02.04 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 5:00 P.M.

Department of the Environment

11 Grove Street, Eco Center

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 


*The Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 5:00 p.m. Regularly Scheduled Meeting of the Commission on the Environment’s Operations Committee has been RESCHEDULED to Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Rodriguez Heyman (Chair); Paul Pelosi Jr. and Matt Tuchow

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Operations Committee meeting was called to order at 5:08 p.m.  Present:  Chair Rodriguez Heyman and Commissioner Tuchow. Excused:  Commissioner Pelosi Jr.

 

2.      Approval of Minutes of the October 14, 2008 Operations Committee Rescheduled Meeting.  (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document: October 14, 2008 Approved Minutes) Upon Motion by Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman and second by Commissioner Tuchow, the October 14, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved as written.

 

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.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

4.      Overview of Fundraising Efforts for October – December 2008. (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document Received in Committee Meeting)

 

Acting Director Assmann distributed a list of grants that were either obtained in the last quarter or are being applied for.  It was explained that due to the economic situation at this time, the focus on fundraising efforts is more toward government agencies than foundations. Ms. Rosenmoss is also watching the Economic Stimulus Package to identify funding opportunities for energy efficiency and transportation projects.  It was explained that the stimulus money would most likely be routed through established channels; e.g., the Department of Energy would receive funding for energy programs, and the Department would work through the Department of Energy on energy-efficiency projects for San Francisco. 

 

Commissioners at a previous Committee meeting had asked for a list of grantees that assistance was needed to secure funding.  Acting Director Assmann suggested that Commissioners could contact SeaChange Foundation that funds renewable energy projects or assist in securing funding for the Eco Center renovation project as all funding other than grants have been taken away from this project.  Mr. Assmann provided a description of which organizations and projects grant applications were submitted for.  Acting Director Assmann explained that there are blanks in the category of “Granted” for amount not yet granted from several funders that indicates we are waiting for a response, but does not know if assistance is required in those areas.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested that the list be separated into three categories (1) top category—what are the outstanding grant-requests that help is needed on; (2) next—list groups that have been identified as possible funders, but a proposal has not been submitted for; and (3) include a separate category for specific funding requests, e.g., the Eco Center.  Aside from those three categories, to add a separate category for proposals submitted and accepted and another separate category for proposals submitted and denied.  This format would help achieve at first glance where assistance is needed.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked that Acting Director Assmann or Ms. Fish consult with Ms. Rosenmoss on whether she would need assistance with contacting Surdna Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, and Kaiser and to provide a finite list, if available, on who could fund the Eco Center so the Commissioners could assist in this effort.

 

5.      Update on the Department Budget Process for Fiscal Year 2009-10. (Explanatory Document Received in Committee: Fiscal Year 2009-10 Budget) (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Acting Director Assmann presented a revised budget from the one submitted to the Commission on January 27 that included items that had been previously approved through the accept-and-expend process.  Mr. Assmann reported that there are two ways to have the budget approved, one is through the annual budget process and the other is through the accept and expend process, so if a Department receives a grant mid-year, they can request approval from the Board of Supervisors at that moment and not wait until the next budget cycle.  

 

Acting Director Assmann presented an overview of the budget sheets. It was explained that the Department’s program summary budget sheet shows the source of funding, expenses, and any increases and decreases from previous fiscal years.  The source of funding for program areas was explained as follows:

 

·         Energy is from the Energy Watch program, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Building Inspection (DBI).

·         Clean Air is almost entirely grant funded with the exception of funding that is received from departments to administer the commuter benefit program.

·         Recycling is predominantly impound-funded wit the exception of funding that is received from Department of Conservation grants.  A discussion was held on the Recycling program’s allocation of funds to City department diversion programs.

·         Toxics Reduction is from a combination of the Impound Account, grants, and from other departments.

·         Green Building funding is from DBI, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the Impound Account, and the Treasure Island Development Authority for the latest building projects.

·         Outreach program is all grant funded.

·         Environmental Justice is operating from a $13 million appropriation and grants received.  This area is a priority for grants because the $13 million appropriation should be spent in the next two years. 

·         Administration is funded on a full time employee basis.

·         Urban Forest funding is all from other departments that have responsibility for trees.  Concern with continued funding by other departments was reported given the current budget situation.  Applications for funding have been applied for.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman recommended a potential partnership with Friends of the Urban Forest.  Mr. Assmann reported that City legislation requires that the Department of the Environment coordinate the program, but that other partnership options could be explored. Mr. Assmann reported that there has been discussion around having all work surrounding trees be allocated to one department. 

 

Acting Director Assmann reported on the Department’s Budget Summary Sheet. It was explained that categories include a budget summary of expenses for the whole department; new grants that the Department would be getting approval for as part of the budget process; grants previously approved through the accept and expend process; work orders from other City departments; the Impound Account, and the Department’s revenue sources.  The additional budget sheets show the detail on the Impound Account, Work Orders, Grants, and Grants previously approved through the accept and expend process.

