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Friday Update on August 24, 2018

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Friday Update on August 24, 2018

All.

A couple items:

  • The Building Permitting Process will be a big focus on the September 4 City Council Meeting. Staff is working on a process for one day permitting for an extensive array of permits which will allow applicants and contractors to streamline the process for ease of application. The one day process will include both residential and commercial interior improvements, shade structures and minor additions, as well as photovoltaic systems. The Building Department is also looking online permitting as an option. Look for an extensive review in the agenda and at the meeting.
  • September 4 will have a presentation from the Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency with a Winters resident who was resuscitated in a recent medical aid by Winters Fire, Police and AMR Ambulance. This will be an amazing event!
  • Looks like the Winters Healtcare Facility and Campus on Grant Ave will begin construction around October 1. This will be an amazing addition to our community.
  • The Police Department will begin a warning system for RV’s and camping trailers beginning next week. As summer slips away, so should the campers to the storage yards and out of the streets.
  • The City’s Human Resources Office will be focusing on professional development programs for all City Staff. This will include thorough training program audits for staff, along with projections for required training over each fiscal year.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on August 17 2018

All,

The last few Fridays have been tough, so I apologize for no updates.

City Council Agenda for August 21, 2018

  • Public Hearing for Amended Tentative Map for Creekside Estates Subdivsion
  • Public Hearing for Prop. 218 Water & Sewer Rates– This will include recommendations on the adoption of new rates for residential and commercial customers.
  • Bond Issuance/Refunding– This will essentially refinance the 2007 bonds to a lower rate to reduce the financing costs and the impacts on rates.
  • Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Vector Control District Appointment– The recommendation is that Carol Scianna be appointed as an “Interim” Board Member to replace Greg Lanzaro who has served for the past 8 years.
  • Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) 50/50 Grant– this is a $5,000 grant to replace personal protective equipment including gloves, goggles, wild land gear.
  • WWTF Monitoring Services Agreement w/Luhdorff & Scalminini- This is the monitoring for the City’s wastewater treatment facility and groundwater protection.
  • WWTF South  Spray Field Repairs– This will replace sprinklers and water cannons which spray over the 200+ acres north of the City.
  • Carter Ranch Pump Station – Control Panel Upgrades
  • Amplified Sound Permit for the Festival de la Comunidad
  • Agreement Extensions for the Winters Highlands Phase 1 Subdivision– This includes extensions for projects already in progress including both the sewer and storm water lift stations.
  • Monitoring & Reporting Contract w/Wallace & Kuhl- This is for State required compliance monitoring at the former landfill on Moody Slough Road.

A couple other updates:

  • Things are moving rapidly toward the groundbreaking for the Fairfield Inn/Marriot Hotel next to I505. The developer is finalizing certain details and their engineering and building teams are lining things up.
  • Phase III of the Putah Creek realignment project is scheduled to begin the week of September 3.
  • The City Staff and Council will be working diligently on Animal Services including service levels and the development of a new Animal Shelter.
  • Look for the issuance of building permits for 13 homes in the Heartland (Callahan)subdivision in the next week.
  • Staff is working on a process to expedite one day issuance of building permits for standard construction projects. This will be on the September 4 City Council Meeting.
  • Staff participated in the “after action” re-cap for the County Fire and the Road 88 Fire. Key issued discussed were evacuation protocols and road closures. Overall, a good meeting!
  • Staff held a business owners meeting regarding the Food Truck Ordinance. A really good turnout and lots of input from businesses. Look for this to be before the Planning Commission in September.
  • Homelessness is an enormous issue in Yolo County. A coordination meeting was held in Woodland to begin coordinating efforts on a County-wide basis. In Winters, we have been dealing with folks camping in the creek. We will be coordinating with social services were applicable and doing code enforcement in some areas.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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City Council Meeting 08/21/18


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08/14/18 Planning Commission Meeting


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08/07/18 City Council Meeting


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Friday Update on Friday, July 27, 2018

All,

Just a few items this week:

  • A really good meeting of the Economic Development Advisory Committee. This weeks theme was “collaboration” and we had presentatitions from Celia Esposito Noy, President of Solano Community College and Robert Burress the President and CEO of the Solano Economic Development Corporation. The Committee went through a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analsysis of the Winters economy with a lot of interesting views. The next meeting will be August 9 with a theme on Future Development which will include presentations from LAFCO and north area landowners.
  • Winters Police and Fire, Yolo 911, in cooperation with the Winters JUSD held an“active shooter” training on Tuesday at Shirley Rominger Intermediate School. This was a full/functional drill with radio calls, shots fired and a combination of assailants, victims and even the press. Many thanks to the City and District personnel who participated in a drill which we hope we will never have to deal with in real life.
  • The Planning Commission met on some key items, and approved a revised map for the Creekside Estates Subdivision and held workshops on both Air BnB and Food Trucks. Look for policies on both the short term rentals and Food Trucks to come back at the August meetings.
  • The Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on the Downtown Parking Master Plan and will receive an overview report on the City’s General Plan on August 14.
  • Winters Fire on OES Truck 333 is on the Carr Fire in Redding.
  • If you have time, check out the new mural at Lorenzo’s Market. An amazing tribute to the greater Winters area. A special thanks to the Winters History Committee and the Participation Arts for their sponsorship.

