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Friday Update on Friday, July 20, 2018

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Friday Update on Friday, July 20, 2018


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.


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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


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.


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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


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.


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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


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.


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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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Park Playground Stage To Close for Rehearsals

Park Playground Stage To Close for Rehearsals

All other parts of the playground will be open when the Park Playground Stage is Closed Sun -Thurs from 6:30-9:30PM for next 4 weeks.

Winters Shakespeare Workshop teens will be rehearsing for the free public performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream July 20 and 21 at 8 PM on the park Playground Stage.

Rehearsals will begin Monday, June 25 through Thursday, July 19, 6:30 and 9:30PM, Sun-Thurs evenings only.

There are no rehearsals on Fridays or Saturdays, or on the 3rd and 4th of July Holidays.

During rehearsals, all other parts of the playground will be open as usual.

Stage areas will be taped, and public is invited to watch the play come together!

More information call 795-3476

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Friday Update on June 22 2018


A really big City Council Agenda, so I thought a Cliff’s Note Summary of some really important things which were covered is in order:

The consent calendar included:

  • The final map for Phase I of the Winters Highlands (now called Stone’s Throw) was approved. This includes the lot and subdivision which is recorded with Yolo County. The project has a development agreement and some of the provisions were modified to reflect some modifications to the conditions of approval in relation to public improvements and the timing of a number of things. The developer is also required to provide an irrevocable offer of dedication for all the the public improvements which includes the property, streets and various improvements being installed.
  • A contract with Vintage Paving was approved which will provide for street repairs to Edwards Street, East Main, Almond and Orchard Streets. The repairs will include spot repairs and paving.
  • An authorization was given for repairs to the Carter Ranch Sewer Lift Station to fix issues with the impellers and pumps in the well.
  • New salary ranges and revised job descriptions for City Employees were adopted.

The discussion agenda included five (5) public hearings and the City Budget.

The public hearings included and adopted the following:

  • The Yolo Habitat Conservation Program (HCP) and the Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) were adopted as part of the City’s participation in the Yolo Conservancy. In general, this is a 50 year plan to advance conservation of protected species and streamline mitigation programs for developers and the cities in Yolo County.
  • The establishment of a utility undergrounding district for Newt’s Expressway in the Downtown to deal with power and utility lines.
  • A hearing for all property owners to provide input in regards to weed abatement notices mailed within the past few weeks.
  • A zoning text amendment which allows existing/non-conforming properties which may encroach into setbacks to expand structures already in the setback which does not increase the current encroachment. This issue relates to many properties along Dry Creek which encroach into the top of the bank setback. In many cases, property owners can expand their homes “up” but not into the setback area.
  • The Callahan Estates Subdivision (now called “Heartland”) owned by Crowne Communities received approvals for their final map for Phase I, an amendment to the development agreement, an irrevocable offer of dedication for public improvements and the Public Improvement Agreement for the property. The amendment to the development agreement and the map involves turning one of three (3) small parcels designated as mini-parks into an additional buildable lot in exchange for a $90,000 toward park improvements.

Non-public hearing items included:

  • A review and adoption of an update to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan which covers the main processing facility for all wastewater. The City Council selected option 2A which will add a future 50 acre storage pond, increased recycling/re-use of water and the continuation of secondary level treatment. Part of the discussion included that the City consider addition recycling options which might include wetlands uses near the current facility.
  • A review of increased rates for both water and sewer. The City Council was presented with three (3) options, and selected the lowest rate increase available which would provide for a $8.41 increase per month in the first year and an additional $1.99 in the second year for a total monthly increase of $10.41 per month over two years. The City will mail notices to all customer by July for a public hearing on the rates in August. The Council also authorized the refinancing of water and sewer bonds to take advantage of improved interest rates and lower the overall cost of debt on the monthly rates.
  • The Fiscal Year 2018-19 and 2019-20 Budgets were adopted. These provide for General Fund Budgets of $5.6m and $5.9m in each of the fiscal years which go towards parks, public safety and general operations of the City. All funds including water, sewer, capital projects and the general fund will include spending of $11.9 in FY 2018-19 and $15.4m in 2019-20. The budget include capital projects for street repairs from SB 1 funds, the addition of an additional police officer in 2019-20 and the expansion of facilities at the wastewater treatment facility. Also included is funding toward the design of a new community center and a sports park which will be contingent on whether the WJUSD pursues an additional facilities bond in November 2018.

