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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update for Independence Weekend 2016

All,

Happy Independence Day weekend! The past couple of weeks have been busy and lots going on over the next few.

  • The City Council Meeting on July 5 will include the certification of the election, swearing in of new City Councilmembers Bill Biasi and Jesse Loren and recognition to both Woody Fridae and Wade Cowan who will be stepping down.
  • Also on the agenda will be a public hearing on an update to the affordable housing ordinance, an update to the City’s sign ordinance, a revised nuisance abatement ordinance, dealing with a vacancy on the planning commission (with the election of Bill Biasi) and a lease agreement for the former library.
  • It looks like we have a new Police Chief with the person selected in background now with a public announcement happening once that is completed. I will share with you that I am really excited for the Winters Police Department and our community!
  • The Planning Commission has approved site plan, design review and a conditional use permit for the remodel of Chevron, a Starbucks Café and a 72 room Marriot Fairfield Inn to be located at Grant Ave and Matsumoto Lane. The Planning Commission also recommended a “planned development overlay” for the hotel property which will allow the building to be built to 46’. The PD will go to the City Council on July 19. The developers indicated that the project will most likely begin construction “in the spring” 2017.
  • The Planning Commission and staff were really impressive. There was a lot of material to go through, there was complexity to both the architectural and civil plans yet the Commission was very well prepared and did a comprehensive review. Kudo’s to the entire Planning Commission for their preparedness and work along with our Associate Planner Jenna Moser and Contract Planner Dave Dowswell.
  • Winters Fire responded to a significant fire on Main Street on Tuesday evening. The home was ablaze when our units arrived and the fire staff did an amazing job of protecting the neighboring structures and putting out the fire. Kudos to all of the Winters Staff along with the other agencies who responded. Condolences to the residents who lost almost everything, including a pet dog.
  • Winters Fire, the residents of Golden Bear Estates and Positas Drive all request that people show caution when using fireworks this year! In 2014 and 15, we have been home to two of the largest fires in Northern California with both the Monticello and Wragg fires. For those who respond and those affected in the rural areas, we would like to avoid a three peat. Please be careful and only use fireworks in safe areas away from comustables.
  • A reminder that the City Fireworks Show will be on Sunday, July 3 at Dr. Sellers Field. All the legal and illegal will be on July 4th!

On Tuesday, the City Council will go through an official “reorganization” which includes the swearing in of new council members, the selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem and the beginning of a two year cycle of leadership on the City Council. From a City perspective, it is a big deal with the closure of one “Council” and the beginning of the next.

The 2014-16 City Council, consisting of Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry, Mayor Pro tem Woody Fridae and Council Members Harold Anderson, Wade Cowan and Pierre Neu have had an extremely busy two year period. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Construction of the Putah Creek Car Bridge. The life expectancy is easily 200 years.
  • Setting the stage for both the Downtown and freeway hotels.
  • The emergency of our Downtown to an incredible economic level of vitality.
  • Approval of the 60 unit Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments which will see construction in early 2017.
  • The acquisition of a grant for a new Senior Center.
  • Recruitment, review and approval of the PG&E Gas Operations Training Center.
  • Addressing pension issues in relation to the City budget.
  • Amendments to key subdivision agreements which will provide for quality market rate housing.
  • Dealing with both the Monticello and Wragg Fires.

The list of accomplishments big and small is absolutely amazing. This Council has been one of the hardest working groups in my tenure as City Manager. These folks work long hours for practically no pay but really big expectations!

In Winters, being on the City Council really is “citizen service”. Compared to larger cities, being on the City Council of a small town can be considerably more demanding and taxing. The need for constant involvement and the ease of access compared to larger communities in not comparable! Our Council works really hard! A sincere congratulations and thanks to each on this council for their service

Finally, a wish to all for a wonderful Independence Weekend. In the United States, we celebrate our independence from tyrannical governance and the longest running democracy in history. We are blessed with freedoms most can only dream of! While you are celebrating with friends and family, take time to celebrate the men and women throughout the world who keep our freedoms alive along with those in public safety here at home who maintain the security of our communities.

This is one of the craziest weekends of the year, so please be safe.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update Extra on June 17

All,

Two other reminders:

  • Saturday, June 18 (now today), is the Winters Quilt Show in Downtown. Quilts go up by 9 and down by 3:30. The Downtown never has more color and it is a go to event for our community.
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is holding a 10 year celebration and community meeting on Monday, June 20, starting at 7:30 in the City Council Chamber. Come celebrate our Hispanic culture and learn about the activities of the Committee and how you can get more involved.

John


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Friday Update on June 17 2016

All,

A super busy week, so here are some items:

  • We are still waiting on the final counts for the City Council Election. Yolo County Elections has indicated that they will most likely release the certification of the election on Wednesday, June 22. Stay tuned!
  • This weeks City Council Meeting will have some business items, including modification to our Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, City Engineering Services Contract, Paving Contract for First Street roadway repairs, Adoption of Salary Schedules and a presentation from the Mosquito/Vector Control District.
  • We are down to the final two candidates for Police Chief. I have finished second interviews and will move into calling references. We are really lucky to have two quality candidates with either one being capable of bringing a lot to the position. I hope to have a decision by next week.
  • New Hours at the Library– The library has started its’ summer hours, which now include Fridays for the first time. The summer hours are :Mon & Wed 10am-6pm, Tues & Thurs 12-8pm, Fri & Sat 1-5pm, closed on Sunday. Summer Reading Program has started, all ages are welcome to join, and adults and teens get a nice tote bag when they signup.
  • Saturday is the Rotary Trap Shoot at the Yolo Sportsman with registration beginning at 8:30 am. Entry is $40 and it is a great time!!!

Have a nice weekend.

