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Friday Update on Friday the 13th of July 2018

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Friday Update on Friday the 13th of July 2018

All,

Happy Friday the 13th! A very busy City Council Agenda on July 17:

July 17, 2018

  • Second Reading of the First Amendment to the Restated and Amended Development Agreement for Callahan Estates
  • Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance 2018-03 Approving Various Zoning Text Amendments to Title 17 (Zoning Ordinance) Re: Non-Conforming Uses, Structures and Lots
  • Street Closure Requests for Earthquake Festival & Monthly Downtown Street Meat Event
  • Two Claims Against the City of Winters – Barbara Meyer and Maribel Alexis
  • East St. Pump Station – Control Panel Upgrades
  • Appointment of Primary and Alternate Representatives on the Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Agency (YCPARMIA)
  • Certify Election Results & Swear In Council Members
  • Resolutions to Appoint the Positions of City Clerk and City Treasurer
  • Designation of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore
  • Public Hearing and Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy and Collection of Assessments within the City of Winters City-Wide Maintenance Assessment Dist. FY 2018/2019
  • TEFRA Public Hearing to Approve the Conduit Financing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Affordable Housing Project
  • Debt Issuance and Management Policy
  • Wastewater Treatment Facility Influent Screening Improvements, Project No. 16-03
  • Updates to Winters Municipal Code Related to Green Waste & Garbage Services
  • Designation of a Voting Delegate and Alternates for the League of California Cities Annual Conference
  • City Council Liaison Assignments

For the “summer swoon”, lots of activities going on around the City.

  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee held an organizational meeting on July 12. We essentially reviewed information about the economics of the City, went over some key documents which affect the City and set future meetings. Beginning on July 26, the Committee will meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays beginning at 5:30 in the Downstairs Conference Room at City Hall. Good stuff!!
  • The City welcomed our new Human Resources Manager Crystal Zaragoza on Monday. Crystal will be managing the human resources, risk management, training and benefits for the City. Crystal and her family live in Winters.
  • The Police Department is dealing with a multitude of homeless and transiency issue in Putah Creek. The plan is to work with the property owners and the transients to determine a course of action. Issues include fires, trespassing, health and sanitation matters and dumping. This is not an easy situation and we will work to find some common ground.

This week, I received a bunch of questions from a resident in relation to the notice which was mailed this week on water and sewer rates. Some really good questions and my attempts at answering them. Here is the Q and A:

  1. Who is responsible for managing the day to day of the water/sewer utility and what is the structure of the management? Is it City of Winters public works? City Council? Do we contract it out to a management company? Is it a single person? Is there a board of directors?…
    • Answer: The utilities are City operated. In 2013, we brought wastewater services in house (from a private contractor) and saved a considerable amount. The City Council is the “Board of Directors” and it is City managed and operated.
  2. Is the utility run as a for profit entity or is the goal net zero revenues?
    • Answer: The City is non-profit and the system is built to charge the service rates along with capital replacement for infrastructure. We are prohibited by California laws to charge beyond the costs of providing the service.
  3. When was the last time Winters Water/Sewer ran a annual surplus and what was it?
    • Answer:  Typically, any surplus is directed back into the capital funds for repairs (thus lowering future costs). When there are deficits, funds have been taken with a reduction of capital funds. Any or all excess revenues must remain in the Water/Sewer enterprises, they cannot be directed to other services within the City. Both Propositions 218 and 26 strictly prohibit fees from becoming general use taxes. The enterprises are meant to only benefit the system for which the rates are paid.
  4. What was the reason for the bond in 2007?
    • Answer: Extensive repairs to both water and sewer infrastructure. Specifically, we re-lined almost 40% of the wastewater collection system, replaced 100 year old water lines, rehabilitated two water wells and did extensive repairs to the wastewater processing system.
  5. How many customers (parcels) does the utility currently have?
    • Answer: Approximately 2,000 customers.
  6. At the current water rates how many more customers would the utility need to meet its revenue requirements?
    • Answer: Rate projections are based on the existing number of customers. Spreading costs across a broader base would ultimately lower rate increases, especially on the “fixed” portion of the rate.
  7. Would it be possible to get a copy of the financial statements for the past 5 years for the utility? (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Statement of cash Flows)
    • Answer: Here is a link to the City’s comprehensive financial report which details the financial position of the utilities. Click HERE.  Go HERE for a link to a bunch of our online financial documents.
  8. As I understand it from the letter, the rate increase is required to keep the debt service coverage ratio in compliance with the terms of the bond and to fund current necessary capital infrastructure improvements and repairs. Is this a correct summary of the issue?
    • Answer: That is one of the key issues. The reduction in revenues has caused us not to be able to keep the debt service ratio of our bond covenants. The combination of costs along with lower water utilization (which means less revenue) is driving the deficits. It’s been 5 years since the last increases in utility rates and the proposed increases and refinancing of the existing bonds are meant to lower costs and a slight increase in revenues for the debt coverage and operations.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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