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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update on March 4 2016

All,

 A lot going on and a super busy week:

 ·         A reminder that the Winters Friends of the Library WFoL will be holding their annual fruit tree sale this Saturday, March 5 on Railroad Ave across from the post office. Members get in at 8:30 and non-members get in at 9. The bare root trees are of extremely high quality and are a bargain at $10. I have 10 in my yard and relish the return on my investment almost every day with fruit smoothies and jams!

·         Congratulations to Officer Jose Hermosillo who was named the 2016 Officer of the Year for the Winters Police Department. Jose has done an outstanding job representing the Department in the community and was recently given an acting promotion to Corporal within the Winters PD.

·         The City Council approved moving forward on some potential Cap and Trade Grant Funds for Senior Transit Services, so stay tuned on seeing if we cannot get funding for a dial a ride system in town.

·         5 more building permits were issued for the Winters Ranch Subdivision and we expect more next week. Those houses are selling really well!

·         Winters Fire Personnel just returned from haz mat and terrorism training in Alabama. It is amazing how times are evolving to where even small town departments are getting training is these types of issues. Expect a presentation before the City Council on what was learned.

·         The Bureau of Reclamation has rejected bids from companies who bid on the recently released prospectus to manage sites up at the lake. This is a major setback to almost 4 years of recent planning and the almost 12 years since BOR shut down most of the resorts at Lake Berryessa. A very sad and solemn meeting was held on Wednesday at the Spanish Flat Senior Center. Go to Save Lake Berryessa 2016 on Facebook to follow efforts to revitalize the Lake or try the Bureau of Reclamation website by clicking HERE

·         The drill rig in the north part of the City is probing for Water Well #8 in support of the Winters Highlands Subdivision.

·         Look for the final design items on the Downtown Hotel to be on the Planning Commission in April.

·         The Police Department has two programs they are advertising. The first is a Citizen’s Academy (Click HERE) and the other is a advertisement for police volunteers (click HERE). This is an exciting time for the Winters Police Department, so spread the word on both of these.

·         The Adult Lap Swim has opened a month early at the Bobbie Greenwood Swimming Pool from 6:30-8:00 Monday through Friday and 9-10:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Time to stretch into that swimsuit and get into summer shape early.

·         Congrats to the Winters High School Varsity Girls Soccer on their third consecutive Northern Section Championship by defeating Pierce High School in Arbuckle last weekend. We are really proud of our athletes for their hard work and determination in getting that third section title!

 Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on February 26 2016

All,

 A couple items:

 ·   We have gotten a number of inquiries on issues regarding Highway 128 design elements and what types of planning has occurred for the area. Since 2010, a lot of work has gone into what is going on along the Grant Avenue Corridor. The roadway is governed by a comprehensive planning document called the “Complete Streets Plan” click HERE for a link. The entire area is governed by the Grant Avenue Design Guidelines click HERE to check those out.

·  To get information on all of the major projects happening in Winters, click HERE to go to our major projects page on our website. It is really impressive!!!

·  City Council Agenda for Tuesday has a bunch of items including Marijuana, Blue Mountain Terrace Apartment Funding, a Water Fountain for Downtown, Engineering Services RFQ, Waste Management Contract, a Senior Tranisit Grant Proposal, a Public Improvement Agreement for the Yolo Federal Credit Union Project, the Swearing in of a new Police Officer and Recognition of Nanci Mills for 30 years of service.

·  The Waste Management Proposal includes a recommended change to our green waste program, The plan calls for containerized green waste two weeks out of the month and street pick-up once a month. Residents can get 2- 96 gallon containers at the price for one at the beginning rate.

·  A big congratulations to Yolo Credit Union on their groundbreaking. A nice ceremony for an important project which has been in the works for years!

·  The Winters High School Girls Varsity Soccer will go for their third consecutive Northern Setion Soccer Championship this Saturday at Pierce High School in Arbuckle starting at 12:00. An easy drive to root on our Lady Warriors to victory!

 Finally,

The City Council will be recognizing Director of Administrative Services and City Clerk Nanci Mills at the meeting this Tuesday for 30 years of service to the City of Winters. This will be a very well deserved recognition for someone who has been  a very important part of the City for all these years.

I often describe Nanci as the “cornerstone” of our organization. She has coordinated everything from our personnel and risk management operations to recreation, After School Programs and is a key part of the overall management team. She has worked for 4 different City Managers and 30 years of City Councilmembers, Treasurers, Planning Commissioners and others. Her role in the planning and stability of the City is second to none. She serves as “Acting City Manager” when I am away and is someone who can be counted on for watching after the best interest of the City always.

 Nanci and Dave Mills have raised their kids here in Winters, Dave has his real estate business here,  and both were active in all facets of the town from AYSO Soccer to the Chamber, Rotary, our ag economy and many other activities. Dave and Nanci were the organizers for the Rotary Wine and Food Jubilee for years and helped generate the funds which created the Winters Rotary Foundation. Their generosity and contributions are un-paralleld.

