Understanding Local Needs
Delivering Local Solutions

Past Webinars


The Proper Care and Feeding of Development Impact Fee Programs


Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to Noon Watch Now

Join us for an interactive webinar to learn how to avoid the financial, legal and political consequences of improper administration of development impact fee (“DIF”) programs.

How to avoid the common missteps in the levy, collection, accounting, reporting and updating of development impact fees will presented.

The implications of some recent court cases and pending legislation related to the administration of DIFs will also be examined.

An interactive Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Blair Aas

Blair Aas

Senior Consultant, SCI Consulting Group

Serving California public agencies since 1985, SCI is a recognized public finance consulting firm with leading expertise in assisting California public agencies with local funding of public services and improvements.

Since joining the firm in 2001, Blair had developed specific expertise in the areas of development impact fee studies, Mello-Roos CFD formations, Quimby programs, and other funding mechanisms to address the impact of new development on communities.

Blair is a graduate of Boise State University with a B.A. in Economics with an emphasis in public finance. He is also frequent presenter on local funding mechanisms at many annual conferences and area workshops held by CSMFO, CSDA, FDAC, CPRS, and CARPD. He is a commercial associate member of the CSMFO, a member of the CSDA Legislative Committee Budget, Finance, and Taxation Working Group, and a former Community Resources Commissioner for the City of Fairfield.

Opportunities for 50% Approval of Special Taxes: How the CCC vs City of Upland Supreme Court Decision May Affect Your Agency!


Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to Noon Watch Now

Implementing reliable and comprehensive funding for specific municipal services is one of greatest challenges facing California cities, counties and special districts today. However, the California Supreme Court’s recent California Cannabis Coalition vs City of Upland may decision radically change this!

The Upland decision indicates that a group of voters could develop and support a special tax ballot measure using the well-established voter initiative process, including signature gathering, and with approval by a simple 50% majority, not the much more daunting and difficult two-thirds threshold.

In this webinar, John Bliss, P.E., President and Kyle Tankard, Senior Consultant at SCI Consulting team up to introduce and educate participants about the Upland Decision including legal and political considerations, processes and effective roles for citizen groups and public agencies. City, county and special district staff and elected officials are encouraged to participate in this webinar.
This webinar provides an introduction to:

An interactive Q&A session will follow the presentation.

John Bliss

John Bliss, P.E.

President, SCI Consulting Group

Specializes in assisting cities and other public agencies with public opinion research, fees, taxes and assessments and community outreach.
Mr. Bliss graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, and holds a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Regents' Scholar. He is a licensed professional Civil Engineer in the State of California.

Kyle Tankard

Kyle Tankard

Senior Consultant, SCI Consulting Group

Kyle Tankard contributes experience leading and assisting in the formation of local revenue ballot measures and their annual administration, for both benefit assessments and special taxes. He currently administers a variety of assessments and taxes for vector, landscaping and lighting, levee and flood control and other special districts throughout California. His scope of work extends to include public opinion research, public outreach, data analysis and GIS mapping and database management. Kyle graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with GIS emphasis.

Opportunities for Funding Stormwater Management without a Ballot Measure: SB 231 Changes Everything!


Original Air Date:  Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to Noon Watch Now

The recent passage of the landmark Senate Bill 231, which currently sits on Governor Brown's desk for likely signature, will radically change the way stormwater management services are funded in California. SB 231 clarifies the definition of the term "sewer" to explicitly include "stormwater", and therefore, a property-related fee for stormwater services would be statutorily exempt from the expensive and risky balloting requirement. In other words, stormwater fees could be raised using the same notice/public hearing process as is used for water, sewer and refuse collection fees.

This Webinar is designed specifically to introduce and educate City and County finance and public works staff and decision makers to the revolutionary funding options provided by SB 231, including the political and legal considerations.

An interactive Q&A session will follow the presentation.

John Bliss

John Bliss, P.E.

President, SCI Consulting Group

Specializes in assisting cities and other public agencies with public opinion research, fees, taxes and assessments and community outreach.
Mr. Bliss graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, and holds a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Regents' Scholar. He is a licensed professional Civil Engineer in the State of California.