John

 


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Friday Update on June 10 2016

All,

A really short update:

• Today we held the interviews for Winters Police Chief. Six (6) candidates’ were interviewed by two panels. We have narrowed the group to 3 finalists and I have already interviewed one of the candidates tonight.
• The two panels included; a “Community Panel” chaired by Winters High Principal Paul Fawcett and included Marty Mariani, Charley Wallace, Leticia Quirarte and Dagoberto Fierros. The “Staff Panel” was Chaired by Sgt Jeremy Warren and included Shelly Gunby, Art Mendoza, Eric Lucero, Karla Fergeson. Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Wade Cowan split time with both of the panels. Nanci Mills and I were observers of each of the panels.
• Enough cannot be said about the two panels. Both did an amazing job representing various community interests. We are genuinely blessed to have such awesome members of our community willing to spend an entire day on this process. They did a GREAT JOB!!
• A reminder about Woody Fridae’s Retirement Party, Saturday, June 11 at the Palms from 6-9 pm. This is a potluck for hor’s’dourves and is BYOB.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Rural Economic Success Article on Winters

All,

A really good article on Winters. http://www.wallacecenter.org/news/closer-look-at-rural-gives-sacramento-new-economic-direction

Sometimes I just find myself in awe of how cool our community is!

John


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Woody Fridae Retirement Party

All,

Just a reminder that there is a retirement party for Woody Fridae this Saturday, June 11 from 6-9 at The Palms. This is a potluck (finger food/hors’doeurves) and is byob.

Woody has made such an incredible impact on so many people and causes. This party will be a chance to celebrate his accomplishments!

This is going to be a REALLY fun evening as we wish Woody well into retirement.

John


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Friday Update on June 3 2016

All,

A crazy couple of weeks and lots going on! Here goes:

  • The City Council Meeting has a couple items on it including testing consultants for the construction of Phase II of Walnut Park, Certification for the City Wide Assessment District, Street Naming for the Winters Highlands Subdivision, Memorandums of Understanding for all the City’s Employee Associations. Lot’s of items and a huge agenda packet, but it should be a relatively short meeting.
  • Interviews for City Engineering Services are next week as we come into compliance with Caltrans bidding requirements for professional services.
  • Police Chief Interviews will be next week. The process will include two panels of City Staff and Community Members. City Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Wade Cowan will sit on one of the panels.
  • Due to new pipeline safety requirements the skate park facility on Valley Oak will be removed in the coming months. PG&E is really stepping up to reimburse the City with a $100,000 grant to build a new futsol court at City Park and to install some skateboard features at Valley Oak Park. Look for details in the coming months.
  • Applications are in for the expansion (teardown and rebuild) of Chevron, a Starbucks and a Marriot (Fairfield Inn) are in and will be before the Planning Commission on June 28. Plans look good!
  • The water bills will include a legal notice warning all of our customers about Chromium 6 in our drinking water. This is a mandatory form which indicates that we are “out of compliance”. The notice is the typical legal notice and we are not allowed to include it, but….. the Federal MCL is 100 and California is now 10. When people say negative things about doing business in California, this is prime example!
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is hosting a community meeting on Monday, June 20 at City Hall beginning at 7:30. The HAC is a wonderful group which brings representation of the Hispanic community on a multitude of City issues. Come find out more about the Committee on the 20th.
  • Winters AYSO will be launching a considerable fundraising drive to raise $20k to help repair and maintain fields at Shirley Rominger School. The fields have fallen into considerable disrepair in recent years and in order to get them fixed, AYSO is being pressed to come up with the funds to have a private company repair the fields, purchase sprinklers, fund ongoing maintenance and replace irrigation equipment. Look for information in the coming weeks. If you have the ability to donate, please contact me and I will put you in touch with those leading the drive. Winters AYSO is the largest youth organization in Winters, providing soccer to over 400 players each year.
  • A big congratulations to Winters AYSO teams who participated in the Davis World Cup Soccer Tournament. Each team found its way into at least the quarter finals and represented us well.

Have a nice weekend.

John

 


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Friday the 13th Update for May 2016

All,

 Crazy busy at City Hall on a number of fronts:

 ·         Tomorrow is a day of service for a variety of volunteer projects in town. Things start at X and you can go to Y to help in a variety of projects including creek planting, work with the red cross and painting. Contact Mark Tippetts who is coordinating the volunteer day by clicking HERE.

·         The BIG news is that we should start seeing construction and movement on the Downtown Winters Hotel in the next few weeks. The developer was in City Hall with final paperwork to get things going. The Winters Hotel has been an extremely high priority for the City and it is nice to see things beginning to move.

·         The City Council Meeting has a couple key items including discussion on the City Budget, a presentation on an update to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan, a revision to the Callahan Sudbdivision Development Agreement and selection of City Councilmembers to sit on the interview panel for the new police chief.

·         The Police Chief Interviews will be held the week of June 6 and will consist of a panel made up of key City Staff and a panel made up of community members. Both panels will interview the candidates and make recommendations of the top 2-3 for me to interview and select. We have narrowed the search to 6 candidates and I can tell you we have some really good one’s!

·         Our Design Review Committee met to do a preliminary review of a project at the freeway which will include a new Chevron (replacing the current one), Starbucks and a Marriot Fairfield Inn. The plans look nice and we expect to see the projects before the Planning Commission this summer.

·         Staff, members of the Parking Committee and a number of Downtown property owners met to talk about funding for a parking consultant. The meeting was really good and we are moving a couple things forward.

 The Friday Update will be on a hiatus for the next two Fridays!

 Have a nice weekend,

 John


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Friday Update on Cinco de Mayo 2016

All,

A couple items:

 ·         The City Council Meeting went through a review of the City Budget. Overall an interesting meeting and we will continue some of the discussion on May 17.

One of the big stories on the budget is the fact that we are forecasting substantially less revenue for the next fiscal year, thus spending is actually being reduced. Even though the City has the most building activity in its history, most permits for the big projects have already been paid and the benefits to the tax base will not be seen for almost two years. Things are lean for next year, but we have anticipated that and have adjusted spending accordingly. Other impacts on revenues include reduced gas prices which have hit our budget hard.