 Most of all, Nanci is without question an incredible representative for Winters throughout the region and within the City. She represents us on many boards and committees and is the consummate professional. At City Hall, she has been the core at bringing outstanding customer service to our residents and a genuinely kind heart when people come looking for assistance.

 A big congratulations to Nanci for 30 years. The City is blessed to have her service and hope she will stick around for another 30 more!! J

 Have a nice weekend.

 John

 Finally,

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
City of Winters
318 First Street
Winters, CA 95694
(530) 794-6710 (direct line)
(530) 795-4935 Fax


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Friday Update on February 19 2016

All,

Lot’s going on this week.

  • The Fish Fry is tonight at the Fire Station starting at 5:00. My best recommendation is to get there early (5) or after 6:30. This event is a Winters institution and something not to be missed!
  • The Winters Joint Unified School District is doing an important survey for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), an extensive survey process to all stakeholders on how the WJUSD is meeting the needs of students and community.  Online surveys are be available to all community members at wintersjusd.org beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2016 and ending Monday, February 22, 2016. Take 5 minutes and do the survey!
  • City staff is kicking in efforts on addressing the new State mandates on Chromium 6. The City Council approved a $128,000 contract for consulting services (about $60 per customer) and meetings will begin next week.
  • The City is looking at other water options, including finding surface water and even the possibility of building reservoirs in the area for storage and use. The insanity of the State of California on this issue is monumental and expensive!
  • On Thursday, a group including the Chamber, Solano Water, Bureau of Reclamation representing Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek Council and Solano RCD convened a meeting on creating a Winters Salmon Festival. The tentative dates will be November 1-5. Stay tuned!!
  • City Staff is working with the WJUSD on replacing sidewalks near Wolfskill/Clayton School on third street.
  • The City Staff is beginning draft departmental budgets for the coming 2 fiscal years.
  • The City currently has four websites we maintain including the City website, Winters Police, Winters Fire and Discover Winters. We also have Facebook pages for City, Police and Fire as well as Twitter for the City. We are working on coordinating strategies for additional outreach and continuity for our internet and social media programs to enhance information and transparency. This is a work in progress with many issues to deal with.
  • Staff will be meeting with Urban Community Partners regarding the Downtown Railroad Property and potential development.
  • A new Police Officer will be sworn in at the March 1 City Council Meeting. The persons name is AJ Whipple who has local family and roots.
  • Winters Fire and regional response agencies held a series of training drills at the Monticello Dam. From confined space to rappelling exercises and helicopter rescues, the agencies trained with a wide variety of resources and issues. It is nice to see our department taking the lead in these types of activities.
  • Fourth Friday events in Downtown will start on March 25. City Staff will be working with the Chamber on the expansion of lighting across Main Street and better coordination on electrical use and trash. These events have become a real signature for our community and a win for all who participate.

Finally, a couple more reminders:

  • Winters Friends of the Library Quiz Show is Friday, February 26. If you are interested in entering a team, contact Citizen of the Year Rebecca Fridae at 795-4600 to enter a team.
  • The WFoL Fruit Tree sale is on March 5 starting at 9:00 on Railroad Ave. The trees go fast so get there early!!

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on President’s Day February 15 2016

All,

I have been in Mexico for the past two weeks but have some dates to try to get out to everyone as reminders.

  • Winters Music Boosters are sponsoring Harmony from the Heart, an a cappella performance with appetizers, drinks, desserts and a silent auction. The event will be this Saturday, February 20th from 7010 at the Community Center. Tickets are $25 pre sale (available at Ace) or $35 at the door.
  • Winters Fire is holding the Fish Fry this Friday, February 19. Tickets available at the PSF Police Department reception window.  The Fish Fry is Friday, February 19th, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Tickets are $15/Adult and $6/Child (under 6 years free).  If you plan to attend, buy your tickets before the event!  Adult prices will be $20 at the door.
  • This year’s Quiz Show, the Winters Friends of the Library trivia-contest fundraiser, is set for Friday evening, February 26th at 7:00 pm at the Community Center. Teams compete in answering questions from a variety of categories ranging from science and nature to geography, to Winters trivia. The winning team earns a $200 prize and the team members’ names included on the Quiz Show trophy. Contact Rebecca at 795-4600 to reserve a team space.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on Tuesday February 2 2016

All,

I am in meetings the rest of the week, so a couple really quick but important items.

• A big congratulations to some of our Police Officers who have received acting promotions to work with Chief Joe Kriens in the transition as we bring in a new Chief. Albert Ramos and Jeremy Warren received acting promotions to the rank of sergeant and Jose Hermosillo and Gordon Brown received acting promotions to Corporal. These officers will be working with Chief Kriens to move a number of key initiatives forward in laying the groundwork for the next Chief. They were selected based on the interest and leadership potential as we begin a new era for the Winters Police Department. A big congratulations to these officers!
• The Planning Commission and City Council held a workshop to consider an update of City ordinances related to commercial cultivation of marijuana in town. The update affects commercial cultivation only and will move to the City Council for consideration on February 16.

This week I am plugging for two of our really great organizations in town- the Winters Friends of the Library and the Winters Senior Foundation.

