COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Alan Mok (Chair); Paul Pelosi Jr. and Ruth Gravanis
Commission Secretary: Monica Fish
*The Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 4:00 p.m. meeting was rescheduled to Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 4:00 p.m.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Operations Committee meeting was called to order at 4:10 p.m. Present: Chair Mok and Commissioner Gravanis; Excused: Commissioner Paul Pelosi Jr.
2. Approval of Minutes of the April 18, 2007 Operations Committee Regular Meeting (Action). Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Chair Mok, the April 18, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved with an amendment to page 4, to change “Fletcher” to “Flex Your Power.” (AYES: Commissioners Gravanis and Mok; Absent: Commissioner Pelosi Jr.) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the April 18, 2007 Meeting)
3. Public Comments: Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. Mr. Darian Rodriguez Heyman stated that (1) he would be sworn in as a Commissioner tomorrow; (2) recommended that the Operations Committee meetings contain more strategic discussions and votes rather than informational reports and updates. Chair Mok stated that past Operations Committee meetings have been to receive program updates by Department staff and to preview and vote on the Department’s draft budget before the Commission’s review and approval.
4. Update on the Environmental Justice Program Budget for FY 2007-08, City-funded Environmental Justice Grant Awards, and Status of Special Projects Supported by Grants from Non-City Sources (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document Distributed in Committee Meeting: Environmental Justice Grants and Special Projects for 2007 and Budget)
Staff: Ms. Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager
Ms. Anne Eng reported that the Environmental Justice program has three funding sources, the initial $13 million that was appropriated by the state to the city, outside grants, and the impound account. It was explained that the funding source for most of the $810,590 reflected on the budget sheet for Fiscal-Year 2007-08 is from the initial $13 million, with $500,000 allocated for grants. The Commission at their May meeting approved eight new grant awards that total approximately $500,000. Ms. Eng reported that there is money allocated to staffing, overhead costs, and $50,000 for other professional services to complement outside funding that is being received to address indoor air quality, food security, and energy issues.
Ms. Eng described special projects that the Environmental Justice Program is administering through a grant program. From the $13 million dollars that was appropriated to the City, 41 grants have been awarded including the 8 new ones that were just approved by the Commission. Those 41 grant awards plus 3 professional service contracts total slightly over $10 million dollars. The Department has secured funding beyond the $13 million through outside funding and is collaborating with outside non-profit groups on special projects, providing an additional $400,000 in grant funds. Outside funding has been secured for projects that include (1) the Bayview Hunters Point Farmers Market to address food security concerns of low-income residents; (2) indoor air quality to address asthma concerns in the Bayview neighborhood; and (3) outdoor air quality to focus on reducing diesel emissions and promoting alternative biodiesel fuel in the San Francisco Bay area.
A discussion was held on how grant funding is disbursed to non-profit organizations to develop and support projects. Ms. Eng explained that typically the non-profit organization outlays a certain amount for project funding and then gets reimbursed by the City. This sometimes causes problems for larger projects as many groups have cash flow, program oversight, and accounting problems. Mr. Darian Rodriguez Heyman asked if there is a way that the non-profit would not have to outlay the money in advance. Ms. Eng explained that the grant agreement has provisions on how disbursements would be made, and the Department usually advances up to 25% and provides additional payments as receipts are submitted. Mr. Rodriguez Heyman stated that he would like to participate in a future discussion on this topic and encouraged the Department to recommend to grantees an organization called Northern California Grant Makers who have an emergency low-interest loan program for non-profits that have been awarded government and foundation grants.
Commissioner Mok asked Ms. Eng whether engine oil collection from households has started. Ms. Eng stated that there has been funding received for waste oil collection services throughout the City. Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss stated that the Toxics Reduction Program is giving out two grants this year to do outreach and education on used oil recycling in the Mission and Bayview Hunters Point neighborhoods.
Mr. Darian Rodriguez Heyman inquired about the status of the Literacy for Environmental Justice grant proposal. Ms. Eng stated that there would be a future interview scheduled with the organization and a grant award will be brought to the Commission for approval. It was stated that if a partial award would be recommended, it would be conditional on the completion of the Living Classroom project.