Our budgeting and fiscal management policies mandate that structural spending only be increased when recurring (tax base) revenues increase over a foreseeable future. One time revenues (permits and fees) can spike during any one year and provide a false sense of prosperity. The cities who find themselves in trouble are the ones who forecast that one time (non-recurring) revenues will go for a duration, they increase certain fixed costs (adding personnel or facilities) and then when the revenues decline, they have a huge structural problem.

 The proposed budget has delayed hires in both Police and Fire until the second half of the 2017-18 fiscal year. This will keep our fiscal outlook solid and reduce deficit spending!

 ·         This Saturday is the Winters Garage Sale! This year’s theme is “The best stuff ever”!! Come out and buy merchandise from other peoples garages to be taken to be stored in your garage! Sales  will be at City Park and many houses throughout town.

·         The dedication of the Putah Creek Car Bridge is Friday at 3:00 behind the Community Center. This is an amazing project and come and see history in the making. The next replacement/dedication is scheduled for May 2216!

·         This year’s Big Day of Giving had a number of technical glitches which slowed some of the fundraising. From my sources, the Winters Friends of the Library raised $28K, Winters Theatre $2,500, Putah Creek Council $7K, Center for Land Based Learning $58K and Yolo Housing $2k. If you got caught in the computer mess and could not donate, drop a check in the mail to these critical Winters organizations. They really are what helps make Winters the wonderful place it is!

·         The Winters Citizens Academy continues on Monday, May 9 with the topics covering Internet Crime and DUI Enforcement. All are welcome to this really good program!

 Tonight is Cinco de Mayo and I am heading to Berryessa Brewing where Chris, Lori and their crew will highlight “La Fuerza” a  Mexican style lager. A classic style beer and a couple of taco’s will take me back to my East LA roots on this important national holiday!

 Caution on your beer consumption tonight or get a designated driver!

 Feliz  Cinco de Mayo

 John


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Winters in the News- Channel 13

Winters in the News- Channel 13

All,

We made the news last night on Channel 13. They did a great job on this segment and it was a really nice piece.

Click HERE to watch the segment.

John


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Friday Update on May 2 2016- Pre Big Day of Giving Addition

Friday Update on May 2 2016- Pre Big Day of Giving Addition

All,

First, a big thanks for everyone who came out to the Youth Day Rotary Pancake Breakfast on a windy day. Also, a big thanks and congratulations to Mike Sebastian for his service to the Community over the years and his retirement as Chairman for the event.  

A couple items for the week:

  • The Dedication for the Putah Creek Car Bridge is this Friday, May 6 at 3:00 behind the Community Center. Food, fun and the historical dedication of a bridge which should last the next 200 years!
  • May 3 is the Big Day of Giving. In recent years, this has been a significant fundraiser for some really important Winters organizations that make a BIG difference in our community.

Here is the list of organizations from Winters which you might consider:

  • The Winters Friends of the Library (WFoL) is a preeminent organization for Winters. Through the years, they have funded many tens of thousands of dollars toward expanded library hours, programming, furniture, speakers forums and were the leaders in getting the Winters Community Library to where it is today!
  • Putah Creek Council is the organization which has led the way to the ecological restoration of the creek. They were the ones who led the fight for water flows in the early 1990’s and continue the efforts today with incredible restoration work, enhancement of fish habitat and educational programming.
  • Center for Land Based Learning is one of those organizations which has put Winters on the world food map. From farm based educational programs for urban youth to community farming initiatives, the Center for Land Based Learning is setting an incredible standard in educating people about food and farming.
  • Winters Healthcare Foundation brings quality healthcare to our rural community. Through a diversity of services, WHF helps serve all aspects of the Winters Community with quality health services.
  • Winters Community Theatre not only entertains us, but they give back through renovations at the Community Center and enhanced opportunities for people of all ages.
  • The New Hope Community Development Corporation (CDC) Yolo County Housing is the non-profit arm for Yolo Housing. This incredible organization has brought a renaissance to public housing in Yolo/Solano Counties and continues to seek new and innovative solutions to many of the issues facing people in need of affordable and available housing.

These organizations bring so many benefits to Winters and they need your support. Giving starts at midnight tonight and runs until midnight tomorrow. There are incentives (prizes of enhanced donations from the sponsor of Big DOG) to these organizations for early giving, so give early and often.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update before Youth Day 2016

All,

This is short and sweet as I am working on Youth Day stuff for the big day tomorrow.

• The Duck Derby begins tonight at 5:00 behind the Community Center with the Opening Ceremonies following.
• Kids Movie Night is at 8:00 in the Community Center Amphitheatre.
• The Rotary Youth Day Pancake Breakfast begins at 6:30 in the morning. $2 off during the first hour.
• Kiddie Parade is at 9:45
• Youth Day Parade begins at 10:00.
• City Park Fair begins at 12:00
• Free Concert (Terry Sheets Band) starts at 7:00 at Creekside Bar!

Look for an extended update on Monday.

John


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Friday Update on April 22 2016

All,

A couple items this week:

  • A very efficient City Council Meeting on Tuesday. Walnut Park is going out to bid, the Council authorized a contract for the rehabilitation of Water Wells 2 (Putah Creek) and 6 (across from Blue Oak Park), and the Downtown Fountain will be simply a concept.
  • We received 4 proposals for Parking Consultant Services. We have been required to request additional information from the consultants before consideration.
  • Staff sent 17 letters to Downtown property owners requesting a meeting to discuss funding the parking consultant and future parking improvements and we have received 0 reply’s. We will try again!
  • The City has received 23 applicants for the Police Chief.  The recruiting firm assisting in the process will begin screening interviews over the next few weeks and then we will have formal interviews sometime in the May/June timeframe.
  • Today, Winters Fire conducted orientation for four new reserve and volunteer firefighters. Welcome to Alex Evenoff, Tony Plesencia, Joel Smith and Tim Robbins. In total, we have 44 reserves and volunteers in our program! Go Winters Fire.
  • Watch for extensive tree trimming on Main Street as we trim the canopy over the next week.
  • Last week, I attended a meeting at Yolo County regarding a fundraising drive for a new Animal Shelter. It looks like a motivated group is ramping up efforts to find donors. Stay tuned.
  • This week, the Winters Police Department conducted “bike rodeo’s” at both Waggoner and Shirley Rominger Schools. A ton of students learning bike safety and having a lot of fun.

