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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update on June 15 2018

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All,

Lot’s happening and ramping up for a new fiscal year with many projects.

City Council Agendas:

June 19, 2018

  • Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision – Approval of Final Map #4507, Development Agreement and Conditions of Approval, Irrevocable Offer of Dedication of Right of Way and Public Utility Easement
  • Street Maintenance Agreement with Vintage Paving
  • Repairs to damaged impellers at Carter Ranch Lift Station
  • Labor Agreements (MOU’s), Job Descriptions, and Salary Schedules
  • Recognizing Rebecca Fridae for Serving 30 Years on the Yolo County Library Advisory Board on Behalf of the Winters Friends of the Library
  • Recognizing Nanci Mills for Serving 32 Years as City Clerk and Director of Administrative Services for the City of Winters
  • Adoption of Ordinance 2018-02 for Implementation of the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan  (HCP/NCCP)
  • Approval of Newt’s Expressway Rule 20A Utility Underground District
  • Public Hearing to receive Input from Specific Property Owners Regarding Implementation of Weed Abatement
  • Introduction of Ord. 2018-03 to Consider Various Zoning Text Amendments Regarding Properties along Dry Creek with Nonconforming Uses, Structures and Lots in regards to creek banks and setbacks.
  • Proposed First Amendment to the Amended and Restated Development Agreement and Amended Tentative Subdivision Map for Callahan Estates Subdivision
  • Public Improvement Agreement and Subdivision Final Map for Callahan Estates Phase 1
  • Draft Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan
  • 2018 Water and Sewer Rate Increase
  • Proposed 2018 Water and Sewer Revenue Refunding Bonds for the 2007 Financing
  • Adoption of the 2018-2019/2019-2020 Budget

July 17, 2018

  • Second Reading of the First Amendment to the Restated and Amended Development Agreement for Callahan Estates
  • Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy and Collection of Assessments within the City of Winters City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, FY 2018/2019
  • TEFRA Public Hearing to Approve the Conduit Financing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Affordable Housing Project
  • Debt Policy
  • Project Budget and Bid Authorization for Manual Bar Screen at Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Updates to Muni Code Related to Green Waste & Garbage Services
  • American Tower Lease update for the existing cellular tower along Putah Creek

Some notes on things happening in the City:

  • Election results from Yolo County Elections are delayed, thus certification of the June 5 Election will not come before the City Council until July 17, 2018.
  • Staff held a pre-construction meeting with the development team for the Olive Grove Subdivision in regards to utilities and major infrastructure. Look for that project to get moving.
  • The update to the City’s development Impact fees is moving along. Staff will be meeting with the consultant on the project and should receive an update within the coming weeks. Look for this to move forward this summer.
  • Things are extremely busy at the Community Pool. Lot’s of swim lessons and we have added two more slots into the previous schedule.
  • The Blue Mountain Terrace Affordable Senior Apartments Project is in negotiation with the developer. One part of the project will be for the City to “disencumber” (give back) a $1m grant to the State and for us to reapply for a higher amount of funding. The projected costs for the Senior Center are around $2m. The previous grant limit on capital construction was a maximum of $1m. The upcoming grant process will allow construction costs of up to $5m and there is no penalty if we give the current grant back.
  • City is working with a number of groups, including the Winters Joint Unified School District on a career academy and job readiness program for high school students, focusing on the hospitality industry.
  • Emergency Management Training for City Staff and volunteers will happen on June 27 at the Public Safety Facility.
  • The July 24 Planning Commission Meetingwill include a revised tentative map for the Creekside Estates Development and the Downtown Parking Plan,
  • The Parking Committee has met and developed a final draft of the Downtown Parking Master Plan. The plan is in the final stages of editing and will go to the Planning Commission on July 24.
  • Lot’s of project plans are under building review including Winters Healthcare Campus, Stone’s Throw and Heartland model homes.
  • Winters Police have responded to a rash of calls related to fights and other domestic disagreements. We suspect that heat and alcohol may be contributing factors.
  • Police will be working with the WJUSD on an active shooter simulation at one of the schools during the summer break.
  • Chief Miller will be participating in a “School Safety Meeting” with parents and administrators.
  • The prescriptive burning along Highway 128has concluded. We are hoping this will reduce the prospects for another summer of wildfires in our local hills.
  • Public Works repaired the damage to the median portion of the roundabout. We suspect the damage was vandalism and have established measures to hopefully prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Economic Development Committee will hold its first meeting on July 12, 2018 at City Hall beginning at 6:00.
  • The 2018 Management Internship Program is under way. Interns will be working on City Projects as well as getting exposure to outside agencies including Yolo County, LAFCO, Yolo Communications and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, ride alongs with the Police, drill nights with Winters Fire and inspections for both building and public works. A good group working on big projects.

The most controversial items on the upcoming agenda’s will be a discussion regarding water and sewer rates. Under considerations are increases in the $5-11 per month range for both bills. The call for an increase is simple, decreasing revenues are putting both utilities into the red.

The primary reason for the decrease in revenues is due to water conservation measures undertaken by the residents in response to the State of California’s mandatory 25% reduction in water use called for by the Governor and the Legislature during the drought. Our customers responded accordingly, reaching 30% reduction in water use when compared to pre-drought (2013) levels. The result of the conservation has significantly reduced water rate revenues to operate the system. More than 50% of the revenues for the Water Fund are based on volumetric (usage) portion of the water rate, which is comprised of a fixed fee based on the size of the water meter erving the property and a volumetric charge based upon the water used per month. The City’s current rate structure is generally allocated as follows- 40% Fixed/60% Volumetric Rate Revenue.

In June, 2018, the Legislature passed and the Governor has signed a bill making the conservation levels permanent and City revenue projections are tracking that the conservation will be sustained with the new regulations.

Similarly, the Sewer Fund also had a reduction in revenues. Like the water rates, the City’s sewer rate consists of a fixed monthly charge and a volumetric charge. Reduced water consumption has also resulted in reduced sewer revenues.

While water and sewer use has declined, the costs of operating the systems has only increased including electricity, maintenance, permits and personnel to operate the system leaving both funds unable to meet the cost of current year operations from current year revenues. Essentially both operations are running in a deficit position. The proposed increases are to the “fixed” portion of customer’s bills.  In 2007, the City issued bonds to do significant repairs on water and sewer lines throughout the City and the current revenues are positioning the City in a negative position to meet our bond debt service ratios which impacts the credit rating of the City and our ability to pay the financing costs.

Water and sewer bills are the toughest discussion within how the City does business. It hits literally every customer in the City. In this case, the cause is the State’s new conservation requirements and the worst part is, that it has the potential to get worse with the new regulations and building code requirements. The idea of paying more for a lot less does not sit well with anyone and we cannot agree more. The problem is we cannot just get rid of the operational aspects of the system, we need to pay the permits, electricity is constantly going up in cost and the cost of equipment just keeps going up and up.

The process for raising rates includes a mailer to all of our customers as required under Proposition 218.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on June 8 2018

All,

A bunch of items:

Here are the items on the June 19, 2018 Preliminary City Council Agenda:

June 19, 2018 City Council Meeting

  • Irrevocable Offer of Dedication of Right of Way and Public Utility Easement for Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision
  • Final Map #4507 for Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision
  • Adoption of the Ordinance for Implementation of the Yolo HCP/NCCP
  • American Tower Lease Extension
  • Certification of Election Results & Swearing in of New Council Members
  • Proclamation Recognizing Rebecca Fridae for Serving 30 Years on the Yolo County Library Advisory Board on Behalf of the Winters Friends of the Library
  • Public Hearing and Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy & Collection of Assessments for the City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, FY 2018/2019
  • Public Hearing for Weed Abatement
  • Public Hearing and Approval of Newt’s Expressway Rule 20A Utility Underground District
  • Consideration of Ordinance Regarding the Expansion of a Non-Conforming Building or Structure
  • Callahan Estates First Amendment to the Restated and Amended Development Agreement, the Tentative Map Amendment, and the Phase 1 Final Map
  • Waste Water Master Plan
  • Water & Sewer Rates
  • Refunding of Water & Sewer Bonds
  • Adoption of the 2018-2019/2019-2020 Budget
  • Full and Part-Time Salary Schedules

Items from a couple of the City Departments:

Public Works:

  • Rehabbing the North field spray heads – one line that hasn’t been operational has been finished and underground lines are being repaired.
  • Well #2 rehab is on video and the efficiency test will be next.
  • A new electric car charger has been installed and bricks are being replaced around the flowerbeds at the Community Center
  • Landfill has raised tipping fees due to State regulations and Waste Management wants to raise rates but will be required to go through the Prop 218 notification requirements.
  • Met with Cal Trans to discuss the Active Transportation Program and the funding of overpass improvements and the potential funding of projects along Grant Ave, including a second roundabout.
  • Planning: Received an e-mail of interest from Dutch Bros.

