City Manager’s Update (pdf)
May 14, 2021
Greetings, all. We have a Council meeting on May 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. We are still Zooming while we work toward conducting a hybrid meeting that allows both in-person and Zoom participation. Cities are finding that participation in public meetings has increased with remote platforms, and we would like to be able to accommodate both options as we return to a new normal. Stay tuned as we figure out how to integrate our current cameras, new Granicus agenda platform and Zoom…
I would also like to highlight that the City Council will conduct a budget workshop for the FY 21-22 budget. Our current projections are that we will close out this fiscal year on June 30 in the positive, with revenues over expenditures by approximately $64,000. This is the first year in the last five that we do not expect to use reserves to close the books.
The expected budget surplus is due to several factors: the deep cuts that were made going into the current fiscal year in response to the pandemic and holding the line against unplanned expenses, balanced by accelerated housing construction that exceed projections by over $200,000 and higher property tax revenue.
The good news is that the economic recovery is happening faster than expected a year ago, although full recovery for sales taxes is not expected to achieve pre-pandemic levels for another year. Staff is proposing a balanced budget for FY 21-22, including a 5.7% increase in General Fund operations, prior to allocations to the Enterprise Funds. Staff is recommending the addition of two positions: a police officer position (to replace the sergeant position that was left vacant and unfunded as a budget saving for this year’s budget) and a new senior planner position. The current part-time planner is retiring this summer, and the full-time planner would oversee all planning, land use development and housing functions (blending the previous part-time planner and full-time housing and economic development manager positions). More detailed information is available in the staff report, which is available here.
- The Pfizer vaccine is now available for children 12+. Yolo County residents 12-17, can get the Pfizer vaccine at any county-run clinic. There is a clinic Saturday at Holy Cross Church in West Sacramento (10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1321 Anna Street) and on Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Harper Junior Hight in Davis (4000 E. Covell Blvd). Sign up through MyTurn, or just show up; no appointment necessary.
- The debate continues: Mask or no mask? We are all so anxious to be done with the pandemic, and just as quickly as the regulations changed going into and through the pandemic, there seems to be just as much conflicting regulatory language and guidance coming out of it. It mostly hinges on if people have been vaccinated, which is the most effective way to stop COVID-19. Currently, masks are required by the State and the County indoors except when eating and drinking. However, the State is considering the new CDC guidelines (note: not regulations) that the vaccinated can stop wearing masks, while the unvaccinated should wear them. County health officers update local regulations following updates from the State. The counties cannot be less restrictive than the State, but they can be more restrictive if local conditions warrant it.
In addition to State and County health orders, workplaces are required to follow OSHA (and CalOSHA) regulations, which currently require COVID Prevention Plans, which again mandate mask wearing indoors. CalOSHA is reconsidering its regulations next week. Stay tuned.
The morale of the story? Please be patient as the rules change; please be considerate of others and wear a mask if required; and please remain vigilant against COVID-19. The virus is still here, and people are still getting sick. The last thing any of us want is to slide backwards.
- Yolo County is looking for residents to participate in County Advisory Boards. Public involvement is essential to good governance; and joining an advisory body is an excellent way to get involved and learn more about local government, policy development, and the balancing act between resources and services. For more information on advisory bodies, specific vacancies, and to submit an application, visit: yolocounty.org (go to Government > Advisory Bodies) or call the Clerk of the Board’s office (530) 666-8195.
- Please see the link below for the 1.5 hour webinar presented 4/26 by the Green Valley Fire Safety Council in Solano County and the Yolo County Fire Safety Council. The presentation had a lot of really useful information and should be shared with anyone living in a fire-prone area. https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AKX18p4EtjcniNM&id=B52A9B6568F8CBEC%21217144&cid=B52A9B6568F8CBEC
- As part of our wildfire fire prevention efforts, please get those weeds knocked down, and do so safely. Never mow or weed whack during windy conditions. Those activities are best done early in the morning during calm conditions. The City is proceeding with its weed abatement process. A public hearing will be held on May 18 for those parcels that have not abated their weeds, permitting the City to proceed with that abatement process and charge property owners through the property tax roll.
- The Fire Department has issued its monthly newsletter for April, available here. The newsletter includes statistics, updates, news briefs, and more introductions to the many volunteers that devote their time serving the greater Winters community.
Upcoming Council Meeting
There is a Council meeting next Tuesday, May 18. The link to the packet is here. Please note the new format (Granicus platform) that provides links to various items and attachments, which makes navigating to items of interest that much easier. In addition to the budget, the City Council will conduct a hearing to declare certain parcels a nuisance as part of the annual weed abatement process, and continue the process for levying the annual assessment for the City’s city-wide maintenance assessment for landscaping and lighting. Finally, the current salary schedule for City employees will be amended to reflect my salary. The FY 21-22 schedule for all employees and any new positions is scheduled for June 1 when the final budget is considered for adoption.
Thanks to City Clerk Ashley Bussart for her work to upgrade our agenda management process. With two clicks she can publish the packet. We are still working on the streaming and video indexing piece and how that integrates with Zoom. Stay tuned for those features.
A big shout out the Winters Fire and Police Departments for responding to a swift water rescue operation on Wednesday that ended successfully when the woman was plucked out of the creek by a CHP helicopter crew. Multiple agencies were involved in responding to and covering the City of Winters while our team was at the creek. Personnel and agencies that responded included Winters Fire (Chief Lopez, Captain Baumgart, and firefighters Justin Rominger, Miguel Zaragoza and Brett Peterson) Winters Police (Chief Miller and Officer Shadman), AMR medic unit, Yolo Sheriff’s Office, CHP H30 Helo, Vacaville City Fire, Vacaville Fire Protection District, Dixon Fire, Yocha De He Fire and UC Davis Fire who provided coverage for the City of Winters.
The woman had been kayaking and was swept downstream until she was caught on a tree hanging across the creek. Thankfully, she was wearing a lifejacket and wasn’t severely injured. Please see the
link below for the news video that aired on Fox 40. https://fox40.com/news/local-news/first-responders-rescue-woman-stranded-in-putah-creek/
- It’s National Police Officer Week when we commemorate the service law enforcement personnel provide to our communities. Officers put their lives on the line for the residents they serve every day, and two in California were killed in the line of duty last week. We honor them and their families, and all the sworn, non-sworn and volunteers in law enforcement that work hard every day on our behalf.
While discussions regarding reforms, social justice, racism and implicit bias continue, it is important to remember that generalizations and stereotypes aren’t appropriate toward any class, characteristic, community or profession. We also remain committed to ensuring interactions between the public and law enforcement are handled professionally, without bias, and with everyone’s safety the number one priority. In my short time here, there have been several situations that could have escalated but didn’t; and I would like to recognize Chief Miller and his team at the Winters Police Department for their dedication and hard work. They are a diverse group of men and women committed to the community’s safety and wellbeing. Thank you for your service.