5. New Grants Received by the Department of the Environment (Informational Report). (Explanatory Document Received in Committee Meeting: List of Grants Received by the Department)
Staff: Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss, Fundraising Coordinator
Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss referenced the list of grants that the Department has applied for over the past two years (see Explanatory Document above) that is categorized by division, funder name, proposal description, amount requested, proposal date, amount granted, and grant duration. It was stated that there are three Clean Air grants that will be applied for this week that are not on the list. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that applying for grants is a Department collaborative effort and noted the good job the Department is doing in securing grants given that it is a government agency. It was explained that most Clean Air grants and Toxics Reduction block grants for outreach and education on oil collection are received every year, but other programs require fundraising.
Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the process used to determine what grants to apply for. Ms. Rosenmoss explained that determinations are made based on the Strategic Plan and also from new information (e.g. Requests for Proposals) about grants that are being released in order to implement future projects. Commissioner Gravanis stated that priorities that may not be in the Strategic Plan are listed as part of the priorities of the Urban Environmental Accords. Ms. Eng explained that because the Department is not funded directly from the General Fund, it is dependent on grant funding.
Mr. Rodriguez Heyman suggested that the Strategic Plan should contain a core list of projects and other projects that the Department would like to pursue given adequate funding. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that funding could become available for projects that are not listed in the Strategic Plan as agencies release money for specific projects that staff members had in mind, but funding was not available at the time the Strategic Plan was written. Mr. Rodriguez Heyman stated that he would forward a list of foundations that fund environmental causes to Ms. Rosenmoss. Ms. Rosenmoss was asked to forward Commissioners a list of projects that the Department is having a hard time securing funding for so they could possibly support the effort.
Mr. Rodriguez Heyman asked what percentage of grants is granted to other agencies. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that she is working on this field for the database and explained that part of the grant funding stays with the Department to run its programs, and other funding is allocated to outside agencies, City departments, equipment purchase, and other allocations. Ms. Eng stated that the only way for the Department to allocate funding to a non-profit agency is through a grant agreement (RFP). Ms. Rosenmoss stated that the Department issues an RFP for a partner to work on a project, selects someone from an RFP, and then that organization would have to apply for a grant, which may be a year-long process. Commissioner Gravanis suggested that a non-profit organization could be the applicant in order to avoid these issues. Ms. Rosenmoss explained that a non-profit organization could apply for some projects, but other projects may require application by a government agency. Ms. Eng explained that in those grants where they want a government agency to lead, it is because they have the capacity to manage and often times a non-profit organization does not.
6. Final Report on the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal Year 2007-08 Budget as Approved by the Board of Supervisors (Explanatory Documents Received in Committee Meeting: Fiscal Year 2007-08 Approved Budget and Budget Analyst Recommendations) (Informational Report).
Staff: Mr. Joseph Salem, Budget and Finance Support
Mr. Salem reported on the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal-Year 2007-08 Budget with Budget Analyst Recommendations that was approved by the Board of Supervisors (see Explanatory Documents above) and discussed changes from the Draft Budget presented to the Commission at their January meeting.
1. Grant Funds. No changes were made as funding is set by outside agencies.
2. Impound Account. (1) Administration Budget in Other Materials & Supplies that includes data processing supplies, e.g. computer, software programs, etc. was reduced by $21,381 and (2) a reduction in professional services for the Recycling Program of $60,911. These two changes were the only ones that resulted in a net decrease in the overall Department budget.
Commissioner Gravanis asked if the Recycling Program would be affected by the reduction in professional services. Mr. Salem stated that the amount would equal slightly-under 10% of the total for the professional services budget, and may reduce the overall projected effectiveness of the Recycling Program’s goal for the year, but would be distributed between the various tasks. Mr. Rodriguez Heyman asked if the Department was able to provide input into the Budget Analyst and Board of Supervisors’ recommendations. Mr. Salem explained that the Department Director and Deputy Director concurred with the Budget Analyst recommendations. It was stated that FY 2007-08 budget cuts were substantially lower than FY 06-07’s.
