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Report stirs debate

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Some feathers were ruffled during the closing comments of Wednesday’s Roseville City Council meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Roccucci provided fellow council members with a letter addressed to the council written by her husband, former councilman Richard Roccucci, regarding city audit reports. In the letter, Richard Roccucci refers to a breakdown in controls and purchasing procedures discovered in 2006 – and first reported by The Press Tribune last week – that he said was not adequately explained to council members. Pauline Roccucci said that the issue is an opportunity for City Treasurer Russ Branson to keep the council informed of city audits and requested an update of the situation. Councilman Jim Gray disagreed and said he felt there wasn’t a need for a follow-up because it happened so long ago. “This happened what, two, three years ago. I have no interest in digging this up again,” Gray said. “The city dealt with it appropriately I don’t see a need for there to be a full discussion about it.” Both Pauline and Richard said that city staff handled the situation appropriately once it was discovered. The Press-Tribune reported Wednesday it remains under investigation by the Roseville Police Department. But in her comments, Pauline Roccucci maintained council knew little about the former Roseville Electric supervisor who allegedly handed out inflated city contracts to poorly qualified family and friends until the Nov. 11 article. She said it was important for the council to be aware of the situation and for residents to know that it was handled properly. Mayor Gina Garbolino said she believed communication would improve. “I have an idea from now on we’ll be abreast of what’s going on,” Garbolino said. In other council business, two “green” requests that would promote sustainability and reduce the city’s carbon footprint were agreed upon by council members. At the Nov.4 meeting the council approved a city action plan presented by Deputy City Manager Julia Burrows and administrative analyst Terri Shirhall to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of city projects and modifying plans. Burrows and Shirhall told the council a community-wide action plan was in the works and said they would be back to request the formation of a committee. Burrows presented council with plans to form a Sustainability Action Committee to assist with the formation of a community-wide action plan to comply with state legislation regarding carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s extremely important to engage the community and members of every aspect to assist in the work,” Burrows said. A $50,000 grant from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District will be used to hire a consultant to formulate the plan, lead the committee and organize community outreach, Burrows said. The 33-member committee will include members of the community representing a wide range of groups and interests like members of transportation, building and construction and local students. “We have students at our high schools that are participating in recycling clubs and nature groups,” Burrows said. “I think they can give a different perspective, provide new ideas and be our liaison to the high schools.” Applications for the committee can be found on the city’s Web site and must be received by Dec. 11. Committee members will be interviewed and selected by the council. At Wednesday’s meeting the council also adopted a resolution that offers Roseville homes and businesses a program that helps fund major water and energy efficiency improvements. Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector Jenine Windeshausen presented the Placer mPower, which stands for Money for Property Owner Water and Energy Efficiency Retrofitting, program creating loans for Roseville home and business owners to finance “green” improvements. Modeled after a program that began in Sonoma County earlier this year, one of the key benefits of the program, Windeshausen said, was the creation of building and construction jobs. “In Sonoma County they reported an 8 percent increase in construction trade employment whereas the four neighboring counties were down up to 2 percent,” Windeshausen said. A recent bid for one project in Sonoma County came in at $2 million, a sign of hope Windeshausen said given the current economy. The mPower program allows residents and businesses to borrow up to 10 percent of their property’s assessed value to install “green” improvements like a high efficiency HVAC system, solar panels or a new irrigation system. Windeshausen said the loan is then paid back over 5, 10,or 20 years through property tax payments. Funded out of the county treasury, the program has no direct impact to the city’s general fund. Editors note: Please note a correction made to a quote made by Councilman Jim Gray.