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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update on February 15 2019

This weeks update in the rain and trash edition!

First, the saga of the rain and the detention pond:

  • Over about a 36 hour period, we experienced almost 3.5 inches of rain.
  • Fun Fact- A hundred year storm in one which brings 5” of rain in a 24 hour period! So, we have basically been pretty close and on January 16/17 we received almost 3 inches in 3 hours.
  • We have brought in four (4) additional pumps and were successful in keeping the pond at a manageable level, even with periods of heavy flow overnight. The pond is now drained and we have turned all of the pumps off and have placed a huge 8” pump next to the cemetery if we ever need to really move some water. We will monitor the pond through the weekend and we can immediately turn the pumps back on when needed.
  • City Staff worked 36 hours straight moving water, sandbagging and operating equipment around to prevent issues in the area with this weeks storm.
  • “The good news” of Wednesdays rain is that we were able to see the flows in the daylight and found a breach in a canal which is supposed to flow into Dry Creek but was literally flooding into the detention pond at a rate of thousands of gallons a minute. With the assist of an excavator and sandbagging, we have been able to close the canal breach which enabled us to draw the pond down to a point where we can stop/limit pumping operations. We have also found an additional external source (not supposed to go into the pond) sending approximately 1,000 gallons per minute into the pond but do not have a solution for that area. A major frustration was the fact that we could not seem to catch up with all the pumping. Hopefully fixing the breach will allow us to catch up.

The discovery of the canal breach answers a lot of questions for us. Knowing that an external source was pouring thousands of gallons into the pond which are not supposed to go into the pond is a big piece of information. The breach, combined with the non-operation of the facility are at the root of the issues we are dealing with.

  • We were notified today about an additional delay in getting the pond pumping system online. Our engineering staff is working to find a solution. I will keep people in the loop in the developments regarding this.
  • We have tried to avoid pumping into the streets, but bringing in the additional pumps has facilitated a need to do so. You can only put so many pumps on to one pipe!
  • Kudos to the Public Works Crew led by Eric Lucero and the entire Winters Fire Team who have been working tirelessly to protect everyone’s homes.
  • Thank you for the understanding of the neighbors and folks on Foxglove, Main and Ivy Loop. Lot’s of understandable frustration by a lot of people.

Trash, overages and penalties:

Question 1- Why am I now being billed by Waste Management for over filling my trash container.

Waste Management has been notifying residents about overages (trash spilling beyond the capacity of the containers and contamination on the trash system. Warnings and additional fees are now being assessed which is allowed for under their contract agreement.

We have had a number of commercial and residential customers call City Hall regarding getting bills for overages from WM. Essentially folks are mad that they have been doing this for a while and are now getting charged.  In regard to this (and overloading the containers), there is a common sense component which needs to be applied. A lot like rolling stop signs and driving 70 mph on CR 31 to DAVIS, you know you are supposed to stop and drive slower, then getting pulled over and being upset for the ticket. Not much we can say about that.

Question 2- I am mad at WM for the additional charge and want to hire another trash company to pick up my trash. Why does the City give them the exclusive business for the entire City?

The exclusive franchise for waste pickup brings an enormous benefit of economy of scale, convenience and a lack of a chaotic enterprise to a community. The waste industry is a little more complicated than it seems and is highly regulated. Imagine having 3-4 different haulers picking up on different days of the week, with different equipment and different methods (imagine having trash containers on the streets every day). Also, imagine not being able to get a pickup, especially in the County areas which are essentially a loser financially for the franchised hauler for those areas. The waste management of refuse in a community is a big deal which requires uniformity and consistency in its operation. Similar to having one water and sewer system.

Question 3- How are they determining that it was me that contaminated the load or I exceeded the capacity of my trash container and am charged for an overage?

Smart technology and computers on each trash truck is now allowing the drivers to explain and document issues on their routes. There are now multiple cameras on the trucks allowing the driver to identify contamination, overages and other issues. Contamination is a huge issue because one stop can determine the difference between a load going to the recycling facility versus the landfill which has significantly higher costs and lost opportunity for diversion. Recycling and green waste/organic programs save resources, capacity in our landfills and ultimately reduce costs to the consumer (the economic component is a huge consideration).

Have a nice weekend!


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Friday Update on February 8 2019


First, some announcements:

  • Congratulations to both the Boys and Girls Soccer Teams from Winters High on their combined League Championships for the Sierra View League. Really proud of these students and players who represent our town well throughout greater Northern California. Now on to the Northern Section Championships. Many of us have seen these players literally their entire lives and to see them become the champions they are on the field and in life is absolutely amazing! Go Warriors!
  • On Sunday, February 10 at 2:00, the City will host an information briefing for those affected and interested in the overflow of the detention pond behind Foxglove Street near Ivy Loop. We will give an overview of the cause of the overflow, information about the operation of the pond and moving forward. The meeting will be in the driveway at 620 Foxglove so bring a soccer chair. If it is raining, we will move down the street a bit to the Public Safety Facility, 700 Main Street in the Emergency Operations Center Conference Room.
  • The Buckhorn Food Truck is now on the corner of Railroad and Grant Ave. A chance to get your tri-tip sandwich fix and support a really good local business! Congrats to Silverio and the entire team on going through the process and getting this going!
  • On Friday (today) at 4:00 at the NE corner of Railroad and Main, the “Before I Die” public art wall will be unveiled. The project is sponsored by Yolo Hospice, Winters Participation Art, Winters High School Art Students and the Winters Healthcare Foundation. The wall will be up for about 6 weeks. Pretty cool project!
  • Movie Night with the “Night Shift” and Winters PD and Fire will be on Saturday, February 16 in the apparatus bay at the Fire Department. They will be showing “The Grinch” and provide snacks. Admission is Free. All are invited!

A few notes:

  • Today is Karla Sanders final day with the City of Winters in our receptions area in the Finance Department. We wish her the best with her future endeavors and thank her for her services with the City of Winters! Good job, Karla!
  • Congratulations to recently promoted Sergeant Jose Hermosillo on his swearing in at the City Council Meeting surrounded by his fellow officers, family and friends. Sergeant Hermosillo is a testament to hard work, professionalism and will represent the Police Department well in his new position.
  • Staff is working with the WJUSD and the Department of Industrial Relations in the development of apprenticeship programs within the Winters Community. Dan Maguire is the lead on this and advancing opportunities for WHS students. Well done.
  • Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments are working toward the start of construction with a final financing call and readiness for a March groundbreaking.
  • Staff is working with State Parks to position the City for some Prop 84 Grant Funds.
  • Both Winters Fire and Police have started fitness challenges over the next month. When you see them out and about, give a cheer for getting healthier.
  • The Police Department will be limited operation next week as Karla Fergeson is on vacation for a week!
  • Winters Fire will be advancing the final draft of the Community Wildfire Protection Program before the Winters Fire District Board, City Council and the County Board of Supervisors over the next month. A real collaboration and a good start on shoring up the interface areas of the Greater Winters jurisdictions! Kudos to Art Mendoza for his work on this.

Finally, the past few years has seen leadership of our Police and Fire Departments within the region through training, mutual aid and our collaboration with our neighboring jurisdictions. The emergence of the influence of our staff within the region has become a hallmark of the pride and professionalism with pulses through our organization. I have learned that it really is all about the “people” of the organization who extend our reputation. I cannot adequately express the feeling of being at a meeting when someone from another agency tells me they are “working with” someone from our team on a very meaningful project or effort which advances the profession.

As one of the smallest agencies, I will profess that it is tough living within the limited resources. The adage of having to do “so much with so little” gives me even more motivation when I see our staff giving the extra effort to keep up with our neighboring jurisdiction which have resources beyond our comprehension. It means we are working hard!

