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.
• 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.
Contractors will be restoring the pathway from the Community Center to the Trestle Bridge, beginning Monday afternoon 2/1 through this week. As a result there will be no Pedestrian or Bicycle access to the Trestle Bridge during this week. Bicycles should use the new car bridge and pedestrians can use the new sidewalk on the Bridge.
Save Saturday, March 5, to do all of your tree shopping. The Winters Friends of the Library will be holding its annual tree sale in the parking lot on Railroad Avenue, from 9 am (members can enter at 8:30) until all the trees are sold, rain or shine. Bare root fruit and nut trees are $10 each and citrus are $25 each. Proceeds benefit the programs and collections at the Winters Library. Check the Friends website (wfol.org) near the end of February to see what varieties are available this year. To volunteer to help at the sale, call Jeff at 795-3617.
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.
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!!
Finally, congratulations to those being honored with the Year in Review dinner this weekend:
Have a nice weekend.
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!
Issued at: 5:10 am PST on January 19, 2016, expires at: 4:00 PM PST on January 19, 2016
The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued an Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for... southwestern Placer County in central California... Solano County in central California... San Joaquin County in central California... southwestern El Dorado County in northern California... southern Sutter County in central California... southwestern Tuolumne County in northern California... Amador County in northern California... Calaveras County in northern California... Sacramento County in central California... Yolo County in central California... Stanislaus County in central California...
until 400 PM PST Tuesday at 505 am PST...Doppler radar indicated moderate to heavy rain that will cause Urban and Small Stream flooding in the advisory area.
Areas of flooding will develop this morning along area creeks and small streams, as well as in urban areas as rain increases.
Morning commuters are advised to slow down! Allow extra time to reach your destination.
Be alert for mud and rock slides if driving in the foothills. Precautionary/preparedness actions... Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely. Move to higher ground.
Issued at: 3:30 am PST on January 19, 2016, expires at: 1:00 PM PST on January 19, 2016 ...Wind Advisory remains in effect from 6 am this morning to 1 PM PST this afternoon... timing...through early this afternoon.
Winds...south wind gusts 40 to 50 mph with locally higher gusts possible.
Impacts...possible power outages and tree damage. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Wind Advisory means that wind gusts of 40 mph or stronger are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for small cars and high profile vehicles. Use extra caution. Interact with US via social media www.Facebook.Com/NWS.Sacramento www.Twitter.Com/nwssacramento
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.
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!
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.
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