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Friday Update on October 27, 2017

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Friday Update on October 27, 2017


A couple items this week:

· Staff is working as diligently as possible to get the Main/Grant Traffic Signal turned on. We have hit a couple snags on the technology and the back-up power supplies. We are getting calls about the project and are doing all we can at this point to gain activation. Once allowed, we will be turning the light on versus the idea of a Stop sign at the location on the interim.
· A Parking Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 2 at 5:30 in the Downstairs Conference Room at City Hall. We will be reviewing the report and recommendations from our consultant Kimley Horn.
· The City Park Playground is open for unlimited use! If you have not seen it, please go see an amazing structure.

Finally, we certainly got panned in social media this week about the roundabout! Lots of feedback and opinions, suggestions and characterizations which are sometimes not as fair as they should be (my favorite was being compared to the guys from Dumb and Dumber- nice).

The roundabout is the result of literally years of considerations to meet Caltrans standards for level of service on Highway 128. Under the old model, we would be installing (and operating) numerous traffic signals, widening the roadway to four lanes and watching congestion increase. The roundabout provides the opportunity to keep the majority of 128 through town as two lanes, keep traffic flowing, slow traffic (without stopping) and keep the main thoroughfare through town attractive. To learn about the entire plan, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/GrantAveCompleteStreetsConceptPlan.pdf .

Have a nice weekend.


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Friday Update for October 20 2017


A couple items this week:

·         The City Council directed that administration for Winters Fire be done internally versus through the Fire Administration Services Agreement with the City of Dixon. In many ways, the Winters/Dixon Agreement has provided many benefits, mostly with the development of our staff in being ready to re-take the reins of running the department. I will be working on an overall transition strategy which I will share in the coming weeks!

·         Staff provided some of the final environmental review information for the Marriot Hotel financing folks and the project is expected to be funded and plans submitted in the near future. This is a critical project to support PG&E and our many visitors!

·         Downtown Hotel is expected to submit plans within the next few days to commence construction. Keeping our fingers crossed.

·         November 1 will be the start of salmon spawning in Putah Creek. The “boards” near the Sacramento Delta will be removed and we should see salmon begin the final migration into our creek. Last year, over 2000 salmon returned. It is amazing.

·         The Salmon Festival will be on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 11:00 to 4:00. Last years event was wonderful and this years event will hopefully see the arrival of the guests of honor in the creek.

·         Staff is hitting some bumps on the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project. Stay tuned……….

·         Last weeks disastrous fires in Napa and Sonoma had the City’s Emergency Management System ramping up. Behind the scenes, there was a ton happening, including contingencies for mass evacuations which would have sent a ton of people our way. I will share that we had business and property owners who helped the City immeasurably with our contingency planning in the event that we got slammed with thousands of Napa evacuees. A special recognition for the folks at Mariani Nut, Vintage Paving and the Dioscese of Sacramento who really stepped up in our preparedness efforts.

·         On a “tip”, we were contacted by local television crews about the “City Manager” cancelling the American Red Cross to set up an evacuation shelter last week. The answer to that question was yes for a number of important reasons: first, we were never requested to set up a shelter by any authorities from Solano or Napa and the request to the Red Cross was very premature; second, Yolo County OES and member cities have our own Mass Care and Shelter Division which we use versus the Red Cross; Third, an evacuation Shelter had already been established at Solano Community College for those being evacuated; fourth, a 3 minute drive around town found we had no evacuees in town in need of assistance; and finally, the idea that we would divert precious resources away from those in need would have been irresponsible. Given the massive fires in our hills the past 4 summers and local evacuations, we have become keenly aware of how to evacuate and care for people.

·         Emergency Management is a collaborative effort which often involves City, County and State Agencies. People often wonder how literally thousands of fire personnel “suddenly” appear for major fires or incidents. Its all based on a very well established network of agencies which have planned how response can occur and resources are allocated. No one agency can respond in comparison to many.

·         During our evaluation of evacuees, I ran into some folks who were evacuated from Lake Berryessa having dinner at the Round Table Pizza. I asked if they need help and the indicated they had just booked rooms at a hotel in Woodland. Nice folks in what had to be a horrible situation.

·         In the event of a disaster, the City of Winters, Winters Fire and Winters Police Facebook Pages will be our main source for pushing information. We will also partner with the Winters Express and their social media. To control “rumors” check our social media to get the real scoop!