Hard work is one of the character traits which defines Winters. Our agricultural roots help establish the benchmark for accepting the effort it takes to achieve the excellence which is embodied and permeates through the Winters community. Our kids are champions on the playing fields, classroom and FFA, our environmental projects make salmon spawn in our creek, we produce the best food in the world, we are the home to a world class vocational training academy with the PG&E Gas Safety facility and our City Staff are second to none in the professional fields. Our Downtown is best in the region and people want to be here because of an incredible vibe. None of this just happens. It really comes down to a culture of hard work and commitment to being the best.

Really proud of some of our recent achievements and how we set the bar for other communities. Small yet mighty!

No Friday Update next week.

Have a good weekend and go Warriors Soccer in the North Section Soccer Championships!


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Strategic Planning Workshops Postponed

Strategic Planning Workshops Postponed- Stay tuned!


The previously scheduled community workshops on strategic planning, community facility, etc are postponed pending the development of a new calendar. We have 22 people on our “must attend” list and unfortunately the schedules with many of our other regional evening commitments and meetings has developed many conflicts.

We are working a revamp of the schedule, so stay tuned for a new schedule.



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Friday Update on February 1 2019


Some quick points from the week:

First, the items on this weeks City Council Agenda:

February 5, 2019

  • Final Acceptance of Well 2 Rehabilitation Project
  • Resolution 2019-02, Approving Certain Errata to the Implementing Agreement for the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan
  • Promotional Swearing-In of Sergeant Jose Hermosillo
  • Request for Matching Funds for Vehicle Purchase
  • Animal Services Joint Powers Agency – Agreement Development
  • Informational Item:  General Plan Health and Safety Element
  • The “Before I Die Wall” Presentation by Liz Romero, Gerontological Specialist and Community Ambassador from Yolo Hospice

Now the notes:

  • The City will be contacting homeowners affected by the flooding in the Dry Creek Meadows Subdivision on Monday.
  • Hooby’s Brewing received their final building inspection approvals today. Look for them to open around the third weekend of February.
  • City Staff successfully completed the “tie in” of the West Main Sewer Pump Station. The project was a big step for our wastewater system which will eventually result is the diversion of almost 30% of the flow from the East Street Pump Station, increasing the efficiency and capacity of our wastewater system.

We are in full implementation mode of the Downtown Parking Master Plan. A couple key points:

  • Parking Regulation: All ordinances have been revised and will be in full effect within the next few weeks. Enforcement times, fines and posting of signs, striping of curbs are all on the cusp of completion.
  • Enforcement: Staff has been trained, citations ordered and delivered and the chalk stick is ready. We will begin with a process of warnings then move into citations in February.
  • Striping: the entire Downtown has been re-painted. Additional diagonal spaces have been added on Abbey and Main. In the end, we will net in excess of 20 additional spaces from the striping. The last striping will occur on First Street, Edwards and Baker in the coming months. We have focused on the enforcement areas first then will move to the rest of the core area.
  • First Street Parking Lot: The Winters Hotel construction will move off the property where the parking lot will be constructed in March. The lot will bring 38 parking spaces and a new alley. This should be a big deal for those along Central Main Street who will see almost a doubling in spaces,  a lighted parking lot, paseo parkway onto the mid block and added convenience for many. We expect the parking lot to be done in May/June and ready when the hotel opens.

Combined new spaces from both striping and the new parking lot will be somewhere near 68 spaces.

  • Waste Management has hired a new contractor to take over street sweeping, beginning in March.  Also discussed compacting for recycling & trash, and front loaders will still be needed for compost.  Contamination and overage fines for commercial accounts have begun ($150/overage, $50 contamination).  Also, recycling can’t include plastic bags.
  • Staff has been working on finalizing the City’s Climate Action Plan. The document will cover a six (6) year period to 2025 and include a revised implementation program which provides for public education, adoption of some key programs meant to reduce greenhouse gases. Look for the plan to go before the City Council in May.
  • Staff will be working with Yolo Housing on a new service agreement. Our partnership has resulted in some cost savings and efficiency which may result in a reduction in the rate portion dedicated to capital equipment replacement. Good stuff!
  • Staff is working with the Putah Creek Council on the installation of interpretive signs on the creek trail portion next to the PG&E Facility.
  • A tour of the new Yolo Food Bank on Wednesday showed the advancement of this critical service in Yolo County.
  • 3rd Annual Movie Night with the night shift will be held on March 16th at 5:30 p.m. in the Public Safety Facility’s fire bay – “The Grinch” will be featured.
  • The Community Wildfire Protection Plan Draft is almost ready for public viewing. Look for a release prior to the upcoming meeting of the Winters Fire District Board Meeting.
  • Attended a great SACOG Regional Manager’s meeting; SACOG rep said Winters was the perfect city for the “Green Means Go” pilot program that includes infill projects, travel options and EV options to decrease gas emissions in the region.
  • For all the no growthers out there, its time to get a refill on the big bottle of tums and the Costco size Excedrin because the State is ready to release the new Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers with direct correlation to transportation and road funding. Staff attended a RHNA meeting with SACOG and although the City will be receiving $125K, these funds can’t be used to update the housing element.  Staff will look for an alternate way to utilize these funds within the context of RHNA and affordable housing.
  • The EDAC report will be re-written, and based on the recommendations from the EDAC, it’s a good time to go to the Planning Commission and City Council about the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process as everyone’s numbers are going up.
  • Regarding transit, the City pays a large amount of money for Yolo Bus.   Micro transit models may be explored.  We need to look at the needs for seniors.  An app on a phone could enable someone to be picked up along the scheduled route.  There is a lot of potential here.

Getting ready for the Super Bowl. My recommendation is two growlers from Berryessa Brewing, including their new Couch Potato IPA. My prediction on the Super Bowl is to take the OVER on the parlay card and look for Tom Brady to get ring #6- Patriots 36 Rams 21

Have a safe weekend.



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Friday Update on January 25, 2019


A quick update on the many initiatives and projects I have on my desk:

  • Interview and Selection for Fire Chief: We have decided to conduct formal interviews with internal candidates to fill the job of Fire Chief for Winters Fire. The process will include a dual interview panel including a “Technical Interview” with Fire and City Management professionals and a “Community Panel” which will include persons from the community who do business with Winters Fire. This will occur in mid February and we will plan on an appointment by early March.
  • Economic Development Committee Report and Recommendations: The draft is in circulation with the Economic Committee and we should have the report completed within the next 10 working days. We will then schedule a workshop for presentation in February.
  • Winters Housing Element Update: The City’s General Plan Housing Element expires in October of 2020, thus we need to begin the process for the update. This will include the hire of a consultant and a process of preparation. We will work toward having the request for proposals for a consultant out by April of 2019.
  • Greater Winters Community Wildfire Protections Plan: Through a grant with CalFire, Winters Fire has been working with residents of Golden Bear Estates, Positas Rd and other key stakeholders such as Audubon California on a wildfire protection plan. So far, the process has been exceptional and they are working toward a draft which should be ready for public review in March.
  • General Plan “refresh”: A key goal for 2019 is to take the City’s General Plan and update various sections to make it easier to read, include more graphics and goals and to essentially make it a more transparent document in compliance with State goals for General Plans. The City has received a $100k grant and will look to hire a consultant to facilitate a “refresh” of our overall plan. To see our overview and status on the City website, click HERE.
  • Monthly General Plan Updates: Starting on February 5, the City Council will be getting a monthly update on each of the City’s nine (9) General Plan Elements. February will include an overview of the Health and Safety Element.
  • Succession Planning: The City has some key retirements on the horizon. This means the need to hire and replace some key personnel. Look for an extensive discussion of this topic at one of the upcoming Strategic Planning Workshops.