• Another great reason to join the Winters Friends of the Library. Jenna Moser from our Planning Division is the new Secretary to WFoL and is promoting these new discount cards. New benefits to membership in WFoL with the cards in 2016 include some really cool stuff. Members are now entitled to exclusive discounts and promotions thanks to the Winters business community. Discounts will revolve and currently include 10% off a purchase of $20 or more of regular priced merchandise at Pacific Ace Hardware, special discounts at Anytime Fitness, 15% off your total bill at the Buckhorn, discounts at Preserve Public House, double stamp at the Scoop on your frequent buyer card, 10% off 1 panini or wrap at Steady Eddy’s Coffeehouse, 10% off your purchase at Turkovich Family Wines, and $5 off the Winters Healthcare Foundation Cookbook by Ana Kormos. These local businesses have shown their commitment to Winters and community literacy by supporting the Winters Friends of the Library. You’ll need to show your membership card in order to receive the discounts.

Join WFoL today at: http://wfol.org/join/ Online registration is available, or contact Karla Knabke, chair of the membership committee at 530-795-2042. WFol has donated over $200,000 to the Winters Library, provided over 800 books to families with the Books for Babies program, presented 80 free summer concerts with more than 60 bands, 19 years of Family Holiday Festivals, supported thousands of extended library hours, and soon the Winters Library will become a 10GB library with improved high speed internet access. 79% of Winters residents have library cards, the Winters library clocks in over 100,000 visits annually, and over 17,000 internet sessions have been logged on 14 public terminals

• WFOL Tree Sale The Winters Friends of the Library will hold the annual Fruit Tree Sale on Saturday, March 5th from 9 am until the trees are sold out. WFOL members will be allowed early entrance at 8:30, bring your new membership card or you can join at the door. The sale will be held in the parking lot on Railroad Avenue in downtown Winters between Baker and Edwards Streets. Bare root trees are $10 each and citrus trees are $25 each. The bare root trees are donated by Sierra Gold Nursery, and the citrus trees are donated by Four Winds Growers, Winters. Proceeds will be used to benefit programs of the Winters Library and to expand the library collections. For more information please call 530-795-3617.
• Quiz Show Friday Feb 26th Come and join the fun, if you like trivia, or enjoy the excitement of a good competition, save the date, and gather a group together to compete in this exciting fund-raising event for the library. Teams of five will pay a $100 entrance fee and will compete in three rounds of trivia questions to claim the trophy with the title of Trivia Quiz Champion of Winters, and a $200 cash prize. Teams may be sponsored by civic organizations such as Soroptomists, businesses such as Main Street Cellars, or formed from a group of friends with eclectic minds. WFoL will be sponsoring student-only teams. People not part of a ready-made team may sign up for a fee of $20, and form teams of interested individuals.
• Those wishing to be a part of the excitement, but not be on a team are welcome to come watch the fun for an entrance donation. Refreshments will be sold.
• Entrance forms and a list of rules and procedures are available at the library. All entries and fees are due by Wednesday, February 18th. Teams may also register at the door for an extra charge of $20, if all tables are not filled. There is a ten team limit due to space. If you would like more information about the Quiz Show, please call Rebecca Fridae at 795-4600.

Seniors:

• There is still room on the Seniors Reno Train Trip and Harrahs Casino: Winters Senior Foundation are planning a Reno gambling and party trip for March 16/17. The trip will include a train trip from Davis and a nights stay at Harrah’s Reno. The train trip will be $79.90 pp and the hotel room (double occupancy) is $81.96. This sounds like a really fun trip! If you are interested in going, Click HERE to email Joe Tramontana and let him know your interest. They need a minimum of 10 rooms to make the deal happen, so contact him soon.

Have a good week.

John


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Friday Update on January 29 2016

All,

This week, the Department Heads and key personnel for each division met to begin discussions on the development of the upcoming City Budget. We will put together a two fiscal year spending plan beginning in late February. My direction to the staff is a very cautious message that revenues will not see significant increases until early 2018, so the theme of these budgets will be “meat and potatoes” (let’s stick to basics)!

Here is a listing of the key items which came from the meeting and will be happening over the next two years.

