City Administrative Services Department recognized for receiving The Excellence in Budgeting Award

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers. Mayor Heather Moreno was absent from the meeting, and Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk led the proceedings.

“Mayor Moreno is out of town, and per standard protocols, since I am serving as Mayor Pro Tem currently, then I’m the one chairing this particular meeting. I promise you I didn’t do anything to the mayor,” said Funk at the beginning of the meeting. 

The agenda for the evening passed unanimously.


When the Consent Calendar came forward, resident Geoff Auslen asked to pull item A2, the Second Reading of Text Amendments to Title 3: Finance and Title 9: Planning & Zoning. The item was discussed in detail at the Feb. 27 meeting and passed. The rest of the calendar was approved before public comment on item A2 was opened.

Auslen stated that he had questions and concerns about three of the items in the document, including fencing and the housing of large equipment on property. City Manager Jim Lewis reminded the council that if there was not a clerical error, the document had been approved at the earlier meeting, and if the language was changed, the process would need to start all over again.

“I think we as a council discussed it at some length, not necessarily on each of the items mentioned, but we discussed the overall thing at some length two weeks ago,” said Councilmember Charles Bourbeau. “I’ve certainly had a lot of questions myself that staff answered. I’m a little concerned that we would reconsider the second reading. This is an annual thing. We do this every year. We should proceed with the second reading and adopting it.”

After discussion, the full Consent Calendar passed unanimously.

“Next, I wanted to brag about our Administrative Services Department,” said Lewis in his Updates from the City Manager. “Once again, this is not easy; let me state that this is the Excellence in Budgeting award for the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO). Miss [Jeri] Rangel, congratulations to you and your team. This is a huge effort to apply for this and be recognized, and it just goes to show the incredible work our Administrative Services team does, led by Director Rangel. I’m very, very grateful to them for their work. It’s great to be award-winning.” 

The evening’s one and only Management Report was The Taxpayer Protection and Government

Accountability Act Initiative No. 21-0042A1. 

“Before you is our recommendation to oppose Initiative No. 21-0042A1,” Lewis said. “You may hear a lot about this initiative from Mr. Mullinax, but I just wanted to share the initiative before you is basically disable the city’s ability to set or raise fees as cost increase or as things occur, which would critically impair services and public safety, recreation, and others. I just want to set the context. I’ve been in city management for 27 years, and this is the worst initiative I’ve ever seen that would limit by far more than any other action I’ve seen the state take.”

The initiative will be presented to voters in the December election this year, and cities are being asked to oppose it in the lead-up to the election.

David Mullinax, the regional public affairs manager of the Channel Counties Division, gave a full overview of the measure to the council.

“Real quickly [I wanted to talk about] what the League of California Cities is,” he said. “We are in our 125th year, and what we have been doing over all those years representing every city in the State on educational issues and advocacy issues. What we try to do is make sure City Councils, members, and city staff members are up to date on new laws, new rules, how to address those new laws and rules, challenges that are coming down the pipe from Sacramento, and to make sure that council members are aware of those new laws and rules.”

Mullinax stated that after conducting several studies, the new initiative would freeze any efforts to raise fees and implement impact fees for companies doing business in the community. It would also impact the council by creating a completely new voting model. He also said that the measure is written so that every time a fee is increased, it would be subject to litigation.

Mullinax also said that Paso Robles has not voted on the item yet and that they are going to listen to the opposition to opposing the initiative to hear both sides at their next meeting before voting. 

During Public Comment on the item, Auslen said he hoped that the council voted yes on the item, while another resident stated that he was in favor of the initiative and felt like city staff should have no say on the resident’s votes or how they vote through opposing the item.

The item passed unanimously.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 26, at 6 p.m.