A quick status on some key projects coming soon:

  • First Street Parking Lot: A new Downtown Parking Lot will be constructed to support the Downtown Hotel and increase public access. The City calendar has us starting on this project in March and it will bring an additional 38 spaces.
  • Flood Plan Update: An update to the flood master plans covering the north area of the City is in development.
  • Three Oaks Park: As part of the new housing projects being developed, an 11 acre linear park will be developed named “Three Oaks Park”. The project will be developed in three phases and will include picnic areas, playgrounds, grass play areas, dog parks and a community garden. Infrastructure plans are due in 2019 with construction beginning in 2020.
  • City Hall Annex Remodel: A key project at City Hall will be to make it more accessible to residents. In 2017, half of the former fire/police station was remodeled to include a new conference room. Staff is currently working on plans to add additional office space into the other half of the building and move certain administrative offices into that location to ease the ability of folks to do business with the City. Look for this project in 2020.

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on January 18 2019


A couple items as I return from two weeks out of the office!

  • Heavy rains from the past couple weeks brought flooding to parts of our town on wednesday, affecting a number of homes. Kudos to Winters Public Works and Fire for their response, literally working through the night from Wednesday into Thursday to unclog drains and pump flooding water.
  • Planning Commission Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 22 and will include a Permit for the Buckhorn Food Truck and a review of the draft Vacation Rental Ordinance.
  • The Strategic Planning Workshop on Economic Development previously scheduled for January 23 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled to another date. Delays in the production, review and relesae of the Economic Development Committee’s Report and Recommendations is the reason. Stay tuned for updates on the meeting days and times.
  • Good news in Transparency for the City of Winters Website. The City scored highest amongst all Yolo County Agencies for our website transparency in grading done by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). LAFCO actually scored 2 percentage points higher, but they were doing the grading, so I am giving us a bump! To review the report, go HERE.
  • Saturday evening is the Year in Review and will honor Linda Glick Landes (Citizen of the Year), Karen May (Senior of the Year), Baldo Arce (Theodore Winters Award) and the Treehouse is Business of the Year.

Some hot items on my plate as the City Manager:

  • Interviews and Selection for Fire Chief
  • Economic Development Committee Report and Recommendations
  • Winters Housing Element Update Preparation
  • Greater Winters Community Wildfire Protection Plan
  • Monthly General Plan Updates
  • Budget Review and Tightening.
  • Sacramento Valley City Manager’s Group Assistance to the Town of Paradise
  • Succession Planning for key positions

Finally, the ambush and murder of Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona is a staggering reminder of the dangerous world we live in and the risks our law enforcement personnel take on a daily basis. Just a senseless incident, taking a young officer who had her life and career in front of her mostly before it ever began. At the memorial service today, Winters was represented by our Police Chief John Miller, Sergeant Jose Hermosillo, Officer Alan Pinette, Department Chaplain Robert Duvall, K9 Kepi and our the entire Police Cadet group. I saw them before they left and could not think of a more appropriate group to represent our town. I was immensely proud and honored by them.

Winters Police Personnel were also on patrol in Davis during the memorial and procession for Officer Corona to her hometown of Arbuckle.

The threats to our law enforcement grow daily. California is a State with a dichotomy of interests which make it very difficult to be a police officer. Laws, initiatives and interests challenge and work to redefine the entire field of law enforcement almost daily. In today’s world, police have become the social workers of the streets, dealing with the many folks bitten by mental and emotional health issues previously dealt with through a broader dealing legal system. At the same time, legislation and initiatives have decriminalized and legalized certain offenses and behaviors which many in society do not completely understand. When you add in various levels of media and political sentiment towards law enforcement, its tough!

Yet, it is these same individuals who keep our communities safe, protecting us from those who do harm or the first we will call when we have a major issue. They are the ones who enter some of the most dangerous situations in the name of service and duty. They confront the worst in our society while consoling those in their most dire moments. In Winters, I have witnessed some of the most incredible moments of compassion from the Winters Police Department to help those in need. Heroism comes in many forms, sometimes in the physical but probably most often in the emotional and support to those who are most affected.

As I watched today’s memorial I was gratified that they focused on the hope and enthusiasm that Officer Corona brought to her job as a Davis Police Officer. Hopefully there are people who can take motivation from Natalie Corona who will step up to fill her career destiny for her. She was immensely proud to be a police officer! Without question, her memory will live forever in the hearts of her colleagues and family. Being in law enforcement is unquestionably one of the most challenging and honorable professions. I personally am honored to work with these men and women and am grateful for their service. Hopefully people will light a candle tonight for Officer Natalie Corona.



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Friday Update on December 21 2018


A short update and a reason to count our blessings and evaluate our options on giving!

Today, I along with a group of Sacramento Valley City Manager’s met with the Town Manager of Paradise to discuss assistance to them in addressing the situation from the Camp Fire which destroyed almost 95% of the homes in community. An absolutely untenable situation!

The challenges are massive and the demands are very serious. In many respects, they will be working towards the creation of an entirely new town while most who called it home will be living elsewhere for the foreseeable future. The generosity of so many people has been amazing but nothing can replace the fact that many will be spending these holidays without their home.

Our City Manager’s Group will be working with the Town to bring expertise to some of the really big subject areas (Fiscal, Legislative, Legal, Operational) which they will be facing. The cities have been generous and the desire to bring aid is commendable.

Finally, a very sincere wishing of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. We are truly blessed to live and work in an amazing community like Winters!



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Friday Update on December 7 2018


As an FYI, I do not send a Friday Update the week of Thanksgiving and the week following. This is because the email goes to LOTS of people and the email server and my email gets literally flooded with “Out of Office” replies which takes an effort to clear. Thus no update!

Strategic Planning Workshops

The City of Winters is holding a series of Strategic Planning Workshops which are open to all members of the Winters Community to attend and participate. The workshops are topical and include working to establish priorities on key issues which will fold into an overall Strategic Plan for the City to focus on.

The dates and topics are as follows:

  • November 14, 2018- Infrastructure (Water, Wastewater, Streets, etc)- This discussion centered on current and future infrastructure needs and impending demands. This workshop included discussions on streets, water wells, wastewater expansion and the threat of enhanced discharge requirements, ADA improvements and the potential work needed for the former City landfill site.
  • December  12, 2018- Public Safety (Fire, Police, Animal Services)- This coming Wednesday will focus on presentations from both Police and Fire regarding current and future issues in public safety. The discussion will surround staffing, the realities of new laws and expectations along with the needs of a future Winters. The session will also include an update on Animal Services.
  • January 23, 2019- Planning and Economic Development- This session will focus on the release of the recommendations from the Economic Development Advisory Committee along with a discussion on the planning of the north area of the City’s current general plan.
  • February 6, 2019- Community Facilities and Services (parks, facilities and services)- This will be the workshop to be a chance to begin establishing priorities for parks and future community facilities and services. From Seniors to youth, parks to theatres, this will be an opportunity to begin formulating those big picture wants and needs for the City.
  • February 27, 2019- City Organization and Structure (succession planning)- This session will focus what the City organization will look like in the near and longer term future. As the City plans its future, it will need to determine what the overall organization will look like to provide and maintain services to the community.
  • March 22-23, 2019- Two all day Strategic Planning Workshop (9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)- This will be the culmination of the workshops. Day 1 will invite all of the previous participants and groups to a day long session to discuss and help strategize on the highest priorities of the City moving forward. Day 2 will be a chance for the City Council to provide direction to City Staff on the formulation of an action plan to move things forward.

