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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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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


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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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Friday Update on February 9 2018

All,

Last week, I attended the State-wide City Manager’s Department Meeting which gives me a chance to get up to date on critical issues and items affecting cities and  the State. Here is a review of some of the key issues and a brief sense where the City of Winters is affected for each.

Some of the major topics hitting California cities include pension costs, housing, transportation and homelessness.

Pension:

Unquestionably, the ballooning deficit for the funding of public employee pensions is an issue which stands to cripple municipal services in the coming years. The combination of reduced investment earnings at PERS, the increased contributions needed to fund pensions from member cities and the long term sustainability of employee pensions will become an enormous impact to how services are provided to the communities in California.

As forecasted, the incremental increase of PERS contributions for cities and counties will see median increases of almost 89% over the next 7 years with a typical city in California seeing an median dollar increase of near $2.3m per year in contributions. The percentage of pension costs to payroll shows that the median is almost 42%. In Yolo County, both Davis and Woodland will see over 50% of their payroll cost being pension related and Yolo County- 38% and West Sacramento seeing 39%.

For Winters, we are forecasting that our pension costs will increase from the current 22% of payroll to 27% in FY 24/25, an increase of almost $400k annually. To address this, Staff is looking at assigning a dedicated funding line item in our budget which is strictly pension related. Over time, the amounts will incrementally increase over time to develop a funding source to eliminate future increases so as no one year of shifts in pension costs will cause. The goal is sustainability for pension obligations, a smoothing mechanism to alleviate the peaks and valleys and a solid plan which will help the City over the next 30 years deal with this issue.

Housing:

 

Without question, the California housing market has become unaffordable for many folks, especially young families and persons seeking rental housing in both metropolitan and rental areas. The California Legislature and the Governor have made the “streamlining” of permitting a priority in many of their policy prognostications, but the reality is that they are doing very little to move the ball on helping address the situation, especially when it comes to affordable housing.

A perspective– Two summers ago, someone associated with Winters City Hall found himself between rental housing, downsizing into his own apartment from a shared one. As he left one, waiting for the word on another, he found himself on the verge of becoming homeless and needing to live in his car. Anyone with a millennial child can absolutely relate to this situation because of the tight supply of rental properties everywhere.

Some key factors inhibiting housing production include:

  • Environmental Review- The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a complicated, process driven morass of consultants, attorneys and advocates which by its nature is meant to slow and discourage development. It adds huge costs to projects and makes even the most positive and desirable projects subject to litigation and outright extortion from many groups. Neither the Governor nor Legislature, which control the elements of CEQA have taken any steps to cure some of the reforms needed and it is nowhere on their radar. The facts are that powerful groups which profit immensely from CEQA (attorneys, consultants, environmental groups and unions) stand in the way of any types of reforms. Don’t look for anything soon.
  • Labor Supply- The economic downturn and recession of 2008 significantly reduced the number of contractors and skilled carpenters, electricians, etc. The construction industry has literally become an enormously tight scheduling exercise where subcontractors and the various trades are lined up to build. Any deviation from the scheduling “window” for a trade whether it be weather, supply or any number of variables can result in significant delays if that window is missed. The ability to get any contractors for even home renovation projects can be difficult.
  • Approvals- Cities can be extremely slow to review and approve projects, taking months, if not, years to consider even the most basic subdivisions (see CEQA above). The 2008 downturn witnessed a huge reduction in planning professionals who help process applications dwindle and the many consultants (traffic, environmental review, habitat, etc) also has been reduced. It is tough to find qualified professionals and it may take years for the supply to return.
  • Financing- The loose lending of the early 2000’s which gave rise to the 2008 “mortgage” crisis has resulted in extremely tight lending criteria from underwriters. This means that even the most successful builders in the hottest markets can typically only get funding for a handful of units (5-10) at a time. Combined with the shortage of contractors and labor/material supply, it really slows things down.

A perspective on the Winters real estate market is as follows:

  • The supply of available units for sale or rent is practically non-existent. There are very few units and those that hit the market are purchased immediately.
  • As of today, we have close to 550 units approved and entitled to build and we will see two of those subdivisions (Stone’s Throw and Callahan Estates) under construction now with the first units for sale beginning the summer of 2018. We expect the construction timeline for these units to be 6-7 years.
  • Winters desperately needs rental housing. The need for quality, market rate apartments in town is huge.
  • Senior Assisted- Older folks hit that point where they need assisted living arrangements and we currently have zero. Some of our longest term residents live out the last days of their lives in Woodland, Davis or other points east and west. Population often dictates the development of assisted living facilities, so we will need to see an increase in population to make this side of the of the housing market work.
  • Affordable Housing—The lion share of housing production in Winters over the past 10 years has been affordable. The Orchard Village, Winters Apartments II and rehabilitation to Winters I and Almondwood have all been positive!
  • Senior Housing—The proposed and approved Blue Mountain Terrace Apartments will be 63 Senior Affordable Units on East Baker Street behind the Yolo Credit Union. This project has been stalled for almost 2 years as we work on gaining funding.

Winters falls into the region controlled by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) which serves as the regional transportation and planning agency. Each “planning area” like SACOG has a requirement to develop a “regional housing needs allocation (RHNA)” which essentially established housing development goals and estimates for each city and county. Also known as the RHNA number, it is very controversial and draws the ire of many people, especially the slow to no growth community. The California Department of Housing and Community Development recently released a report “grading” communities on their housing availability and production in direct relation to meeting the RHNA “goals”. Good news for Winters, where we received a passing grade while some other communities did not fare as well.

Bottom line, we have single family housing production in our future but we still have a need for rental, affordable, senior and assisted living. We will see!

Transportation:

Anyone travelling in metropolitan or toward even the most remote suburbs can relate to the growing traffic congestion which is engulfing our roadways. As the supply and availability of housing has been pushed into remote areas without a correlary of jobs in the same areas, commutes are longer and gridlock is occurring for extended durations.

Amongst cities in metropolitan California both north and south, the issues are chronic.