Building:

  • Posted three stop-work notices over the weekend.
  • Will be doing the first under floor inspection at Chevron and will schedule a pre-construction meeting with the general contractor.
  • Winters Healthcare re-submitted their plans yesterday.
  • Received complaints regarding an on-going yard sale on Emery Street.

Police:

  • Chief Miller is at Command College this week.
  • Cueto is attending critical incident training.
  • The department will be undergoing range qualifications.
  • There was a good police presence at graduation last week.
  • Gonzalez, McCoy & Ferguson attended a report writing demo.
  • New YECA dispatchers recently toured the facility.
  • Winters and Woodland Police Departments are two of the first agencies in the State to have dispatchers go on a ride-along with officers.  The officers will also sit in with the dispatchers.
  • Structure on Wolfskill has been red-tagged, which gives City representatives the right to go in unannounced.
  • There is a homeless population down in the creek.  While walking the creek from Wolfskill to I-505, 6 camps were found with multiple people in each camp.  Advised those folks to pack up and move elsewhere.

Fire:

  • An 83-year old hiker was rescued  in Cold Canyon via helicopter.  There is currently signage on the trail about fatigue, and the question of establishing a rescue fee for these types of rescues came up again.  The trail is technically on the Solano County side and falls under the Vacaville Fire Agency, but Winters F.D. is normally called because we are more familiar with the trail and its terrain. It was 96 degrees up on the trail and none of the hikers had water with them!
  • Received paperwork for fireworks on July 3rd and will put together a plan to cover the event.
  • Will be conducting two training burns, one being on the Hwy. 128 corridor.
  • Ignitions class burned off 15 acres on Wednesday.’
  • Putting together job description for seasonal firefighters as we are expected to lose 12-15 firefighters to Cal Fire.

Monday will begin the City’s 2018 Intern Program with three graduate level students in the program. Lot’s of assignments will be worked on over the summer, including:

  • Comprehensive Affordable Housing Report-This will include an inventory of all affordable housing in the City, mapping, an issues review of housing issues both within the City and throughout the State and finally an opportunities/constraints analysis which will evaluate both Federal and State legislation, financing and initiatives.
  • General Plan Sustainability Element-Working on the development of a new “General Plan Element” on sustainability topics and policies including energy, air quality, recycling, transportation and housing. This will include both policy and implementation program development. (Group Project)
  • Economic Development issues including our Ag Economy, Economic Contacts and Programs in the regions and a summary of the Brookings Report Study on the Sacramento Regions strengths and weaknesses.
  • Police projects will include a Creek Nuisance ordinance and dealing with property owners, False Alarm Ordinance, Parking fines update, Emergency Business Contacts Update and a grant proposal for a mobile field force grant.
  • Planning projects will include Air BnB regulations, Food Trucks and a review of transit alternatives through YCTD in Winters.
  • Public Works will include inventory and GIS coordination of City assets, Wastewater System Maintenance Program, Climate Action Plan and new State Water Conservation Regulations which will limit water consumption starting in 2020.
  • Emergency Services basic training for both Federal and State programs.
  • Fire will include an update to the Active 911 Program, Pre Plan Survey’s of Commercial structures and Lexipol Policy implementation.
  • In Financial Management, Interns will be generating Pension Rate Sheet Analysis, doing a business license survey of the region and the development of a template for our Annual Impact Fee Report.

Finally, our local elections are completed with the retention of the three incumbent Council Members and the passage of Measure G which makes the City Clerk and City Treasurer appointed position.

A common question asked by a lot of folks is “what does it entail being on the City Council?” The answer is revealed each City Council Meeting during the Council Comments section.

About 7 years ago, the City Council began going through their calendars and announcing their appointments and meetings which have occurred between each City Council Meeting. They report out their attendance at City events, Board and Commission Meetings, State-wide events, educational seminars and even their individual meetings with Staff and the City Manager. Each will recite the number of commitments required often without any explanation of their need for preparation, exhaustive reading and follow up with the staff from the outside agencies for which they represent the City. The typical member probably describes a minimum of 12-20 meetings and obligations each month, depending on the season. This is done for transparency and disclosure.

In a small town, the participation and due diligence of the City Council is a critical role. On major issues like the Yolo Conservancy Plan, they are often required to read thousands of pages of narrative and technical reports before attending 3-4 hour meetings with more homework following that meeting. Representation is critical, because their votes and attention to detail can represent thousands and at times, millions of dollars to the City.

The reporting out also understates their own personal knowledge which is required to be on the City Council. “Getting up to speed” on issues, especially land use can take years! “Routine” items like understanding the City-wide assessment district, the City’s debt limit report (Gann Limit), Weed Abatement Ordinance are no simple tasks. These folks work hard at what they do.

Mostly, being on the Council takes a pretty firm commitment to becoming a knowledgeable representative of the entire community and making votes and decisions which represent a very long view for City residents. When the Council votes, we often remind them that they don’t represent just the folks who show up at the meeting, they represent every resident and business member not in the room, which can make for a very unpleasant evening on controversial issues.

Winters has been blessed with City Council members who really care and take their roles seriously. They evolve into visionaries, seeking to make an impact both within and beyond the City’s borders. They have made Winters a regional “leader” on many issues, taking the local community interests and values and translating those regionally. They “represent” and extend the reputation of Winters in how they conduct themselves and ultimately, they are the one’s “at the table” when it is time for allocations of funding for City needs with their influence making the difference in how monies are distributed.

The City Council are developing and cultivating future leaders in a very unselfish manner. They develop opportunities for folks to “engage” with the City on committees like the Parking , Hispanic Advisory and  Economic Development Committee’s. Eventually folks rise to appointments on the Planning Commission which is a strong foundation for moving to higher levels.

I genuinely feel blessed with those I have worked with. Dedicated folks, who generously commit themselves (hundreds if not thousands of hours annually) to representing our community and take on leadership roles which eventually evolves into becoming mentors and cultivators of future leaders.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on June 1 2018

All,

First, a major omission in recognizing a major contributor to the City Park Playground Build and that is the Mariani Nut Company Foundation who was a top donor to the project. Without question, Mariani Nut is a major contributor to our community in many ways. They were a major donor to the first playground build in 1989 and their generosity was one of the key elements to spearheading the 2017 build. They are a major benefactor to the Winters community through grants and scholarships to graduates from Winters High School. From a corporate generosity standpoint, they are a model in Winters!

Lots of other stuff this week:

  • City Council Meeting has a very full consent calendar with City Wide Assessment District, Weed Abatement, Street Closure for the July 3rdparty, a Proclamation for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Environmental Monitoring Services for the Elderberry Conservation Easement, the Habitat Conservation Plan and the City’s Appropriation Limit.
  • City Staff met with representatives of the Bellvue North Group who own 400+ acres in the north part of the City and our General Plan area. Overall, a really good meeting regarding the area.
  • The Downtown Hotel is looking up! We are in full inspection on the project and so far, so good.
  • The Winters Police Department will now be carrying Nalaxone in all of our Police vehicles to help potential overdoses of persons with overdoses. Click HERE for the full story.
  • Slow down on Railroad Ave both coming into town and out. The speed limits have been adjusted and Police will begin enforcement.
  • Staff is working to address issues regarding vandalism in the City Park Restrooms. The reality is people do some pretty awful things in public restrooms which children and other visitors are being subjected to when they visit the park. It’s a persistent issue which is probably one of the most frustrating we deal with at the City. For people who see issues in the restrooms, before putting pictures up on social media and complaining, give City Hall a call so we can get someone out there to address the issue.
  • A little insight into our public restrooms! We expect that the restrooms (City and Rotary Parks) will be vandalized every day! Also, we do not lock the restrooms over night, because if they are locked, people will ultimately relieve themselves elsewhere in the park, most likely directly outside the restroom or in areas where children play. We have a professional company do a sanitizing clean three days and our staff cleans them on the weekends. There are two restrooms a side and we keep one locked each day and one open so 7 days a week we start with a clean restroom. Unfortunately, we have no power over when people will do disgusting things and it never fails that it is when a bunch of parents and children are on their way to the park. Like I said, if you see something, give us a call.
  • June 2 is Elder Day in Winters. The community will recognize John Barbee age 97, Helen Hosier age 90, Evelyne David age 99, Mary Jean Vaughan  01/11/192, Ben Shimomura  age 98, Brigita Alarcon 10/08/1928, Jose Diaz   09/26/1928. The program is at the Community Center and begins 2:00.