The culmination of the work will be a facilitated workshop on March 22-23 which will help take the many issues and help develop the overall Strategic Plan which will be for the next 10-20 years.

All workshops will be held at the Winters Public Safety Facility (700 Main Street) in the EOC Training Room from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact John.Donlevy@cityofwinters.org

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Text to 911 Now Available in Yolo County

Text to 911 Now Available in Yolo County
Call If You Can, Text if You Can’t

Yolo County residents needing emergency services are now able to text their situation to emergency dispatchers.
Text-to-911 is intended primarily for use in specific emergency scenarios:

  • for an individual who is speech, or hearing, impaired;
  • for a person who is unable to call 911 due to a medical emergency that renders them unable to speak;
  • in the event of a crime such as a home invasion where speaking might give away the location of a person hiding, or in an abduction situation; or,
  • in domestic violence situations where it’s not safe to make a voice call.

When determining whether to make voice call or send a text keep the following in mind:

  • Callers should text 911 only when calling is not an option
  • Texting is not always instantaneous, which means it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text-to-911 situation
  • Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since
  • Yolo County 911 may not receive location information and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text. Text abbreviations or slang should never be used to that the intent of the message can be as clear as possible.
  • Those who use the system must have a cell phone that is activated and capable of sending text messages in order to reach 911 via text. There is no charge to the customer for sending a text to 911.

How to text 911 in an emergency:

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
  • The first text message to 911 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and the type of help needed;
  • Push the “Send” button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations or emojis.
  • Do not send pictures or attachments
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

We encourage anyone who has any further questions to please contact our dispatch center. We would be happy to provide further education on these services including a test scenario from your phone at a scheduled time.

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Friday Update on November 9 2018


A short recap of some key items from the City Council Meeting and how Winters is helping on the Camp Fire which has destroyed the Town of Paradise.

  • The City Council approved an increase in the City’s Development Impact Fees which are charged to new development to offset the impacts toward new future facilities and as a “buy in” to facilities which are already constructed but the new development benefits from. The last impact fee increases were in 2003 and 2010. The main measure of comparable fees is medium density residential units, which will see an increase of approximately 382 per new residential unit over the fees from 2010 (which were drastically lowered because of the 2008 recession). The increases are main generated by the addition of two projects to the program which include a new Community Center and a 22 acre active sports park for new baseball/softball, soccer and other amenities. The fees will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
  • The Council also included two amendments to the Waste Management contract, including an allowance for fines for contamination (trash) in the organics container, overages (too much trash set out beyond the capacity of the bins) and about a $1 increase because of adjustments at the County Landfill to cover tipping fees due to some upcoming capital projects and new environmental regulations.
  • Parking Fees– the Council approved a resolution to increase parking fines to $30 from $15 which essentially covers our administrative costs. Our parking fines are about half of those in neighboring jurisdictions.
  • The Circulation Master Plan was approved which provides for the roadway and traffic improvements all the way to build-out of the City. The plan essentially includes some widening of Grant Ave from the 505 to E. Main Street, future traffic signals at 505 and E. Main Street and future roundabouts at Morgan and Dutton Streets. Improvements are predicated on the total buildout of the City which is now estimated at 2036 and beyond. The overall goal of the program is to address both safety and the reduction of congestion through town.

Overall a pretty comprehensive meeting on really important items.

A reminder about the Winters Fire “All you can peel and eat” Shrimp Feed on Saturday, November 10 at the Fire Station with Cocktails starting at 5 and Dinner at 6. Proceeds go to the Toys for Kids Program.

Finally, our efforts to help the Town of Paradise.

Winters has sent both Police and Fire Personnel to what can only be described as a devastated area. As of Friday, they estimate 15,000 structures have been completely destroyed including the Town Hall, the commercial district, a hotel and a hospital. Reports from the City personnel are that the area is significantly impacted, mostly homes have been totally burned and the residents and businesses need our prayers. We were on the Santa Rosa Fire and they describe it in that context.

OES 333 is on the fire line with no relief, so they were asked to work another 24 today. They are a part of OES 4816A team and currently enroute to Magalia. Staff has said everyone is holding up, a little tired but they are on a mission and working hard is expected. Let’s just hope they get some rest tomorrow.  The 4 that went on the strike team include Captain Matt Schechla, Driver Operator Victor Diaz, FF Junior Mederos, FF Alex Mercer.

The Sacramento Valley City Manager’s are mounting a relief effort to help the Town of Paradise with staff assistance for both short term relief and long term recovery in their EOC, field operations and administratively. The process of recovery is a difficult and significant maze which can be difficult to negotiate with State and Federal agencies. Its times like these that we need to combine talents and know how to help a community in need. The Town Manager of Paradise along with her staff are a small and mighty group, but many have been equally affected with their homes destroyed and families impacted.

For those wishing to help or donate toward aid for Camp Fire victims, the following has been forwarded to us https://www.nvcf.org/fund/camp-fire-evacuation-relief-fund/

Keep the communities in this area in your prayers.



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Strategic Planning Workshops Scheduled- City of Winters

Strategic Planning Workshops Scheduled- City of Winters

The City of Winters will be holding a series of Strategic Planning Workshops which are open to all members of the Winters Community to attend and participate. The workshops will be topical and include working to establish priorities on key issues which will fold into an overall Strategic Plan for the City to focus on.

The dates and topics are as follows:

  • November 14, 2018- Infrastructure (Water, Wastewater, Streets, etc)
  • December  12, 2018- Public Safety (Fire, Police, Animal Services)
  • January 23, 2019- Planning and Economic Development
  • February 6, 2019- Community Facilities and Services (parks, facilities and services)
  • February 27, 2019- City Organization and Structure (succession planning)
  • March 22-23, 2019- Two all day Strategic Planning Workshop (9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

The culmination of the work will be a facilitated workshop on March 22-23 which will help take the many issues and help develop the overall Strategic Plan which will be for the next 10-20 years.

All workshops will be held at the Winters Public Safety Facility (700 Main Street) in the EOC Training Room from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact John.Donlevy@cityofwinters.org

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Friday Update on November 1 2018


A day early so you can plan your weekend!

City Council Agenda:

  • Amendment to Waste Management Contract for Contamination and Overage Charges
  • Yolo Mosquito and Vector Update
  • Budget Adjustments for Recycling Funds
  • HOME Program Subcontractor- Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments
  • Claim Against the City
  • Fire Department Records Management System
  • Utility Easement- Olive Grove Subdivision
  • Public Improvements Dedication- Callahan Estates
  • Parcel Coneyance- Senior Center property.

Discussion Items:

  • Development Impact Fee Public Hearing
  • Circulation Master Plan
  • Waste Management Rate Increase- Tipping Fees
  • Parking Fines and Adjudication.


  • A Dia de los Muertos Celebration will be held at the Winters Cemetery on Friday November 2, 2018 starting at 4:00. This is sponsored by the Hispanic Advisory Committee and will be followed by a screening of the movie “Coco” at the Winters Middle School.
  • The 3rd Annual Salmon Festival– 2018 will be on Saturday, November 3 from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Rotary Park. Displays, food and creek tours with a chance of seeing some salmon coming up the creek. Fun for the entire family!