How is this affecting Winters:

  • From a traffic count perspective, we know that the vast majority of working Winters leaves the City between 6:30 and 7:00 am each weekday. We know that the majority of folks return home sometime between 6-6:30 pm. The vast majority of folks go south toward the Bay Area. We also know that the commutes are starting earlier (morning rush hour in Winters used to begin closer to 7:15) , meaning that can surmise that as people head to work, they need more time for travel due to traffic.
  • Our evening traffic on Grant Ave is increasing on evenings. These are not people from Winters or Lake Berryessa, they are Sacramento bound commuters seeking relief from the congestion of Highway 80. A key factor are our “smart phones” with both “Maps” and “Ways” guiding people off of Highway 80 to 128 which guides them through Davis to save some time. Next time you are at Berryessa Brewing on a Friday night, watch the traffic passing going east. It is an eye opener!
  • Smart technology is completely changing traffic patterns. The algorithms of Ways and Maps are sending cars through residential and rural areas versus the previous highways and arterial roads. In metropolitan areas, once quiet residential streets are effectively becoming cut thru’s for persons leaving congested arterials.

While Winters does not have congestion and our biggest issue seems to be people trying to figure out how to negotiate the new “roundabout”, we can still expect to collectively experience what is rapidly becoming one of our State’s largest issues.

Homelessness:

I shared last week my shock at the number of homeless I saw in Southern California. It was an absolute disaster and something which seems to be spinning out of control. The largest attended session at the City Manager’s Conference was the Homeless Session and there was standing room only to get in.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area (Pico Rivera) and lived in Orange and San Bernardino Counties. The amount of homeless “everywhere” was stunning.  I was personally shocked by the numbers of people literally living on, under and around bridges as we drove through the region.

As I visited with my peers from many cities, it is clear that some level of collective intervention is needed. Law enforcement personnel have become mostly social workers and psudo-psychologists in dealing with persons living on the streets whose biggest crime seems to be simply trying to live in an untenable situation. The police and sheriff deputies have few resources at their disposal except to just push folks from one location to the next. Most have a shopping cart and a dog with all their belongings just piled in a heap.

Who are the homeless- literally every demographic……. from young to old, male and female, families, they are all there. Homeless are not just people with “issues”, they are people with no way to find housing

A noted urbanist and someone I have worked with in the past is Chapman University Professor Joel Kotkin the often controversial urbanist who once predicted that Los Angeles would become the “Calcutta” of the United States” based on the broadening income and economic disparity which will ultimately divide the classes. He points to the reduction in certain safety net programs (mental health is one) as fueling the divide. His prediction seems to be materializing.

In Yolo County, the problem is becoming pervasive. I will share that our Yolo Manager’s Group (Each City Manager and the County Manager), homeless are a regular topic. Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento all have HUGE issues with very little relief or answers in sight. Caltrans will tell you that their facilities are becoming extremely impacted by homeless seeking shelter. Because of climate, northern California issues pale in comparison to Southern California, but they are still very real.

For Winters, our homeless population is practically non-existent. This is mostly due to the lack of shelter and social services due to our very rural nature and population size. Our homeless population is either very temporary and is transient or they are the offshoot of family problems which have people more kicked out of homes for various durations.

A lot of heavy issues with no immediate or easy answers.

John


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Friday Update on February 2 2018

All,

A couple items for the week.

·         A very light City Council Agenda with two presentations. The First will be on the Yolo County Emergency Medical Services Agency Annual Report (these are the folks who bring us ambulance services) and Yolo Transportation will be discussing the County Wide Capital Improvement Program. Short and easy!

·         The Winters Police Department released a couple press releases this week on a couple issues. The first included a juvenile arrest regarding the break in at Berryessa Sporting Goods. The second involved a alert citizen who reported some strange folks dumping a stolen car in a neighborhood (both were arrested on car theft charges). The Police also arrested a suspect who was found with stolen items from a car burglary. In each case, information was reported by alert citizens.

·         PG&E is installing the utilities to Starbucks, so that double macchiato latte is just around the corner for some lucky person!

·         I attended the State-wide City Manager’s Conference this week in Southern California. The consensus on the top issues facing cities are Pension Liabilities, Housing, Transportation and Homelessness. The State is an absolute wreck in each of these areas and there does not seem to be a clear path on any of it.

·         The State Department of Housing and Community Development has released its report card on affordable housing production for cities. In Yolo County, both Winters and West Sacramento received passing grades while Davis and Woodland landed on the naughty list. A good sign for us with pending legislation coming down which will result in State mandates for those not meeting certain housing goals.

A big take away from the City Manager’s Conference was the struggle that many communities are facing with homelessness and vagrancy in their communities. In many places it is epidemic and in Southern California it is everywhere. Downtown Los Angeles is practically one giant 10 block homeless encampment and the freeway overpasses literally have folks living on them.

The problem has many causes which need address. These include but are not limited to the following:

·         Lack of affordable housing in the urban and suburban areas. People in need and on the streets will congregate near social and safety net services, which means the more populated zones. When affordable housing is not present, they simply live on the streets, inside storm culverts, under/on bridges or any place they can find.

·         Mental health help in California is really under-funded. Many of those on the streets are dealing with mental and substance issues. Many of these folks used to be housed in prisons and were released under AB109 with the promise that there would be increased funding toward mental and health programs. The State has not followed through on these safety net assistance programs and these people are left to fend for themselves.

·         Basic economics and a vast divide in income levels. There really are the haves and have not’s in our society and those who cannot afford housing are fending for themselves. Many families end up living in their cars which includes children.

There are many contributing factors including the shear lack of housing production following in the economic collapse of 2008 and the end of programs such as community redevelopment agencies which were the key production vehicles for local affordable projects.

It was a very eye opening topic for me at this conference and a struggle which California will be dealing with for some time.

John


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Friday Update on January 19 2018

All.

A couple project updates:

·         Staff is working with Caltrans to add signage along I505 to encourage visitors to exit Putah Creek Road to come straight into Downtown. Both Ways and Maps already direct people off at this location, but we are looking to bolster additional advertising for Downtown. When you put in $5m in creek improvements, build a new $15m bridge and have a vibrant Downtown it is nice to be able to show it off. This is a very impressive gateway into our town.

·         The Planning Commission will be reviewing modifications to the setback requirements for the Callahan Estates subdivision at their Tuesday, January 23 meeting beginning at 6:30.

