Swearing-in ceremony takes place today; Santa Barbara City Council to meet for first time in 2022
The Santa Barbara City Council will meet today for a consent agenda and ceremonial items — including the installment of a new mayor.
Former council member Randy Rowse was elected mayor with over an 11% margin between him and business owner James Joyce.
Outgoing mayor Cathy Murillo will speak, and the city will recognize her for her service with a plaque.
Then Mr. Rowse and re-elected councilmembers Eric Friedman, Meagan Harmon and Kristen Sneddon will be sworn into their roles. Each will have an opportunity to give comments.
The ceremony will be held in front of Santa Barbara City Hall. The public may attend, but anyone who wants to make a public comment must do so via Zoom.
After the ceremony, the council will adjourn to council chambers, where the public can watch via Zoom, City TV, the city’s website and YouTube.
The meeting begins with a 12-item consent agenda, which is usually passed without discussion. Included on the agenda is a resolution, which will update the way teleconferencing is conducted.
The Brown Act, a California law that ensures access to governmental bodies, was amended in the fall. Consequently, the Santa Barbara City Council could no longer create overarching public-comment time limits, such as 30 minutes per agenda item, unless it was committed to the limit whether or not people showed up to speak.
The resolution also re-establishes the council’s commitment to remote meetings. Mr. Rowse told the News-Press last month that he hoped to meet in council chambers weekly, but his interview was conducted before the omicron variant’s sharp spike.
The consent agenda also features an ordinance that would extend the city’s Average Unit-Size Density incentive program to Feb. 15, 2024. The program would otherwise end Feb. 28.
The city is crafting a replacement for the AUD program, called Floor Area Ratio. Some have criticized the proposal for encouraging bland or boxy architecture. But the council’s proposal to extend the AUD program two years shows a lack of confidence in quick acceptance and application of the FAR program.
The City Attorney’s Office is requesting $250,000 to contract with Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in matters relating to the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. Tava Ostrenger, assistant city attorney, wrote in the report to council that attorneys specializing in airport law would better serve the airport. Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represents airports nationwide.
The City Attorney’s Office seeks to engage KKR as situations occur rather than ask for permission for each issue. Its initial contract with KKR would only allow up to $110,000 in services before engaging $140,000 in appropriations.
After the consent agenda, council will appoint members to the ordinance and finance committees, select chairs and a mayor pro tempore. Advisory groups, boards and commissions will be divided up among council members to serve as liaisons.
To stream the meeting online, go to santabarbaraca.gov/cap. To participate in the virtual meeting during public comment, visit santabarbaraca-gov.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BHXU9bk1SWq0ntGHplRq0Q.