A couple items of interest:

  • A signing ceremony for the Yolo Conservancy Habitat Conservation Program was held in West Sacramento. This was a big day for both Yolo and the environment. The ceremony was the culmination of over 25 years of effort and collaboration to streamline the mitigation process of government while helping in the preservation and sustainability of hawks, owls, snakes and invertibrates. Kudos to the many who have participated in an important program.
  • Permit issuance on the freeway hotel is looking imminent. Staff went through our checklists and are about to notify the developer to come in a pick up the permit.
  • On Monday, November 5 at the City of Davis, Staff and Mayor Pro Tem Wade Cowan will be attending a critical meeting on Animal Services for Yolo County. This will be the first of two meetings in November where the formation of a new governance structure will be discussed to improve overall animal services for all of Yolo County.
  • Follow the adventures of Woody and Rebecca Fridae as they travel across Europe in their blog. This week they are in Romania, but you can catch up on France, Belgium, Germany and soon to be in Greece. Go to https://fridae.blog/ .

Finally, file this under  “damned if you do damned don’t” in regards to the City of Winters App. Since going to the City Council for approval, social media and email has brought lots of comments which shows that there are lots of opinions on lots of things! The goal of the App is to put in place an avenue available to folks to dynamically report issues and gain information from the City. Apps have become a common avenue for these types of functions in the modern era and something many cities are turning to as one of the tools to achieve a higher level of responsiveness.

A key reason Staff looked into the App was to quell the issues and answer folks on social media who don’t report issues to the City but can broadcast issues over the various social media platforms instead of calling City Hall to report the problem. An easy link via Facebook or our website for active folks to quickly access the app, report the need and facilitate a response was seen as a means to an end! Uh, not so easy. Part of the budget was to print signs to include in key City locations for easy download and access to the App, including for visitors in the Downtown and future hotels.

An interesting phenomenon are the comments and emails from tech folks who all seem to essentially attack the tech option. The comments on “assessment of citizen engagement needs” from the tech folks essentially recommends steering off the tech option and “exploring” other alternatives than the City App OR waiting for something new to come along. Some experts suggest we assign people to monitor the numerous social media platforms, which is simply not going to happen.

We are working on an implementation plan for the App. If in the end, we can establish another tool for our residents and visitors to communicate issues to us, we will call it a success. We currently have phone, email, snail mail and our City website. One more options should not hurt.

So, damned if we do, damned if we don’t!

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on October 26 2018


Next week is a fifth week of the month, so no City Council meeting. A couple items being worked on by City Staff:

  • This weeks Planning Commission had a couple items including an update of the City’s Circulation Master Plan and revisions to the Municipal Code in regards to food trucks. Both were recommended to the City Council with the Circulation Master Plan being reviewed at the November 6 meeting and the Food Truck on December 4.
  • The Food Truck Ordinance is a pretty dynamic issue. The State just enacted SB 946 which essentially allows “sidewalk vending” to occur almost anywhere within a City. In the case of food trucks, the City has limited them to only commercially zoned areas and on private property but the vending carts can go almost anywhere on sidewalks and the public right of way within the parameters that they are licensed.  My sense is that the future of vending will be pretty interesting since the establishment of the vending carts can occur in residential areas and they can sell practically anything except alcohol and tobacco. Stay tuned.
  • Staff is actively working on the striping of Downtown for parking. We are currently evaluating locations for additional diagonal spaces (versus parallel) along Abbey Street as well as location on East Main Street. Once we have a plan we need to grind some markings off the pavement and begin a process of repainting which will include practically every space in the Downtown area.
  • Parking fines and a process for adjudication will be on the November 6 City Council Agenda. We expect to have everything in place for an active parking enforcement program for just after the first of the year.
  • Folks with motor homes and fifth wheels need to move them off the street and back to storage! The Police Department gave everyone a late summer reprieve as people finished off those late summer trips. It is now time for people to get their recreational vehicles and trailers back into storage or get a ticket. We did an entire summer of warnings but the reality is tickets will be next on the list.
  • The Rotary Club of Winters was at both Waggoner and Shirley Rominger Schools on Thursday reading poems and giving away books to kids. Check out these Rotarians in action by clicking HERE.
  • Tonight is the Downtown Harvest Festival beginning at 5:30. Great food, wine and music to entertain and start the weekend off right!
  • The 7-0 WHS Warriors are in Durham for a League game. Go Warriors!

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on October 19 2018


A really short update but some good stuff.

  • Staff met with representatives for the Downtown Hotel. They are shooting for an opening around the start of summer. They are developing their website and marketing materials which should be available before the first of the year. Frankly, it was the most positive meeting we have had on the project in the past few months.
  • As inspections are commencing, the hotel is starting to become very real. Some members of the City team have been onto the roof top bar which has some amazing views of the Creek, hills and the amazing farmland which surrounds us. Many of us can hardly wait for the project to open.
  • A good job by Winters Fire this week for the fire in Putah Creek. The good news is that it cleared out a lot of debris which will benefit the creek during the winter. The bad news was the loss of an excavator and an entire day of smoke enveloping the City.
  • A busy City Council Meeting. The City Council approved moving forward with an App for the City, gave direction regarding scheduling sessions for Strategic Planning and had a very positive discussion on some general plan stuff. Overall, a good meeting.
  • Planning Commission Meeting on Tuesday will include the City’s Circulation Element, Food Trucks and an update to the City’s Emergency Plan Multi Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  • A nice presentation on recommendations for Senior Services. To get a copy of the Winters Senior Resources Guide click HERE.
  • For people interested in getting an update on the City’s General Plan, go to HERE.
  • The WintersJUSD will be having a visioning workshop at Shirley Rominger Intermediate School next Thursday,  October 25, 2018 beginning at 6:00.

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on October 12 2018


October 16, 2018 City Council Meeting:

  • Public Hearing for Impact Fees (To be Continued to 11/6/18 meeting)
  • Presentation- Putah Creek Council’s One Creek Restoration Internship Program Presentation
  • Presentation- ADA Transition Plan Update by Public Works Department
  • Presentation- Proclamation for Participating Students for the Mural Project at Lorenzo’s Market

Consent Calendar:

  • Public Improvement Agreement and Two Grant Deeds for Public Utility Easements for the Winters Healthcare Project
  • Chamber of Commerce Special Event Application for the Harvest Festival on October 26th
  • Cal Fire Grant for Golden Bear Pre-Planning
  • Request for Seed Money for Winters Community Dinner
  • APS Environmental Contract for Sewer Line CCTV Inspections
  • Climate Resiliency – Community Dialogue
  • General Plan Reports and Updates

Discussion Items:

  • Report on Senior Services by Consultant Sheila Allen
  • Valley Clean Energy Alliance
  • City of Winters APP
  • Strategic Planning Calendar

A couple items of interest:

  • Check out the updates on the Downtown Hotel on the major projects page in the City website. Click HERE to see the updated elevations, materials and the debut of Carboni’s Ristorante Bar and Marketplace, an Italian themed restaurant which will feature a bar, barista, seasonal selections, seafood, wood fired pizza, Italian sandwiches and salad along with a fresh pasta bar and an incredible wood fired grill which is going to bring a unique and updated flare into our Downtown. The project is getting exciting and is expected to open mid 2019.
  • Permits for both Heartland and Stones Throw subdivisions are really ramping up. Foundations are being poured and we are hearing sales and interest in the projects is high. These are really nice projects!
  • Congratulations to Winters Healthcare on the start of the construction of the new campus. Go to our major projects page HERE to see their planning application or go to the WHF website HERE to check out their vision for the project and where they are going.

Finally, the Strategic Planning Process Staff is discussing with the City Council has many important parts to it, particularly in relation to the future of the City’s organization as far as who and how we will hire people in the future for key positions. This all relates to much of our discussion on ”succession planning” as key members of our team approach the “red zone” of their careers and plan for retirement.