A couple reminders:

  • Tonight is Fourth Friday in Downtown. I can smell the roasting pig from my office and it smells incredible!
  • Next week is Youth Day. The Pancake Breakfast starts at 6:30, Parade at 10 and fun in the park at 12:00. Look at the Winters Express for the entire program in their special issue.
  • The Citizen’s Academy continues on Monday night at 6:30 at the Public Safety Facility EOC Room. This week includes an overview of the City and Local Government and a special program on Winters Fire. Here is the future programs and all are welcome.
    • April 25th Week Two-Local Government and Fire Department: Participants will learn about the various aspects of local government and the Winters Fire Department utilized by the City of Winters.
    • May 2nd Week Three -Gangs and Street Narcotics: Participants will learn about local drug and gang issues and intervention strategies.
    • May 9th Week Three-Internet Safety and DUI information: Participants will learn about safety procedures, prevention tips, and laws.
    • May 16th Week Five- Crime Prevention: Participants will learn about crime prevention methods followed by a Certificate presentation.

Finally, on Thursday, I drove the new City bus with a dozen members of the Winters Senior Foundation to drop them off at the UC Davis Arboretum where they had a scheduled tour. I took them to the center which includes Whole Foods in Davis where they went to lunch, then they headed over to the Arboretum. I was then scheduled to pick them up at 3 at the same location.

It looked like they had an incredible time!!!

When I arrived in the bus at 3ish (I was a little late), they were not at the agreed upon location but some of them came hustling across the parking lot to greet me. After the tour, they had gone back to the Whole Foods Center for ice cream and socializing. When they got on the bus, the first request was whether I would mind dropping them all off at Turkovich Winery so they could finish the day! On the ride home, the roar of laughter and conversation from the rear of the bus was incredible. Except for the complaints about me hitting all of the bumps along Road 31, it was a very happy/fun group!

One of the ladies in the group commented (as I helped her off the bus) that she had a “GREAT DAY” and you could really tell! I can tell you that it made my day, too!

The Winters Senior Foundation is helping to establish an important framework for enhancing the overall quality of life for seniors in Winters. Activities and excursions, along with their meetings and programs are starting to make a noticeable difference in town. Their you can see their outreach to many segments of the community is happening. They are open to any and everyone who is interested in joining. Contact Wally Pearce at denropro@gmail.com to get on their list.

Stay tuned for more announcements on their activities in the Winter Express!

Have a nice weekend,

John


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Friday Update on tax day 2016

All,

Lot’s going on….

 

City Council Agendas:

 

April 19, 2016

  •  
  • Budget Workshop at 4:30
  • Wallace-Kuhl Agmt. for the Continuation of Monitoring Services at the Former Landfill
  • Recycling Grant Application for Payment Programs
  • Proclamation Declaring May 3rd as the BIG Day of Giving
  • Water Well Maintenance Contract for Well #’s 2 & 6 with Suez dba: Utility Service Group
  • Bid Issuance for Construction Improvements for Phase II Construction at Walnut Park

 May 3, 2016

  • Formal review of the FY 2016-17 and 2017-18 City Budget
  • Initiate Proceedings and Preliminary Approval of the Engineers Annual Levy Report for the City-Wide Maintenance Assessment Dist., FY 2016-2017
  • Purchase of Wastewater Emergency Generator

May 17, 2016

  • Callahan Estates DA
  • Street Naming Recommendations for Winters Highlands
  • Budget Adoption

 Department Updates:

 

Public Works:

  • Staff visited the City of Yountville and viewed their bar screen and would like to install a similar self-contained unit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Repaired water leak on Hemenway.
  • Some bad spots on Main Street are being repaved.
  • New sidewalk was poured from 4th Street through City Park to the bathrooms, and will be followed by a sidewalk from the new play structure to Main Street. Lights like those on the creek path will illuminate the new sidewalks and DG will be installed in various places.
  • A new Jacobsen mower has been purchased.  The older Jacobsen mower will be kept as a secondary unit to run simultaneously, if needed.
  • Pool inspection scheduled (and passed) for today and staff will perform a sand filter enzyme treatment next week.
  • Working on the landscape plans for Winters Ranch public right of way.
  • YFCU has requested to deliver clean fill dirt to landfill.
  • Staff will erect signs for the May 6th Winters Putah Creek Car Bridge Dedication.
  • City-wide striping will commence, weather permitting.
  • Mulch is being spread on the elderberry plantings at the creek.
  • Cr6 or Chromium 6 – pilot people have offered a different method of treatment utilizing a 53’ trailer housing system to perform a more detailed pilot study.  Ionex also wants to come back and do some more work.
  • Working on two bike rodeos with Winters Police Department and Winters PTA.

 

Finance:

  • Working on budgets – reviewing expenditures and asking questions regarding revenues.
  • Quilt Show will be on Saturday, June 18 – looking for volunteers to set up at the Community Center on 6/17 and on the sidewalks on 6/18.