The Planning Commission has a number of items this week including site plan and design review for homes on Hemenway and Abbey Streets as well as consideration of the first five lots of the Olive Grove Subdivision. Also, brief updates on the food truck and Air BnB regulations will be presented.

Finally, the last official full City Council meeting for long time City Clerk and Director of Administrative Services Nanci Mills was on Tuesday. There are few in the history of Winters who have provided a steady and impactful influence on the administration of the City of Winters as Nanci has!

During her tenure, Nanci has worked with four (4) City Managers, almost 40 different City Council members and has attended more than 900 City Council Meetings. In her position of Director of Administrative Services, she has hired all City  employees for the last 32 years, coordinated all labor relations, managed all recreation programs and facilities and overseen both risk management and the City’s records management system. In the absence of the City Manager, she has routinely served as the Acting City Manager. Her service to the City has been stellar!

Nanci has played a significant role in practically every major initiative of the City. The renovation of City Hall, revitalization of Downtown, the new library and swimming pool, major upgrades in water and wastewater utilities, the construction of bridges and the restoration of Putah Creek. Internally, Winters administration is as modern and professional as any in the area. Regionally, Nanci has served as the chairperson of the Yolo Public Risk Management Authority and is viewed and respected as a key leader in covering the liability and interests of the County of Yolo and the cities and special districts.

Most importantly, Nanci has served as a steady influence on the tone and demeanor of how the City organization works with our constituents. Her focus on helping folks and customer service has defined City Hall as an important resource in aiding those who come seeking assistance. Her ethics and moral compass has provided supervision and mentorship to many who have worked for the City over the past four decades. Without question, she has put Winters and our service before her own interests over the years.

Nanci is an irreplaceable member of our staff. I will share that those who will take some of her responsibilities come into a well run and professional operation that will continue the legacy of quality and thoroughness which defines Nanci.

As she moves into her “next phase”, Nanci will always remain a member of the City family and her influence will remain for years to come. She has a beautiful family and is a true friend to so many. While we will dearly miss her but we will quietly celebrate for her in retirement.

Have a nice weekend!

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager

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06/22/18 Planning Commission Meeting

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Friday Update on June 15 2018


Lot’s happening and ramping up for a new fiscal year with many projects.

City Council Agendas:

June 19, 2018

  • Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision – Approval of Final Map #4507, Development Agreement and Conditions of Approval, Irrevocable Offer of Dedication of Right of Way and Public Utility Easement
  • Street Maintenance Agreement with Vintage Paving
  • Repairs to damaged impellers at Carter Ranch Lift Station
  • Labor Agreements (MOU’s), Job Descriptions, and Salary Schedules
  • Recognizing Rebecca Fridae for Serving 30 Years on the Yolo County Library Advisory Board on Behalf of the Winters Friends of the Library
  • Recognizing Nanci Mills for Serving 32 Years as City Clerk and Director of Administrative Services for the City of Winters
  • Adoption of Ordinance 2018-02 for Implementation of the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan  (HCP/NCCP)
  • Approval of Newt’s Expressway Rule 20A Utility Underground District
  • Public Hearing to receive Input from Specific Property Owners Regarding Implementation of Weed Abatement
  • Introduction of Ord. 2018-03 to Consider Various Zoning Text Amendments Regarding Properties along Dry Creek with Nonconforming Uses, Structures and Lots in regards to creek banks and setbacks.
  • Proposed First Amendment to the Amended and Restated Development Agreement and Amended Tentative Subdivision Map for Callahan Estates Subdivision
  • Public Improvement Agreement and Subdivision Final Map for Callahan Estates Phase 1
  • Draft Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan
  • 2018 Water and Sewer Rate Increase
  • Proposed 2018 Water and Sewer Revenue Refunding Bonds for the 2007 Financing
  • Adoption of the 2018-2019/2019-2020 Budget

July 17, 2018

  • Second Reading of the First Amendment to the Restated and Amended Development Agreement for Callahan Estates
  • Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy and Collection of Assessments within the City of Winters City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, FY 2018/2019
  • TEFRA Public Hearing to Approve the Conduit Financing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Affordable Housing Project
  • Debt Policy
  • Project Budget and Bid Authorization for Manual Bar Screen at Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Updates to Muni Code Related to Green Waste & Garbage Services
  • American Tower Lease update for the existing cellular tower along Putah Creek