Finally, this was a really good week for Winters Fire, Police and AMR ambulance in that we had a “field save” of a life of a Winters resident. The law prohibits release of details, but I can share with you that we responded to a situation where we brought someone back from death. A combination of quick action, support from a bystander and the absolute professional acumen of the Winters team realized someone coming back to life and consciousness in an ambulance on the way to a trauma center. Amazing!

Our entire public safety team is a group of professionals who stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice, arrive on a scene with very few details, assess a situation, then make instant and critical decisions on care to implement life saving procedures. In this case, their fast action, professionalism and training helped bring someone back to life.

We are blessed to have these hero’s amongst us who can do what they do. I tell folks that our public safety personnel get to see people in the worst and most critical moments of their lives. In many (and most), the results are not as positive and the staff are often burdened in dealing with those outcomes. In this case, they saved the life of a someone who we know is important to both family and friends.

I am really proud of our team and grateful that I get to work with such stellar members of the City team. Good job!!

John


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Friday Update on Friday, July 20, 2018

All,

A couple things this week:

  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 5:30 in the downstairs conference room at City Hall. The theme for this week will be “Collaboration” and the speakers will be representatives from the Solano Economic Development Corporation and Solano College. The session will also include a review of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis which is under way, along with a discussion of regional contacts for economic collaboration. This is going to be a really good meeting.
  • Street parking in town is limited to 72 continuous hours in any one location. In response to numerous complaints received city-wide, the Winters Police Department will begin proactively enforcing Municipal Code 10.16.050, which prohibits leaving unattached trailers on any street or alley for any period of time as well as parking any vehicle or recreational vehicle for more than (72) hour consecutive hours.

Citing and/or removing vehicles and unattached trailers pursuant to this section has historically been undertaken by the Police Department only in response to specific complaints. Unfortunately, the issues with these vehicles and trailers have increased around town and decreased the quality of life for many residents. In most cases, the Police Department will issue warnings to vehicles and trailers in violation of the Municipal Code prior to taking enforcement action. Vehicles that are clearly inoperable or have expired registration for more than 6 months may be towed immediately.

A permit can be obtained from the Winters Police Department to temporarily store a recreational vehicles or unattached trailer on the street for up to 5 days at a time. Please see Winters Municipal Code 10.16.270 “Exemptions—Issuance of permits,” the Winters Police Department website at http://www.winterspolice.org/records-services/, or call the Winters Police Department for further information.

  • The Planning Commission will have meetings on July 24 and August 14. On July 24, the Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the Creekside Estates Subdivision located on the corner of Grant Ave/Main Street. The Commission will also hold study sessions on Food Trucks and AirBnbs.
  • The August 14 Meeting will include a Public Hearing on a proposed Downtown Parking Master Plan and a presentation regarding the status of the City’s General Plan.
  • Staff is expecting a re-submittal of the plans for the proposed Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suiteswithin the next few weeks.
  • Homelessness is becoming a pervasive issue in Yolo County with impacts occurring county-wide, including in Winters. Look for an increased discussion by cities in the upcoming weeks and months. It’s a HUGE problem.
  • The Heartland Subdivision has paved a number of streets and is preparing for the construction of models. The project is starting to shape up!
  • Winters Police conducted a sweep of encampments in Putah Creek. A noticing procedure and trespass information is being provided to property owners along the creek.
  • The City Council has authorized the City Attorney to defend the City and respond to an suit brought against the City by the Friends of Putah Creek.

 

Finally, the City transitioned with the swearing in of recently elected City Council members and the selection of Bill Biasi as Mayor. Also sworn in were Tracy Jensen as City Clerk and Shelly Gunby as City Treasurer.

An issue covered in a couple letters to the editor, articles in the newspaper and on social media has been the passage of Measure G calling for the appointment of the City Clerk and Treasurer positions. A little more background:

Measure G was advanced under the notion that both the City Clerk and Treasurer positions had evolved into more professional and qualified positions versus purely representative positions. In order for the City Clerk to carry out the full range of duties, the person should become a certified municipal clerk requiring considerable advanced training and certification. Similarly, the City Treasurer requires professional training and acumen to fulfill the required duties and provide the necessary fiduciary financial responsibilities implied in the title and spirit of the position. Thus the concept of appointment of persons into these jobs has become necessary.