 

Administrative:

  • Pool is gearing up with 15 new and returning lifeguards.
  • Recreation swim is scheduled to begin in May.
  • School Board approved an agreement for janitorial services for the ASP & Munchkin programs.
  • Winters Theater Company board approved the replacement of the stage floor at the Community Center.  The board will work with the Community Center schedule and Gary Schroeder will be working with the City staff on the repairs.
  • Fire reserve orientation will take place on 4/22 for 5 recruits (still waiting for two medical reports).  Fire indicated they will be going back out for additional reserves.

 

Economic Development/Housing

  • Attended a Yolo County Planning Commission meeting today with Council Member Cowan regarding Ag Tourism.
  • Parking Consultant RFP responses are due on Monday, April 18th.
  • Walnut Park will go out to bid on 4/20, if approved by City Council on 4/19.
  • Affordable Housing Steering Committee (AHSC) met on 4/13 regarding moderate ownership covenant and the recommendation was unanimous to shorten the covenant from 45 years to 10-15 years.

 Planning:

  • Staff taught a planning class to preschoolers at The Treehouse, which included a treasure map of downtown and a stop at City Hall.
  • Planning Commission meeting on 4/26 and the agenda will include Callahan, Downtown Hotel, and a noise study session.
  • Street naming meeting was held last week, with JoAnn Larkey to provide a narrative description of the names chosen.
  • Winters resident is pursuing a permit for a bike/petty cab.
  • Winters is a hot bed for filming crews, with filming taking place on 4/23 at the Public Safety Facility.  The need for an ordinance/permit will be on the to do list.
  • Will be receiving an updated status on Starbucks.
  • Staff is continuing to work on a nuisance ordinance.

Building:

  • Issued the final for two houses on Mermod and the Certificates of Occupancy (C of O’s) are ready to pick up.

 

Police:

  • Received an alert from the FBI for thieves who are stealing truckloads of almonds, walnuts and pistachios, with farmers losing $4.5 million dollars a year (oh nuts!)
  • Citizen’s Academy will begin on Monday, 4/18 and continue on Monday’s through 5/16.  Class topics include community policing, local government and the fire department, gangs and street narcotics, internet safety and DUI information and crime prevention.

 

Fire:

  • Planning structure training burns in Dixon and will include Winters Fire staff as part of a 2-day certified class.
  • Multi-agency swift water rescue training will be held on 4/23.
  • Staff will be participating in wild land fire refresher training.

 Have a nice weekend.

 John


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Winters Citizens Acadamy

All,

Over a 5 week period, the Winters Police Department will be hosting a Winters Citizen’s Academy to educate the community on a number of key issues. These will include:

  • Community Policing (April 18)
  • Local Government and Fire (April 25)
  • Gangs and Street Narcotics (May 2)
  • Intranet Safety and DUI (May 9)
  • Crime Prevention (May 16)

Each of the sessions will be held (from 6:30-8:30)  at the Public Safety Facility. This will be an incredible opportunity for residents to get a great overview of public safety issues in our town.

For more information, click HERE for the brochure and click HERE for an application.

For more information, contact gail.jimenez@winterspolice.org or Gordon.brown@winterspolice.org .

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update for April 8 2016

All,

 A couple items for the week:

 ·         Overall, a good City Council Meeting on a number of fronts. Fire Grants, another discussion on fountains and the Comprehensive Financial Report.

·         To read the City’s Comprehensive Financial Report, click HERE . This literally tells you everything about the financial situation for the City and provides some interesting statistical data on the City. Great reading for nerds and interested people alike.

·         The Downtown Hotel is off and running again with the finish grading happening now. Look for construction to start in May. Really good news!!

·         On Thursday, the City hosted a group of capital investors seeking information on opportunities within Winters. The momentum of the many projects happening in town is getting a ton of attention amongst those with money. Good News!!

·         Staff is working with the Yolo Habitat Conservancy on a number of issues as they move toward adoption of the Habitat Plan later in 2016. To view their plan, go to their website by clicking HERE.

·         The Winters Combined PTA is getting ready for their “Spring Into Action” Fundraiser in the coming weeks. They have a concept of virtual activities to get everyone active and a chance for people to sponsor activities for the schools. Go to their website by clicking HERE.

·         Munchkin Summer Camp registration is still going, so please encourage your students to sign up!!  We currently have 9 students in 1st grade, 16 in 2nd, 12 in 3rd,4 in 4th, 15 in 5th and 6 in 6th.  Come to City Hall for sign ups before the classes fill for summer. Click HERE for more information.

·         This Saturday is an Autism Awareness Event /walk starting at 8:00 behind the Community Center. The walk with be along Putah Creek and will benefit Logan Kruen’s Capstone Project for her senior year.

·         My hot tip on beer is “Rain Dog” which has just been released by Berryessa Brewing. Think Separation Anxiety and Double Tap have a love child and you get Rain Dog. Chris Miller is such an incredible brewer and I guarantee that this will be one of his master pieces! Also, they still have Station 26 which is an incredible drinking beer and is Chris’ homage to Winters Fire!

·         Winters AYSO has 3 teams in the AYSO Section Tournament this weekend! Go Warriors!

Finally, today I had an opportunity to participate in Woody Fridae’s 5th grade Civil War Program as a “Visitor from the Past” (I play General Ullyses Grant). The visitors also include Abraham Lincoln (played by Rich Rominger) and Michael Barbour who plays General Robert E. Lee.  If you have never seen Rich as Lincoln, you need too, it is absolutely incredible!!! Woody is Lt Fridae.

 The performance is a part of the Angel Island Civil War Program where 5th grade students learn about life as a soldier, the mid 1800’s and the program culminates in a two day trip to Angel Island.

 At Angel Island, the students live a couple days in the life of a soldier. They learn a variety of skills, do marching, bread making, signaling, rifle work,  with the day ending with a hike to the top of Mt Livermore and the view of the San Francisco Skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The program also includes a number of parent chaperones who accompany the various squads of soldiers.

