At the Carpinteria City Council meeting on May 11, the council considered a number of items of public interest. To minimize the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, the meeting was held through Zoom video conference call. Meeting highlights are included below (out of order considered) and video footage of the meeting can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3dG4uWW.

1. The Council re-ratified a proclamation of local emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, received an update on the City’s response to the pandemic, formed a second City Council ad hoc COVID-19 committee, and asked City staff to draft an ordinance requiring face coverings in businesses. 

Governor Newsom announced last week that California had moved into Stage 2 of pandemic response, which Santa Barbara County echoed with modifications to its stay at home order. Businesses considered low risk are now allowed to reopen under strict modifications, which mainly limits sales to curbside pick-up and delivery. Businesses are required to fill out a social distancing protocol form available at https://bit.ly/2LAxK5v.

Since the Council’s last meeting, the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta passed ordinances that require individuals to wear face coverings within businesses. A number of residents have requested that Carpinteria’s council follow suit. City staff will draft regulations for an ordinance that mandates face coverings worn by employees and customers of local businesses. If a resolution can be drafted well in advance of the next regular City Council meeting, a special meeting will be scheduled. 

The Council’s new ad hoc committee made up of Councilmembers Gregg Carty and Roy Lee will be focused on the community’s economic recovery from the pandemic. 

2. The Council ratified actions taken by City Manager Dave Durflinger, who is the City’s Director of Emergency Services, to establish the COVID-19 Parking Restrictions on certain streets and to close all or part of certain public lots. The new restrictions were prompted by concerns that growing numbers of beach users could force closures as the City continues to prioritize State and County social distancing orders. New parking restrictions are in place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is when the City sees the highest intensity of beach use. 

During last weekend’s enforcement of the new restrictions, five vehicles were towed and 24 parking citations were issued. There was increased staffing of lifeguards, Code Compliance officers, and Sheriff’s Department personnel. 

Several members of the public sent the Council and City comments that were critical of the new restrictions, and the Council enacted changes to reduce the negative impact to residents of certain streets. Residential permit parking zones will be created in no parking areas on Sixth Street between Walnut and Maple avenues and on Palm Avenue between Sixth and Eighth streets.

3. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Fiscal Year June 30, 2019 was received by the Council. Third-party auditors have issued a clean opinion of the financial statements in the CAFR, meaning that, in their opinion, the statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the City in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. For 21 consecutive years, the City of Carpinteria has been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its CAFR, and the 2018/19 CAFR have been submitted to the GFOA to determine its eligibility for recognition.

4. The Council authorized a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement and the issuance of revenue bonds by the California Municipal Finance Authority for the benefit of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Corporation. The issuance of bonds, in an amount not to exceed $38 million, will finance the costs of the acquisition, rehabilitation, improvement and equipping of the Dahlia Court I Apartments located at 1305 Dahlia Court, and two multifamily rental housing facilities for low-income households located in the City of Santa Barbara. The City will have no financial responsibility for the project.