Some notes on things happening in the City:

  • Election results from Yolo County Elections are delayed, thus certification of the June 5 Election will not come before the City Council until July 17, 2018.
  • Staff held a pre-construction meeting with the development team for the Olive Grove Subdivision in regards to utilities and major infrastructure. Look for that project to get moving.
  • The update to the City’s development Impact fees is moving along. Staff will be meeting with the consultant on the project and should receive an update within the coming weeks. Look for this to move forward this summer.
  • Things are extremely busy at the Community Pool. Lot’s of swim lessons and we have added two more slots into the previous schedule.
  • The Blue Mountain Terrace Affordable Senior Apartments Project is in negotiation with the developer. One part of the project will be for the City to “disencumber” (give back) a $1m grant to the State and for us to reapply for a higher amount of funding. The projected costs for the Senior Center are around $2m. The previous grant limit on capital construction was a maximum of $1m. The upcoming grant process will allow construction costs of up to $5m and there is no penalty if we give the current grant back.
  • City is working with a number of groups, including the Winters Joint Unified School District on a career academy and job readiness program for high school students, focusing on the hospitality industry.
  • Emergency Management Training for City Staff and volunteers will happen on June 27 at the Public Safety Facility.
  • The July 24 Planning Commission Meetingwill include a revised tentative map for the Creekside Estates Development and the Downtown Parking Plan,
  • The Parking Committee has met and developed a final draft of the Downtown Parking Master Plan. The plan is in the final stages of editing and will go to the Planning Commission on July 24.
  • Lot’s of project plans are under building review including Winters Healthcare Campus, Stone’s Throw and Heartland model homes.
  • Winters Police have responded to a rash of calls related to fights and other domestic disagreements. We suspect that heat and alcohol may be contributing factors.
  • Police will be working with the WJUSD on an active shooter simulation at one of the schools during the summer break.
  • Chief Miller will be participating in a “School Safety Meeting” with parents and administrators.
  • The prescriptive burning along Highway 128has concluded. We are hoping this will reduce the prospects for another summer of wildfires in our local hills.
  • Public Works repaired the damage to the median portion of the roundabout. We suspect the damage was vandalism and have established measures to hopefully prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Economic Development Committee will hold its first meeting on July 12, 2018 at City Hall beginning at 6:00.
  • The 2018 Management Internship Program is under way. Interns will be working on City Projects as well as getting exposure to outside agencies including Yolo County, LAFCO, Yolo Communications and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, ride alongs with the Police, drill nights with Winters Fire and inspections for both building and public works. A good group working on big projects.

The most controversial items on the upcoming agenda’s will be a discussion regarding water and sewer rates. Under considerations are increases in the $5-11 per month range for both bills. The call for an increase is simple, decreasing revenues are putting both utilities into the red.

The primary reason for the decrease in revenues is due to water conservation measures undertaken by the residents in response to the State of California’s mandatory 25% reduction in water use called for by the Governor and the Legislature during the drought. Our customers responded accordingly, reaching 30% reduction in water use when compared to pre-drought (2013) levels. The result of the conservation has significantly reduced water rate revenues to operate the system. More than 50% of the revenues for the Water Fund are based on volumetric (usage) portion of the water rate, which is comprised of a fixed fee based on the size of the water meter erving the property and a volumetric charge based upon the water used per month. The City’s current rate structure is generally allocated as follows- 40% Fixed/60% Volumetric Rate Revenue.

In June, 2018, the Legislature passed and the Governor has signed a bill making the conservation levels permanent and City revenue projections are tracking that the conservation will be sustained with the new regulations.

Similarly, the Sewer Fund also had a reduction in revenues. Like the water rates, the City’s sewer rate consists of a fixed monthly charge and a volumetric charge. Reduced water consumption has also resulted in reduced sewer revenues.

While water and sewer use has declined, the costs of operating the systems has only increased including electricity, maintenance, permits and personnel to operate the system leaving both funds unable to meet the cost of current year operations from current year revenues. Essentially both operations are running in a deficit position. The proposed increases are to the “fixed” portion of customer’s bills.  In 2007, the City issued bonds to do significant repairs on water and sewer lines throughout the City and the current revenues are positioning the City in a negative position to meet our bond debt service ratios which impacts the credit rating of the City and our ability to pay the financing costs.