 The evening culminates with Lt Fridae playing guitar, peach cobbler, popcorn and singing songs from the past. The soldiers then take turns “on watch”(protecting the barracks and the gold) which means none of them really sleep for the two days.

 It is truly an experience which these students will remember for their entire lives. It is that good!!

 Woody and Rebecca Fridae were honored as Citizens of the Year for many reasons, but their school programs are incredible (Rebecca spearheads the 6th grade Camp Loma Mar Outdoor Program). As a community, the impacts we have on the lives of children will set the framework for their entire lives. Programs like Angel Island and Camp Loma Mar are two of the most special programs I have ever personally seen (in Winters we have the Center for Land Base Learning which does similar programs for the inner city). To watch the joy and learning in the eyes of the students is absolutely magical.

 Kudo’s to Lt Fridae and his troops as they get ready to head to Angel Island to protect the nations gold supply for a couple of days!

 I’m headed to Berryessa Brewing for a Rain Dog and to buy my wife a favorite glass of wine!

 Have a nice weekend.

 John


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Friday Update on April Fools Day 2016

All,

I thought up some rather clever announcements for this week’s update to try and prank everyone on April Fools, but I decided to go straight and avoid needing to correct the vicious rumors I would saddle myself with.

  • This weeks City Council Meeting includes a Closed Session for Real Estate Negotiations, a FEMA grant to add firefighters, Public Works Stand Specifications, a second look at water fountain designs for the Downtown mid block, investment and fund balance reports and a review of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
  • Staff has received a “sidewalk café” permit request from Preserve on Railroad Ave which can be reviewed and approved on an administrative basis. It is in process now!
  • Public Works is beginning street striping around town, so get ready for our annual session of “drivers training” in and around the cones. I am always impressed how people can squeeze the big duly trucks through the tight cone spaces so they can drive through the fresh paint. We certainly have some impressive drivers!
  • The Downtown Hotel will kick into full gear at the end of April according to the developer. The site will need some more dirt, then it will be full scale construction.
  • Groundwater Management was the hot topic in town on Wednesday with an information session co-sponsored by the Yolo Farm Bureau and the Yolo Water Resources Agency (WRA). The State passed legislation requiring the formation of “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” (GSA) to develop “Groundwater Sustainability Plans” (GSP). There have been three informational meetings which have been held to packed houses. The legislation is loose, but there are significant hammers for those who do not meet the demands. We have an incredible group at the WRA and Yolo Flood Control who are leading the implementation, but they about ready to start kicking over the proverbial hornets nests.
  • Farmers are not happy when people start messing with their water and my guess is that the messing is just about to begin. My prediction is that future meetings will be held at Raley Field or the new Downtown Sacramento Arena. The old adage that “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” will apply. Get ready because this is going to be ugly!
  • Animal Services is on my agenda and we have some folks in Yolo County looking to lead a fundraising effort for a new animal shelter.

Finally, yesterday was the observance of Cesar Chavez’ birthday. He was truly a California Hero and one of the most influential people in the history of our great state!

Over the years (in high school and college), I had an opportunity to meet Cesar Chavez and I was always amazed at what a gentle, yet confident man he was. His advocacy for farmworks was just part of a legacy which really represented empowerment on many levels including social, economic and the advancement of basic human rights and principles. In the nonviolent model of Martin Luther King, Jr., he demonstrated a civil disobedient approach to the empowerment of people and the ability to generate economic opportunity for thousands of California families.

The most amazing aspects of Cesar Chavez is that he led his life by an extremely high moral and ethical code. The principles which guided him made him a role model and someone whose legacy lives on today.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on Good Friday 2016

All,

No matter where you sit on the religious or government spectrum, I still think one coolest old school things about the City of Winters is that we give our staff a half day off for Good Friday! Only in a small town!!!

This update covers a lot of details currently working in each of the City Departments.

Public Works:

  • With the overflow at the East Street Pump Facility, they are working to add a couple aspects to the SCADA system which controls and sends alarms of malfunctions to our staff and mechanical devices.
  • Staff met with PG&E to review a comprehensive maintenance project for the Valley Oak Drive Look for the area to get a big haircut in the coming months!
  • PG&E has revised policy regarding “structures” on top of their pipeline facilities. This means the skate park on Valley Oak will be coming out soon. This will be replaced with a new futsol (soccer on pavement) court at City Park. This is very generous from PG&E who will be paying for the entire thing!
  • Public Works is partnering with the Winters Theatre Group to make some modifications to the Community Center Stage. Look for some new flooring on the stage in the next productions.
  • Winters Ranch has passed their final inspections on water and sewer utilities. They have been wonderful to work with and the crews doing the underground work (including Winters own KO Construction) did an outstanding job!
  • Yolo Federal is working on utilities for their project and coordinating with our staff.
  • The Wooden Playground at City Park has a group working to replace it with a new structure. Eric Lucero reports that they are a real impressive group with ideas on fundraising and community collaboration. This is awesome news!

Financial Management:

  • Working on the 2 year budget for Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18. Budget sheets are in from the various departments for preliminary review. Next step will be the workshop with the City Council and then hearings.
  • A strategy for addressing an issue with the State Department of Finance regarding the Railroad Ave Parking Lot is under way.
  • A couple minor issues regarding fee collection and timing for new subdivisions has been resolved.
  • Shelly is working with a combination of our financial advisory team on a reinvestment strategy for our bond reserves. The current investment contract for the 2004 Tax Allocation Bonds has expired and Shelly, along with our Bond Counsel, Financial Advisor and Disclosure Counsel are developing recommendations. That meeting is better than a Giants/Dodgers Game any time!