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman inquired about the areas that staff could use support from the Commissioners.  Acting Director Assmann reported that assistance could be rendered in the fundraising process, e.g., Urban Forest area or in the political process that he would provide information on if it becomes necessary.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the budget process as explained in the following paragraph.

 

Acting Director Assmann reported on pending information that includes (1) final benefit numbers; (2) a response from other City departments on their funding allocations; and (3) negotiations with Unions regarding a possible replacement of the 3 ½ % salary increase with time off, and potential impact to the Energy Watch program.  This information has to be finalized before February 20th when the budget is submitted to the Mayor’s Office.  The Mayor’s Office Budget Analyst then works on balancing the budget and negotiates with Departments on changes. An update would be provided to the Operations Committee after discussions with the Mayor’s Office. The budget is then submitted to the Board of Supervisors.  The Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst analyzes budgets and makes cuts in late April. Then, the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee holds hearings which are followed by the full Board in May for Enterprise Departments, which the Department is part of.  Changes are usually made at the Committee level. 

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel (1) requested that every budget document include a date it was prepared; (2) stated that there is a proposed $788,000 to be transferred from the Impound Account allocated to other City department programs, not  just $600,000, because of the transfer to DPW-street-cleaning.  DPW already receives over $1 million directly from the Impound account that was negotiated through the garbage rate process.  It was recommended that any money spent from the Impound Account under this mandate be described in  work orders that clearly specify what the money would be used for, so these funds would be returned to the Department in the future and not be a continued raid on Department funds; (3) inquired how the Office of Contract Administration is going to use the $120,000 that the Department has allocated. Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman stated that having an agreement with the Mayor’s Office is equally important as with City departments; (4) concerned about matching numbers for funding Administration costs from the Impound, General Fund, and Grants accounts; (5) clarified Mr. Assmann’s comments at the October meeting that discussed first quarter under spending of anticipated revenues and that it would be expected that by the fourth quarter all targets would be spent.  Acting Director Assmann reported that his comments reflected the situation before the budget crisis, and that the Department would be under-spent by the end of this fiscal year; (6) recommended requesting funding for the Department’s work on the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment project as was received from TIDA on their development project; (7) discussed her concern with the appearance of “money laundering” where the Department is receiving money from City Departments but giving it back to them through Impound account transfers, e.g., Port, DPW, Recreation and Park.  Acting Director Assmann reported that the Department is paying rent for the Port for a reuse facility for building resources, for their responsibility for trees, and Integrated Pest Management work.  Funding is also allocated to the Recreation and Park Department and DPW for their work on trees.  Mr. Salem, Budget Manager, stated that it is important from an accounting aspect to show all transactions separately to keep track of what has transpired. Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman recommended that an appendix be added that lists all payees that are also payers.

 

6.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion) 

 

Future agenda item requests included:

 

1.      Fundraising update by Ms. Rosenmoss.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested that it be conveyed to Ms. Rosenmoss that the intention behind this presentation is not just an update but to present to the Commissioners information they need so they can help the Department in their fundraising efforts. It was explained that the Commission’s most important role should be to advance the work and mission of the Department rather than just receiving reports;

 

2.      Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested an update on the budget that does not include as many details, e.g. process update, what changed, issues, challenges, and how Commissioners can help.  Commissioner Tuchow stated that it would be important to see the budget in detail because it is the responsibility of the Commission to approve the budget and to see and understand variations;

 

3.      Eco Center discussion by Ms. Rosenmoss and possibly attendance by UC Davis participants who designed and planned for the Eco Center.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman recommended inviting potential funders of the Eco Center and suggested following up with Ms. Rosenmoss to provide a list of funders or template email that Commissioners could send to potential funders;

 

4.      Department Website revisions by Mr. Grodeska.  It was explained that there are facsimile projects being worked on and funded by others that have benefits for the Department, e.g. Green Cities California received outside funding for a Best Practices website which should be up and running by April.  A presentation could be given on Eco Map, which is an enhanced version of Solar Map;

 

5.      Landfill search process for a new contract in 2015.  Discussion on how the rate process relates to the Commission. 

 

Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman reported that he would not be available for the next Operations Committee meeting scheduled for April 15.  Ms. Fish announced that the April and October meetings would be held at City Hall, Room 421.  

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel requested a discussion on the impact of the mandatory recycling ordinance on the future of the rate process as soon as possible. Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman recommended that this item be heard at the Commission or Policy Committee.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that there would be budgetary impacts as a result of this ordinance that would affect Norcal, the landfill and landfill contract.  It was explained that the sooner the issues of the rate setting process have been identified, understanding the financial, political, and outreach impact could be achieved.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that this issue is a Policy Committee issue as well as Operations.  Commissioner Tuchow recommended a discussion on the rate process and how it relates to the Commission.  

 

7.      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.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

8.      Adjournment.  The Operations Committee meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

 

** 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 at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/operations-committee by following the links with each agenda or meeting minutes, (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

*Approved:  April 15, 2009

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