In 2004, the Department of Financial Management was established within the City based on the elevation of the complexity of many efforts being undertaken by the City. The City reformatted our financial management procedures, advanced the complexity of our budgeting and financial reporting along with preparation to issue debt financing for both redevelopment and water/sewer improvements. Part of the evaluation of the fiscal qualification of a community by rating agencies and underwriters is a consideration of the professional management structure of the City organization and the capacity of the financial management to fulfill long term obligations. Thus we created the Department of Financial Management which summarily absorbed the duties of the Treasurer.

The decision to move forward with Measure G was facilitated with the announced retirement of long time City Clerk. Nanci was the consummate professional and recognized the evolution of the position (she was a certified municipal clerk) and the importance of having a qualified professional in the position to protect the interests of the City. Because the duties of the Treasurer were now with the Department of Financial Management, it became only natural that we would advance a measure for the appointment of both.

Mike Sebastian who has served as the City Treasurer has provided incredible volunteer service to our community. The sole responsibility of his job the past 12 years has been that of an emergency check signer, a role he will continue to do. It is our full intent to recognize Mike’s service at an upcoming Council Meeting.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Planning Commission Meeting 07/24/18


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Request for Bid

The City of Winters is soliciting bids for the project titled: WWTF Influent Screening Improvements, Project No. 16‐03.
Bids will be received at the Office of the City Clerk of the City of Winters, in City Hall, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694 unit 2:00pm on August 14, 2018 at which time they will be publicly opened and read.
Click HERE for more info.


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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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07/17/18 City Council Meeting

  • 07/17/18 City Council Meeting (PDF): Agenda(Rev.) / Packet

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Friday Update on July 6 2018

All,

For the fifth year in a row, Winters witnessed a devastating wildfire which is close to 90,000 acres in size, the largest area we have experienced. This week was mostly dedicated to dealing with the ramifications of the County Fire and its impacts on the Greater Winters Area. The following is a synopsis and chronology of the events of the first couple days of the fire and some insight into our approach to response.

  • The actual fire began in Guinda on Saturday and quickly in the evening, we were being warned that conditions were ripe for a significant spread through the Capay Valley, into Indian Valley and along the ridge. By 4:00 on Saturday, we had “spotting” in key spots meaning the fire was headed south.
  • Sunday, July 1 9:00 a.m.- My phone starts blowing up with calls from the Fire Department, Yolo Office of Emergency Services and the Mass Care Coordinator for Yolo County.  By that morning, CalFire had already moved an “Incident Management Team” into Yolo County and was assembling at the Yolo Fairgrounds. By 9:00 am, we were given an estimate that the fire would possibly reach the outskirts of Golden Bear Estates and the Positas Road residential area. We were told that “mandatory evacuations” were being implemented with the prospect that the fire would reach the area within the next 6 hours. We were asked to activate our Emergency Operations Center and begin pushing information and notification to residents.
  • Sunday, July 1 9:30-Yolo County OES sent out a mass notification for key areas, including all properties “west of Road 89” from Madison to Winters. Unfortunately, the computer grab for the area included the City of Winters proper and more than half of the City residents were incorrectly notified to evacuate. We quickly worked to send a second call throughout the City cancelling the evacuation order and focusing it on the County areas outside the City and west of 87D.
  • By 10:30 we were setting up our EOC and many of our partners were arriving. The Yolo Sheriff’s Office arrived, City Staff, our Police and Fire Departments and our goal was to begin implementation of evacuation orders for Golden Bear and Positas.

Given that we have done evacuations and dealt with large fires previously, we knew we would run into some issues. First was skepticism from residents on evacuation. Golden Bear has about 50 residences and about 15 on Positas Rd. Over the past four previous events, the number of people actually evacuating has diminished significantly because of restrictions on re-entry even when the fire is out. People essentially choose to stay, which is their choice. We visited every residence in both locations with Sheriff Deputies.

  • By noon on Sunday, only a single confirmation of an evacuation had been confirmed from Golden Bear and 2 from Positas. The residents were staying put and we basically mapped the locations of those staying .

Our main goal at this point was to push information via our social media (mostly Facebook) and respond to “rumors” circulating about the fire. The Yolo Sheriff and OES did an amazing job of keeping the City in the loop on activities, as did the CalFire Incident Management Team. Regular briefings were scheduled we were represented at each.

  • We opened the Community Center as an “Information Center” to essentially gauge the evacuation of folks and to answer questions. No evacuees showed up but we did have some folks interested in coming in and talking about the fire. After 3 hours, we closed the Community Center and began directing persons needing shelter to the Esparto Boy Scout Cabin which had been set up as a shelter by the Yolo County Mass Care Coordinator. In total, only two people from the Capay Valley showed up for a single night.