·         The Downtown Hotel is going “vertical” which is a really good sign for things. The construction management seems to be dialing things in and hopefully we will see a busy construction season.

·         Starbucks is still waiting for PG&E to install the utilities for their Grant Ave location. The anticipated opening date is still early February.

·         Plans and a deposit have been brought in for the Marriot Fairfield Inn at the freeway. Very good news!

·         Project Playground is back at City Park installing the final slide, fence posts and the zip line. Things look absolutely amazing out there and it is worth it to stop by for a look! The zip line should be in operation in about a week.

·         Supervisor Don Saylor is hosting his annual Soup’s On event to benefit a local charity. The event is next Thursday, January 25th from 6-8pm at St. James Church in Davis. Winters will be well represented with Mayor Wade Cowan’s mouth-watering famous clam chowder, German Potato soup from Buckhorn, wine from Turkovich at the event, and Berryessa Gap wine tasting in the silent auction. 100% of the funds this year benefit Family Hui, a non-profit that has served families in Winters and throughout the County.

·         Winters made the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday in regards to our rural connections program and partnership with the WJUSD, Yocha de He and many parents. The Program was spearheaded by then Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry (now Assemblymember) who was relentless in helping close the digital divide. Click HERE to go to the article. As someone who was front and center for all of this, I will tell you that it is something our community can be extremely proud of and it is making a huge difference for our students and families.

·         Winters Police have released the attached press release (pdf) with an image of someone wanted for breaking into vehicles in our town. Take a look at the photo and if your recognize the person, please contact the Winters Police Department.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on January 12 2018

All,

A super busy week but really quiet:

  • City Council agenda for January 16 includes a number of items including Flood Safety Planning, Putah Creek Phase 3, Electric Car Charging Stations, Call for the Consolidated Election in June, Building Inspection Services Contracts, Animal Services and Crossing Guards.
  • Also on the Agenda is a swearing in ceremony for new Sergeant Kelly McCoy, recognition for outgoing Sergeant Kelly Schroeder, a presentation by Police Chaplain Robert Duvall and a Senior Services Update.
  • The Winters History Committee will also be at the meeting to discuss their vision for a Winters Museum. Past Mayor Woody Fridae will return to talk about a very ambitious concept to keep the History of Winters alive!
  • Look for upcoming announcements regarding the Downtown Parking Study and Report. We are working to reschedule the cancelled December meeting. This meeting will be a joint workshop with the City Council and Planning Commission along with the members of the Parking Committee.
  • Look for the Economic Development Committee to be re-established and operating in February!
  • January 1 kicked off a year long Interim Fire Chief Program which will allow our current captains to serve in four (4) month rotations as Interim Fire Chief. This is meant as a professional development program for the leadership of Winters Fire. In the past two weeks, it has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made as City Manager in Winters. The leadership throughout the organization is blossoming and we can expect some amazing results throughout the organization!
  • Congratulations to Chief Brad Lopez who will serve as Chief through April.
  • If you are on Facebook, hopefully you are following all three of our social network sites- City of Winters, Winters Fire and Winters Police. We really work to be informative and include pertinent information. Special recognition to CSO Gail Jimenez from our Winters Police Department who does an amazing job with the site. Really good stuff.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on January 5 2018

All,

Happy 2018! We spent most of the week coming back from the holiday break, so this week is a short one.

·         The City is quickly moving into “budget mode” and the preparation of our two (2) year budget for Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The current budget was reduced by almost $600k and we are forecasting another tight year for Fiscal 2018-19. Our hope is to see the hotel projects gain occupancy in early 2019 which will change the revenue projections significantly.

·         Brad Lopez has been appointed Interim Fire Chief for Winters Fire where he will serve until April 30. Now is a very exciting time for professional development opportunity in the Department as we will see opportunities for the current Captains to see challenge, and a number of our reserves to serve in acting supervisory capacities. The amount of skill and capabilities within Winters Fire today is impressive and we can expect a really good 2018.

·         Lot’s of lumber being dropped at the Downtown Hotel Project. We are hoping that this is a good sign!

·         Some issues arising at the Walnut Park dog park area with juveniles doing some late night partying and leaving debris and drug paraphernalia. If you see people in the dog park without dogs and they are doing non-productive things, call 911 and ask the Police Department to come check things out.

Have a nice week.

John


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Lopez Appoint Interim Fire Chief for Winters Fire

Press Release- For Immediate Release
Contact: john.donlevy@cityofwinters.org
Lopez Appoint Interim Fire Chief for Winters Fire
The City of Winters has appointed Brad Lopez as the Interim Fire Chief for a 4 month period which began on January 1, 2018. Lopez has served the Winters Fire Department for almost 25 years as a cadet, Volunteer, Firefighter and his most recent position as Captain.
Interim Chief Lopez, along with Captains Art Mendoza and Matt Scheckla will be participating in a year long professional development program where each will rotate as Interim Fire Chief. The program consists of each person assuming the full role of Fire Chief for four (4) months, representing the City within the region, managing the operations of Winters Fire and completing both individual and group projects to benefit the Department.
“The Interim Chief program is the next step in moving Winters Fire into the future” said John W. Donlevy, Jr. , City Manager. “The City gained a tremendous amount from our six (6) year contract with the City of Dixon for Fire Administrative Services, but it is just time for command of the organization to move back within the Winters Fire organization in order for us to move forward”. “I have full confidence that the Captains can provide the leadership to our entire Fire team and that we will eventually be able to select a permanent Chief after the year long program”.
“Winters Fire is an incredible organization and its history of volunteers and the connection with the Winters community is an essential piece of making our town the way it is”. “For more than 100 years, Winters volunteers and paid staff have provided lifesaving services to our residents”. Winters Fire is a pride organization and as we strategically position the Department for the future, we will utilize our long term staff to lead the way”.

Attached is a copy of the entire Interim Fire Chief Program(pdf).
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Friday Update on December 22 2017

All,

Look for a top 10 summary of City projects in the upcoming Winters Express next week.

This week is just to express gratitude for a wonderful community and to wish all peace and happiness in the coming year.