  • Hexavalent Chromium 6: Changes in State Guidelines on acceptable levels of naturally occurring Chromium 6 will put the City on course to the largest capital expenditure and operations expansion in the City’s history. Essentially, we will be required to re-engineer our drinking water system to add a treatment operation which will include the re-routing of lines, development of storage and treatment. The impacts to water bills will be significant and costly, hitting low income and seniors really hard. Our battle cry as mobs show up at the City Council meetings will be “no the water quality has not changed, just the State of California regulation”. Stay tuned, it is going to get really ugly at some point! L
  • General Plan Update: The City’s General Plan sunsets in 2018 and we will need to do some updating of various “elements” to remain compliant with State planning guidelines. The overall plan is not in bad shape, with most of our key “elements” (Housing, Water, Sewer, Wastewater, Circulation) having been updated in the past few years and they are current. The City most likely will be considering an annexation request for acreage to the north which may soften the blow. In the meantime, we may need to dig up $500k which we do not really have at this point.
  • Community Center Planning: The next BIG project for the City will include looking toward a new Community Center and Theatre for Downtown (probably in the same location). It probably will not be build by 2018, but we need to start moving towards a project.
  • Well 8: Where does water come from???? From the tap, right!!!! Not really, it is pumped out of the ground and the need for additional well capacity may require a new well in the north area of the City. Watch for this!
  • Hotels: Yes, there is an s on the end of that. Look for the Downtown Hotel (which has begun) and a proposal for something out by the freeway. Timing will put the Downtown project way ahead of the freeway, but look for the City to go from zero to two during the next two years. Not a bad thing!!
  • PERS: Pension obligations will play an important role in our budget and financial planning. This is a reality of City business and something we will plan for and begin funding.
  • Fiscal Sustainability. The reality is that most of the current projects which are occurring will not bring revenue up ticks for the City until the first quarter of 2018. We will be re-working our fiscal and financial forecasting models and how we project revenues into the future. Nerds of the world can unite on this, we will be pulling out our notes from grad school and beginning to update our regression analysis and spreadsheet formula’s. It is going to get exciting around the computer, so stay tuned!!
  • Economic Development: The PG&E Project, hotels and infrastructure work will be catalysts to future economic activity on many levels. Look for a combination of staff, City Council and the business community to begin attracting job producing development to town.

The City will begin budget workshops with the City Council and the community beginning in March, so stay tuned.

Some good news on the Senior front!!

  • Key funding approvals for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments was approved this morning!! The project is a go and we should see movement, if not construction beginning in 2016. This is HUGE!! A big congratulations to our team on this led by Domus Development and our Economic Development and Housing Manager, Dan Maguire.
  • Winters Senior Foundation are planning a Reno gambling and party trip for March 16/17. The trip will include a train trip from Davis and a nights stay at Harrah’s Reno. The train trip will be $79.90 pp and the hotel room (double occupancy) is $81.96. This sounds like a really fun trip! If you are interested in going, Click HERE to email Joe Tramontana and let him know your interest. They need a minimum of 10 rooms to make the deal happen, so contact him soon.

Finally, congratulations to those being honored with the Year in Review dinner this weekend:

  • Rebecca and Woody Fridae- Citizens of the Year
  • Jill Aguiar- Theodore Winters Award
  • Barbara Greenwood- Senior Citizen of the Year
  • Rootstock- Chamber Business of the Year.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on January 22 2016

All,

Just a few items on a really rainy week.

• The Planning Commission will have two items, including an extension of the design review for the Downtown Hotel and design review for a home remodel on Almond Drive. The original design review on the hotel expires in the next 30 days and requires an extension.
• Lot’s of downed trees this week and our Public Works Crew did an awesome job. Tuesday morning saw 3 enormous trees fall on Grant Ave., Main St and Russell St. It is clear that some of the effects of the drought are catching up with these trees and causing them to fail. This is the third consecutive year where we have seen drought impacts on trees and it is tragic. Some of these are absolutely beautiful and tall. To see them just collapse is sad.
• Putah Creek is seeing some incredible surges of water and Dry Creek is not so dry. This is great news for the restoration work we have been doing. Saturation of the flood planes, the pushing of gravel into the river bottom and the cleaning of the banks is all good for the biology and ecology.

A quick bio on our interim Police Chief Joseph Kriens. Chief is a “retired chief” who has never really retired!

In total, Chief Kriens has about 37 years in law enforcement. He began his career and Concord as a police officer and moved to Sausalito PD where he eventually became its chief. He was later recruited to Novato where he was the Chief. In 2014, he “retired”, but he was immediately asked to take on the herculean task of being the Interim Chief in Vallejo during the bankruptcy and some pretty chaotic times. After 2 years, Vallejo recruited the Police Chief from neighboring Benicia and Joe was asked to be the Interim Chief there while they searched for a new Chief. He took about 6 months off and is now in Winters, where we are blessed with his extensive experience and perspective.

Chief Kriens brings not only an impressive background in law enforcement, but also some incredible credentials in fostering leadership and team building within organizations. His references call him a “cops cop” and you can tell that he loves what he does and is very good at it.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on January 15 2016

All,

Well, the City Hall Lottery Group did not win the Powerball Lotto so everyone showed up for work on Thursday. We will be hosting a gamblers anonymous group soon, so stay tuned.

A couple items this week in the update.….

· City Council Agenda for Tuesday has a bunch of items including Retail Tobacco Licensing, Inclusion of Vaper Products same as tobacco, hire of an executive search firm to assist in the hire of a new police chief, discussion of the Field and Pond Project on Road 29 and a proclamation recognizing recently retired police chief Sergio Gutierrez.

· The Parking Committee looking at Downtown issues met on Thursday. Some of the items they are developing include the development of a 5 and 10 year “parking plan” for Downtown, the scope of work to hire a parking consultant and working with the City on some short term improvements. This is a real dedicated group seeking both long and short term benefits to help the Downtown.

· The Putah Creek Car Bridge is entering the home stretch. Some of the last items include the installation of lights, detail work for some of the concrete, new sidewalks near the Trestle Bridge and completing roadway work on the south side of the bridge. Weather will mostly dictate completion at this point.