Our experience with evacuations has taught us that most people are not interested in sleeping in a shelter. Many people have pets (which are typically prohibited) and most find a place to stay with friends. The Community Center does not have television, showers or internet which are now the basics of a good shelter. In the previous 4 years when we established shelters, we have never housed a single evacuee from Golden Bear or Positas. Most either do not evacuate or choose a hotel or stay with friends. The number one requested resource preferred during our previous evacuations was the availability and phone numbers for local hotels. Thus, when the evacuation order came forward, we immediately began calling hotels for availability and pushed that through our contacts and social media.

  • By the afternoon on Sunday, we closed the Community Center and made available the Boy Scout Cabin for persons changing their minds.

Some of the basic comments from folks was “why didn’t the City open a shelter”. The reason is rooted in our history of not having local evacuees and the amount of resources needed to staff a shelter. In this case, if we had requested the establishment of a shelter, they would have divided the resources from Esparto and sent them to Winters. In a shelter you also need to provide security and privacy. There is a system for persons coming to a shelter which is pretty labor intensive. Additionally, food, hygiene and things like television and internet are critical elements. Finally, we simply know our constituency for this situation.

In next weeks segment, I will cover the workings with CalFire and Incident Management Team 3.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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E. Main Street Pavement Improvements TODAY – Parking

We apologize for the lack of notification regarding the interruption of parking on E. Main St. businesses today.  The City had an opportunity to get some pavements improvements using SB1 funding (gas tax) completed and had a very short time frame for notifying those businesses that would be impacted such as The Clayground and Steady Eddy’s. We dropped the ball on getting the word out.  The work will be completed by 3pm today.

Again, our apologies for the disruption and lack of notice. The City completely supports our businesses and encourages locals and visitors to do the same. Parking is available in the lots west of these businesses and they are certainly open for business. 


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July 3 City Fireworks Show Cancelled

All,

With 44,000 acres burned, 3% containment (as of this morning), a mandatory evacuation in effect, poor air quality and smoke covering the town, we have made the decision to cancel the July 3 Fireworks Show. We will re-schedule for another date.

We also want to emphasize caution for all folks using fireworks during a very delicate time for our community.

John


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Friday Update on June 29 2018

Updates on some items before the Planning Commission on June 26 and upcoming City Council Meeting on July 17.

The Planning Commission considered design review and site plans for two properties and Phase I of the Olive Grove subdivision.

  • 800 Hemenway provides for a new 983 square foot single family residence on the property.
  • 508 Abbey includes a 933 square foot second story addition to the existing house.
  • The review for Olive Grove approved two separate plans for 5 homes on Hemenway Street. The plans include both single and two story residences.

The Planning Commission also heard updates on work being done regarding a new food truck ordinance and the creation of a regulatory framework for temporary rentals via Air BnB, VRBO and others. The Commission provide some really insightful input with both issues scheduled to come to their next meeting on July 24.

The July 17 City Council Meeting will have a pretty substantial agenda, including:

  • Certification of the June 5 Election Results which will include swearing in newly elected members.
  • Selection of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
  • Appointment and Swearing in of the City Clerk.
  • Recommendation on designation of City Treasurer.
  • Two Public Hearings including the Engineers Report for the City-wide Assessment District and a Tax Allocation Hearing regarding financing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Housing Project.
  • Second readings for ordinances related to  the Zoning Text Amendment regarding setbacks for non-conforming structures and the Callahan Estates Development Agreement which were heard on June 19.
  • Street Closure Request for the Earthquake Festival.
  • A revised fiscal policy regarding City debt.
  • Authorization for construction for a bar screen at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
  • Update on issues concerning City collected green waste and garbage services.
  • A revised lease agreement with American Tower Company for the cell tower located at the East Street Pump Station.
  • Appointment of a City representative to the Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management and Insurance Agency.
  • Designation of City Council voting member for the upcoming League of California Cities Annual Conference.
  • City Council liaison and committee assignments.

A couple of other notes:

  • Fees for trash service will increase based on the cost of living index starting July 1. The typical house will see their bill increase by about $2 per month.
  • Staff met with the City consultant on Senior Services and we expect that a report and recommendations will be coming by September.
  • The Police Canine Program is stalled and probably will be terminated, with funds raised being either returned to the major donors or transferred to the chaplaincy program and our K9- Kepi.
  • Fire and Police are working with other Yolo County public safety agencies on procedures for mass casualty incidents. A drill is scheduled for City personnel on July 24.
  • New body worn cameras for the Police Department will go into use in August.
  • Staff has submitted a grant application for funding toward a “refresh” of the City’s General Plan and the creation of a “sustainability element” to the Sacramento Council of Governments.

City Hall will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

Have a nice weekend.


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