Finally, being the City Manager of a small town involves some highs and lows. In less than a 24 hour period this week I got to experience both in very dramatic ways.

On Memorial Day, I attended the services held at the Winters Cemetery which was sponsored by the Winters Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Cemetery District. It was our hometown at its best, with the Boy Scouts conducting a flag ceremony, the Brownies and Girl Scouts  doing the flag salute and the Star Spangled Banner. Mayor Wade Cowen gave an incredible speech on the meaning and history of Memorial Day and the day was culminated with the ceremonial wreath laying by Kimi Kato, the widow of Winters resident Pete Kato who went from a Japanese Internment Camp to a part of the most decorated division in the United States Military in World War II. Music was provided by ARC Guitar owner Al Calderon. The day was a little windy, but one of the most patriotic and beautiful ceremonies I have ever experienced. It never amazes me how folks coming together in our town can top anything you may see at any of the major events anywhere. It was just beautiful!

On the following Tuesday morning, I received notice from our Police Department that Robert Duvall, our Police Chaplain had been dispatched to give a death notification due to an auto accident. The name was Julia Millon. I almost fell down!!

Julia was a Winter High Valedictorian in 2008 and was a rising star with the Winters Express as the associate editor. I had considerable interaction with Julia in her coverage of the City and she had recently interviewed us about the demise of our redevelopment agency. She was bright, articulate and someone who certainly was a star in our community.

The thought of her passing was an absolute tragedy. All you can say about potential, future and loss can be attributed to her sudden death. Without question, she will be missed by many and her friends. We at City Hall have been especially sad!

Being a small town City Manager is an absolute blessing but the times when you are privy to bad news is the absolute worst. You get to know so many people, their families, kids, co-workers and the people. You lose a lot because the small town brings us all together and when one is taken, it’s a time of sadness.

I count my blessings for the times we all come together as well as the times where we mourn.

John


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Friday Update on May 24 2018

All,

A couple items before the Memorial Day weekend:

  • The Planning Commission took on a number of issues the other night involving food trucks (sent back to staff for more research), elimination of a park parcel in a new subdivision (approved) and an interpretation regarding vertical development along Dry Creek (approved). The City has an exceptionally good Planning Commission with thorough insight and they are doing their homework. Well done this week.
  • Staff and Main Street Property Owners met to discuss the undergrounding of utilities in Newt’s Expressway. Overall a good meeting with more work to do!
  • Interviews for a new Human Resources Manager will happen next week.
  • Congratulations to the Winters High School Varsity Baseball Team for a 30-1 record and another Northern Section Title for WHS. A championship group with an amazing coach in Jeff Ingles. Coach Ingles has more than 500 career victories and has coached 29 playoff teams, 20 league champions and 13 section champions in 20 title-game appearances. Players and parents alike with agree that Jeff Ingles teaches the players more about success in life than just the baseball field. Winters is blessed to have someone like Coach Ingles guiding our varsity program!

Finally, Memorial Day is a chance for us to remember and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty and freedom in our Armed Forces. Services will be held at the Winters Cemetery on Monday, May 25 at 10 am.

A couple years ago, I was at a presentation by a representative of the “Gold Star Mothers”, a support group which helps families who have lost loved ones in military service. The presentation was absolutely riveting because most cases involve relatively young service members who had died in battle. The “mother” who spoke to our group lost a 21 year old son in Afghanistan two years prior. My heart absolutely dropped when I considered that my own son was the exact same age.

Her story told about a motivated young man who joined the service following a cadet program in high school and his desire to find and take advantage of the many opportunities available in our armed services.  He was a star high school athlete who wanted to serve his country while trying to figure out what he wanted to do in his life. A close family which was heartbroken at his passing, yet proud of his service and conviction.

You can imagine over the time of humanity, the individuals who have given their lives in defense of a cause. The families and friends who are impacted along with the potential loss with the passing. Both heroic and tragic at the same time.

In the United States and elsewhere, those who have given their lives so others may live in liberty and freedom are true hero’s. We can all feel blessed for the service and sacrifice for these men and women.

Hopefully people will take a moment on Memorial Day to remember those who have died in service of us all along with their families and friends who have sacrificed their loved ones.

John


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Friday Update on May 18 2018

All,

A really good week:

·         Today, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board in a unanimous vote, granted permits for the Phase 3 Putah Creek Restoration Project. This was a four year effort which entailed considerable technical and legal review and it was through the efforts of the staff from the Flood Board, the Attorney General’s Office and the tenacity of the folks from the Solano County Water Agency for finally getting the permit. Concurrently, the Army Corps of Engineers also issued their permits on the project this morning. This means the project will move forward in the fall.

·         Special recognition on this needs to go to many folks, but especially the Solano County Water Agency (Roland Sanford, Thomas Pate and Chris Lee), the entire Winters Putah Creek Committee, the amazing folks from the Putah Creek Council, the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee and Putah Creek Trout. Special thanks to both Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar Curry and Senator Bill Dodd for their support on the project.

·         A busy Planning Commission this week with a Food Truck Application for Grant/Railroad, a solar project at the WJUSD Office and the Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan.

·         Staff has approved a sales trailer for the Callahan Estates Subdivision. Looks like things are ramping up for new home sales.

·         A meeting of Downtown Property Owners will occur next Thursday to discuss the undergrounding of utilities in Newt’s Expressway.

·         The dedication of the City Park Playground from the Project Playground Team was an amazing day. This is a very special group which did a project with will benefit our town for many generations.

·         A special thanks to the key contributors including the Rotary Club of Winters, Winters Friends of the Library, Russ and Kathy Lester, Craig and Julie McNamara and the Yocha de He Wintun Nation.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on May 10, 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

  • The May 15 City Council Meeting will focus on the Yolo County Habitat Conservation Plan as a discussion item and presentation. Additionally, the consent calendar will include a Lease with American Tower, State Mandated Claims Reimbursement, Design Services for a parking lot and alley improvements for the Downtown Hotel, Amplified Sound Permits for weddings in May and a party on Ivy Loop.
  • Yolo County has permitted an outdoor/indoor marijuana grow and manufacturing facility on the Winters border, literally a couple hundred feet from a future street. We will see how the facility impacts the City and hopefully the County will establish some form of regulations regarding such facilities.
  • The arrest of a suspect in a sex trafficking case involving a Winters youth is a major accomplishment for the Winters Police Department. Excellent detective and police work, along with coordination with neighboring jurisdictions and the District Attorney’s Office. Kudo’s to all in the Police Department for their work!
  • Condolences to the folks at Steady Eddies on the demise of their house cat Eddy. A really sad situation for all involved!
  • The Munchkin Summer Camp Program is fundraising. To donate, please contact Nicole Halley at jordanhalley@cityofwinters.org . This is an incredible help for Winters youth during the summer recess with outstanding programs, field trips and enrichment.

Finally, I ran my first marathon on Sunday, May 6 through the Avenue of the Giants up in Humboldt County and the redwood forest. It was an amazing experience and the most physically demanding effort I have ever attempted in my life.

The “process” was an 18 week training program in preparation for the marathon. I trained with an incredible group of coaches and motivated individuals who ran over 700 miles over the entire period leading up to the race. The reality was a complete fitness, nutrition and commitment makeover.