·         To get text and call notification for disasters, emergencies and alerts sent directly to you, go to www.yolo-alert.org and register/download the alert app. Its actually pretty cool!

·         The Winters High Football Game versus Willows is a fundraiser to help those impacted by the fires in Napa and Sonoma. Donations will be taken at the gate for both JV and Varsity. Come out to the game and support both WHS and help raise funds for out neighbors across the hills.

Finally, the City was given an incredible gift with the construction of the new playground at City Park. Enough thanks and gratitude will never do justice to the efforts and the results of Project Playground and their Coordinating Committee!

The playground is now emblematic of the commitment to our youth, but also the culture of Winters where neighbors, friends and people who have never met come together to accomplish something great!

The size and scope of the actual playground structure is way beyond anything the City of Winters could ever afford. The combination of volunteer labor and the fundraising to make it happen put it amongst the nicest structures in town. Generations of children and their parents now have amazing place to explore and develop in our town!

The volunteer effort was special and something I will cherish for my entire life. Over the course of about 8 days, I watched folks with tremendous construction skill (the red shirts) work alongside those without (me and many others) to build a miracle before our eyes. The work was hard, but the determination and spirit was motivating and caring. At each meal (we ate pretty well on the project) people who did not know each other became a unified team and our community became a highly effective unit in the playground construction. The spirit was infectious and we were able to watch folks want to do more and more each day. Before last week, I bet a lot of people never used a router, but most are now pretty proficient!

There were a number of folks who were at the build every day, giving 12 hours, leaving tired, but showing up at 7:00 the next morning ready to get back at it. For the many who showed up on any of the days, I watched 110% effort and a lot of hustle!

The real “gift” was the perpetuation of the “Winters Spirit” of neighbors coming together in a volunteer spirit to make our town better. We really are a special place and this project was a spectacular occasion to show people why we are an incredible place to live, raise our families and call this community our “home”.

Mentioning names is tough, but without question we all need to especially thank Project Playground Co-Chairs Emarie VanGalio and Moyra Barsotti for their commitment to making this project spectacular! They thought BIG and more than delivered for our community. I will share that they were incredible to work with on the “business” side of things and they more than delivered when it came time for making it happen. Their efforts were impressive and the results show!

One of my favorite quotes is ……………… “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible”.

Project Playground did an Excellent job and is owed a tremendous sense of gratitude for an incredible gift.

Well done!!

Have a nice weekend.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager

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City of Winters Youth Basketball 2017-2018 Registration

Attention all Youth Basketball Players!!  

  • The City of Winters will once again be sponsoring youth basketball for boys and girls from kindergarten through the 8th grade.
  • The registration fee is $ 40 for players that do not need a jersey and $50 per player that do need a jersey. This also includes a team T-shirt. There will be late registration but everyone will be put on a wait list. Late registration has a fee of $70 per player.
  • Drop off your completed participant registration forms and the appropriate registration fee by 5 p.m. on Nov. 22nd at City Hall, or mail to City of Winters, Attn: Youth Basketball, 318 First Street, Winters, CA  95694.
  • For more information, call Program Coordinator Ruben Valencia at 530-219-0265 or Karla Jenkins at City Hall, 795-4910, extension 100.

Volunteers Needed for Youth Basketball

  • The youth basketball program relies solely on volunteers to be coaches, assistant coaches, team parents, referees, etc. Your help is always needed and would be greatly appreciated.
  • For those that would like to volunteer please return the completed paperwork to City Hall.
  • For more information, call Program Coordinator Ruben Valencia at 530-219-0265 or Karla Jenkins at City Hall, 795-4910, extension 100.

Youth Basketball Volunteer Registration (pdf)
Youth Basketball Registration – in English (pdf)
Youth Basketball Registration – en Espanol (pdf)

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Senior Survey

The City of Winters is planning current and future programs and services for older adults.  Please print, complete and return to City Hall or to Sheila Allen at Sheila.allen@yolocounty.org or 530-757-5583.