In Winters, we have much to be grateful for. When you look at the world and even the communities near and far, we need to count our blessings for what is an amazing place to live, work and experience life. A couple things I am grateful for which are the “gifts” I hope we can all cherish.

·         Winters is a unique town where congeniality and collaboration rule the day. Probably one of the highlights of my career and life experience was Project Playground and the construction of a new playground at City Park. An incredible group of people dreamed really big and brought an amazing project forward which will be experienced by generations of children to come. We all had a chance to work side by side with neighbors, friends and strangers on something which is really larger than any one person or group. The work was hard but very enriching. While the end result was a beautiful playground structure, the gift to the community was the coming together of a huge diversity of people to make something special. Project Playground gave us all a gift of a life experience, friendships and most of all, a sense of community in its most basic definition!

·         Winters is safe and friendly. The idea of walking into the local restaurant, hardware store or a simple stroll down the street where you wave at everyone who passes by is something most people never experience in larger communities.

·         Winters is a town which is blessed by people who record our history and tell our story each week at the Winters Express. Debra, Charley, Newt, Maggie, Julia, Donald, Edmund,  Eric and many other contributors bless our town each week with a small town newspaper which is second to none. We can all feel lucky to have the gift of these folks telling out story.

·         Crime is few and far between because we all know each other and few will steal from people they know. I enjoy the idea of being able to walk or jog anywhere feeling safe. Its what most people dream about and we have it here all of the time.

·         Throughout the community, we have people who work really hard to make our town great. Service is important and whether they serve on the City Council, Planning Commission, School Board or the many service, theatre or  other community organization, they make a difference each day. They give us all a gift of commitment to making our town better.

·         At City Hall, I get to work with an incredible group of people! I tell our staff that “we are in the business of where people live, grow up, create childhood memories,  where they raise their families, start businesses, make their livelihoods. People make our town their home, live their lives and eventually die. We have an opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives every day.” We provide the parks where children play, save people’s lives and keep them safe. People cannot start their days without the water and wastewater and they need the streets to drive and sidewalks to walk. We are not perfect, but I am convinced that we do a pretty good job of doing what we are chartered to do. We get to give the gift of a City!

Mostly, I am grateful for the gifts of peace and life we get from living in a small town. “Love” is probably one of the most important words we use. I hear how much people “love” Winters for so many reasons. I think the most important use of love is when people talk about making Winters their home. The place where they spend their life, enjoy their family and friends and find peace and find comfort in a place they know so well.

During this holiday season and as we move into the new year,  I hope you will enjoy the gift of love for a community where we can make a difference, find peace, serenity and enjoy life.

Happy Holidays and see everyone next year!

John


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Friday Update for December 8 2017

All,

A couple items this week:

  • The roundabout project at Grant Ave/Walnut Lane has been paved and the last things needed will be the signage and striping which will occur next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Overall, the project looks really good and it should be operational by the end of next week. Westbound lanes remain closed but Easbound is wide open. The contractors on the project have done an amazing job in cutting overall closure time from 6 to just 3 weeks.
  • Last night, Yolo County held a planning workshop in regards to cannabis cultivation and manufacturing in County areas. It was a fascinating meeting, filled mostly with representatives of the cannabis industry (mostly growers). The tone and content of the meeting was excellent and the growers brought some really good information for use in developing the regulatory framework. Kudos to Supervisor Don Saylor, the County Administrative Office and County Planning for an extremely positive and informative workshop.
  • The Downtown Parking Committee workshop was postponed due to the illness of one of the key consultants. We will avoid the holiday season and reconvene a meeting in January.
  • Congratulations to Winters Mayor Wade Cowan and his wife Kathy who were named the 2017 Citizens of the Year. They are very deserving recipients for all they do including the Tractor Parade, Duck Race, Youth Day, Chamber of Commerce, Schools, Little League, Project Playground, Christmas tree, etc, etc, etc.

Have a nice week.

John


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Friday Update on December 1 2017

All,

Just a couple reminders and opportunities for participation………..

·         For those interested in Cannabis, there will be a Forum with Yolo County Staff and Supervisor Don Saylor at City Hall on Wednesday, December 6 from 6-8 in our meeting room next to the City Council Chamber. An opportunity to come hear what is happening on the County level and to provide input.

·         The Winters Downtown Parking Committee will be hosting a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission on Thursday, December 7 from 6-8 at City Hall to review the recommendations presented by the consultant for the Downtown Parking Master Plan.

·         This week has been a major push toward completing the major construction elements of the project. Thursday and Friday have seen the pour of the center section of the roundabout, including the installation of reinforcing steel and concrete. As of this writing, the concrete has been completed and finishing has commenced.

·         Concurrently, the grinding of the roadway is also underway and paving of new asphalt will occur on wednesday next week. Decorative street lights have been installed and we are awaiting PG&E to complete services.

·         From a project management standpoint, we are thrilled with the progress made this week. To see the project just drive easbound from Railroad Ave (expect delays during the daytime).

·         Detours for the Grant/Walnut Lane Construction will continue through the weekend and into next week to help expedite the opening of the roadway. Paving will occur next Wednesday and opening will occur soon after.

·         All are is invited to a free flu shot clinic Monday, December 4 from 3pm to 6pm at the Community Center, 201 Railroad Avenue in Winters. Everyone can benefit from a flu shot to prevent the illness that can lead to missed work or missed school days.  Prevention is especially important for young children and older adults.  Minimum age for this shot clinic is 4 years old.

·         The fourth annual Tractor Parade and Xmas Tree Lighting will happen Downtown on Saturday night. The parade starts at City Park beginning at 6:30. Best advice is to walk and get into town early!! This years event is going to be AMAZING!!

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on November 17 2017

All,

A few items this week:

·         Next week’s City Council Meeting will have only a couple items as we head into Thanksgiving Week. Commercial Cannabis Regulation, Street Closures and an amplified sound permit. The City Council Meeting will begin earlier at 5:30.

·         A really productive Planning Commission Meeting with the design review and approval for the Callahan Estates Subdivision. The project is really nice and the PC was very thorough in their review. Some modifications to some of the lot setbacks were continued to the December 12 meeting.

·         The Grant/Main traffic signal is fully operational. It is very “smart” with sensors for pedestrians, bikes and preemption devices for public safety.