The marathon runners were a pretty elite group because it was a “championship” for a key running association and it also qualifies people for running in the Boston Marathon. 400 in the group, with me having a goal of competing with a decent time and enjoying the experience. I did both!

I will confess that at Mile 23, I hit the proverbial “wall” where both mentally and physically, I reached my maximum limits. My realization was that I was in the middle of a forest, with nobody to help, so I needed to reach down deep both physically and mentally to finish the 26.2 miles. I consider that to be a major accomplishment of that day, as I just started running and finished strong.

After the race, our group took photo’s and cheered our accomplishment. Two folks from my training group qualified for the Boston Marathon and one person achieved a personal record for a marathon. I will share that once my adrenaline went down, I literally passed out, ended up at the ER and took two IV bags (which I totally recommend if you are not feeling well) to get my hydration back up. Not the way I wanted my quest to end, but it “is what it is” and I don’t think it takes away from the training and completion of the race.

My second marathon will be the California International Marathon in Sacramento (December).  I am running in the Memorial Day “Armed Forces” Half Marathon where I will try for a personal best!

Overall, a pretty good week.

Happy Mother’s Day!

John


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Friday Update on May 4 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

  • Most importantly, the new Downtown Piano has arrived and is ready for its first concert in the Main Street Mini Park. Head on down and play a tune!
  • Staff is working on a status update on the City’s General Plan. Originally adopted in 1992, the plan is a very dynamic document with many components. A full status report will be going to the Planning Commission in June and then on to the City Council in July.
  • The City Budget was the main topic at this week’s City Council Meeting. While there is a lot going on, the City finances are extremely tight going into our next two year financial cycle. The good news is the budgets presented are budget, but we are making some assumptions on the hotels and some development activity which need to come through!
  • The preliminary agenda for the May 15 City Council Meeting includes State Reimbursement Requests, Engineering work for the Downtown Hotel Parking Lot and Alley Improvements, the Yolo Habitat Conservation Program and a cooperative agreement on Animal Services.
  • This week Staff met with a major union organization looking to build a facility similar to the PG&E Gas Academy but for other vocational training. It was a GREAT meeting! We will see….
  • PG&E is hosting an equipment rodeo at the Gas Training Academy on Saturday, May 5. Stop on by and check it out!!
  • The Winters Garage Sale is scheduled for Satuday, May 12. This year has two themes: “Better stuff than last year” and “From collecting dust in your garage to mine”. Clear out that closet and garage, find someone in the core area to put your stuff on their lawn and make some money. Spaces (on an assigned basis only) are available at City Park for those out of towners. For more information or a space at City Park call 530-795-4919.

Finally, City-wide, we have people who are going into cars and stealing contents. The Police Department has done a good job of warning folks to “lock your vehicles” but sometimes breaking the old thinking that this is Winters and people just do not do such things gets by you. The other night, after working late, I went out to my vehicle parked behind City Hall and found the door open and that someone had gone through the unlocked vehicle. They took some change from the drink holder and that was about it. Like Dorothy, I found “I was not in Kansas anymore”. I didn’t report it because I know it is a waste of time.

At City Hall, we know the individuals who are essentially checking cars and casing the downtown area to steal items. One day we saw one individual looking inside one of our conference rooms, obviously looking for something to grab and steal.

The reality is that California (under Proposition 47) has essentially legalized theft and there is practically nothing which can be done to people who are stealing from you. As I have discussed this incident with folks, they suggest confronting the people, but the facts are that if you do that, you actually get in more trouble for confronting the thief than from them stealing from you. Imagine stopping someone in the act of stealing your property and going to jail because your stopping them was the crime and not the theft.

California seems to be changing how it deals with people who commit crimes to the detriment of those who do not. Pretty amazing and really sad.

Moral to the story- Lock your car!

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on April 27 2018

All,

A couple items for this week:

First, this is Youth Day weekend. Things kick off Friday night Downtown with the Duck Race and Fourth Friday Festival! Then Saturday begins with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast at the Community Center, the Parade at 10 then a day long festival at City Park. The evening is capped with a concert at City Park!

City Council Meeting highlights for next Tuesday include:

  • Budget Workshop for the Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • Second Reading of the speed ordinance of Railroad Ave.
  • Budget Adjustment for Water Well Repairs
  • Lease agreement for agricultural operations on wastewater fields.

A couple notes on the proposed budgets:

  • Both budgets in their preliminary form are balanced for the first time in almost 4 years. Overall good news and a sign that some of the economic growth and development are kicking in! This is good news for the economics of the City in the long run.
  • From a revenue standpoint, we are projecting both hotels will go online by 2019 and that we will see almost 300 residential permits over the course of the next two years. Residential housing demand is high in town and we expect to see lots of new homes to meet that demand.
  • Capital projects includes significant street maintenance throughout key streets in town. This is very good news for many reasons.
  • The budgets include funds to pursue designs for a new sports park and a new community center in the Downtown.
  • In 2019-20, we are projecting adding positions in both the Police and Fire Departments.

Staff views 2018-19 as a “very tight” budget year with revenues starting to move up in the first quarter of 2019.

Some other notes:

  • Sales tax numbers are in for the fourth quarter of 2017 and we saw an increase of almost 12%. The report has only one month of the new Starbucks and some late reporting from some key businesses in the quarter under review. Overall, the Winters business community seems to be doing well!!
  • The new Roundabout was damaged in the past few days. Not a good thing and you wonder what some people are thinking. We are increasing security measures as we speak and hope to catch the person who did the damage. Someone on a backhoe.
  • Winters is in the running for a USA Today contest as the “Best Small Town Food Scene” in America. To vote, please go to http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-small-town-food-scene-2018/ .

Finally, the Winters Joint Unified School District honored four Winters residents in their first “Hall of Fame” induction ceremony. It was really nice!

Those honored included:

  • Long time Winters art teacher Sally Paul who taught in the District for over 30 years and inspired an impressive number of students to follow their passions in creativity. She recounted some fun stories about the enlightenment of some students through art projects and research.
  • Richard Rominger both a student and later a trustee for the District. Rich shared a story about being a sophomore at WHS when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and President Franklin Roosevelt declared war in what became World War II. He also recounted the great fire which burned down WHS and how he finished his high school education in random buildings and rooms around town.
  • Bobbie Rominger, long time community member and swim icon in the City.
  • Jack Graf who graduated from Winters High, was a student,  teacher, principal, WJUSD superintendent and then County Superintendent of Schools. The best story was from Jack’s son John who told the story about the time as a Principal Jack caught a kid who had set a trash can on fire in the school quad. Jack called the student into the office and sent him home with the trash can and made him clean it to shiny new! The kids parent called Jack and home and thanked him for teaching his child an important lesson. In today’s world, Jack would probably be hung in the local media for being insensitive to the student and we would be dealing with a nation-wide student walkout against punishing students without first letting them express themselves.

The evening was hosted by Superintendent Todd Cutler and the Board of Trustees. It was a first class event and one which they plan to perpetuate.

Happy Youth Day!

John


  • -

Winters Nominated for Best Small Town Food Scene- Please vote

All,

Winters is nominated for the “Best Small Town Food Scene in America” on the USA Today website!  We have until May 14th to vote and keep the recognition and publicity for our town! 

Rules say we can Vote once a day!

We started at 19th and went to 11th overnight.
Now, we’re at 7th in the NATION! In two days!!!
It’s working!  The rules say you can vote once a day.
Try to vote every day until May 14th!

Here’s the link:

  1. Click on the link below
  2. Click on Browse Current Contests, (right under the USA Today Readers’ Choice circle)
  3. Click on Best Small town Food Scene
  4. Click on Winters (at the very bottom, left side) and press the blue “VOTE” bar.
  5. Repeat tomorrow!

http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-small-town-food-scene-2018/

Or here to get the direct link to vote for Winters:  http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-small-town-food-scene-2018/winters-california/

Spread the word. Vote every day. We have until May 14th!