Senior Survey (English – Word.doc)
Senior Survey (English – pdf)

Senior Survey (Spanish – Word.doc)
Senior Survey (Spanish – pdf)

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Fire Victims Relief Night

Fire Victims Relief Night (pdf)
Dr. Sellers Field
Winters Warriors vs. St. Helena Saints
Monday October 16, 2017 – 6:00 (Varsity Only)
Please join us for some Monday Night Football and more importantly our Fire Victims Relief Night. Due to the fires that are still raging across the Napa Valley, Friday’s football game has been postponed to Monday night October 16th at 6:00. Winters High School will be joining forces with St. Helena High School and the Winters Fire Department in an effort to raise funds and collect donations for families affected by the devastating fires.
The WFD will have collection bins set up at the gate. We’re hoping to collect clothing and/or toiletry items. All donations will be greatly appreciated as many families lost everything. WFD will also be walking around with a boot for individuals who want to make additional monetary contributions.
We are asking for a $10 general admission donation at the gate which will also get you entrance into the game. (If you prefer not to give a donation, normal gate prices will be in effect. Including free entrance for all WHS Students with an ASB Card).
Lastly, we are asking that everyone wear blue to the game in an effort to recognize and support all of the amazing City and Cal Fire employees that continuously protect our communities, especially in times like this.

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10/17/17 City Council Meeting

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Friday Update on October 6 2017


This weeks update is more a push and a highlight of an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the Winters Community by participating in the playground build next week at City Park. The Project Playground folks are on the verge of what many communities have tried but few have accomplish, a community/volunteer build of a new playground structure.

Sign up for the Playground Build:


The build starts on Monday. Here is a link to the site to sign up and volunteer. http://www.projectplaygroundwinters.com/the-build/ It legitimately is an opportunity for people to make a genuine and lasting positive impact on the community and the lives of generations of children by helping build an incredible community asset. Think of it as your personnel contribution and sweat equity to the joy and happiness of thousands for years to come.

Winters is an incredible place to raise your children. We have some pretty simple but amazing facilities where children create their memories of a lifetime. These include the baseball diamond at City Park, the Playground, the Community Center Stage and our Community Library. Each of these assets were “community builds” of sorts by resident stepping up to do their share in making a lasting impression.

There are few opportunities in life where you can affect “generations to come” and the build of this playground is one of them. I feel blessed to know many folks in Winters who help shape the lives of children through similar acts. A couple examples of people and projects so many of us know:

  • First, it is essential to recognize the entire group who built the first playground. These folk built a structure  which lasted for almost 30 years and helped establish a volunteer soul and ethic for our town. They are amazing folks who give back to this day. (I will share that when we went to tear the “old” structure down, it was like trying to take down El Capitan. It put up a mighty fight and we continually laughed that for something which was about to fall down, it did not go quietly!)
  • Carol Scianna from the City Staff and the Winters Friends of the Library (WoL) change the lives of our kids through literacy and library programs. WFoL was one of the largest fundraisers for the playground project which will produce a new “community stage” from which the Winters Shakespeare Workshop is held each summer giving young people a chance to play classic medieval roles and broaden their theatrical horizons. Andrew Fridae and Nora Carey who now own and run The Palms Playhouse got their start in the Shakespeare Workshop and Andrew is now a Director with the same program. A great example of investment coming full circle.
  • Mary Lou Linvill and for years Denise Cottrell along with many others who facilitate the Winters Shakespeare Workshop. As parents we create those nuggets of opportunity which educate, challenge and provide the chance for youth to build confidence and life skills which benefit them for their entire lives. The program continues to this day and entertains and inspires us.
  • The Little League Diamond at City Park was a community build facilitated by local contractor and parent Monte Molina and the entire LL Board. It is a special place where literally thousands of children have played ball.
  • Winters AYSO Soccer is going on 40 years providing activity for children almost year round. Bill Davis is our most tenured member having started in about 1982 and gives up every Saturday to referee. My personal referee mentor and friend is Al Pederson who is an absolute role model of commitment to our youth. Al leads the instruction and coaching of our mostly teenage referee core by helping teach not only how to ref a soccer game, but in helping build confidence and leadership skills of these young folks in what can often be a difficult situation. Neither Bill nor Al have had kids in the program for at least the past 15 years, but they keep on investing because I know it is important to them.
  • Eric and Laura Lucero helped start and run the Winters Junior Warrior Football program which is the feeder program for Winters High School. Eric is an incredible coach and has made life changing impressions on young folks. Its impressive to see parents/adults of young kids coming up to Eric and calling him “coach”.  Its got to feel good.
  • Woody and Rebecca Fridae are literally institutions in our Winters Schools through the development of the Angel Island and Camp Loma Mar “experiences” they have developed for 5th and 6th grade students. They both achieved a point where children of past students are in their programs. Imagine the ability for kids to share and connect with their parents on glorious memories spent in common experiences with the same people.
  • My friends Kurt Balasak and Jill Aguiar and the Winters Education Foundation are doing amazing things in support of our teachers and the benefit to our children. Not only through funding, but through bona fide programs which enrich our schools.
  • Winters Theatre Company founded in part by Germaine and  the late Howard Hupe (and their cast of hundreds) gives children of all ages their opportunity to start community theatre. I can remember my daughter starting as a very nervous “fairy” and seeing her confidence bloom to a now confident woman. As both educators and entertainers, the impression is amazing.
  • Since moving to Winters, my wife Kathy and I have lived community involvement through many efforts. I will share that our most enriching have been through those which affect our kids. Whether through the Winters Schools, AYSO, Winters Fire, Girl Scouts, Rotary and others the positive impacts on our lives is ten-fold to those I think we have affected. I have exclusively reffed AYSO Soccer over the years because of the positive personal impacts I feel recreational soccer gives to kids versus competitive. All of it is magical and very rewarding. It really is sweet!

