By Raiza Giorgi

A heavily loaded agenda for the Solvang City Council on Monday night, Sept. 9, includes more than 17 items dealing with important topics that include wastewater treatment plant options, tourism services and energy programs. 

Before the public meeting, the agenda also calls for a closed session at 5 p.m. on “Public Employee Discipline / Dismissal / Release.”

This comes after the recent departures of several high-level management employees, the most recent being Planning Director Holly Owen, who resigned effective Aug. 30 for unknown reasons. 

Longtime City Attorney Dave Fleishman submitted his resignation in late May, two months after an odd attempt at firing him in a closed council meeting that was called and then canceled without any discussion. 

The items on the public agenda include reviewing the council’s goals and action plan, and setting a direction for improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Steps include choosing preferred alternatives, and proceeding with both engineering design and a rate study. 

The council also will consider an amendment to its professional services agreement with Kady Fleckenstein of Kadydid Consulting for public relations services. The council could approve increasing the agreement of up to 35 hours per week at $110 per hour through the end of the year. Fleckenstein has been tasked with creation of a communication plan and serving as public information officer. 

The council also will consider adopting a community-choice aggregation program by participating in the Monterey Bay Community Power Authority’s community choice energy program. 

The council will also consider a contract with Brenda Ball of Creative Visual Solutions to operate the Solvang Visitor Center and related promotional services.

Ball is the former digital marketing director of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau, who was laid off after negotiations failed between the SCVB and the city to continue their contract. The SCVB has stated that the contract they received was not acceptable because it required them to give up ownership of their intellectual property, including website, email, marketing and distribution lists, and specified that any income would go to the city. 

Ball will be paid $8,500 per month through January 2020 to operate the Visitor’s Center while a request for proposals (RFP) is sent out to get bids for future services. 

The council is also scheduled to review and consider a traffic control plan and temporary closure of Solvang Park for a new special event called the Gran Fondo, authorizing a sponsorship agreement and increase in the General Fund tourism budget for $25,000. 

A hearing date is also scheduled to be set for appeals by medical cannabis dispensary applicants. 

Also on the agenda is discussion of a city attorney service proposal. The council will consider hiring Price, Postel and Parma, where Interim City Attorney Chip Wullbrandt works, as well as alternative methods for final selection. 

The council is also scheduled to direct staff on analysis and strategies to address the city’s unfunded liabilities and develop alternatives for pension and post-employment benefits. 

To read the entire agenda and packet, visit and go to City Hall and click Agenda and Minutes. The regular meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Chambers at 1644 Oak Street. You can watch it on live-streaming on the City’s website.