·         The Roundabout Project saw a tremendous amount of progress for the one week of closure. Median Islands are in, sidewalks are poured and crossings are done. Grant Ave will be open all week during the Thanksgiving Holiday and we expect closures to resume the week of November 27.

·         Fencing for the Futsol Court is going up at City Park. This is turning out to be a really nice project! Lighting will go in within the coming weeks.

·         Congratulations to Police Officer Victor Barajas for completing his Field Training and he is now operating solo. His final day of training included a high speed chase through town!

·         Staff and the Winters Chamber met to discuss the December 2 Tractor Parade. We expect a very big turnout for the parade this year!

·         All are is invited to a free flu shot clinic Monday, December 4 from 3pm to 6pm at the Community Center, 201 Railroad Avenue in Winters. Everyone can benefit from a flu shot to prevent the illness that can lead to missed work or missed school days.  Prevention is especially important for young children and older adults.  Minimum age for this shot clinic is 4 years old.

·         Youth Basketball sign ups are under way at City Hall. It looks like we will have more than 350 players in the League!!

·         Both Winters Ranch Subdivision and the PG&E Training Facilities received their final inspections this week. Both are exceptional projects.

·         Winters Matriarch Bobbie Greenwood turns 100 years old on November 21. She is an absolute institution in the community and someone who has dedicated her life to Winters. From swimming, to the business community, schools and the AFS foreign exchange student program, she has impacted the lives of many from literally all over the world. Congrats to Bobbie and a toast to the next 100!

No Friday update during Thanksgiving. Have a GREAT holiday!

John


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Friday Update on November 10 2017

All,

A couple of things:

  • Prepare for the week day closure of Grant Ave for the completion of the Roundabout Project. The closures starts this Monday, November 13 and will be from 8 a.m on Monday until 3 p.m. on Fridays (open on weekends) and could last for up 6 weeks. Detours will be set up, but plan alternate routes for your travels. This is not going to be easy, but a major project like this requires the closure.
  • Tell everyone to be aware that the Winters Police Department will have an enhanced “Distracted Driver Enforcement” this weekend. Put down the cell phones and the food and focus on driving your car. The citations are expensive and well deserved! Imagine seriously injuring someone because you are sending an LOL or a silly emoji.
  • I tell folks that the Winters Police typically gives out warnings to most residents. In the Distracted Driver Enforcement, do not expect the courtesy of a warning.
  • Outdoor cultivation of cannabis will be returning to the Planning Commission for further review after the City Council Public Hearing this past Tuesday. The entire issue is pretty dynamic and the final regulations have yet to even be released from the State on a multitude of issues surrounding the topic. Staff recommendation on the total prohibition of outdoor cultivation was definitely premature. The public hearing had a number of current cultivators presenting some really good suggestions and arguments on ways to allow personal cultivation without it becoming a nuisance. A nice group of people with reasonable approaches.
  • Congratulations to the Salmon Festival Committee on an incredible event. The salmon are coming up Putah Creek, so head on down to watch the spawn!

Finally, a shout out to the many men and women who have served our nation in military service on shores both foreign and domestic! Veteran’s Day is not just a day off, it is a chance to recognize those who have put service above themselves to protect the rights and liberties which make our nation the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Many of our veterans see things which leave indelible and un-eraseable images sketched into their minds which will last a lifetime. Some have suffered incredible wounds which have left them with disabilities which will be debilitating for their eitire lives. These former soldiers are amongst the most incredible hero’s amongst us who need more than just a day of recognition but, they need our help. The prevalence of “post traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) and the soaring rates of violence and suicide amongst our veterans is something which cannot be ignored. I don’t endorse any charities, but I encourage you to check out the information from the Wounded Warrior Project https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ to see what many of these veterans are experiencing and ways that we can all help them and their families.

I genuinely count the many blessings we have in our nation and am grateful for the life and liberties we are afforded because of the men and women who serve so that people around the world can live free. Thanks seems awfully hollow for the service many have provided, but it is meant with genuine sincerity.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on November 3 2017

All,

A couple items this week:

  • The Second Annual Winters Salmon Festival will be held this Saturday, November 4 from 11:00 to 4:00 at Rotary Park in Downtown. The first of the fall run salmon are making their way up Putah Creek and it is time to celebrate! Lot’s of activities and information are planned for the entire family. For more information, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/winters-salmon-festival/
  • November 11 is the Shrimp Feed at the Winters Fire Department. For Tickets, go to Wintersfire.org
  • The November 7 City Council Meeting will include the following:
    • Amendment to West Yost Agreement No. 027-17 for WWTF Influent Screen Design
    • Final Acceptance of Public Improvements for Hudson/Ogando Subdivision (Winters Ranch)
    • Adoption of Yolo Local Government Accountability and Transparency Program Statement
    • Public Hearing and Consideration of Zoning Code Amendments to Prohibit Outdoor Cultivation of Marijuana and Commercial Marijuana Uses
    • Capital Improvement Program Overview – Programs and Funding
    • Designation of City Council Members to Zoning Code Update Subcommittee
    • Consideration of Amendment to City Manager Employment Agreement
  • The Main/Grant Signal went through the preliminary to the final inspection by Caltrans on Thursday. A couple items need to be fixed over the next week, then it will be activated. Caltrans policy is that a new signal can only be activated Tues-Thurs, so it will be turned on either next week or the week after. Cross your fingers.
  • Starbucks is working through some issues with PG&E to get power and gas service into their location. This is causing some delays which could last well into December and probably not before Christmas!! Evidently the fires in Napa and Sonoma have required the relocation of personnel which is delaying many projects.
  • The City’s Wastewater Division will begin the cleaning of our sewer and storm drain lines next week. Look for the personnel throughout the town for the next month.
  • The community garden at Walnut Park will start this Saturday, November 4 beginning at 8:00. This will be a wonderful addition to the park and an incredible resource for the folks living in the neighborhood.
  • Staff is working on a proposal to seek the development which will create housing opportunities for teachers and other young professionals looking to move into Winters.