Alexandra Barnhill

Alexandra M. Barnhill

Partner at Jarvis, Fay, Doporto & Gibson

As an advisor to cities, special districts and joint powers agencies across California, Alexandra M. Barnhill is familiar with a broad range of municipal, environmental, land use and public revenue matters.

Alexandra currently acts as General Counsel for the Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Agency and the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District. She previously was designated as the Assistant City Attorney in Rohnert Park and Carpinteria. Alexandra also acts as Special Counsel for a number of municipalities.

Alexandra holds a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law and has built upon that foundation a detailed knowledge of land use, planning and environmental compliance (CEQA). Using this background, she guides her clients through the permitting and development entitlement process. She has extensive experience reviewing applications for discretionary land use permits and assisting her clients in making appropriate findings and complying with public hearing requirements. She routinely advises public agencies on the appropriate level of associated environmental documentation for these approvals. She has reviewed a broad array of environmental impact reports (EIRs), mitigated negative declarations (MNDs), negative declarations (NDs) and exemptions to ensure legal adequacy.

Local government clients regularly engage Alexandra to provide advice regarding the generation of municipal revenue in a manner that is consistent with applicable regulations including the Mitigation Fee Act and Propositions 13, 218, and 26. For example, she has assisted local agencies with the establishment and increase of rates for water, sewer and solid waste (trash) services and the negotiation of franchise fee agreements. She has also counseled clients about the process of imposing a general or special tax including the applicable restrictions on ballot measure advocacy.

Alexandra's expertise also extends to more traditional public law issues, such as the Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act. She is considered an expert on conflicts of interest and related laws, such as the Political Reform Act. She regularly advises and lectures on achieving compliance with governmental ethics laws.

Alexandra is an active public speaker and writer.

Sean Bothwell

Sean Bothwell

Policy Director at California Coastkeeper Alliance

Sean Bothwell works to implement statewide initiatives to enhance California's water quality and supplies. Sean is the lead environmental advocate on the State Water Board's key statewide policies, including the desalination policy, the trash policy, stormwater permitting, and water recycling. Sean leads CCKA's legislative program by representing the organization in Sacramento at legislative hearings and committee expert panels; and cultivating relationships with the Governor's Office, legislative members, and legislative committee staff. Prior to joining CCKA, Sean provided legal expertise to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. While there, he co-authored "Climate Change and the Public Trust Doctrine: Using an Ancient Doctrine to Adapt to Rising Sea Levels in San Francisco Bay," since published in the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Review. Sean is a Member of Restore Hetch Hetchy's Board of Directors, an organization committed to returning Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural state. His student note on wave energy and desalination was awarded top honors by Vermont Law School. Sean holds a B.A. in criminal justice and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.


Local Cannabis Regulation and Policy: Understanding State Integration of Medical Cannabis and Non-Medical - Proposition 94 for Public Agencies

Original Air Date:  Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to Noon Watch Now

On June 27th, SB 94 was signed by Governor Brown with a goal of integrating medical cannabis and non-medical cannabis. Join us for an interactive webinar to discuss the effects of Proposition 94 as well as on local governments and help clarify what adult use of cannabis means for implementation, regulations, revenue and compliance. We’ll discuss analyzing and implementing your community’s preferences and integrating recreational with non-recreational cannabis.

An interactive Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Neil Hall

Neil Hall

Consultant, SCI Consulting Group

Mr. Hall brings over 40 years of intensive interaction with public agencies and communities throughout California. As Owner and President of the Fairfield Research Group from 1995 to 2014, Mr. Hall conducted over 150 focus groups, and attitude and satisfaction surveys for various communities, political candidates, and public entities in Solano County.
Mr. Hall earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and M.B.A. from St. Mary's College.

John Bliss

John Bliss, P.E.

President, SCI Consulting Group

Specializes in assisting cities and other public agencies with public opinion research, fees, taxes and assessments and community outreach.
Mr. Bliss graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, and holds a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Regents' Scholar. He is a licensed professional Civil Engineer in the State of California.


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