-based fleet is happening,” Bonanno said. “It’s happening in a very prescribed way in terms of vehicles being at the end of their life and being replaced with renewables.”
Another resolution authorized a public works contract with EVRA Construction, Inc. for construction of the Police Facility Real Time Awareness Center (RTAC) in an amount not-to-exceed $472,000. According to the staff report, the purpose of the project is to convert an existing storage area at the police department into a state-of-the-art tactical communications and real-time analysis policing facility. Once operational, the RTAC will provide real-time, actionable intelligence to officers in the field as they respond to calls.
For development of a Black Box Theater, the council approved an extension and sixth amendment of the exclusive negotiating rights agreement with Shakespeare’s Associates Inc. since first entering into the agreement on July 24, 2018. The council has previously approved extensions in May 2019, January 2020, May 2020, November 2020 and June 2021. The agreement was set to expire again on Dec. 31, 2021; the company has cited delays due to the pandemic. The new extension will expire on June 30, 2022.