Water and sewer bills are the toughest discussion within how the City does business. It hits literally every customer in the City. In this case, the cause is the State’s new conservation requirements and the worst part is, that it has the potential to get worse with the new regulations and building code requirements. The idea of paying more for a lot less does not sit well with anyone and we cannot agree more. The problem is we cannot just get rid of the operational aspects of the system, we need to pay the permits, electricity is constantly going up in cost and the cost of equipment just keeps going up and up.

The process for raising rates includes a mailer to all of our customers as required under Proposition 218.

VSRP: No data available
VSRP: No data available

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager

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06/19/18 City Council Meeting

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Friday Update on June 8 2018


A bunch of items:

Here are the items on the June 19, 2018 Preliminary City Council Agenda:

June 19, 2018 City Council Meeting

  • Irrevocable Offer of Dedication of Right of Way and Public Utility Easement for Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision
  • Final Map #4507 for Winters Highlands (Stone’s Throw) Phase 1 Subdivision
  • Adoption of the Ordinance for Implementation of the Yolo HCP/NCCP
  • American Tower Lease Extension
  • Certification of Election Results & Swearing in of New Council Members
  • Proclamation Recognizing Rebecca Fridae for Serving 30 Years on the Yolo County Library Advisory Board on Behalf of the Winters Friends of the Library
  • Public Hearing and Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy & Collection of Assessments for the City-Wide Maintenance Assessment District, FY 2018/2019
  • Public Hearing for Weed Abatement
  • Public Hearing and Approval of Newt’s Expressway Rule 20A Utility Underground District
  • Consideration of Ordinance Regarding the Expansion of a Non-Conforming Building or Structure
  • Callahan Estates First Amendment to the Restated and Amended Development Agreement, the Tentative Map Amendment, and the Phase 1 Final Map
  • Waste Water Master Plan
  • Water & Sewer Rates
  • Refunding of Water & Sewer Bonds
  • Adoption of the 2018-2019/2019-2020 Budget
  • Full and Part-Time Salary Schedules

Items from a couple of the City Departments:

Public Works:

  • Rehabbing the North field spray heads – one line that hasn’t been operational has been finished and underground lines are being repaired.
  • Well #2 rehab is on video and the efficiency test will be next.
  • A new electric car charger has been installed and bricks are being replaced around the flowerbeds at the Community Center
  • Landfill has raised tipping fees due to State regulations and Waste Management wants to raise rates but will be required to go through the Prop 218 notification requirements.
  • Met with Cal Trans to discuss the Active Transportation Program and the funding of overpass improvements and the potential funding of projects along Grant Ave, including a second roundabout.
  • Planning: Received an e-mail of interest from Dutch Bros.


  • Posted three stop-work notices over the weekend.
  • Will be doing the first under floor inspection at Chevron and will schedule a pre-construction meeting with the general contractor.
  • Winters Healthcare re-submitted their plans yesterday.
  • Received complaints regarding an on-going yard sale on Emery Street.


  • Chief Miller is at Command College this week.
  • Cueto is attending critical incident training.
  • The department will be undergoing range qualifications.
  • There was a good police presence at graduation last week.
  • Gonzalez, McCoy & Ferguson attended a report writing demo.
  • New YECA dispatchers recently toured the facility.
  • Winters and Woodland Police Departments are two of the first agencies in the State to have dispatchers go on a ride-along with officers.  The officers will also sit in with the dispatchers.
  • Structure on Wolfskill has been red-tagged, which gives City representatives the right to go in unannounced.
  • There is a homeless population down in the creek.  While walking the creek from Wolfskill to I-505, 6 camps were found with multiple people in each camp.  Advised those folks to pack up and move elsewhere.


  • An 83-year old hiker was rescued  in Cold Canyon via helicopter.  There is currently signage on the trail about fatigue, and the question of establishing a rescue fee for these types of rescues came up again.  The trail is technically on the Solano County side and falls under the Vacaville Fire Agency, but Winters F.D. is normally called because we are more familiar with the trail and its terrain. It was 96 degrees up on the trail and none of the hikers had water with them!
  • Received paperwork for fireworks on July 3rd and will put together a plan to cover the event.
  • Will be conducting two training burns, one being on the Hwy. 128 corridor.
  • Ignitions class burned off 15 acres on Wednesday.’
  • Putting together job description for seasonal firefighters as we are expected to lose 12-15 firefighters to Cal Fire.