· A retirement dinner for retiring Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez is on Friday January 29, 2016 at the Public Safety Facility. If you are interested in attending, contact Karla.Ferguson@winterspolice.org . Cost is $20 per person and includes dinner and the gift.

Monday is a national holiday in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century. His message of freedom, equality and non-violence put him amongst the most influence people in the history of our great country. His ability to empower the masses, to speak for the common man and to create a peaceful revolution which dug at the core of hate, racial segregation and injustice which stained the basic principles upon which our nation was founded.

Some know that I attended Whittier College, a small liberal arts school in Southern California. The school was founded by the Friends Church (Quakers) and its foundational beliefs of pacifism, equality and their fervent support of abolition and the civil rights movement was rooted in the academic curriculum. While not religious, the foundational tenants of freedom, humanity and equality was an important thread of the basic education.

As Americans and Californian’s we are immensely blessed not only with the freedoms elicited in our laws, but the great minds and character which our citizens who contribute to making our nation great. From our founding fathers to people like Dr. King and Californians like Cesar Chavez, the many sacrifices and commitments to making our democracy and the American dream a reality are unequaled in human kind. We are not a perfect place, but the evolution of our freedom because of people like Dr. King should be celebrated.

Many will have Monday off, so in between the ski run or whatever you are doing, give a thought and a prayer of thanks for what Dr. King represents.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on January 8, 2016

All,

Happy New Year and 2016. I thought I would start the year will a preview of some of the coming BIG issues and the things we will be focusing on.

· City Budget- Staff has started working on our 2 year municipal budget which will cover the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Fiscal Years (the budget is really two one year budgets). In this, we will begin developing funding plans for coming major capital projects, service elements and overall spending in each of our water and sewer enterprises. Preliminary estimates of our revenues show that even with some of the big projects occurring in town, revenues will not begin to recur until 2018, so we will ease into any major spending until then. Look for budget workshops in the coming months, with adoption occurring either in May or June.

The municipal budget is THE main policy document and activity which the City Council does in defining the activities of the City. In December, the City Council gave me my performance evaluation. During my review, I ask for direction and priorities on the key activities which they want the City to focus on as I develop a proposed budget. Key elements (highly condensed) include pursuit of a new community center, economic development, sports park, senior services, broadband, streets and roads, support of the business community. Lots of other stuff which will be included and I will highlight in future updates.

· Chromium 6- The new State guidelines on Hexavalent Chromium 6 will represent one of the most significant capital and operational expenditures in the history of the City. Literally, the City will be required to re configure a considerable portion of our water system and add a treatment operation which will most likely surpass the cost of our existing operations. We are looking at significant increases in the cost of the water bills in town which may be unsustainable for many of our older and lower income residents. Stay tuned.
· Roundabout on Grant Ave./Walnut Lane- Caltrans gave us 11 pages of comments on this project and has totally blown the engineering design budget on this project. We are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel for a project which should have gone to construction two years ago. Plan on this going in 2016.
· Senior Housing and Senior Center- The 60 unit affordable senior project is in the last phases of financing and we anticipate seeing this project go to construction this year. Included in the project will be a senior citizens center. As the funding is completed, look for more information to come out.
· Construction- The PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center, Downtown Hotel, Winters Ranch Subdivision, Yolo Federal Credit Union are all in some phase of construction. These all will be a nice perk for the economy.
· Freeway Projects- Staff is anticipating projects moving along the freeway including a significant remodel to the Chevron, a major coffee retailer and possibly a hotel. The City did a considerable amount of planning, public hearings and outreach, but I still anticipate a little controversy. The goal of Staff will be to make sure the projects conform to the design guidelines and are well executed. The projects which we anticipate will require very few entitlements, mostly just site plan and design review. The height limits for the freeway zones are restrictive (30 feet), so we anticipate that they may ask for a plan development overlay to allow for a higher building height for the hotel (which will Staff would agree with to make a nicer product).

One of the key issues about the freeway projects has been the potential conflict with the Downtown and impacts on merchants. Based on our sales tax numbers, the reality is that the freeway businesses have actually added business revenue and we have not seen any major drop to any existing business revenues (except due to gas prices). I am prohibited from releaseing specific data on businesses by the State Board of Equalization, but we have generalized reports which confirm this. The proverb about the rising tide floating boats has been a reality in our recent economic revitalization.

· Marijuana- The State is enacting new laws and regulations regarding marijuana dispensaries in cities which will open up some conflicts which could pose issues. Look for the City Attorney to bring to the City Council some ordinance revisions to maintain our regulatory rights and jurisdiction in regards to dispensaries and the sale within Winters.

I won’t argue either side of the medicinal value of Marijuana but the growth and cultivation is a real issue in Winters. Under the law, persons with permits are allowed to grow and propagate a limited number plants on their private property. The reality is that during the prime growing periods, the plants become fragrant and they stink (hence “skunk weed”). We have visited a number of properties with neighbors growing marijuana and it is a genuine nuisance which needs to be dealt with. It is like having a neighbor with a bunch of pet skunks living next door and you cannot use your patio or go outside your home. Stay tuned, as we will be dealing with this subject.

