Richmond city council set to approve contract for new top administrator

- The Richmond City Council is set to formally hire Carlos Martinez to succeed the retiring Bill Lindsay as this city's top administrator.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the City Council will consider approving an employment agreement with Martinez, who will leave his post as East Palo Alto's city manager, that would pay him an initial base salary of $260,000, and a total compensation package of about $358,000 a year. He would be eligible for an annual raise upon a satisfactory performance review.

Martinez was selected recently over two other finalists for the city manager's job -- former Alameda City Manager and Moraga Town Manager Jill Keimach and former Oxnard Assistant City Manager Ruth Osuna.

Lindsay has been Richmond's city manager since 2005.

The Richmond City Council is scheduled to address two other topics of note Tuesday night. One is a proposed increase of the city's real estate transfer tax to generate money to fund two measures approved by Richmond voters in June together called the "Kids First Initiative" to support expanded city youth services and to establish a city operated Department of Children and Youth.

The tax rate for properties valued at more that $1 million could go up between 78 percent (for parcels valued at $1 million to $3 million) and 428 percent (for parcels valued at $10 million or more).

City staff recommends the council put this tax increase on the November general election ballot.

The City Council also will discuss whether to put, on the same November election ballot, a measure to establish a parcel tax on vacant properties. The proposal calls for a $3,000-per-year tax on developed vacant parcels, and a $6,000-per-year tax on vacant undeveloped parcels.

The goal would be to raise about $5.4 million annually for 20 years to fund homelessness services and housing, blight and elimination of illegal garbage dumping in Richmond.

All three of these items are on the council's consent calendar, meaning they could be approved as a group without discussion. However, any or all of the items could be discussed publicly at the request of any council member or a member of the public.

The meeting's open session begins at 6:30 p.m. at Richmond's Community Services Building, 440 Civic Center Plaza.

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