–John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on 4-20

All,

A couple notes:

City Council Agendas:

May 1, 2018

  • Second Reading & Adoption of Traffic Survey Ordinance
  • Budget Workshop
  • Well 2 Rehabilitation/Upgrades
  • Amendment to Martinez Agriculture Lease

May 15, 2018

  •      Final Map Callahan
  • Final Map Winters Highlands – Phase 1
  •      HCP – Yolo Conservancy

A couple updates:

Overall a really good City Council Meeting on Tuesday. A couple highlights included:

  • Putah Creek Park Expansion behind the PG&E Facility.  The $250k improvement will be lead by our partners at the Putah Creek Council (PCC) who presented an overall planting and restoration plan along the drainage canal and both above and below the bank to make the area a “woodland”. The proposal is an amazing accomplishment for the Winters Putah Creek Committee and a testament to having exceptional partnership with groups like the PCC, the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee and the Solano County Water Agency. Kudos to our Creek Committee,  Environmental Services Manager Carol Scianna and PCC Projects Coordinator Amy Williams for an incredible proposal.
  • We received a nice update on our Comprehensive Annual Financing Report from our Director of Financial Management, Shelly Gunby. Not all good news but if you really want to know about our finances, Click HERE.

One more item of interest:

  • Staff participated in a meeting today with the staff from Yolo County Health Office regarding Cannabis and health issues. A very productive meeting regarding some health facts and key issues. For more information on the health effects, they suggest going to the State Cannabis Website for information. Click HERE to learn more about the health impacts of cannabis.

Have a nice weekend!

John


  • -

Friday Update of Friday the 13th of April 2018

All,

Just a couple items on the City Council Agenda’s as an update:

April 17, 2018

  • Homeless Coordination Project 3-Year Contract- this is an extension of the existing contract and program through a consortium of the cities and Yolo County.
  • Starbucks Final Acceptance & Notice of Completion– all the improvements for this project are completed.
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval- An ambitious project proposal from the Winters Putah Creek Committee and the Putah Creek Council. Absolutely worth attending the meeting to see some amazing planning in the transformation of this segment of the creek trail.
  • CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report)- the good bad and ugly of City finances. To see the entire report, click HERE.
  • Traffic Survey Ordinance- Revised survey for Railroad Ave mainly. The Grant Ave segment is awaiting Caltrans approval which will occur during the summer. Then, radar enforcement will begin.
  • Police Department’s Revised Axon Quote for the Purchase of Body Worn Cameras (BWC)- This purchase is a significant upgrade of the body camera’s used by our Police personnel. A necessary investment which will coordinate with our in car systems and technology.
  • Public Works Presentation- Guaranteed to be very interesting!
  • Proclamation Honoring May 3rd as Big Day of Giving Led by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation
  • Amend 18/19 Budget and Landfill Monitoring Services Contract w/Wallace Kuhl- This is to facilitate a response and coordination with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and install additional wells for monitoring.
  • Street Closure/Amplified Sound permit for “Youth Day Friday Festival”- The new fourth Friday!

May 1, 2018

  • Second Reading & Adoption of Traffic Survey Ordinance
  • MOU’s (Memorandums of Understanding)
  • Budget Workshop

Have a nice weekend.

John


  • -

Friday Update on April 6 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

 

City Council Agendas:

April 17, 2018

  • Homeless Coordination Project 3-Year Contract
  • Starbucks Final Acceptance & Notice of Completion
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval
  • CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report)
  • Traffic Survey Ordinance
  • Police Department’s Revised Axon Quote for the Purchase of Body Worn Cameras (BWC)
  • Public Works Presentation
  • Proclamation Honoring May 3rd as Big Day of Giving Led by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation


May 1, 2018

  • Second Reading & Adoption of Traffic Survey Ordinance
  • MOU’s (Memorandums of Understanding)
  • Budget Workshop

Some notes:

  • Staff met on Thursday with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board staff regarding a permit filing they are moving on regarding the City’s former landfill on Moody Slough Road. Overall, a pretty good meeting. The bottom line is they have a charge for all closed landfills to implement Title 27 of the Government Code on environmental regulation which means they will not move off of the permit. The big item of concern for the City was the potential requirement for us to add a soil cap on to the 8 acre piece which we estimate would cost almost $2 million. In the end, we agreed to enhance our overall groundwater monitoring program, establish a monitoring plan and have a step by step work program which would be implemented based on performance issues of the test results. I would give our overall team an “A” for preparation for the meeting and having the right people in the room. Our environmental consultant for hydrology and permitting on the project is Winters own Kurt Balasak with Wallace & Kuhl Associates and our staff team leader is our environmental services manager Carol Scianna. Both just hit it our of the park in the meeting on their overall effectiveness in working with the regulators! Its always a great day when you have really talented people with their expertise and acumen on display!
  • Winters continues to have people roaming the town trying to get into unlocked cars. People need to lock their vehicles or risk losing the stuff. The Police Department is doing an excellent job in trying to keep up with many KNOWN individuals who are robbing peoples cars. Unfortunately, there is little justice in California for people who steal from others.
  • In 2014, California Voters passed Proposition 47 which requires misdemeanor sentencing for any theft of under $950. This means that if someone steals items under that value that they basically get a citation for the theft and basically there are no real ramifications for the offense. Thus, if someone steals your lawn mower, a box of tools from the back or your truck or your bike and you catch them, the limit of the Police authority is to simply give them a ticket and they just walk away. People need to understand this and lock your stuff up.
  • Our Police and Fire Chiefs attended a meeting with the WJUSD regarding campus safety at a special District Meeting. Overall a good meeting and many concerns raised. Not an easy topic for the WJUSD.
  • Our Public Safety has offered to participate in training on the WJUSD Emergency Response Plan and work toward a training drill in the fall.
  • The July 3 Fireworks Display will be held at Shirley Rominger Intermediate School instead of Winters High School due to construction of the new Soccer/Football/Track Stadium thus summer.

Finally, they City lost one of the most impactful people in its history with the passing of Newt Wallace on Easter Sunder.

Without question, the Winters Express under the ownership of Newt Wallace has been the defining influence for the City of Winters over the past almost 70 years. Newt as the publisher made a weekly publication which has told the story of our community and the generations of people who make it special.

Newt, Ida and the entire Wallace Family have given Winters the gift of recording our history. They have also helped set the tone and culture of a very civil town where everyone knows each other and are proud to call Winters their home. People know each other because the Winters Express lets us know about each other.

Newt was an incredible gentleman who opened up the Winters Express each Friday the 13th for everyone from the most politically connected to any subscriber to share a drink and feel at home. He was the guy who delivered not only all of the Downtown papers, but also the obituary notices for each resident. From the Yesteryear column to the weather, Newt reminded us of our past, our present and the future. The Express was Winters “social media” 6 decades early!

Few people in town can special order their favorite cheap beer and they have it on hand in our local establishments. I tried to order one of his Olympia beers one time and was denied because there were only two left and the establishment wanted to get their paper that week.

Newt may have been the oldest paperboy in the world, but more importantly he was the patriarch of a family which has helped make Winters the incredible community it is. The Wallace’s and the Winters Express are the glue which binds us in words, memories and most importantly as a community.

The Wallaces have given to this community like few others have. Besides the Winters Express,  I am convinced that Charley along with a number of others saved the Downtown. John has been the local attorney and the involvement of their entire family has been nothing short of a lifelong commitment to this small town! It all started with Newt taking a train to Davis, walking the 15 miles to Winters and purchasing a small newspaper…………. The rest is certainly our history!

If there is a heaven, I hope Ida and Newt are reunited in all their glory and that they publish a weekly publication which will undoubtedly make heaven a little smaller and kinder place.

Have a nice weekend.

John


  • -

Friday Update on Good Friday and the start of Passover 2018

All,

Key items as we head toward Easter and Passover:

City Council Agendas:

April 3, 2018

  • Youth Day Parade Permit, Amplified Sound & Request for Annual Donation
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval
  • 2018-2019 Project List Funded by SB1, Road Repair & Accountability Act
  • Downtown Hotel Development Impact Fee Payment Agreement
  • Proclamation Honoring Retiring Winters Fire Protection District Commissioner Donald A. Rominger
  • Proclamation Honoring National Library Week, April 8-14, 2018

April 17, 2018

  • Homeless Coordination Project 3-Year Contract
  • Starbucks Final Acceptance & Notice of Completion
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval
  • CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report)
  • Traffic Survey Ordinance
  • Public Works Presentation

A couple notes on some items coming up:

  • The State has modified drinking water standards, again, with a new MCL (maximum contaminant limit). “TCB 123” is found in most common products from fertilizers, solvents, pesticides and cleaning products. The MCL is 3 Parts Per Trillion! Well 5 has tested at an MCL for TCB 123 at an MCL of 5 ppt. This triggers a notification requirement for our residents which will go out in our next utility bill notifying them of the contaminant. We have taken Well 5 off line and will keep it off until we no longer have detection.