3. General Fund. Other Materials & Supplies. Data processing supplies were cut by 50%, which will result in fewer updated computers and software licenses that may be put off for next fiscal year. Mr. Salem stated that a specific list of cuts as a result of this reduction is available. Mr. Rodriguez Heyman suggested looking into services that offer free or significantly discounted computers to non-profits. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that this service would be offered to a government agency, but would consult them again.
Other Current Expenses in the amount of $13,638 was rejected for printing expenses for Urban Forestry brochures. Other Materials & Supplies were reduced to reflect an increase of $13,426 as a result of a reduction in interdepartmental recovery amounts. Only negligible General Fund savings will result because the interdepartmental recoveries are primarily non-General Fund departments.
Green Building Professional & Specialized Services budget was reduced from $191,645 to $71,645. Other Materials and Supplies for Green Building expenditures were reduced from $18,000 to $9,000.
An additional three reductions in the General Account were reversed from general back to grant-funded positions, most notably for Energy Group FTE’s that were funded by the Energy Watch grant.
Mr. Salem explained that the only other changes to the budget included position changes where the decrease to the Impound Fund was offset by an increase in Grant Fund expenditures. Other than these cuts, there were no cuts made from the Draft Budget presented in January. The only material change was an increase of $60,000 in General Fund money allocated to the Department to manage the Victory Gardens project sponsored by Supervisor Peskin. Ms. Eng advised that an RFP would be issued for this project. Commissioner Gravanis asked if any part of the $60,000 would be allocated for staff resources to manage the project. Ms. Rosenmoss and Ms. Eng stated that it would not as the project would be part of the Department’s mission. Mr. Salem explained that the $60,000 does represent General Fund support so would not be a reduction in other funds.
Mr. Salem reported that overall the FY 2007-08 budget is $14,987,000 and represents a $2,709,176 increase from the last fiscal year, a vast majority of which is an increase to Energy Watch professional services (increased to $4.5 million from $2.7 in the last fiscal year) and an increase of $619,000 to the Impound Fund over last year. Those two account for almost all of the increase in our budget from last fiscal year to this fiscal year.
Mr. Rodriguez Heyman (1) requested a list of Department cuts based on reductions that were made to the budget in order to identify funders; (2) asked if Commissioners are able to make personal contributions to the Commission or to the Department. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that Commissioners are able to make contributions, which may be a tax write-off and suggested making contributions through a non-profit organization for a specific project. Ms. Eng stated that the Environmental Justice Program and Urban Forestry program areas would need help in brainstorming future funding ideas.
Items 7 and 8 were heard together.
7. Information: New Business (Discussion). Commissioner Mok inquired about the progress of the Bayview Farmer’s Market that has been operational again since May of this year. Ms. Eng reported that the market receives 100 to 200 customers a week and has five vendors, two of which are community based and three are participating farmers that have volunteers selling their produce at the market. Ms. Eng reported that a USDA grant helps subsidize weekly sales, which assists in the continuation of the market, and that the market is linked into the food stamp program. It was stated that farmers would like to make $400 in half a day to be worth their time, which may be difficult.
October 17 Meeting: Commissioner Mok requested a progress report on the Bayview Farmer’s Market, a Finance Report, Outreach, and School Education Annual Plan as agenda items. Commissioner Gravanis requested that Mr. Westlund, Outreach Program Manager, present a follow-up report on topics heard at the April Operations Committee meeting, specifically an outreach item on the Compostable Bag Ordinance.
9. Public Comments: Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. Mr. Rodriguez Heyman asked Chair Mok about a potential conflict of interest issue and was advised that either the Director or Legal Counsel could assist in the determination.
10. Adjournment. The Operations Committee meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.
The next Operations Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. at the Department of the Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA.
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL: (415) 355-3709
FAX: (415) 554-6393
Approved: October 16, 2007
** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Committee’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/operations-committee as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes, ;(3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].