Housing/Economic Development:

  • The environmental certifications for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project have been completed and submitted to the State Housing and Urban Development Department. This represents another step in the 1,000 mile walk on this project. Good going Dan and team!!!!
  • Dan and Ethan are working on revisions to the wording on the covenant language regarding “moderate” income homes.
  • The draft Purchase/Sale agreement is off to the Winters Healthcare Foundation for the purchase of the Grant Ave Property. At this rate, we may actually start paying Dan for closing deals.
  • Staff met with Urban Community Partners regarding parking solutions for the Railroad Ave Parking Lot Project.
  • The Parking RFP is out on the street for consulting services. HERE is the link if you are interested.
  • Greg Melton of the Melton Design Group who is the designer of Walnut Park was the speaker at Rotary this week. He did a fine job and we are almost at 95% construction documents to go to bid. Look for construction this summer.
  • The Housing Related Parks Grant ($115k) is being spent. Maintenance equipment and additional stuff for Walnut Park is on the menu.
  • The big notice in The Winters Express regarding the Downtown Hotel Site read more ominous than it really is. Basically, we acknowledged certain restrictions on residency on the first floor based on the determination by the Department of Toxic Substances that 1880’s burn piles with ash had lead in them. Everyone is happy now and we can move to construction of the Downtown Hotel.

Building

  • Winters Ranch has pulled 5 more permits and 13 more will go in early April.
  • The West Main Sewer Pump Station is in for plan check and will go to construction sometime in the summer.
  • The Certification for Flood Plan Elevation has been signed (by me) which means that building permits for the training centers can commence. Good work by all involved, especially City Attorney Ethan Walsh, City Engineer Alan Mitchell, Building Official Gene Ashdown and the entire PG&E Engineering Team. Not easy stuff but the got it done.
  • Code Enforcement has contacted the folks at Dollar General and told them to clean things up and pull some weeds!
  • Tiny Houses are still “houses” and they need permits. Anyone watching TLC, Discovery, etc needs to be reminded that even though it only takes a half hour for Treehouse Masters or the Tiny Home Builders to throw one of those together, the Building Department still needs to make sure it is safe and permitted!

Planning:

  • Sign, Noise and Nuisance Ordinances are all in the revision stages. Signs were at the Planning Commission this week and the others will follow.
  • Staff is working on a revision to the Callahan Subdivision Development Agreement. They are close and it should be before the Planning Commission in April.

Engineering:

  • The Request for Proposals for City Engineering is out and due in late April.
  • Grant Ave/West Main Street Traffic Signal is deep in design and we are looking at a late 2016 build. They were directed to take it in two phases, signal, then street improvements.

Police:

  • The PD received a Homeland Security Grant for a live “active shooter” training simulation. Look for this to occur in early 2017.
  • The PD has taken delivery of 5 new dual band radios as part of another grant. The radios will have both 800 mgz and VHF.
  • Attendance from the PD at the Appreciation Dinner was a record! Congratulations to Jose Hermosillo who was named Officer of the Year. This is a well deserved honor for Jose who is making a HUGE impact for Winters PD!
  • Look for an upcoming Autism Walk to support charities and awareness in town.

A letter to the editor in the Winters Express expressed disappointment regarding the lack of public participation in the selection of the next Police Chief. A couple notes of response:

  • The recruitment for the next Police Chief is just under way. Click HERE for a link to the advertisement on the position.
  • The process will include quite a bit of participation from many stakeholders. This will include participation in the interview process by City Council, police staff, public members and others stakeholders from the law enforcement and greater Winters Community.
  • The Police Chief is a critical member of the Winters Team. Input from stakeholders will be a critical element to the selection process. Absence of that input would not benefit anyone.

I will tell you that the selection of the “right person” is my highest priority as City Manager. I specifically keep politics out of the selection process for any of our staff. The next Chief will be someone who will be the right fit for the Winters organization and community, someone who will lead Winters PD, mentor and train our officers and represent our goals within the community with integrity and respect.

Fire:

  • Congrats to Chief Aaron McAlister and the entire Winters Fire Team for putting on the Appreciation Dinner. The program was well done, the video produced by Captain Brad Lopez was excellent, and the coordination by Barb Karlen and the entire Winters Volunteer Association was terrific. Winters Fire is a class organization and a hallmark to our wonderful community!
  • Congratulations to Casey Meyers, Firefights of the Year and Steve Grisham, “Rookie of the Year” for their awards. Winters benefits immensely from our Reserve and Volunteer Firefighter Program and these two individuals represent the men and women of Winters Fire very well. We really are blessed to have Casey and Steve helping save lives and property!
  • Chief McAlister, Chief Kriens and Shelly Gunby are working on a small remodel to the reception area at the Public Safety Facility to make it more customer friendly and operational.
  • Fire will be hosting two regional training exercises. The first will be rescue operations in Putah Creek. The second is a swift water rescue class for first responders. Polar bears have nothing on our staff!

A couple more notes:

  • Winters is a “Right to Farm” City and agriculture in and around the City is allowed. This means that people conducting orchard and livestock operations on our borders is just a reality of life. Yes, cattle and sheep can graze and Yes, the helicopters and spraying will occur in the orchards. Yes, the tractors working in the middle of the night is allowed and I too want to break the beep beep beep off the tractor. In spring, that 3 day stink (chicken manure) from the north is the organic farmers doing their fertilizing is not the wastewater ponds overflowing. Yes, cow and sheep manure smells (it does!!) and we try to work with the farmers to convince them to move away from residential areas.
  • Fourth Friday starts tonight! The Chamber is selling Fourth Friday tee shirts which look awesome!! Also on sale tonight is Wragg Fire Olive Oil made by Pat and Chris Calvert. Click HERE for a link to the Ciarlo website.
  • Congrats to Winters born Cody Linton who won a National Championship in college wrestling earlier this month.

Happy Easter to everyone!

John


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Friday Update on March 18 2016

All,

 This week has been crazy busy and I am uninspired, so here are a few highlights.

 ·         The dedication for the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument will be on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30, at “Cowboy Camp” along Highway 16. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with be there along with Smokey  the Bear. This is a huge day to celebrate!