All testing is done at the Well. ONLY Well 5 had a positive hit for TCB 123 (Wells 2,4,6 and 7 all are negative). In the past month, we did some maintenance and repairs on Well 5 and we suspect that some of the products used are causing the positive hit. We are also looking at external environmental sources. Our plan is to do an extensive cleaning and flush of the well  The State Department of Drinking Water (DDW) is requiring the notification and we will comply.

  • Thefts from cars has begun again. Thursday night, a number of cars were robbed, most likely from the same group who has been robbing from cars throughout the town. Literally, we have a number of people walking through town, looking in cars and checking the doors. If they are unlocked they go into the vehicles and steal what they can find. Even if they are caught, they only get a misdemeanor citation which means basically nothing.
  • Car burglary is not just a Winters issue, it is happening everywhere. There are groups of persons who now know that stealing is no longer a crime in California and are perpetrating theft in every community. Police are immensely frustrated because people who are losing hundreds of dollars in personal possessions are left empty which they call the police to report the crime and are basically told that theft is no longer a serious offense in the California. The bottom line is we need folks to lock their doors and secure their possessions if they want to keep them.
  • Applicants are being sought for an Economic Development Advisory Committee- The City is seeking interest from residents who are interested in serving on the upcoming Economic Development Advisory Committee. The Committee will begin meeting during the second week of May and will continue for approximately four (4) months with a total of 8 meetings. The Committee will be working on the development of recommendations to formulate plans for improving the overall Winters economy and generating a quality business environment. To apply, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/…/…/11/App_Int_Appt_Pos2013.pdf and complete the application. For questions, contact donlevy@cityofwinters.org. Submit applications no later than April 13. 2018 to tracy.jensen@cityofwinters.org.
  • The City Budget is in preparation phase with each of the City Departments submitting their proposals to our Finance Department. We are putting together budgets for Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20. Our anticipation is that FY 2018-19 will be a tight year and we should see the Winters economy begin to percolate in the second quarter of 2019 and into the balance of the year.
  • The Creek is running higher!! All through Putah Creek, people will notice higher flows, bleeding into the flood planes and more current over the next few weeks. The dam is releasing pulse flows of higher volume which will be beneficial to fish in the creek. Right now is a beautiful time to take a look as the creek come to life!

Have a Happy Easter and Passover. As we move toward spring, a great time for family, friends and a chance to enjoy the beautiful area we live in.

John


  • -

Friday Update on March 23 2018

All,

Today is a long one:

City Council Agendas:

April 3, 2018

  • Starbucks Final Acceptance & Notice of Completion
  • Youth Day Parade Permit, Amplified Sound & Request for Annual Donation
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval
  • Budget Discussion
  • 2nd Year Submittal for SB1 2018/2019 Project List

April 17, 2018

  • Homeless Coordination Project 3-Year Contract
  • Public Works Presentation
  • Budget Discussion

Department Updates:

 

Public Works Activities:

  • Backflow testing is occurring City-wide and affects most businesses. This is a requirement of our water utility and is a foundational element of insuring public health.
  • Four electric vehicles (2 GEMS and 2 Miles Electric cars) are going to auction next week.
  • The Toddler play structure (formerly at City Park) is being installed at Valley Oak Park on 3/29-3/30.
  • Finishing pulling wire for new lights inside the playground area at City Park.
  • Staff is spraying weeds, replacing street signs, repairing sidewalks, installing (2) ADA ramps.
  • SB1 Street Projects are going out to bid in the next 2 months.
  • The State of California has a new item for maximum contaminants- 1,2,3,-TCP Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) has been issued by the State Water Board.  The MCL is 3 per 1 trillion parts. The City had a positive hit at one of our wells (which had recent maintenance and replacement of parts) resulting in a re-sample, which will be taken on Monday and inspected by the engineers at the Department of Drinking Water (DDW).
  • The Waste Water Treatment Facility Master Plan will go to the Planning Commission in April, then on to the Council.
  • Staff met with the Green River Tap Room Partners about water and sidewalk improvements.
  • A new  soil cap, monitoring plan, and annual funding for the Old City Landfill are now being required by the State for the landfill.  A public hearing at the Water Board is scheduled for the end of May.
  • Staff will be meeting with the Yolo County Consortium proposing a energy purchasing alliance called Community Choice Aggregation.

 

Economic Development/Housing:

  • Staff met with our consultant for the Winters Older Adult Programs and Services to receive an update on her progress.
  • Staff will attend a Homeless and HPAC meeting in Davis.
  • Staff will be presenting an update on the senior center to the Winters Senior Foundation Board meeting next Wednesday.
  • Finalizing the Prop. 84 grant for the construction of Walnut Park.
  • A commercial broker for a national auto parts firm is interested in coming to Winters.
  • TCAC (Tax Credit Allocation Committee) is recommending the award of a 4% tax credit for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments.

Planning:

  • 11 sets of plans for the Callahan Estates models have been received in Building office.

Police:

  • Both Police and Fire met with the WJUSD in regards to their emergency operation planning and will move forward with a tabletop exercise in the next year.
  • An agreement has been established with the WJUSD regarding nonstudent crossing guards has been signed.  Police Department will provide training and will then be able to enforce any vehicle code violations.
  • Officer Jose Hermosillo was recognized and honored as Officer of the Year at the American Legion Post in Woodland.
  • March training for the Police Department includes defense tactics and active shooter training.
  • As part of department outreach, Community Services has given two senior fraud presentations and upcoming events include Burger-with-a-Cop, Youth Day, WMS Popsicle-with-a-Cop in conjunction with
  • Officers are wearing mourning bands for two officers killed in the line of duty in Pomona and Marin County.

Fire:

  • The Yolo County Fire Chief’s dinner, hosted by Winters Fire on March 13th, was well represented and a big thanks to all staff members involved in putting this event together.
  • The annual Public Safety Awards dinner will take place on April 7th.
  • Staff read to kids at the Winters Community Library yesterday and had a good turnout.
  • Captain Matt Scheckla will be working through this year and next year to receive his Chief Officer Fire Certification by attending (4) week-long classes and initiating a task book.
  • Consortium meeting to be held at the Yoche de He Fire Department to determine training.
  • At the Fire District Board meeting last week, Don Rominger, who has served nearly 50 years, submitted his resignation letter. He will be honored at the annual Fire Appreciation Dinner and by the City Council.
  • Expanding skills in EMS services and what EMT’s are allowed to do re: patient assessment.  Department now has a glucometer to check blood sugar levels in patients, EPI pens and can administer Narcan, which is also on board the ambulance.
  • A grant has provided for two mass casualty rescue task force/trauma kits which are now deployed on board the service engine and the squad.
  • Dana Carey, Yolo County OES and Cal Fire representatives held a community meeting last week to talk with property owners along Hwy. 128 about mitigation efforts and to get permission to work on their property.  The meeting was well-received.
  • Winters Fire will be coordinating a regional training program in water, high angle, search and rescue called the Monticello Drill which has been scheduled for April 22-23.  Staff are working with Yolo County Sheriff’s Office regarding off-road, horseback and aircraft rescues.  Staff continues to move forward in planning this multi-jurisdictional exercise.

City Manager:

  • Staff is working on means for updating portions of the City’s General Plan. At the City Council Meeting, Staff was asked to research resources through the State which was done this week. Lot’s of resources are available for some pretty complex issues.
  • Staff is evaluating various elements of the general plan guidelines and will work some update elements into the upcoming budget and work plans. Kind of a general plan update “light” to make sure we are in a good position.

General Plans are essentially, the goals and vision for a community and represent the overall “business plan” or “blue print” for how a City will evolve and develop itself.

