Chamber of Commerce contract from 1992 is getting renewed and updated

ATASCADERO — Atascadero City Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 9, for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m., following a closed session with nothing to report. Mayor Pro-Tem Newsom was absent. The agenda and the consent calendar were both approved 4-0.

The City Manager’s report was presented by Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish, who provided the following updates:

  • City staff has been working hard on vegetation management for the past few weeks, and the work is now completed.
  • Downtown Trick or Treat was a hit! Thanks to the Downtown Business Improvement District, and especially to Roxy Bragg of Indigo Clothing for taking the lead on coordinating all of the festivities.
  • 276 sixth grade students from Atascadero Middle School visited historic City Hall to appreciate the architecture as inspiration for an art project. More to come on where the artwork will be displayed for an upcoming viewing.
  • Last week, the City teamed up with the Atascadero Student Body to celebrate the grand opening of the new event space across from Sunken Gardens next to La Plaza with a well-attended Fall Carnival to showcase the new space. Anyone who is interested in renting the location can contact the Community Center.
  • The Veteran’s Day Ceremony Faces of Freedom Memorial will be held Thursday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. followed by a BBQ lunch provided by Atascadero Kiwanis. The Ceremony will include a flyover by Estrella Warbirds, “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by Atascadero Fine Arts Academy students, the laying of a memorial wreath by the VFW Auxiliary, and the playing of “Taps”.
  • This Saturday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. is the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony put on by the City of Atascadero and the Atascadero Pickleball Club. The event will take place at the new pickleball courts at the Colony Park Community Center.
  • Over 50 vendors will be on hand at the Holiday Boutique for a one-day craft show where all items are hand-made at the Pavilion on the Lake Saturday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • The Inaugural Atascadero Fall Festival will be a 3-day fun-filled free event located at the Sunken Gardens on Nov. 19-21. There will be carnival rides, games, and over 30 bands on two stages.
  • Vendors and Volunteers are needed for Winter Wonderland, Tamale Festival, and more events coming up this holiday season. Go to visitatascadero.com if you are interested in volunteering or vending at any upcoming events.
  • The Atascadero Historical Society is dedicating a Memorial Walk Pathway on Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m., located at the Colony House by the creek and the Colony Museum Park area near the Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Moreno opened up Community Forum and life-long Atascadero resident Peggy O’Malley spoke virtually.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

O’Malley spoke passionately about the safety and well-being of children. She lamented “the dysfunction of family court” and pointed out the “need for reform in this area.” She thanked the Council for joining many cities across the nation in proclaiming November to be “Family Court Awareness Month.”

Atascadero Resident and CEO of El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), Wendy Lewis spoke virtually and shared that ECHO has opened an emergency winter shelter for the community. It is now open through the end of Mar. 2022 and is “meant to serve our chronically unhoused neighbors that need to get out of the cold weather and the rain during the winter months.”

Lewis also noted that with the expansion of services, fundraising and funds are needed now more than ever. She invited members of the public to attend the third annual Turkey Trot, which will be held at the Atascadero Lake bandstand. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.

“It’s a great way to get your family out, get some exercise, and help give back to a great cause that’s doing amazing work and helping our unhoused neighbors get back into housing,” said Lewis.

Atascadero resident and business owner Geoff Auslen spoke virtually and started off by thanking Wendy Lewis and ECHO for their service to Atascadero.

Auslen then went on to celebrate the “phenomenal” activity going on in Atascadero. He highlighted several local businesses, including Dead Oak Brewery, Ancient Owl Beer Garden and Bottle Shoppe, The Poisoned Apple, and The Escape Room.

“My wife Kate and I were out to dinner last week, and we stumbled upon Dead Oak Brewery that was serving dinner. I will tell you we had the best dinner we have had in the City of Atascadero in my lifetime last week. I also will tell you that that dinner definitely rivals any restaurant in Paso Robles.”

Deputy City Manager Lara Christensen presented a resolution for Atascadero to remain a member of the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) which was established in 1994 in order to provide cost-effective management of solid waste streams and compliance with various solid waste regulations.

SB 1383 becomes effective Jan. 1, 2022 which will enact the most significant change to solid waste regulations in 30 years. The IWMA has been working the past year to help local jurisdictions with compliance.

In August, the County Board of Supervisors voted to withdraw from the IWMA, and a resolution to formally withdraw was passed in September. After the County’s withdrawal, representatives of 7 cities and special districts expressed intent to remain with the IWMA, as long as they met conditions to correct some of the compliance issues that came up during the County’s withdrawal. So far, 5 of the 7 jurisdictions have moved forward with resolutions.

Christensen reported that the cost for the City to move forward independently from the IWMA would cost the City, and therefore residents, significantly more—somewhere in the neighborhood of $740,000 annually, as opposed to under $200,000 annually if Atascadero remains with the IWMA.

Staff Recommended adopting a draft resolution to remain a member agency of the IWMA provided certain conditions are satisfied.

Public comment was opened, and Geoff Auslen called in to express his concern for Atascadero staying with the IWMA.

Public Comment was then closed, and Council discussed the subject at length before approving the two draft resolutions 4-0.

Deputy City Manager Christensen moved on to present the updated Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Agreement.

The current agreement was put in place in 1992 in order to increase publicity, advertising, and services that favorably promote City’s advantages and opportunities. The updated agreement would address language and terms that have become outdated and/or obsolete over the past thirty years.

The new agreement will:

  • Outline objectives and outcomes
  • Set City contributions to a fixed annual rate of $120,000, plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments
  • Set a three-year term with an option for additional two one-year terms
  • Divide the Scope of Services into 5 sections

Staff recommended that Council authorize the City Manager to execute a new contract with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.

Public comment was opened, and Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO Josh Cross spoke virtually. He thanked the Council for reviewing and considering their contract.

Geoff Auslen spoke virtually and stated that everything looks fantastic other than the fact that he would recommend that the City alott even more money to the Chamber.

Public Comment was closed, and Mayor Moreno asked for staff to address some of the wording in the draft to make it less specific in order to free up the Chamber of Commerce so as not to tie their hands by restricting their approved activities.

The resolution was approved 4-0 with proposed wording changes.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m. and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.