Monday will begin the City’s 2018 Intern Program with three graduate level students in the program. Lot’s of assignments will be worked on over the summer, including:

  • Comprehensive Affordable Housing Report-This will include an inventory of all affordable housing in the City, mapping, an issues review of housing issues both within the City and throughout the State and finally an opportunities/constraints analysis which will evaluate both Federal and State legislation, financing and initiatives.
  • General Plan Sustainability Element-Working on the development of a new “General Plan Element” on sustainability topics and policies including energy, air quality, recycling, transportation and housing. This will include both policy and implementation program development. (Group Project)
  • Economic Development issues including our Ag Economy, Economic Contacts and Programs in the regions and a summary of the Brookings Report Study on the Sacramento Regions strengths and weaknesses.
  • Police projects will include a Creek Nuisance ordinance and dealing with property owners, False Alarm Ordinance, Parking fines update, Emergency Business Contacts Update and a grant proposal for a mobile field force grant.
  • Planning projects will include Air BnB regulations, Food Trucks and a review of transit alternatives through YCTD in Winters.
  • Public Works will include inventory and GIS coordination of City assets, Wastewater System Maintenance Program, Climate Action Plan and new State Water Conservation Regulations which will limit water consumption starting in 2020.
  • Emergency Services basic training for both Federal and State programs.
  • Fire will include an update to the Active 911 Program, Pre Plan Survey’s of Commercial structures and Lexipol Policy implementation.
  • In Financial Management, Interns will be generating Pension Rate Sheet Analysis, doing a business license survey of the region and the development of a template for our Annual Impact Fee Report.

Finally, our local elections are completed with the retention of the three incumbent Council Members and the passage of Measure G which makes the City Clerk and City Treasurer appointed position.

A common question asked by a lot of folks is “what does it entail being on the City Council?” The answer is revealed each City Council Meeting during the Council Comments section.

About 7 years ago, the City Council began going through their calendars and announcing their appointments and meetings which have occurred between each City Council Meeting. They report out their attendance at City events, Board and Commission Meetings, State-wide events, educational seminars and even their individual meetings with Staff and the City Manager. Each will recite the number of commitments required often without any explanation of their need for preparation, exhaustive reading and follow up with the staff from the outside agencies for which they represent the City. The typical member probably describes a minimum of 12-20 meetings and obligations each month, depending on the season. This is done for transparency and disclosure.

In a small town, the participation and due diligence of the City Council is a critical role. On major issues like the Yolo Conservancy Plan, they are often required to read thousands of pages of narrative and technical reports before attending 3-4 hour meetings with more homework following that meeting. Representation is critical, because their votes and attention to detail can represent thousands and at times, millions of dollars to the City.

The reporting out also understates their own personal knowledge which is required to be on the City Council. “Getting up to speed” on issues, especially land use can take years! “Routine” items like understanding the City-wide assessment district, the City’s debt limit report (Gann Limit), Weed Abatement Ordinance are no simple tasks. These folks work hard at what they do.

Mostly, being on the Council takes a pretty firm commitment to becoming a knowledgeable representative of the entire community and making votes and decisions which represent a very long view for City residents. When the Council votes, we often remind them that they don’t represent just the folks who show up at the meeting, they represent every resident and business member not in the room, which can make for a very unpleasant evening on controversial issues.

Winters has been blessed with City Council members who really care and take their roles seriously. They evolve into visionaries, seeking to make an impact both within and beyond the City’s borders. They have made Winters a regional “leader” on many issues, taking the local community interests and values and translating those regionally. They “represent” and extend the reputation of Winters in how they conduct themselves and ultimately, they are the one’s “at the table” when it is time for allocations of funding for City needs with their influence making the difference in how monies are distributed.

The City Council are developing and cultivating future leaders in a very unselfish manner. They develop opportunities for folks to “engage” with the City on committees like the Parking , Hispanic Advisory and  Economic Development Committee’s. Eventually folks rise to appointments on the Planning Commission which is a strong foundation for moving to higher levels.

I genuinely feel blessed with those I have worked with. Dedicated folks, who generously commit themselves (hundreds if not thousands of hours annually) to representing our community and take on leadership roles which eventually evolves into becoming mentors and cultivators of future leaders.

Have a nice weekend.



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