Staff spent a number of hours this week going through the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Website which has many tools and resources for updating general plan documents. It’s a pretty good website with lots of information and suggestions on policies and formats for document preparation. The “guides” are very well written, mostly by researchers and law schools with addendums which refer you to other websites, the government codes and more documents. It is the proverbial trying to get a drink of water from a fire hydrant. If you are into the malaise of bureaucratic speak, policy nuances and legal ease, this is cyber nirvana!

While the City’s current general plan policies are pretty solid vision statements for the wants and desires of the City, there is a direct conflict between some of the service, park, jobs and amenity goals and the sustainability aspects of the land uses permitted in the City. Kind of like having a goal for an Olympic swimming pool only allowing for a 5 gallon bucket of water to fill it.

General Plans are individually unique and complicated. They work to implement the goals of many stakeholders into one plan. Many of the State requirements are heavily politically motivated and try to meet the very diverse needs of jobs, housing, industry, the environment and politics within the realm of a single planning document for each community.

They are extremely expensive! Every aspect of a general plan is required to be studied, justified and legally worded which means lots of consultants and attorneys who charge extremely high rates. The development of these plans is governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Government Code and many aspects of legislation. The key is the constant threat of litigation from any number of sources, many of whom have very little stake in a local community, except for the general plan process. Planning (not necessarily doing) is a massive industry which is fed by the requirements of the State.

In many respects, general plans become a self fulfilling prophecy for the industry it feeds. One thing I have learned about California is that the way you become wealthy is to have legislation passed which makes people (especially government and taxpayers) buy your services or product.

See everyone at Coffee Fest this Saturday.

John


  • -

Friday Update on March 16 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

· City Council Meeting will include the Project Acceptance for the Starbucks right of way improvements, Housing Element Progress Report, Olive Grove Subdivision Map Approval, a Fire Department Presentation, Recognition of Gwen Pisani as a State-wide Woman of Distinction and an Update on the General Plan Update.
· The Callahan Estates Subdivision Builder, Crowne Communities submitted 11 plan models for plan check in the Building Department. They are getting ready for construction once we pass winter.
· Staff is working diligently on the undergrounding of the utilities in Newt’s Expressway which service the north side of Main Street in Downtown. The project will include the formation of an assessment district for the Downtown property owners to do some needed utility upgrades for their buildings. This is a significant development and hopefully something the property owners will take advantage of.
· Winters Police had a VERY successful “range day” this week. All reports say that it was a good week of training and coordination for the Department.
· The dedication of the Playground at City Park has been moved to May 17, 2018. The time is from 3:00 to 5:30.
· Things are looking up on the Downtown Hotel. The second story is rapidly rising. The mass of the structure will soon become evident to folks as the third story and the parapet walls take shape.
· Staff has received interest in the construction of a skilled nursing facility in town!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

John


  • -

Friday Update on March 9 2018

All,

A couple items of note from this week:

  • The really big news was with the Winters Senior Foundation and their qualification as a 501-C- 3 “non-profit” organization. This is a big accomplishment and one which positions them to move forward in a very positive manner. Congratulations to Karen May and the entire Board of Directors for their hard work in getting this major milestone completed. The Senior Foundation is an incredible organization, doing some very good things. They have a very bright future moving forward!
  • Yolo Bus is reviewing proposals for a new contract with various transit providers. I participated in the proposal review and the interviews of the prospective operators. A very good process which should be completed sometime in April.
  • Car break-ins are continuing in town and people need to lock their vehicles. Winters Police are doing an incredible job of catching the people and recovering stolen property. Folks need to realize that car break-ins and  theft are no longer serious crimes and those caught are only given a misdemeanor citation, thus not jail or real trouble. Lock your vehicles and do what you need to secure your property.
  • The City received our Sales Tax Report for the third quarter of 2017. Winters receipts from July through September were 10.7% above the same period in 2016. Service stations posted a 14.7% increase as gas and oil priced increased prices at the pump. Restaurants and quick serve restaurants were up 5.7%.

Thanks,

John


  • -

Friday Update on March 2 2018

All,

City Council Agendas:

March 6, 2018

  • Support of SB5, California Clean Water & Safe Parks Act
  • Economic Development Composition – 2 At-Large Members
  • Public Works Projects List and Review of Capital Projects – FY 18-19 and 19-20
  • Support of Reducing Crime in Keeping California Safe Act of 2018

March 20, 2018

  • Final Acceptance of Starbucks
  • Public Improvement Agreement & Final Map for Olive Grove Phase 1 Project
  • Fire Department Presentation
  • Presentation by the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus’s Woman of Distinction- Gwen Pisani

Some notes on City operations:

  • Water Well 2 is under rehabilitation. The Well casing is being scrubbed and cleaned.
  • The expansion of Putah Creek Park is in the planning stages. The Winters Putah Creek Committee, Putah Creek Council and others will lead the way on this project.
  • Year end reporting is under way for both Water and Wastewater with State regulators.
  • Public Works removed the tot lot from Valley Oak Park and will relocated the relatively new structure previously installed at City Park to this location. This will be a really nice project!
  • Walnut Park will soon have new park signs which will close the project out.
  • Senior Task Force will be headed to Woodland next week to look at services and facilities.
  • PG&E is adding buildings to the Utility Village.
  • Police will be training at the PG&E Training Academy next week on an active shooter scenario.
  • Fire is joining the West Valley Training Consortium which will greatly expand our training resources for both full time and volunteer/reserve staff.
  • Planning is under way for the Monticello Dam Drill annually put on by Winters Fire. This year will include helicopters, water rescue, confined space, rappelling down the Dam face and search and rescue. Essentially everything which can go wrong at the Dam, will go wrong!

Local note, the Winters Friends of the Library Fruit Tree Sale is 8:30 (WFOL Members) and 9:00 to 11:00ish this Saturday in the Mariani Parking Lot on Railroad Ave. WFOL members get in at 8:30 and others at 9:00.

Finally, national politics and some irresponsibility by some folks are causing challenges to local law enforcement.

The demonization of federal law enforcement agencies in recent weeks has a trickle down effect on the ability of local police to do their jobs. The trust, goodwill and outreach campaigns from our public safety agencies can be immediately dashed when fear of law enforcement is used and people are told to “not open your doors” if law enforcement come to your homes as a means of advancing political agendas. A basic premise is that if someone has not done anything wrong they have nothing to worry about.

“Police” is a universal identification for local, State and Federal agencies. It is a term people know and understand. Few people will differentiate between a uniformed local or federal agent with a badge and vest who is knocking on their door.

At the local level, our Police Department respond to all calls and are not agents for federal agencies, including ICE. In California, SB 54 strictly prohibits our Police from asking for immigration forms or status. No matter the call, local law enforcement are there to protect and serve persons, regardless of documentation status. Period.

Some of the greatest targets and victims of crime are recent immigrants. These folks should not fear law enforcement but know that they can and will be protected and they should report crimes which happen to them. Police are here to help them and should not have any reservations on calling for our help.

I really feel for the men and women in the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who are getting a really raw deal in the current political climate. Both are very important agencies (with incredible people working for them) with core missions which protect us all. These law enforcement agents have taken oaths to uphold and defend laws and our constitution. They are sworn protectors who risk their lives in the same vein as our local police officers and public safety personnel. They can be put in some of the most dangerous situations in law enforcement.

You just wish all this madness would stop!!

Thanks,

John


  • -

Friday Update on February 23 2018- Parking Information Edition

All,

A couple items from a very good meeting on parking the other evening:

  • The Parking Committee held a joint workshop with the City Council and Planning Commission to review the draft Parking Plan and Recommendations. Click HERE to go to the draft plan which includes the recommendations. Attached to this update is a table summarizing all of the recommendations (HERE/PDF).
  • To view some of the key statistics on parking demand within the Downtown, click HERE to see the parking utilization between 7 AM and 5:00 PM and click Here to see the demand between 5:00-9:00 PM. The survey was done on a busy Friday with an event at the Community Center and the Buckhorn Devillibis Room reserved. Click HERE to go to the presentation which includes information on total parking demand (70%) and includes data on employee parking. Overall, some really good stuff!
  • To view information regarding the estimated impact of the new Downtown Hotel, go to slides 30 and 31 in this presentation. Click HERE. To understand the concept behind “shared parking” which was adopted for the Downtown Master Plan, look at slides 9-12. Slide 12,  the “unshared” side shows a compounding when cities use a “fixed” system, versus the shared concept which factors in the actual need based on fluctuations in demand based on time of day. In total, it shows a 38% overage of parking supply which is both expensive and unsightly! The effect is lots of empty parking lots throughout the day.

