Under the rental agreement, the Council Chamber at Ripon City Hall can be used by any government agency free of charge.
But here’s the catch – the public session would have to tie in somehow to Ripon residents.
This was based on the alternative language that was approved last week by the City Council.
Mayor Leo Zuber made the request to bring back the chamber rental agreement for discussion after he and his colleague agreed on the fee waiver last month for the Ripon Unified school board to continue use of the facility for the 12 public meetings.
According to City Administrator Kevin Werner, a Memorandum of Understanding between the two local agencies was established about two years ago, allowing RUSD to share the facility for public meetings at no cost.
“If there is a fee process, we need to formalize it and make sure everyone is aware of it so there are no exceptions being made,” Zuber said back then.
In looking over the rental agreement, staff recognized that a majority of the chamber rentals were in relation to governmental agencies conducting public meetings.
“These public meetings serve as a benefit to the residents of Ripon as they provide a local forum where residents can participate in these meetings,” Werner said.
As for the alternative language, the one for public agency read: “There is no charge for any Federal, State, County, or Legal government to conduct a public meeting using the Council Chambers. For any costs that are incurred by the City of Ripon (IT support, staff time used for setting up the facility, or extra cleaning fees, for example), the renting agency shall be responsible to reimburse the City for those costs.”
Councilman Mike Restuccia was OK with the new language. “But can any other City hold a meeting in our Chambers?” he asked.
Werner nodded, saying, “If it is a public meeting then it would meet the intent.”
Zuber asked if the agreement has a provision abound conflict of meetings.
“It does state that the City could give a one-hour notice of cancellation – in signing the agreement, this would be understood,” Werner said.