· Putah Creek Restoration- Phase III of the Putah Creek project will be a hot topic in the coming months. Just so that everyone knows, I am good on stuffed beavers, beaver books, beaver pelts and traps, photoshop photo’s of me holding beavers and website locations to buy beaver products.

Get ready for a really good year in 2016!

John


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Friday Update on December 18, 2015

All,

Who can believe that Christmas is in one week. I am in complete denial! A couple items as we get ready to end the year.

  • Grading and earthwork for the Downtown Winters Hotel is being completed. Look for an official groundbreaking and the start of construction just after the first of the year. Construction plans are in plan check now and will be ready in early January.
  • The schedule has the Putah Creek Car Bridge being completed the second week of January. Cross your fingers!
  • The Parking Committee gave a really good report and update on their efforts to review issues in our downtown. Click HERE to watch a video of parking evolution during a busy Saturday night. It shows things coming to life. Kudos to Chris Turkovich, Gino Mediati, Sandy Vickrey and Devon Vickrey for their work on the report. Extremely well done.
  • Time to confirm and dispel some rumors. Yes, Chevron is looking to do a significant remodel/renovation (new store building and expansion of pumps); and Yes, a  major coffee chain is looking at locating at the freeway. No, the fast food chain with the golden arches has NOT brought in plans. Yes, a major hotel is considering a future move to Winters.
  • The Salmon count in our stretch of the creek has exceeded 500. Given the reports on issues with declining salmon in Northern California, it looks like we have done something special!
  • If you are worried about flooding from coming storms, sand and bags are available at the City Corporation Yard on East Street in the dead end. Come and help yourself but please take only what you need. If you need an entire pile of sand, get it from Winters Aggregate and not by taking our entire pile!
  • City Hall will be closed December 24-January 4.

No updates over the holiday week. I send this update to a lot of people. Many of you will put your out of office auto reply and when I send it, I will see 1,000 reply’s which ruins our server. Hence, look for a comprehensive update on everything happening the first week of January.

Merry Christmas to all and we will see most of you next year!   ~   John


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Friday Update on December 11 2015


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Friday Update on December 4, 2015

All,

A couple items as we roll into the holidays.

  • The Putah Creek Car Bridge will re-open to one way traffic on Monday. They will have one of those traffic lights to control traffic to allow both north and south traffic. The intersection of Russell Street and Railroad is now open.
  • Salmon are back in Putah Creek and it is absolutely magical. The many restoration projects are beginning to show results and the estimates are that we have in excess of 400 at last count spawning west of the trestle bridge. Click HERE for a view of the salmon from above the water and click HERE for a video below the water. Both are my amateur attempts at cinematography so forgive the quality.
  • Saturday is the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting and this year has a lighted Tractor Parade. The Parade begins at 5:30 and the tree lighting will follow. Kudo’s to the Chamber for their efforts and to Councilmember Wade Cowan and Kathy Cowan (and crew) for putting the lights on the tree and the candy canes throughout the town. Things look GREAT!!
  • With the upcoming retirement of our Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez, I will be assuming the City’s seat on the Yolo Emergency Communications Agency (YECA). They are the agency which provides 911 service to our community.
  • Saturday, the 2015 Downtown Piano will host its last concert behind the Community Center beginning at 3:00. Music and fun for the entire family. Following the concert, the piano will be dropped off the Trestle Bridge on to a pile of rocks to make way for the 2016 piano. Click HERE for a video of last years’ final piano concert and drop.
  • The Winters Fire Department’s Toys for Tots is going strong. They are seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys from the community. Drop off locations are around town and always at the Fire Station.

On a sobering and sad note this week is the terrorism which occurred in San Bernardino. Before coming to Winters, I lived and worked less than 5 minutes away from where this occurred. An absolutely senseless act which will affect hundreds of lives forever.

The San Bernardino first responders are no different than the staff we have working for the City of Winters in our public safety. Winters Police, Winters Fire, Yolo 911 and AMR Ambulance personnel are trained and operate no differently than those who responded in San Bernardino. They faced an unthinkable scenario on Wednesday and saved lives and potentially more bloodshed by acts of pure heroism. As a City Manager, the thoughts of these things happening on both large and small scales are what keep me awake nights. The task of keeping people safe and dealing with violence is a dangerous job and enough cannot be said for those who dedicate their lives to keeping all of us with a sense peace in our community.

Over the past 18 months, our Police personnel have been training in “active shooter” scenario’s and response. I can only pray that we will never have to use those skills for what is a horrific situation.

I feel privileged to know and work with the men and women who serve our public safety. We really count on them and they deserve our gratitude as they serve our communities.

Words are rather hollow, but the senseless acts of terrorists against innocent people throughout the world in numbing. Every reason why it is essential that we need to squeeze and love our families and friends a little more often, show kindness and appreciate the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world. Light a candle for the families and souls of those affected throughout the world by these senseless acts of violence and give thanks for those who have taken the challenge of protecting us. Most importantly, show more love and peace!

