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Friday Update on Good Friday 2016

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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