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Friday Update on May 8 2020

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Friday Update on May 8 2020

All,

Super busy week.  Here are some updates:

May 19, 2020- City Council Meeting

  • Weed Abatement Public Hearing
  • Resolution Initiating Proceedings for the Annual Levy and Collection of Assessments for the City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, Fiscal Year 2020/2021
  • Resolution Preliminarily Approving the Engineer’s Annual Levy Report and Declaring its Intention to Levy and Collect Annual Assessments and Providing Notice of Hearings Thereof for the City of Winters City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, Fiscal Year 2020/2021
  • Resolution for OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) Trust Set-Up
  • Authorization to Purchase New Radar Trailer for the Winters Police Department
  • Winters Highlands Ph. 2 Public Utility Easement

Other items and happenings:

  • Hotel Winters is expected to reopen on May 22. Book your nights at www.hotelwinters.com .
  • Look for the Walnut 10 Subdivision to go on the May 26, 2020 Planning Commission Meeting. Staff met with the applicant this week and it looks like it is ready for the scheduled public hearing.
  • The Regional Water Quality Control Board is asking for a review of our work plan for the evaluation of the former landfill property, testing and groundwater. This is a big deal if we are required to put an additional “cap” on the existing property.
  • Staff has been working with Napa County, the Bureau of Reclamation, two Congressional Offices and both of our State legislators to try and get Lake Berryessa opened back up. Everyone seems supportive but it seems like it is mired inside a faceless bureaucracy which does not seem to care they have put hundreds of people out of work and devastating local businesses.
  • Road and slurry work is commencing throughout the City. So far, no major issues. Look for stripping in a couple weeks which should look really nice.
  • On-line bill pay for utilities and permits is in the works. An evaluation is under way and staff will meet on it next week.
  • The Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Planning Group for the Covid 19 protocols has essentially been dissolved. The State of California will be determining protocols for business operations. I will share that many of us put a considerable amount of time working on this committee and its abrupt conclusion was kind of a shock. Looks like purview will be 100% with the State and the Board of Supervisors.

Finally, the Covid 19 pandemic has evolved into a seven (7) day work week. Working to somehow represent our business community within an almost faceless State bureaucracy and edicts which have shut down our economy is an amazing experience. If someone would have told me that the Governor could shut down the entire economy, determine “essential” and “non-essential” jobs, prevent small businesses from operating while allowing large corporate stores to freely operate I would have told them they were crazy!

This week I sat in a meeting where the Yolo County representative essentially described the need to watch the Governors “noon briefing” then follow him on twitter for the next hour in order to determine what State Policy was just seemed surreal. When “emergency powers” for the Governor were conceived I don’t think anyone imagined the ability to put millions of people out of work and essentially wipe out small businesses (the backbone of our nation) and essentially bankrupt most cities throughout the State. The idea that you cannot go to the dentist or get a haircut because the Governor says so is just unconceivable.

The original purpose of the “shelter in place” was to prevent a “massive surge on our healthcare system” and “prevent community transmission”. Now, hospitals sit mostly empty and are laying off employees including doctors and nurses because there is no work. They are hemorrhaging money with the end to regular healthcare. On Thursday the “new” reason for not allowing a resumption of the economy is the need for “herd immunity”, testing and a vaccine. The Governor set an almost unattainable standard by requiring 14 consecutive days without a Covid 19 death before a County can move to the “enhanced phase II”. In Yolo County, there have been 20 deaths with 16 attributable to a single convalescent home, 3 from travel and 1 from “community” transmission. I guess we all need to watch the Governors noon briefings and follow him on twitter to see if he changes his mind.

As a city manager, my biggest concerns are the unchecked powers the Governor seems to feel he now wields. Yesterday the State announced a swing from a $21 billion reserve to a $54B deficit for the upcoming State budget. Does this mean that the Governor can simply enact his own edicts without any checks on his decisions.

To help you decipher the news and statements going around, here are a few important phrases. If you hear the phrase “executive order” it means the Governor has singularly made the entire decision with no checks or balances. If you hear “alignment with the policies of the BAY AREA” it means strict governmental controls on business and behavior. If you hear “going Sutter or Yuba” it means lesser governmental control and a return to more normalcy. In almost 20 years of primary and higher education, the text books never said its supposed to work this way in a representative democracy.

We are going into week 10 of no dental work, haircuts, swimming pools, prohibitions on public gatherings, prohibitions on travel outside the County except for “essential” activities, small businesses, dining out or going to or watching a baseball game. And, we need to cover our faces everywhere!

Thanks,

John


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