And I could go on for pages……………………………

I am convinced that the common thread which makes Winters an incredibly special place is our children and the generations of folks who have made their lives here. At Rotary yesterday, high school English teacher Matt Biers talked about how Winters kids are “really good citizens and nice people”. So much of that comes from the examples and values that we as parents and adults instill in them through our actions. Our actions as adults create the atmosphere and culture which makes good citizens.

October 10-15 is OUR opportunity to perpetuate the soul of our community and set an example for the next generations by helping build a new community playground. We are doing something which most communities cannot accomplish by an all volunteer build. It’s YOUR chance to put a positive mark on our town by contributing to a monument which brings an entire compilation of pride, joy, happiness, kindness and community commitment into a place where generations of children will play.

I hope to see you out there!


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10/10/17 Special Planning Commission Meeting

  • 10/10/17 Special Planning Commission Meeting (Agenda / Packet)

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Friday Update on September 29 2017


Both really REALLY good stuff this week with some tougher elements worked in.

First the good stuff…………..

  • The Festival de la Communidad (aka Carnitas Festival) is this Saturday, September 30 beginning at 5:00 at the Community Center. The carnitas competition, food, music and dancing make this one of the highlights of the year. Come on out with your family and friends for an incredible night of food and culture!!
  • The opening of the PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Facility and the initiation of a “world class” vocational training center will rank amongst the top occurrences of the year. Having PG&E President and COO Nick Stavropoulos and his team here to open the doors in our community was an amazing day on many fronts.
  • Congrats to the PG&E team who built the project. The folks from DPR Construction (Ian Bollnick and Bill Hill and ALL the Subs) who built the project and the PG&E Project Management team including Tom Crowley and Sabib Larijani. The DPR team really was like bringing the New England Patriots to town with their professionalism and excellence. Well done to all.
  • A HUGE shout out to the entire City team and key members of our community who worked diligently behind the scenes to bring this project to fruition. Enough cannot be said for the City Council members (past and present), Planning Commission and some key folks from within the business community (Buckhorn) and the McClish Family for all their efforts in the review and approval of the project.
  • A special recognition to City Building Official Gene Ashdown and the folks at Four Leaf for their processing and inspection of the construction of the facility. Also to the engineering and public works team for their efforts. Eric Lucero, Carol Scianna and City Engineer Alan Mitchell. Good job to everyone.
  • The traffic light went live last Friday at Grant/PG&E Way.
  • The traffic light at Grant/Main Street was paved this week and is awaiting striping and a part for the traffic controller cabinet. Look for that light to go live over the next 10 days!
  • Walnut Lane Roundabout is beginning to take shape. The storm drain and other utilities are in on the south side of Grant and we can expect that street sections will begin to emerge. They will then switch to the north side of Grant for the roadway construction. Winters own Vintage Paving is the contractor and is doing a fine job thus far.
  • Staff and Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Bill Biasi attended the Yolo Cannabis Summit on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting including Lori Ajax the California Cannabis Czar, representatives from city of Sacramento and Sonoma County, a UCD Ag economist and representatives from the California Cannabis Growers Association. The meeting was really good and the highlight was the fact that the State, the economist and the Industry Growers seem to agree on many aspects of the legalization of marijuana. A couple terms you need to be aware of:
    • Track and Trace- Purveyors of legal marijuana products will need to establish where the product comes from and where it goes and have the ability to survive audits by both the State and localities.
    • Infusion- This is when product comes from outside of the permitted channels (cartels or off the system providers).
    • Permitting- The State will begin accepting applications after January 1, 2018 when they are required to have the regulations in place. Permits will be granted based on local permitting, thus State permits will flow to purveyors which have legally been granted permits within the cities and counties.
    • Taxation of Legal Marijuana will be extremely high, adding almost $1,000 per pound.
    • Yolo County is viewed as a State leader in this arena. I attended a meeting with Yolo County Ag Commissioner John Young a week ago and left impressed. His office seems to be on top of the issue.
    • The UCD Ag Economist predicts that the economic impact to Yolo County will be about $29 million a year with tax revenue to the localities resulting in the $3m range (based on present values of marijuana which is about $3,500 a pound). Universally, the economist and even the industry association folks are predicting that more than half of the marijuana grown in California will remain “outside the permitting” and on the black market.
    • The guy from the California Cannabis Growers Association was both credible and interesting to listen to.
    • In Winters, our zoning prohibits both the manufacture and dispensaries within our City limits. Look for this item at an upcoming Planning Commission Meeting where we will discuss outdoor cultivation. Staff recommendation will be to prohibit outdoor grows based on the nuisance aspect due to odor. We have nothing against people growing weed, just do it in an enclosed environment so as not to disturb the neighbors.
  • I will share that I downloaded (for my professional research) the com phone app to find out where you can purchase marijuana and was blown away by the availability near the meeting location in Davis. When people say access and availability is easy, they are not kidding!!!
  • The Downtown Hotel is awaiting the final submittal of construction drawings for the hotel building.
  • The City’s Development Review Committee will be meeting with Crowne Communities on Tuesday, October 3 to review designs for homes in the new subdivision.
  • Chevron remodel plans are out the door and they can begin construction at any time. This will be a really nice project!

