In his quarterly report detailing the city’s crime statistics, Antioch Police Chief Alan Cantando informed the City Council that crime in the city is on the rise over the first nine months of 2012 compared to the same time last year.
Violent crime in the city has increased 37 percent while property crime has increased 45 percent.
While crime is rising, the strained department is struggling to keep up. Of 86 full-time officers, 15 are unable to work full time for various reasons. Although 14 additional officers will be hired soon, council members expressed concern about police staffing levels and the safety of city residents. Response times to the most crucial calls has increased from an average of eight minutes in 2010 to just over 11 minutes in 2012.
“I don’t think I can sit here and just listen to reports any longer,” said Councilmember Gary Agopian. “We need to act.”
Councilmember Brian Kalinowski suggested the council look into putting a sales tax measure on a future ballot.
The City Council this week approved $10,000 for the Liberty High School Arts and Humanities Academy to paint downtown utility boxes with images of local crops, honoring the city’s heritage. Images of corn, strawberries and cherries are among the designs approved for the 3-foot boxes, which are deployed at intersections. A special graffiti-resistant coating will help preserve the artwork.
The council also unanimously approved changes to the development agreement governing the Vineyards at Marsh Creek to better reflect current economic realities. The numerous changes include allowing in-lieu fees to satisfy affordable-housing requirements, changes to a planned event center, and adjustments in the payment schedule for development fees. The changes, adopted unanimously, will result in about $4.7 million in additional revenue for the city.
The council also named alternates to its Fire Subcommittee to assist members Erick Stonebarger and Steve Barr in interviewing potential appointees to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District board. The alternates, if needed, will be Bob Brockman, then Joel Bryant, then Mayor Bob Taylor. The goal is to avoid delays caused by holiday travel so that the new fire board members will be in place by January.
The Oakley City Council unanimously voted to lease the former Station 93 Fire Station on Second Street to the Oakley Senior Citizens community group beginning April 1, 2013. The building’s current tenant, Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization (HALO), has been given formal notice that it is to vacate the property next spring.
The city-owned building was leased to HALO in 2011, but the council determined on Tuesday that HALO’s animal rescue and adoption operations were not a good fit for the location following complaints about barking dogs.
The Oakley Senior Citizens propose to turn the facility into a senior center complete with a craft area, fitness room and lounge. The senior center would also serve as a comfort zone during inclement weather so that seniors have a place to beat the summer heat, and find warmth during the chilly winters.
Councilman Jim Frazier said he intends to work with HALO to find them a more suitable location, possibly the former YMCA modulars on O’Hara Avenue.
The Discovery Bay Community Services (CSD) board has approved the purchase of 14 new banners to be displayed along routes in town. The banners – seven of which will be permanent; another seven rotated for holidays and special events – will be located along Discovery Bay Boulevard between Highway 4 and Willow Lake Road and along Bixler Road and Point of Timber Road.
The permanent banners will display the town’s new logo emblazoned with the inscription “Welcome to Discovery Bay, Live Where You Play.” The second one will also display the town logo but convey the alternate greeting “Welcome to Discovery Bay, a Great Place for All Seasons.” The holiday banners will say “Welcome to Discovery Bay, Happy Holidays.”
The banners, hardware and installation will cost about $5,000.