Saturday is the Winters AYSO Regional Soccer Tournament for the U10 and U12 divisions. Look for a lot of excitement and action at Waggoner School.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on October 27, 2017

All,

A couple items this week:

· Staff is working as diligently as possible to get the Main/Grant Traffic Signal turned on. We have hit a couple snags on the technology and the back-up power supplies. We are getting calls about the project and are doing all we can at this point to gain activation. Once allowed, we will be turning the light on versus the idea of a Stop sign at the location on the interim.
· A Parking Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 2 at 5:30 in the Downstairs Conference Room at City Hall. We will be reviewing the report and recommendations from our consultant Kimley Horn.
· The City Park Playground is open for unlimited use! If you have not seen it, please go see an amazing structure.

Finally, we certainly got panned in social media this week about the roundabout! Lots of feedback and opinions, suggestions and characterizations which are sometimes not as fair as they should be (my favorite was being compared to the guys from Dumb and Dumber- nice).

The roundabout is the result of literally years of considerations to meet Caltrans standards for level of service on Highway 128. Under the old model, we would be installing (and operating) numerous traffic signals, widening the roadway to four lanes and watching congestion increase. The roundabout provides the opportunity to keep the majority of 128 through town as two lanes, keep traffic flowing, slow traffic (without stopping) and keep the main thoroughfare through town attractive. To learn about the entire plan, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/GrantAveCompleteStreetsConceptPlan.pdf .

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update for October 20 2017

All,

A couple items this week:

·         The City Council directed that administration for Winters Fire be done internally versus through the Fire Administration Services Agreement with the City of Dixon. In many ways, the Winters/Dixon Agreement has provided many benefits, mostly with the development of our staff in being ready to re-take the reins of running the department. I will be working on an overall transition strategy which I will share in the coming weeks!

·         Staff provided some of the final environmental review information for the Marriot Hotel financing folks and the project is expected to be funded and plans submitted in the near future. This is a critical project to support PG&E and our many visitors!

·         Downtown Hotel is expected to submit plans within the next few days to commence construction. Keeping our fingers crossed.

·         November 1 will be the start of salmon spawning in Putah Creek. The “boards” near the Sacramento Delta will be removed and we should see salmon begin the final migration into our creek. Last year, over 2000 salmon returned. It is amazing.

·         The Salmon Festival will be on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 11:00 to 4:00. Last years event was wonderful and this years event will hopefully see the arrival of the guests of honor in the creek.

·         Staff is hitting some bumps on the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project. Stay tuned……….

·         Last weeks disastrous fires in Napa and Sonoma had the City’s Emergency Management System ramping up. Behind the scenes, there was a ton happening, including contingencies for mass evacuations which would have sent a ton of people our way. I will share that we had business and property owners who helped the City immeasurably with our contingency planning in the event that we got slammed with thousands of Napa evacuees. A special recognition for the folks at Mariani Nut, Vintage Paving and the Dioscese of Sacramento who really stepped up in our preparedness efforts.

·         On a “tip”, we were contacted by local television crews about the “City Manager” cancelling the American Red Cross to set up an evacuation shelter last week. The answer to that question was yes for a number of important reasons: first, we were never requested to set up a shelter by any authorities from Solano or Napa and the request to the Red Cross was very premature; second, Yolo County OES and member cities have our own Mass Care and Shelter Division which we use versus the Red Cross; Third, an evacuation Shelter had already been established at Solano Community College for those being evacuated; fourth, a 3 minute drive around town found we had no evacuees in town in need of assistance; and finally, the idea that we would divert precious resources away from those in need would have been irresponsible. Given the massive fires in our hills the past 4 summers and local evacuations, we have become keenly aware of how to evacuate and care for people.

·         Emergency Management is a collaborative effort which often involves City, County and State Agencies. People often wonder how literally thousands of fire personnel “suddenly” appear for major fires or incidents. Its all based on a very well established network of agencies which have planned how response can occur and resources are allocated. No one agency can respond in comparison to many.

·         During our evaluation of evacuees, I ran into some folks who were evacuated from Lake Berryessa having dinner at the Round Table Pizza. I asked if they need help and the indicated they had just booked rooms at a hotel in Woodland. Nice folks in what had to be a horrible situation.

·         In the event of a disaster, the City of Winters, Winters Fire and Winters Police Facebook Pages will be our main source for pushing information. We will also partner with the Winters Express and their social media. To control “rumors” check our social media to get the real scoop!

·         To get text and call notification for disasters, emergencies and alerts sent directly to you, go to www.yolo-alert.org and register/download the alert app. Its actually pretty cool!

·         The Winters High Football Game versus Willows is a fundraiser to help those impacted by the fires in Napa and Sonoma. Donations will be taken at the gate for both JV and Varsity. Come out to the game and support both WHS and help raise funds for out neighbors across the hills.

Finally, the City was given an incredible gift with the construction of the new playground at City Park. Enough thanks and gratitude will never do justice to the efforts and the results of Project Playground and their Coordinating Committee!

The playground is now emblematic of the commitment to our youth, but also the culture of Winters where neighbors, friends and people who have never met come together to accomplish something great!

The size and scope of the actual playground structure is way beyond anything the City of Winters could ever afford. The combination of volunteer labor and the fundraising to make it happen put it amongst the nicest structures in town. Generations of children and their parents now have amazing place to explore and develop in our town!

The volunteer effort was special and something I will cherish for my entire life. Over the course of about 8 days, I watched folks with tremendous construction skill (the red shirts) work alongside those without (me and many others) to build a miracle before our eyes. The work was hard, but the determination and spirit was motivating and caring. At each meal (we ate pretty well on the project) people who did not know each other became a unified team and our community became a highly effective unit in the playground construction. The spirit was infectious and we were able to watch folks want to do more and more each day. Before last week, I bet a lot of people never used a router, but most are now pretty proficient!

There were a number of folks who were at the build every day, giving 12 hours, leaving tired, but showing up at 7:00 the next morning ready to get back at it. For the many who showed up on any of the days, I watched 110% effort and a lot of hustle!

The real “gift” was the perpetuation of the “Winters Spirit” of neighbors coming together in a volunteer spirit to make our town better. We really are a special place and this project was a spectacular occasion to show people why we are an incredible place to live, raise our families and call this community our “home”.

