Council approves 10-foot annex along Kay Road

A man walks home along Kay Road in Richmond. Currently, the Richmond city line runs along the middle of Kay Road. On Tuesday night, however, city council approved a move to annex the 10-foot stretch to the north of Kay, so that the entire street, and not just half of it, would fall within the city's border. Photo by Ian A. Stewart

A man walks home along Kay Road in Richmond. Currently, the Richmond city line runs along the middle of Kay Road. On Tuesday night, however, city council approved a move to annex the 10-foot stretch to the north of Kay, so that the entire street, and not just half of it, would fall within the city's border. Photo by Ian A. Stewart

The City of Richmond grew 10 feet wider Tuesday night.

Members of the City Council formally adopted a resolution Tuesday that will eventually lead to the city annexing a 10-foot wide stretch of road along Kay Road, just off San Pablo Avenue near the Richmond Parkway. The land in question is currently designated as a part of unincorporated Contra Costa County, but according to City Engineer Edric Kwan, was always supposed to belong to Richmond.

Currently, the boundary dividing the City of Richmond and unincorporated Contra Costa runs right down the middle of Kay Road. By annexing the 10-foot stretch to the north of the current line, Richmond will own the entire street, instead of half of it.

“You’d think the entire street would belong to the city, not just one half,” Kwan said. “We were always under the premise it belonged to the city, but I guess through some error decades ago, when it should have been annexed, it wasn’t.”

The error was recently uncovered by workers from the county, which is currently making improvements to Kay Road. They found that in 1955, when the city line was drawn, the boundary was improperly marked right down the middle of the street.

Kwan said that the correction will have no impact on anyone’s property taxes. The area just to the north of Kay Road is considered part of Bayview-Montalvin, a census-designated area governed by the county. The only business along Kay Road, a storage facility called Security Public Storage, should be unaffected by the change. Bernadette Jones, the manager of the storage facility, whose office is located on neighboring Madeline Street, not Kay, said she was unaware of the city line shifting. But she said life on the boundry is already confusing enough without any more changes.

“You know, all our paperwork says ‘Richmond,’ even though it’s not technically Richmond,” Jones said. “I think we’re unincorporated. But we get mail with everything on it; Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole. I’ve been told by our garbage company that he thinks we’re in San Pablo.”

• In other business on a relatively tame Tuesday night, the council voted to approve a motion that allows the city to borrow up to $30 million by selling Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (RANs) to investors, but not without some objection from Councilwoman Maria Viramontes. By putting the RANs on the market, the city can quickly raise capitol that would otherwise take months to collect, through property taxes and other revenue generators. The city has sold RANs for the past several years, according to Jim Goins, Richmond’s finance director. The notes are AAA-rated, and Goins anticipated the city would sell likely sell out within a day. The borrowed money must be repaid within 18 months, and carries a flexible interest rate that can run between 0.75 percent and 0.95 percent. The notes go on the market July 1.

Viramontes abstained from the vote, noting that she objected to the dollar amount, which is close to a third of the city’s general fund. Goins pointed out that although the council approved $30 million in sales, it was prepared to sell only $13 million. The move passed 6-0.

• The council also heard statements from several speakers objecting to a proposed increase in the wastewater rates residents in the Richmond Municipal Sewer District pay, although it took no immediate action on the issue.

In 2006 the city proposed a plan to fund nearly $30 million in improvements to the sewer system that called for an 8 percent rate hike each year beginning in 2011 and running through 2014. The city is obligated to make the improvements as the result of a 2006 lawsuit settlement that alleged that the city had discharged wastewater into the bay.

According to city records, residents of a single-residence home that paid $506.10 in sewer taxes in 2010 can expect to pay $546.49 in 2011, and $688.54 by 2014.

Mauricio Duarte, right, a member of the RYSE teen center, accepts a proclamation from Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, right, recognizing June as GLBTQQ Pride month in Richmond. Photo by Ian A. Stewart

Only residents living within the sewer district will be affected by the rate increases. The district covers about half the city’s residents, while people in the northern part of town are mostly covered by the West County Wastewater District, and those in the southern end and the Richmond Annex are covered by the Stege Sanitary District.

If over half of the Richmond sewer district’s residents protest the rate hike, either by filling out a protest form and submitting it to the City Clerk, or by speaking during council open forum, the council will cancel the increase.

• Earlier in the evening Mayor Gayle McLaughlin presented about 20 teenagers from the city’s RYSE teen center with a proclamation naming the month of June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Month. A pair of the teens spoke to the crowd about the stresses of coming out as an adolescent, and Vice Mayor Jeff Ritterman recalled the difficulty his own family faced when his sister, who is a lesbian, married in Connecticut.

The proclamation was met with a warm ovation. This is the second year that Richmond has recognized June as Pride Month.

In a second proclamation, City Council recognized the week of June 5 through 12 as National Neighborhoods Week. The National Neighborhoods program, founded in 1979, serves as a liason and networking resource for local councils and organizations, according to information listed on its Web site.

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