John


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Friday Update on Thursday November 19 2015

All,

This is the Thanksgiving Edition because I do not send one over the holiday.

Real brief points:

  • PG&E GOTTC permit application is in.
  • Downtown Hotel continues to grade and is looking good. We expect plans in the next few weeks.
  • Winters Ranch has 21 permits and probably wants more. That project is looking really good!
  • Yolo Credit Union plans for Grant Ave are in for plan check and permits!
  • Putah Creek Car Bridge opening has been delayed until December 3. I made the call on this with the bridge team to simply allow for the project to get done quicker. Safety, quality and efficiency all played critical roles in the decision to just allow them to work on the project through the holiday.
  • The brick work (most) and paving are completed on the car bridge and it looks great. They still have quite a bit of work to complete in front of the Community Center, but there is considerable progress.
  • The City has updated our website. There are still a number of things to be added and corrected. The information is there, we just need to work out some bugs!

Key projects to watch in 2016:

  • PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center
  • Winters Ranch Subdivision
  • Downtown Hotel.
  • Yolo Credit Union
  • Walnut Park
  • Walnut Lane/Grant Ave Roundabout
  • Freeway Projects
  • Much much more…….

There is sooo much to be thankful for during this holiday season.

Mostly, I am grateful for the wonderful community we live in! Winters is a little dysfunctional sometimes and we fight like extended family, but the reality is that we are a safe, vibrant town with nice neighbors and a lot of kindness and good will. We are all truly blessed!

I wish you an incredible Thanksgiving.  ~  John


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City Manager Update ~ 11/13/15

All,

• Lots of activity in the Building and Planning Departments with permits and projects activities. Winters Ranch pulled 6 more permits (21 total now), the Downtown Hotel grading has begun and we had a team in to discuss projects out by the freeway.
• The Putah Creek Car Bridge hit an important milestone with the intersection at Railroad and Russell St being poured in preparation for the bricks. The railings are scheduled to be poured next week and the bridge will be opened shortly thereafter.
• Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez has announced his retirement from the Winters PD after 23 years of service. The Chief began his career as a school resources officer and has served many capacities in the Department, including key roles in two recent murder investigations. We will be appointing an interim chief by January and will begin a recruitment after the first of the year. The realistic start for a new chief will be in the summer 2016.
• To keep up to date and see all of our major projects happening in town, click HERE and get a view of some of the really cool things going on.
• So what is happening with the Downtown Hotel and why the big hole in the ground. The project is in the “grading” phase which means they need to essentially excavate the property and bring the soil back in layers in order to achieve the desired compaction to meet building standards. Basically, they have excavated half of the lot and will put it back then they will do the other half and put it back. Easy!!
• An easy City Council Meeting this week with a contract extension for the Walnut Park Design, a refinancing agreement for the Winters I Apartments, a Notice of Completion for work with Vaca Valley Construction and minutes.
• Do not forget to vote for Winters High School by going to www.celebratemydrive.com and voting. It is super easy and they are in the running for $100,000.
• Winters made one of those “Top 100” lists as one of the 100 most Redneck cities in California! Click HERE for the list. Coming in ahead of us were those super oakie towns of Sausalito, Marina del Rey, Woodside, Capitola, Tiburon, Westlake Village, Pismo Beach, Emeryville and the super cow town- Indian Wells. Too funny.
• Congratulations to our Winters High Varsity Football team who won the Sacramento Valley League championship with a perfect 5-0 league record. They also secured the #1 seed in the NSCIF Div. IV playoffs and will Play Esparto this tonight at Dr. Sellars Field at 7:00.
• Tonight is the Friday the 13th Party at the Winters Express, now on Russell Street. Tonight is also Newts retirement as the worlds oldest paper boy! Go on buy, have a beer on Charley and find out what Newt’s plans are after the Express.

Finally a salute to our Veterans! Our nation and the world is grateful to the men and women who advance the cause of freedom and human rights throughout the world. Our nation is the greatest on earth because the men and women of our armed forces sacrifice so that other may live free. A very genuine thanks to all as we honor your service.

Go Warriors!

John


  • -

the State Farm Insurance Celebrate My Drive

All,

Winters High is in the running for $100,000 in the State Farm Insurance Celebrate My Drive safe driving challenge. The past two years, they have won $50K. Let’s support WHS, so please take 30 seconds and vote.

It is easy, click HERE and enter your e-mail and you have voted.

Go Warriors!!

John


  • -

City Manager Update – 11/6/15

All,

This was an absolutely awesome week for Winters! Lots of ground breaking and ribbon cutting to help shape what is to come in 2016.

· The PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Facility Groundbreaking on Monday was a momentous occasion. Click HERE to watch a video from PG&E. Just a very happy occasion after 2.5 years of hard work. Congratulations to all who participated in the process.
· The grading for the Downtown Hotel has begun! Look for a lot of activity to be happening for the next 16-18 months.
· On Thursday, the ribbon cutting occurred for the Winters Ranch Subdivision and the models are now open for view. The homes are beautiful and available for purchase. The homes will mostly likely sell quickly!! Click HERE for a link to the website on the project. The models will be open each weekend for public viewing.
· Monday marked a three week closure for the Putah Creek Car Bridge. Look for the bridge to re-open sometime around Thanksgiving.