Mentioning names is tough, but without question we all need to especially thank Project Playground Co-Chairs Emarie VanGalio and Moyra Barsotti for their commitment to making this project spectacular! They thought BIG and more than delivered for our community. I will share that they were incredible to work with on the “business” side of things and they more than delivered when it came time for making it happen. Their efforts were impressive and the results show!

One of my favorite quotes is ……………… “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible”.

Project Playground did an Excellent job and is owed a tremendous sense of gratitude for an incredible gift.

Well done!!

Have a nice weekend.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on October 6 2017

All,

This weeks update is more a push and a highlight of an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the Winters Community by participating in the playground build next week at City Park. The Project Playground folks are on the verge of what many communities have tried but few have accomplish, a community/volunteer build of a new playground structure.

Sign up for the Playground Build:

 

The build starts on Monday. Here is a link to the site to sign up and volunteer. http://www.projectplaygroundwinters.com/the-build/ It legitimately is an opportunity for people to make a genuine and lasting positive impact on the community and the lives of generations of children by helping build an incredible community asset. Think of it as your personnel contribution and sweat equity to the joy and happiness of thousands for years to come.

Winters is an incredible place to raise your children. We have some pretty simple but amazing facilities where children create their memories of a lifetime. These include the baseball diamond at City Park, the Playground, the Community Center Stage and our Community Library. Each of these assets were “community builds” of sorts by resident stepping up to do their share in making a lasting impression.

There are few opportunities in life where you can affect “generations to come” and the build of this playground is one of them. I feel blessed to know many folks in Winters who help shape the lives of children through similar acts. A couple examples of people and projects so many of us know:

  • First, it is essential to recognize the entire group who built the first playground. These folk built a structure  which lasted for almost 30 years and helped establish a volunteer soul and ethic for our town. They are amazing folks who give back to this day. (I will share that when we went to tear the “old” structure down, it was like trying to take down El Capitan. It put up a mighty fight and we continually laughed that for something which was about to fall down, it did not go quietly!)
  • Carol Scianna from the City Staff and the Winters Friends of the Library (WoL) change the lives of our kids through literacy and library programs. WFoL was one of the largest fundraisers for the playground project which will produce a new “community stage” from which the Winters Shakespeare Workshop is held each summer giving young people a chance to play classic medieval roles and broaden their theatrical horizons. Andrew Fridae and Nora Carey who now own and run The Palms Playhouse got their start in the Shakespeare Workshop and Andrew is now a Director with the same program. A great example of investment coming full circle.
  • Mary Lou Linvill and for years Denise Cottrell along with many others who facilitate the Winters Shakespeare Workshop. As parents we create those nuggets of opportunity which educate, challenge and provide the chance for youth to build confidence and life skills which benefit them for their entire lives. The program continues to this day and entertains and inspires us.
  • The Little League Diamond at City Park was a community build facilitated by local contractor and parent Monte Molina and the entire LL Board. It is a special place where literally thousands of children have played ball.
  • Winters AYSO Soccer is going on 40 years providing activity for children almost year round. Bill Davis is our most tenured member having started in about 1982 and gives up every Saturday to referee. My personal referee mentor and friend is Al Pederson who is an absolute role model of commitment to our youth. Al leads the instruction and coaching of our mostly teenage referee core by helping teach not only how to ref a soccer game, but in helping build confidence and leadership skills of these young folks in what can often be a difficult situation. Neither Bill nor Al have had kids in the program for at least the past 15 years, but they keep on investing because I know it is important to them.
  • Eric and Laura Lucero helped start and run the Winters Junior Warrior Football program which is the feeder program for Winters High School. Eric is an incredible coach and has made life changing impressions on young folks. Its impressive to see parents/adults of young kids coming up to Eric and calling him “coach”.  Its got to feel good.
  • Woody and Rebecca Fridae are literally institutions in our Winters Schools through the development of the Angel Island and Camp Loma Mar “experiences” they have developed for 5th and 6th grade students. They both achieved a point where children of past students are in their programs. Imagine the ability for kids to share and connect with their parents on glorious memories spent in common experiences with the same people.
  • My friends Kurt Balasak and Jill Aguiar and the Winters Education Foundation are doing amazing things in support of our teachers and the benefit to our children. Not only through funding, but through bona fide programs which enrich our schools.
  • Winters Theatre Company founded in part by Germaine and  the late Howard Hupe (and their cast of hundreds) gives children of all ages their opportunity to start community theatre. I can remember my daughter starting as a very nervous “fairy” and seeing her confidence bloom to a now confident woman. As both educators and entertainers, the impression is amazing.
  • Since moving to Winters, my wife Kathy and I have lived community involvement through many efforts. I will share that our most enriching have been through those which affect our kids. Whether through the Winters Schools, AYSO, Winters Fire, Girl Scouts, Rotary and others the positive impacts on our lives is ten-fold to those I think we have affected. I have exclusively reffed AYSO Soccer over the years because of the positive personal impacts I feel recreational soccer gives to kids versus competitive. All of it is magical and very rewarding. It really is sweet!

And I could go on for pages……………………………

I am convinced that the common thread which makes Winters an incredibly special place is our children and the generations of folks who have made their lives here. At Rotary yesterday, high school English teacher Matt Biers talked about how Winters kids are “really good citizens and nice people”. So much of that comes from the examples and values that we as parents and adults instill in them through our actions. Our actions as adults create the atmosphere and culture which makes good citizens.

October 10-15 is OUR opportunity to perpetuate the soul of our community and set an example for the next generations by helping build a new community playground. We are doing something which most communities cannot accomplish by an all volunteer build. It’s YOUR chance to put a positive mark on our town by contributing to a monument which brings an entire compilation of pride, joy, happiness, kindness and community commitment into a place where generations of children will play.

I hope to see you out there!

John


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Friday Update on September 29 2017

All,

Both really REALLY good stuff this week with some tougher elements worked in.

First the good stuff…………..