Amongst small communities in the Sacramento Valley, Winters holds a special distinction for the many accomplishments we have made in the revitalization of our town despite our size and limited resources. Much of this is attributable to our small but very dedicated staff who have been committed to the advancement of Winters. Community loyalty has been a key hiring criteria and a combination of the longevity of many staff along with a keen acumen for completing projects within a long term vision has made all the difference in the world. That longer vision has resulted in projects which some can take credit in marking in the legacy of their careers. They are people who have made a real and long term difference on the Winters Community.

I’d like to highlight two of those individuals who are “stars” of the City staff.

Carol Scianna has been our Environmental Services Manager in the City’s Public Works Department for almost 15 years. Her job entails much of the environmental compliance to the many governmental agencies we deal with and she is the lynchpin in the operation and compliance report for both our water and wastewater enterprises. She is the City’s lead on key climate issues involving recycling and waste management, green house gas reductions, action planning and the many permitting issues involving the restoration of Putah Creek. She has also been the key staff member on critical infrastructure projects including the Putah Creek Car Bridge, Moody Slough Overcrossing Bridge on Road 89,  the North Bank Creek Trail, each phase of the Putah Creek Park Channel Realignment, Downtown Restoration Projects and the Grant Ave Roundabout. Carol is also the manager of the City’s mitigation bank areas for elderberry!

I met Carol in 2001 when she was the President of the Winters Friends of the Library (WFOL), which is one of our community’s premier organizations. Her commitment to Winters is extrodinary and the difference she has made our environment will last for decades if not centuries. Dealing within the realm of the environment is not easy because you deal with passionate people who can disagree immensely. People experience Carol’s success literally every day whether walking down the creek trail, watching salmon spawn, driving over any of our bridges or dropping a child off at school.

Dan Maguire is the City’s Housing and Economic Development Manager and is also approaching almost 15 years on the City’s Team. His job entails managing the City’s affordable housing program, working with the various affordable projects in town, serving as the project manager on key new housing projects and working with developers to strategically develop plans for future projects. Dan oversees compliance with key State agencies who deal with housing and is our liaison with a key advocacy group, Legal Services of Northern California. To Dan’s credit, he has been the City lead on the Orchard Village Apartments, the soon to begin construction Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments and the many moderate for sale units in the new subdivisions. In economic development few on the City Staff have played a more important role in the revitalization of Downtown than Dan Maguire. Dan was the manager of the City’s façade improvement program which renovated 27 storefronts, was the key liaison for all three phases of the Downtown Streetscape Program, negotiated the lease assistance program which brought businesses like Arc Guitar and the Turkovich Tasting Room. He is also the project lead on the Downtown Hotel Project and is the City’s liaison to the Chamber of Commerce.

I met Dan at 2:00 one morning trying to figure out how to take down a light tower following an epic Earthquake Festival. I quickly realized Dan was an “all in guy” when he purchased a truck so he could haul all of the things he needed to do community projects he was supporting. Few drive around with a water tank in the bed of their truck to water recently planted trees along the 505, have their own set of “hay hooks” to move hay bails for beer gardens or have their own permit with Caltrans to pick up trash along the highway and a collection of vests, goggles and hard hats required under said permit.

Dan and Carol are representative of what has made the City of Winters successful over the past number of years. They have integrated the community in their own personal and family visions. When disaster has struck, they are always amongst the first to show up and always the last to leave. They have tackled some of our most difficult projects and kept them alive all the way to the finish line. As each of them prepares for retirement in the next few years, they represent the toughest parts of “succession planning” because the transcend professional acumen, there is their commitment to the Winters community and how the City organization integrates into the fabric of the town.

The City has many “stars” who make up an incredible team. Everyday I feel blessed knowing that we have people on our staff who can be counted upon to bring their absolute best to serving an incredible community. A number of years ago, Nanci Mills and I established a fundamental hiring criteria and that was to find really smart people who “loved” Winters with the acknowledgement that we would train the rest of the job to them.

I give members of our team in the “red zone” of their careers a hard time because I don’t want them to retire (mostly based on love and respect). The reality is that each has earned their transition and we need to saver all that they have given and the legacy’s they leave on our community. We have much to accomplish as we move the City forward in the coming years and we need to prepare for the next generation of really smart people who love Winters.

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on October 5 2018


A couple items this week:

  • Staff met with Caltrans at the annual Yolo/Caltrans Annual Update Meeting. Many big projects in circulation including the I80 widening project, the “World Class Bikeway” between Davis and Sacramento, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan and the purported impacts which may result from the repeal of the Statewide Gas Tax should Proposition 6 pass.
  • For Winters, I provided an update on the roundabout, a pending application to install Automated License Plate Readers on Grant Ave traffic signals and our recent planning project to widen the I505 overpass and to implement the last parts of the City’s Complete Street Program along Grant Ave. Caltrans was receptive to all elements fo the work we have been discussing. Overall a really good meeting. I would describe the overall customer service sense for Caltrans as very good with a strong amount of leadership from the top driving collaboration and the need to get projects done.
  • Under projects done with Federal Transportation Dollars (the roundabout project was done), there is an incentive for the State with rebates as a result of “project delivery”. For the past fiscal year, Caltrans received almost $400m from the Feds as a result of project delivery. This is really good news for localities as the money is then deposited into the SHOPP funding program which is then eligible for additional local projects.
  • The biggest takeaway are the ramifications for the entire State should Proposition 6 pass. In total, over 6,500 improvement projects in practically every community will be affected including streets, sidewalks, road safety and bridges along with the impacts on public transit. According to SACOG, the regional transportation plans will essentially need to be completely redone, which will jeopardize federal finding, including the I505 Overpass Project in Winters. The City has an adopted plan for spending these gas tax funds which I will forward in next weeks update.
  • A review of legislation passed by the State Legislature and being signed by the Governorwill bring many changes to society. Food carts can basically set up shop anywhere in town (including parks), streamlined permitting is upon us which will impact the City’s ability to plan and work with developers is drastically limited; and anyone below the age of 16 years of age cannot be tried as an adult which is retroactive and will most likely free a horrific Davis murderer in just a few years and many other murderers. Crazy what is happening!
  • Staff will be participating in a webinar next week regarding SB35 which was passed along with 15 other housing bills. The legislation requires a streamlined subdivision permitting process for communities which have not met their Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which is practically every city in California. The wording essentially gives a green light to developers to move forward with project with minimal public review and input. For Winters, it could be significant!
  • Staff has received a very affordable proposal for a Winters APP which will allow residents and visitors to access a litany of information about the City. Key features include the ability to report maintenance issues, graffiti, abandoned cars, a community calendar, locate businesses and much more. Look for this on the October 16City Council Agenda.
  • October 6 is the Public Safety Faire at the Public Safety Facility, 500 Main Street from 10-2. Lots of displays from police, fire, fish and wildlife and much more. This has become an incredible event for kids and adults alike.
  • Good news on a number of fronts for both the Downtown Hotel and the Fairfield Inn along the I505! Look for plenty of lodging in 2019!
  • A HUGE congratulations to the Winters Healthcare Foundation on the start of construction for their new campus on Grant Ave. This is a major project for our community and kudos need to go to the visionary leadership of many on their Board and Staff. Well done.

Our Winters Warriors have a bye this week, so come Downtown and enjoy a great evening on what is supposed to be a windy weekend.



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Friday Update on September 27 2018

A couple items this week:

First, the Festival de la Communidad/Carnitas Festival is this Saturday at Rotary Park and the Community Center from 4:00 to 11:00. The highlight is the “Carnitas” competition and dinner. This is one of our communities top events with food and entertainment for the entire family.