This weekend is the Winters AYSO Regional Tournament. Come on out and see some awesome soccer all day Saturday.

Have a nice weekend. ~ John


  • -

PG&E Groundbreaking – Today

Everything is a go for the groundbreaking. The tent is up, the rain has stopped and things are looking really good.

A couple tips:

The shuttle will be available at the Community Center Parking Lot beginning at 9:30 and running until about 10:45. This is the best and easiest way to get out there.

Things will kick off at approximately 11:00 sharp! Everything is in an amazing tent. They have really gone the extra mile for this event.

The program begins at 11 and will end around 12. The food and celebration begins directly following.

See you there. ~ John


  • -

City Manager Update ~ 10/30/15

All,

Lots……………..

  • The PG&E Groundbreaking is this coming Monday, November 2, 2015 at 11:00. Below is the invite and all are encouraged to come!
  • The  Putah Creek Bridge Project crews are working on their last big push to complete the bridge and get the bridge open to traffic. In order to facilitate this process the bridge will be closed beginning Monday 11/2 at 9 am and will remain closed until approximately Sat. 11/21. Please use Putah Creek Road to Hwy 505 as a detour during this time. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation during these last few weeks as we work to complete the project before therains begin!
  • City Council Agenda has a couple items including the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Tractor Parade for Christmas, the second reading of ordinances for second units and home occupations and the inspection contract for the PG&E facility.
  • Construction on the Downtown Hotel has begun!!! Grading started this week and will proceed for the next few weeks. (It amazes me how much guys are intrigued to stand and stare at machinery in action!) Look for the project to get the site work done, then let the El Nino hit it and then the project will start coming out of the ground. This is getting exciting!
  • Congratulation to Yolo Housing who is celebrating their 65th Anniversary of providing quality public housing in Yolo and Solano Counties. Our Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry is the current Chair and Winters resident Lisa Baker is the Executive Director. El Rio Villa was the first housing project for Yolo Housing, so our community is an important part of their celebration and success.
  • Lisa Baker is an absolute star in Yolo County! Her efforts to re-establish Yolo Housing after a very controversial period has been an important success story. Yolo Housing through their staff and Board has become a nationally recognized Housing Agency and saying it has been a tough road is an absolute understatement.
  • The Winters Veterans of Foreign Wars will be holding a scholarship fundraising dinner on November 12 starting at 6:00 at Tomats Restaurant as a kickoff for the Holden Philbrook Memorial Scholarship. Holden was a Winters High Grad stationed in North Carolina with the Army when he died in a motorcycle accident. Funds from the dinner will go toward a scholarship which will be awarded at the 2016 graduation.
  • The Fire Departments Annual Shrimp Feed in support of Toys for Tots is on November 14 at 6:00 at the Fire Station. Go by the station for tickets!

Have a nice weekend. ~ John

PG&E Groundbreaking Invite (PDF)


  • -

City Manager Update ~ 10/24/15

All,
First, a couple reminders of things happening:
· The City and Waste Management will be holding a bulky item/e-waste/Household Hazardous Waste drop off this Saturday October 24 from 9-1 at the City Corp Yard on East Baker Street. Bring a utility bill or a picture ID with your address along with all your junk. Click HERE for the details.
· Tonight is the last Fourth Friday Feast in Downtown! It should be a beautiful evening to celebrate what is really cool about Winters and support our local merchants.
· The WJUSD is hosting a Vision/Mission Workshop on Monday, October 26, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM at the Margaret Parsons Community Room at the Winters Community Library. The Board and Interim Superintendent Todd Cutler have been working really hard to put together a positive direction for the District. This is a great opportunity to provide input into the future of our District.
· PG&E will be hosting the groundbreaking of the Gas Operations Technical Training Center on November 2 beginning at 11:00. Shuttle services will be available from the Community Center Parking Lot or you can drive out to the location at Grant Ave/505. It should be really good.

A couple more items:
· Construction (mostly earthwork) on the Downtown Hotel Winters will begin next week. The parking area across from City Hall will be Closed for most of the week. Look for this area to be mostly closed during the duration of the construction which will take the good part of 12-16 months. This is an infill project which needs a construction staging area and this is the most logical location.
· City Hall will be building an employee parking area in a lot adjacent to City Hall to take about 10 cars off of the street. Business employees are encouraged to park in either the Community Center, Railroad or along West Main Street near second street. In total, the walk from any of this parking adds up to about 1 city block to the furthest business. Try doing that in Sacramento, San Francisco or any larger city!
· The Putah Creek Car Bridge will see a two week closure from November 2-16 for the construction of the roadway. This will require detour via 505 as they install bricks and the roadway section.
· The Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartment Project cleared another financing hurdle this week and we are now looking for construction to begin in 2016.
· The Walnut Lane Roundabout actually got a response from Caltrans and we are now looking at a spring 2016 construction date. Because we are trying to work with Caltrans, who really knows!

Have a nice weekend. ~ John


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