  • The Festival de la Communidad (aka Carnitas Festival) is this Saturday, September 30 beginning at 5:00 at the Community Center. The carnitas competition, food, music and dancing make this one of the highlights of the year. Come on out with your family and friends for an incredible night of food and culture!!
  • The opening of the PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Facility and the initiation of a “world class” vocational training center will rank amongst the top occurrences of the year. Having PG&E President and COO Nick Stavropoulos and his team here to open the doors in our community was an amazing day on many fronts.
  • Congrats to the PG&E team who built the project. The folks from DPR Construction (Ian Bollnick and Bill Hill and ALL the Subs) who built the project and the PG&E Project Management team including Tom Crowley and Sabib Larijani. The DPR team really was like bringing the New England Patriots to town with their professionalism and excellence. Well done to all.
  • A HUGE shout out to the entire City team and key members of our community who worked diligently behind the scenes to bring this project to fruition. Enough cannot be said for the City Council members (past and present), Planning Commission and some key folks from within the business community (Buckhorn) and the McClish Family for all their efforts in the review and approval of the project.
  • A special recognition to City Building Official Gene Ashdown and the folks at Four Leaf for their processing and inspection of the construction of the facility. Also to the engineering and public works team for their efforts. Eric Lucero, Carol Scianna and City Engineer Alan Mitchell. Good job to everyone.
  • The traffic light went live last Friday at Grant/PG&E Way.
  • The traffic light at Grant/Main Street was paved this week and is awaiting striping and a part for the traffic controller cabinet. Look for that light to go live over the next 10 days!
  • Walnut Lane Roundabout is beginning to take shape. The storm drain and other utilities are in on the south side of Grant and we can expect that street sections will begin to emerge. They will then switch to the north side of Grant for the roadway construction. Winters own Vintage Paving is the contractor and is doing a fine job thus far.
  • Staff and Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Bill Biasi attended the Yolo Cannabis Summit on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting including Lori Ajax the California Cannabis Czar, representatives from city of Sacramento and Sonoma County, a UCD Ag economist and representatives from the California Cannabis Growers Association. The meeting was really good and the highlight was the fact that the State, the economist and the Industry Growers seem to agree on many aspects of the legalization of marijuana. A couple terms you need to be aware of:
    • Track and Trace- Purveyors of legal marijuana products will need to establish where the product comes from and where it goes and have the ability to survive audits by both the State and localities.
    • Infusion- This is when product comes from outside of the permitted channels (cartels or off the system providers).
    • Permitting- The State will begin accepting applications after January 1, 2018 when they are required to have the regulations in place. Permits will be granted based on local permitting, thus State permits will flow to purveyors which have legally been granted permits within the cities and counties.
    • Taxation of Legal Marijuana will be extremely high, adding almost $1,000 per pound.
    • Yolo County is viewed as a State leader in this arena. I attended a meeting with Yolo County Ag Commissioner John Young a week ago and left impressed. His office seems to be on top of the issue.
    • The UCD Ag Economist predicts that the economic impact to Yolo County will be about $29 million a year with tax revenue to the localities resulting in the $3m range (based on present values of marijuana which is about $3,500 a pound). Universally, the economist and even the industry association folks are predicting that more than half of the marijuana grown in California will remain “outside the permitting” and on the black market.
    • The guy from the California Cannabis Growers Association was both credible and interesting to listen to.
    • In Winters, our zoning prohibits both the manufacture and dispensaries within our City limits. Look for this item at an upcoming Planning Commission Meeting where we will discuss outdoor cultivation. Staff recommendation will be to prohibit outdoor grows based on the nuisance aspect due to odor. We have nothing against people growing weed, just do it in an enclosed environment so as not to disturb the neighbors.
  • I will share that I downloaded (for my professional research) the com phone app to find out where you can purchase marijuana and was blown away by the availability near the meeting location in Davis. When people say access and availability is easy, they are not kidding!!!
  • The Downtown Hotel is awaiting the final submittal of construction drawings for the hotel building.
  • The City’s Development Review Committee will be meeting with Crowne Communities on Tuesday, October 3 to review designs for homes in the new subdivision.
  • Chevron remodel plans are out the door and they can begin construction at any time. This will be a really nice project!

Now some of the tough stuff:

  • We had predicted in our Fiscal Year 2016-17 that the permits for the Downtown Hotel, Freeway Hotel and Blue Mountain Terrace Apartments would have been pulled and under construction. The failure of these projects to move forward blew a $180k hole in our general fund budget ($4.5m). Additionally other revenues were short, so we realized roughly a $300k deficit in the fiscal year. This is just a tough reality when we know these projects will eventually result in huge revenues to the City. To compensate, we are reducing budgets in the current fiscal year to replenish reserves and live more within our means. We pride ourselves on being pretty accurate in our revenue predictions, but this year was just tough. Next year will be better!
  • The Shared Fire Administration Services Agreement with the City of Dixon is up at the end of the month. I will be meeting with Dixon to discuss the direction of where things are going.
  • The Parking Committee finally received the draft consultants report which will be discussed at an upcoming Parking Committee Meeting.

Last items:

  • Tonight is Homecoming for Winters High School. Varsity will kick off at 7:30 against Bret Harte High School.
  • The Public Safety Faire is next Saturday, October 7 from 10-2 at the Public Safety Facility. An incredible event for parents and kids.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

John


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Friday Update on September 22 2017

All,

A couple items:

·         Mayor Wade Cowan and I met with the financing team for the Freeway Hotel Project this week. The group included two banks and a financier from North Carolina. Overall, they LOVED Winters and enjoy what the City is doing. A real good day.

·         The Blue Mountain Terrace Apartment Project was the main topic of discussion on Monday morning. We looked at a variety of means for closing the financing gap, some value engineering for both the senior center and the apartments along with some timing issues related to various grants..

·         The October 3 City Council Meeting will include an item centering on street projects for the spending of SB 1 gas tax funds.

·         City Staff is getting a number of inquiries from people regarding scheduling events at the Downtown Hotel. We have contacted the developer regarding a contact for the marketing and reservations for the hotel.

·         PG&E Grand Opening is on Wednesday, September 27. Lots of Winters participation, including Terry Sheets singing the national anthem and our VFW Post handling the flag ceremony. PG&E is looking forward to a huge attendance, then having the folks all come into Downtown for lunch. The event should be spectacular.

Winters High is playing against a top 10 opponent tonight in Christian Brothers from Sacramento. Go Warriors.

Thanks,

John


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