October 2, 2018 City Council Agenda

  • Salmon Festival Funding and Street Closure
  • Repairs for pumps at East Street Pump Station
  • Installation of Flashing Crosswalk Beacons on Railroad Avenue
  • Final Acceptance of Callahan Subdivision Public Improvements
  • Harvest Festival Street Closure on October 26
  • Strategic Planning Process and Schedule

Other happenings:

  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee is a really good group, brining perspective and vision on moving Winters forward in a measured and sustainable manner. At the September 27 Meeting we reviewed the SWOT analysis from previous meetings and started what we call the “idea building” process which involves folks from the committee offering ideas and concepts which will eventually form the recommendations from the group. Key issues discussed thus far including the flood zone and fees, the lack of key industrial and office locations, the vast ratio disparity of economic land zoning versus residential/public land and the need for a focused concerted public/private economic development team to recruit business. The group is exceptional and will be working on finalizing recommendations over the next month.
  • The “strategic planning process” on the City Council Agenda will be a very important program for moving things forward for the City over an almost 20 year period. The following is the main parts from the agenda report:

In 2007, the City Council, Staff and key community stakeholders held a two day workshop at the Abbey Street Fire Station 26 to set goals and priorities. In that workshop, many important priorities were established which included:

  • Downtown Renovation
  • Water and Sewer Projects
  • Utilities extended to I505
  • Construction of the Public Safety Facility
  • Putah Creek Improvements

The process included presentations on key needs, outlines of priorities from stakeholders and a number of exercises to gain input and consensus on the direction the City should be taking to achieve many of the goals. Without question, the process was an enormous success and the results can be seen all around town.


Staff is proposing that the City Council host a series of workshop on five (5) topical areas with key stakeholders to begin establishing goals and priorities for each area, which can then be funneled into a comprehensive “Strategic Plan” which would cover the next 15-20 year period.

Topical areas might include:

  • Planning and Economic Development
  • Community Facilities and Services (parks, facilities and services)
  • Infrastructure (Water, Wastewater, Streets, etc)
  • Public Safety
  • City Organization and Structure (succession planning)

Each topic will have an individual workshop to include City Council, Staff and Stakeholders in attendance. Projects and Priorities will be discussed, listed and ranked for each area. All meetings are open to the public and will be held in an open format.

From the topical workshops, theses priorities would then be brought before the City Council in a two day strategic planning workshop coordinated by professional facilitators. Each of the stakeholders from the previous meetings will be invited to attend the workshop and participate in a more global look at all topics and asked to help participate in a consensus process. Day 2 of the workshop will afford the City Council the opportunity to provide direction on the final priorities and give directions to the City Staff.

Stay tuned for the schedule as we move forward.

Happy Homecoming to the Winters High School Warriors as poor Live Oak faces a very impressive Warrior Varsity.


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Friday Update on September 21 2018


Some items to end the week:

October 2, 2018 City Council Agenda

  • Senior Services Presentation
  • Resolution regarding Proposition 6
  • East Street Pump Station Repairs
  • Flashing Beacon Crossing Signals for Railroad Avenue
  • Salmon Festival – Request for Funds, Street Closure & Amplified Sound Permit
  • Waste Management Contract Amendment for Overage & Contamination
  • Winters Healthcare Public Improvement and Maintenance Agreement
  • Callahan Phase 1 Public Improvements Notice of Completion

Some notes on items occurring:

  • First, Congratulations to City Councilember Jesse Loren and local super involved resident Kate Laddish for being recognized by Congressman John Garamendi as Women of the Year for 2018. Jesse was recognized for her leadership roles within the City with the Hispanic Advisory Committee, League of California Cities and with the many regional agencies she represents the City on. Kate was recognized for her advocacy on affordable housing and work within the Winters Community. Congrats to both VERY deserving Women of the Year!
  • Lots of work occurring with the Heartland and Stones Throw Subdivisions. The interior roadways along with a section of Moody Slough Rd are well under construction and should be completed some time over the next few weeks. The projects are taking shape and will be nice additions to the community.
  • The City’s Building Department will have a “launch” of the same day permitting program on Wednesday, October 3 beginning at 3:30 at City Hall. Contractors and their representatives are welcome to attend to learn about the program as it gets ready to begin on October 9, 2018.
  • On Thursday, the City Council and I attended the one year anniversary on the opening of the PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Academy. Key project personnel from PG&E were in attendance, including Gas Operations President Nick Stravopolous. It was nice to see this world class facility in operation and the overall commitment the utility is making to training their personnel and advancing gas safety at a very high level. During our conversations, we learned that the facility is considered a benchmark for other utilities throughout the country and by utilities world wide. Having such a world class facility in Winters is simply amazing. The facility trains over 150 personnel daily from all over the greater PG&E service areas in California. Kudos to PG&E and their entire team!
  • This Sunday is the inaugural “Porchfest” a series of mini-concerts and performances to be held on front yards and porches on Main Street between Second and Fourth Streets. Food trucks and performances will also be held at City Park. The event will be between Noon and 5 and is free to all attendees.

Finally, the City Council has approved the Downtown Parking Master Plan. The three (3) year effort was driven by community members and businesses concerned about the future of congestion and parking availability within our Downtown.  Some of the key recommendations and implementation programs which will be taking place include:

  • The establishment of the Winters Business Association, a compilation of business and property owners to guide management and policy implementation for parking within the Downtown. The partnership between the City and the private sector will be a key in the overall success in implementing the overall plan.
  • Construction of the new 38 space parking across for City Hall which will happen in conjunction with the opening of the Hotel Winters.
  • Re-striping of parking spaces throughout Downtown Winters. This will include a re-measurement and painting of all parallel spaces and re-painting of current diagonal spaces.
  • Establishment of parking time limits for the Downtown, re-signage and then enforcement. For most of the area, limits will be 2 hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with 30 minute zones in some key retail spaces and near the bank.
  • Alternatives for special event parking including remote parking lots and shuttles.
  • Working with businesses to have employees park in parking lots versus key visitor and customer.
  • Parking enhancements for bikes, accessible parking and electric vehicles.
  • Opportunities for the Winters Business Association to do assessments for future parking needs, structures, services and other alternatives including valet parking and enhanced security and lighting.

To see the entire Parking Plan and Report, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ParkingMasterPlan-FinalDraft073118.pdf.

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on September 14, 2018


A busy City Council Meeting:

September 18, 2018


  • Executive Session:  Public Employee Performance Evaluation-City Manager, Conference with Joint Powers Agency-Insurance Liability
  • (2) Final Acceptance & Notice of Completions for Well #6 Rehab and Futsal Court
  • Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Vector Control District Appointment
  • Proclamation Recognizing 9/22-9/29 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week
  • Street Closure & Amplified Sound Permits for PorchFest Winters Music Stroll (9/23) and the WHS Homecoming Rally (9/28)
  • Public Hearing and Resolution Authorizing Additional Funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and from HOME Program Income for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Housing Program
  • Public Hearing to Consider the Proposed Downtown Parking Master Plan
  • Golden State Finance Authority PACE Programs
  • Additional Funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and from HOME Program Income for the Domus Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Housing Project

A couple notes on things:

  • City Staff held a “rating call” with representatives from Standard and Poors (S&P) to gain a credit rating on the upcoming refinancing of water and sewer bonds.  The presentation included a comprehensive review of our utilities, discussion regarding water utilization, regulatory issues and extensive talk about the City in general. The City has regular calls with S&P each year but this was a marathon with over 50 slides in the presentation and lots of questions surrounding being a city in California. The S&P reps on the phone were from New York and Denver and they seem to be amused at what happens in California in terms of regulation. Overall, a good call! S&P give single letter ratings (A, B,C) in difference to Moody’s who gives three letter ratings (AAA, BBB,CCC). We have consistently rated high (A-) with our size and small customer base being the negatives.
  • The Putah Creek Phase III is well under way and the overall project is proceeding extremely well! The heavy tractor work will continue for the next week or so, followed by some plantings and erosion control to prepare for winter. We walked the flood planes today and the wildlife viewing is amazing as is the new channel and the backwater pond. For those worried about the otters, beavers and turtles, you can stop worrying, all is fine in their world and their presence is all over the place!
  • Putah Creek Clean-up Day is this Saturday, 9/15 from 9am-12pm (lunch is provided.) Meet at the Rotary Gazebo.
  • Staff met with a representative from the Bellvue North group which owns the 400 acres in the north part of the City. We discussed some procedural and planning topics in anticipation of moving forward with a process which will ultimately result in the annexation of approximately 250 acres and a specific plan for the property. In the meeting, Staff emphasized that the annexation and planning will need to include all properties within the City’s General Plan area. Bellvue indicated that their desire is to mitigate agricultural land directly to the north of the properties which are currently within their farming operation. Also discussed was the importance of a comprehensive solution to flood issues. Generally, a really good meeting.
  • Kudos to Councilmember Jesse Loren who is representing the City this week at the League of California Cities meeting being held in Long Beach. During the meeting, Jesse is being sworn in as a “Director” on the Board of Directors (a really big deal) and she has been working on the formation of a “rural communities working group” to bring better representation and focus to issues to smaller communities outside the urban core. On Thursday she facilitated a meeting of small communities advocating for the rural communities working group. Jesse has brought a significant level of leadership and is an important voice on issues for communities like Winters. Her selection as a Director on the League Executive Board is a reflection of her accomplishments within the City and Sacramento Valley Region along with her being recognized as a successful collaborator and knowledgeable elected representative. Well done, Jesse!
  • The focus of the Economic Development Committee this week was land use. We reviewed the zoning plan for the City, provided an update on the Flood Overlay Zone and identified a number of areas which might generate job producing projects. A really good group!

Finally, a court hearing was held on Monday regarding the Putah Creek Phase III project where an “emergency injunction” had been filed seeking to stop construction on the project. The request for an injunction was denied and the project is proceeding.

Phase III will provide enhanced access to the creek along with restoration of the area once the City sewer ponds. The collaborators on the project include the Putah Creek Council, leading UC Davis biologists and scientists, Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee and both State and Federal Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The permits for the project are numerous and from literally the most judicious agencies any permittee may need to face. The ecological and biological review has been extensive. There have literally been hundreds of meetings and thousands of hours spent working with key stakeholders.

Yes, part of the view shed along the creek is being removed, but it will be replaced with incredible direct access to the waters edge along with what will become a marquee nature park. It will take some time for plantings to grow, but the reality is that in 5-10 years, the place will be amazing.

The critics will be critical of the project and that is their prerogative, but the reality has been seen for years with salmon spawning, children swimming and people reconnecting with a creek once inundated by arrundo, blackberry and almost completely inaccessible.

If you have a chance, head down the north bank trail to seek things starting to shape up. Access to the new areas will be available once the construction is completed and planting have a chance to mature.

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update on September 7 2018


  • On Monday, September 10, 2018, City Staff and our financing team will be making a bond presentation before the bond rating agencies in preparation for the sale and refinance of Water and Sewer Bonds. This is a really big deal as it determines credit rating and the attractiveness of buyers to purchase the bonds at the desired interest rates. A solid presentation has been prepared and we are confident that we will be able to get high marks which leads to lower interest costs which equates to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • At the Tuesday City Council Meeting, the Council gave the green light on the implementation of a same day permitting program to help contractors and regular builders gain expedited permits for routine residential and commercial improvements. The Staff is working on a date for a workshop and a release date for an updated website to help folks to navigate the new system. At the workshop, attendees will receive a coupon for $25 off their next permit.
  • Tuesday night also saw the recognition of members of our public safety team who literally saved the life of Mr. Ramiro Garnica from cardiac arrest. Lifesaving awards were presented by the Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency (YEMSA) to Brad Lopez, Jon Hunt, Adrian Draper, Steve Grisham from Winters Fire and Lisa Dolezal and Hollay Shayegi from AMR Ambulance. Also present were Jose Ramirez and Gordon Brown who were on the call. These members of the team provided lifesaving measures which brought Mr Garnica back to life and with all of us that evening. Truly hero’s in all meaning of the word!
  • Also awarded a lifesaving award was Oswaldo Garnica, Ramiro’s son who provided lifesaving CPR in the initial minutes of the call. Without question, Oswaldo is a hero to his family and the community for his quick action and willingness to begin CPR while emergency personnel were in route to the residence. Oswaldo is a graduate of the Winters Fire Cadet Program through the Winters High School Capstone Program where he learned the CPR which helped him save his father’s life.
  • Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from the Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency (YEMSA) including the director Kristen Weivoda. In 2013, Kristen was the lead in helping form YEMSA which resulted in an ambulance being stationed at the Winters Fire Station 26. The previous response times from Davis were typically 20 minutes but now they are less than 4. Prior to 2013, the chance of surviving cardiac arrest in Winters was very low. Today, we see the results with the saving of Mr. Garnica. Without question, Mr. Garnica’s positive outcome is attributable to the professionalism and effort made by Kristen and the entire team at YEMSA.
  • The City also recognized and thanked Mike Sebastian for his tenure as City Treasurer. Mike is an incredible asset to the Winters Community and the City is appreciative of his service over the past 12 years.

Finally, this week saw the notification of parents by the Winters Joint Unified School District regarding a possible threat on students. The notification brought a number of comments on social media which showed the good and bad of that entire medium.

The incident involved a juvenile student which carries significant confidentiality and is a delicate situation for both the WJUSD and the Police Department. I can share that the Staff at the District acted immediately as did Winters Police personnel in launching an investigation. The appropriate outside agencies were included and a thorough process involving authorities, parents and District personnel was implemented. This included the local FBI who investigated the issue and were the ones who directed the notification of parents. The determination of the investigation was there was no focused threat against any individuals.

The “duty to notify” is a new FBI protocol following the tragedy at Parkland High School in Florida. The School District was acting to prevent potential unnecessary concern from parents by receiving a “robo-call,” a call from an “anonymous” FBI agent, or a form letter from the FBI regarding a matter determined to be unsubstantiated but still merited notification out of a preponderance of precaution. The Police Department was involved in the decision process and completely supported the School District’s desire for a “personal” approach.

The District and Winters Police Department provided resources for the student and their family to address the delicate situation. The reality is that kids do some things which are not wise at times and they need to be dealt with in a measured and effective manner. It’s tough when those in authority cannot give many details about sensitive issues, which naturally leads to suspicion and guessing by many.

Unequivocally, I can share that Dr Todd Cutler, Chief John Miller and the staffs of the WJUSD and Winters Police put the safety and interests of students first along with addressing the sensitivity of the matter and the individuals involved. During a busy time when school was just starting and many key priorities were on tap, they worked diligently to address the issue, including interviews and meetings with a number of outside agencies, including the FBI. To theorize differently is simply ridiculous. Their professionalism and concern regarding the issue is without question. The community can be very confident in the manner and protocals of how they handled the incident. From the City perspective, we appreciate the team at the WJUSD!

Have a nice weekend.



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