·         Things are in the works for a Salmon Festival, November 1-5. It will include a week of various activities including a salmon feed on the Friday and a big day of activities on the Saturday. Sorry, no fishing contest!! Stay tuned as this develops.

·         The commercial project proposed for the Northeast corner of Main/Railroad was delayed at the City Council meeting as parking issues are still in need of resolve. This is a really nice project and we will work through some of the issues. Stay tuned.

·         Kudo’s to the Parking Committee and their RFP which will be released next week to work toward the development of a long range parking plan. Lot’s of work went into it and the members should be congratulated for their efforts. They are helping move downtown into the next phase as it evolves into that truly premier destination.

·         Congrats to the Winters Senior Foundation on their trip to Reno this week. 30+ people went and they had a GREAT time. Look for future events from this emerging and dynamic group!

·         The Hispanic Advisory Committee will be holding a planning meeting on Monday, March 21 at City Hall beginning at 6:30, this will be chance for persons to become active, provide input and help chart a course for the coming year.

Finally, a reminder for a couple items:

 ·         The Fourth Friday Downtown Festival begins next week.

·         Calendar Girls continues this weekend at the Community Center. Friday and Saturday beginning at 8 and the Sunday finale beginning at 2.

 Have a nice weekend!

 John


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Friday Update on March 11 2016

All,

This week’s update is a focus on some of the real leadership we see happening within the City’s organization. It is absolutely amazing.

  • Interim Police Chief Joseph Kreins made acting promotional appointments to four staff members (to form a leadership/supervisory group) and has made significant delegation of assignments throughout the Police organization to help build a transition strategy for the hire of a new Police Chief this summer. Chief Kreins has taken an extremely proactive approach to mentorship of our staff which is already producing important changes and modifications to make our Department more effective. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Acting Sergeant Jeremy Warren is leading efforts in a review of policies and procedures regarding our highest technology areas including our In-Car Camera systems, Mobile Data Terminals and AVL systems. He has also taken the lead on a review of policies and procedures regarding fleet maintenance for our police vehicles. Each of these is exceptionally important to how we operate and are key supporting our staff.
  • Acting Sergeant Albert Ramos is coordinating the review and recommendations regarding Field Training. In recent years and as we move forward, the enhancement of how we train new and current staff is critical to the safety of the public and our officers. Albert is one of our most tenured officers and serves as an important resource in the training and development of staff.
  • Acting Corporal Gordon Brown, working with our Community Services Officer Gail Jimenez are coordinating two community outreach programs. The Citizens Academy is an opportunity for residents to learn more about public safety and have an opportunity to do a ride along to observe how we operate on a first hand basis. They are also leading a Volunteer Program which is recruiting residents to become a part of the Winters Police Department Team in providing services to the community. Gordon is our School Resources Officer and is working on Bike Rodeo’s for the schools to teach both bike and pedestrian safety skills to the youth of the community.
  • Community Services Officer Gail Jimenez is a critical support element to our officers and has been a key part of the investigations of the most serious crimes committed in Winters. She was recognized last year by the District Attorney’s Officer for her role in the investigation and conviction related to the Leslie Pinkston Murder! Gail helps coordinate our community outreach efforts through our social media (Facebook), our Winters Police website and community programs like the recent Job Faire at Winters High School! Gail recently held a workshop for our Seniors on public safety!
  • Acting Corporal and 2015 Officer of the Year Jose Hermosillo has been working on research for several potential grant opportunities related to safety equipment, and training.  He has also developed a draft program that could potentially restore a Police K-9 Program for the Winters Police Department.  The K-9 proposal includes canine acquisition, training, equipment and vehicle costs, K-9 handler role and responsibilities, etc.
  • Our After School Program is operating at both Waggoner and Shirley Rominger Intermediate Schools. The program provides a combination of tutoring and enrichment activities for kids and it is making a real difference in the academic success of the participants. I have attached a copy of their newsletter for March. Really good stuff from a Staff that makes a difference every day!  –  ASP March Newsletter (pdf)

The Winters Public Works Department are the unsung heroes of our City organization. They are the ones who work behind the scenes making little things like the water and wastewater systems happen and keep certain areas of town from flooding! A couple highlights on recent accomplishments.

  • Robert Anderson is a Maintenance Worker II in our Wastewater Division. In the past 12 months, Bob has acquired 5 different water or wastewater certifications and is a Grade II Operator for our utility plants.
  • Ramiro Becerra is a Maintenance Worker II in our Water Division. Working with Maintenance Worker IV- Tony Luna, they are the ones who coordinate the delivery of water to everyone’s home and business. Both Ramiro and Tony have received their advanced water certifications to operate our facilities at the highest levels possible. They have really increased the sophistication of our Water Operations, insuring the safe and efficient delivery of water every day.
  • Jim Keating is the Manager and Operator of our Wastewater Systems. He has also recently received his Grade III Certification in Water Treatment. Jim is currently leading the research on water treatment to remove Chrome 6 from water and he will be an integral part of how we deal with this issue.

In Winters, the main emphasis I give to our Staff is that we need to be a reflection of what is clearly one of the best communities, anywhere. Winters is great, because the culture of people living here is made up of people who really care and are deeply invested in the outcomes.

This update does not include all of the projects we have in the works, but there are MANY. As City Manager, I am amazed at all of the things which are happening in Winters. The key ingredients for our organization are TEAMWORK and mostly HARD WORK. We really are blessed with people throughout the organization who really work hard to make things happen.

I can tell you that I feel I have the coolest job in the world being able to see quality people who step up and make things happen!

Finally, a couple reminders.

  • Calendar Girls continues this weekend at the Community Center Theatre.
  • Next Friday is the first Fourth Friday.
  • I heard Berryessa Brewing may be open on some or most Thursdays NOW!!! If I am wrong, you can buy me a beer there the next time I see you and let me know about it!

Have a nice, rainy weekend.

John


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