All of the information is included on the City’s Website page for the Parking Committee located HERE.

Lots of information but important from a big picture standpoint.

John


  • -

Friday Update for February 16 2018

All,

This weeks update is an overview of the items we discussed at our weekly staff meeting this week.

Meetings Next Week:

Downtown Parking Report- Public Workshop

Topics to include:

  • Paid Parking
  • Parking Enforcement
  • Business Improvement District and Assessments
  • Lighting
  • Employee Parking restrictions
  • Zoning and Urban Design
  • Others

City Council Agendas:

February 20, 2018

  • Street Closure Request for Coffee Festival, Saturday, March 24
  • Presentation by Yolo Emergency Communications Agency
  • Budget Discussion and Department Reorganization of Admin. Services, Human Resources, and City Clerk Functions
  • Staff Promotion to Mid-Management Position
  • Final Acceptance of Public Improvements for Roundabout on Grant Ave. (SR 128) at Walnut Lane
  • Resolution in Recognition of Putah Creek Council’s 30 Year Anniversary

February 21, 2018

  • City Council and Planning Commission Joint Workshop for the Winters Downtown Parking Plan; September 2017 Draft Report being presented by Kimley Horn.

March 6, 2018

  • Street Closure Request for Monthly Car Shows Sponsored by The Buckhorn Steakhouse
  • Public Improvement Agreement & Final Map for Olive Grove Phase 1 Project

March 20, 2018

  • Final Acceptance of Starbucks?

Department Updates:

 

Public Works:

  • Repaired sewer main line on E. Edwards and sewer lateral on Edwards due to root invasion.  Would like to budget to camera the mainline prior to slurry sealing.
  • Tony is changing registers on meters.
  • 24 yards of DG delivered to finish the area between the futsal court and the play structure at City Park.  Irrigation is being re-routed due to the futsal court.
  • Staff is working on graffiti removal, starting at the trail.  Also watering elderberry bushes, cleaning any debris along the trail, and removing gravel and debris along the sidewalk and edges of the car bridge and along the edge of the roundabout.
  • Will rent lift next week to trim trees.
  • Staff is spraying weeds along the highway 128 and will finish on the west side of town.
  • Meeting today with Alan regarding Rule 20A.
  • Working on the projects list and scheduling a date for the piano drop.
  • Will submit comments to SACOG for MTIP (Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program) projects that include the I-505 overpass.
  • A draft amending the Martinez Putah Creek Farms agreement has been sent to Ethan for review.
  • Yolo Resiliency Workshop scheduled for 2/23, 8am-12pm, to look at big climate issues, ie: heat and heat-related emergencies and how departments can work together.
  • Residents on Hillview want an extra street light.
  • Talking with the folks from the cat trap/neuter/release program, who would like to provide this service free of charge to the residents at Yolo Housing and are looking for ways to transport the cats and their owners to receive this service.
  • Ice pigging is scheduled for March 28th to clean the water lines.

 

Planning:

  • Meeting today with a representative of the Valadez property.
  • Signed off on Starbuck’s for now until new construction begins on the Chevron station.
  • Working on a staff report for the 2/27 Planning Commission meeting regarding a monument sign for Chevron, Starbucks and Fairfield Inn that is similar to the ARCO, Burger King, Taco Bell sign; will check the sight distance.

 

Police:

  • 30 people attended Movie Night last weekend; it was a good joint group effort with the Fire Department.
  • The PD may receive $1,500 back from the probation department from the Kershner DUI cost recovery.
  • In the past, the PD has been reimbursed by the State for training, but this isn’t the case anymore.  POST requires that officers stay current on their training and one solution is to hold POST trainings in the EOC/Training Room at the Public Safety Facility, where two officers will be able to attend at no cost.  Some classes have already been scheduled, including Interview & Interrogation and Taser classes.  CHP also offers several free training opportunities at their facility in W. Sacramento.
  • In response to the shooting at a Florida high school, CSO/Detective Gonzalez emailed the Winters Superintendent and principals to let them know the department is available for anything they may need.  Gonzalez was present at the high school and McCoy distributed stickers at Waggoner today.
  • PD is working with schools to provide a teacher guide that includes red and green pages to display in their window to indicate to those outside whether a classroom is safe or not.

 

Fire:

  • The FD is using lunchtime recess out on the playground to interact and re-engage with the kids.  It is the desire of the FD to provide public safety within the community, but regarding the school shooting scenario, they have to be prepared for not if, but when.
  • FISH FRY IS TONIGHT!!!
  • Engine 26 is back in service and is doing well.
  • An OES standard annual inspection will take place on 3/13.
  • Fire Management meeting is being moved to once a month instead of bi-weekly.  Brad will send John an invite to the next meeting.
  • Fire Commissioner Jack Thomas passed away on February 9th.  Services will be held at St. Anthony’s on February 20th.

 

City Engineer:

  • Callahan (Crown Homes) is calling for a meeting to coordinate the infrastructure with Winters Highlands (Homes by Town).  The Main Street Pump Station is being built by Homes by Town, so Crown Homes is waiting.
  • Working with CalTrans on a possible u-turn at Grant & Matsumoto to access Starbucks.  A median will be installed on Grant to prevent left turns other than the left turn lane.  Drivers will be able to enter Starbucks drive-through from Matsumoto once the Chevron construction begins.
  • The Winters Starbucks location has just been added to the Starbucks app.

City Manager:

  • Working on budget items.
  • Will review the Capital Projects section of the upcoming Fiscal Year Budgets with the City Council at the March 6 Council Meeting.

Finally, a couple comments on the school shooting in Florida.

The need for the City and School District to coordinate on active shooter scenerio’s is critical and needs to be ongoing. The City and WJUSD went through a comprehensive planning and scenario exercise in 2014 but the reality is that most in that training have moved on. Time for another training.

The situations of active shooting events are almost unfathomable from a tragedy standpoint. Both victims and first responders are affected for their lifetimes. How we deal with the situations needs to be planned and calculated so as to effectively deal with those affected. It is a delicate balance and a part of the business we are in as a City.

Over the years, Winters has seen many tragedy’s on the small scale, yet very similar in nature, whether it be shootings, car crashes or drowning. The effects on our personnel are often traumatic and we have mechanisms in place to respond to the tragedy to counsel both families and our first responders. I will share that there are some folks who have moved on after some incidents, choosing other careers.

Emotion, empathy, shock and sadness are absolutely critical elements of dealing with the worst situations. They are signs of strength which need release during incidents. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a very real thing, which needs to be dealt with immediately to help the psyche of those who have found themselves in horrible situations. Trying to internalize or be callus simply does not work and is something which we avoid.

At the City, we have multiple levels of address for various situations. Our leadership promotes an active debrief for all moderate and major incidents; we have our Chaplain Program (with K9 Kepi who is trained to sense PTSD); we have a professional psychiatric firm on 24 hour call to meet with our staff. We have learned to not take any situations lightly.

I will share that my instruction to our Chief’s is that in the event of a traumatic situation, once stabilized and secured, that we limit the exposure of our personnel to traumatic scenes. I have a very firm belief that “not everyone needs to see the crime scene”.

Without question, the tragedy in Florida has rocked that entire community beyond measure. We need to keep those families and first responders in all of our thoughts. There were many hero’s on Wednesday and I know so many of them drove vehicles with light bars and sirens. I give thanks every day for those who have taken the call of public service who sometimes find themselves in the worst situations imaginable. I am grateful for those who risk lives and save lives.

John


  • -

Downtown Before and After

Downtown Before and After (pdf)

A little perspective on the evolution of Downtown Winters through capital projects done through our revitalization efforts. The goals of the Downtown Master Plan were to provide for a more pedestrian orientation, with people having an opportunity to walk through the core and experience the charm. Parking has been viewed to be on the periphery and improvements were made to create a sense of arrival and “place” for people and cars. Kind of a fun look at the evolution.


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