Now some of the tough stuff:

  • We had predicted in our Fiscal Year 2016-17 that the permits for the Downtown Hotel, Freeway Hotel and Blue Mountain Terrace Apartments would have been pulled and under construction. The failure of these projects to move forward blew a $180k hole in our general fund budget ($4.5m). Additionally other revenues were short, so we realized roughly a $300k deficit in the fiscal year. This is just a tough reality when we know these projects will eventually result in huge revenues to the City. To compensate, we are reducing budgets in the current fiscal year to replenish reserves and live more within our means. We pride ourselves on being pretty accurate in our revenue predictions, but this year was just tough. Next year will be better!
  • The Shared Fire Administration Services Agreement with the City of Dixon is up at the end of the month. I will be meeting with Dixon to discuss the direction of where things are going.
  • The Parking Committee finally received the draft consultants report which will be discussed at an upcoming Parking Committee Meeting.

Last items:

  • Tonight is Homecoming for Winters High School. Varsity will kick off at 7:30 against Bret Harte High School.
  • The Public Safety Faire is next Saturday, October 7 from 10-2 at the Public Safety Facility. An incredible event for parents and kids.

Thanks and have a great weekend.


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10/03/17 City Council Meeting

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Friday Update on September 22 2017


A couple items:

·         Mayor Wade Cowan and I met with the financing team for the Freeway Hotel Project this week. The group included two banks and a financier from North Carolina. Overall, they LOVED Winters and enjoy what the City is doing. A real good day.

·         The Blue Mountain Terrace Apartment Project was the main topic of discussion on Monday morning. We looked at a variety of means for closing the financing gap, some value engineering for both the senior center and the apartments along with some timing issues related to various grants..

·         The October 3 City Council Meeting will include an item centering on street projects for the spending of SB 1 gas tax funds.

·         City Staff is getting a number of inquiries from people regarding scheduling events at the Downtown Hotel. We have contacted the developer regarding a contact for the marketing and reservations for the hotel.

·         PG&E Grand Opening is on Wednesday, September 27. Lots of Winters participation, including Terry Sheets singing the national anthem and our VFW Post handling the flag ceremony. PG&E is looking forward to a huge attendance, then having the folks all come into Downtown for lunch. The event should be spectacular.

Winters High is playing against a top 10 opponent tonight in Christian Brothers from Sacramento. Go Warriors.



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Carnitas Festival de la Comunidad 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Food and Drinks, Carnitas Cook-off, Live Music and Entertainment and Dancing.
Fun for the whole family.

More info…

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Friday Update on September 16 2017


A couple items this week:

·         The slab is 2/3 poured for the Downtown Hotel with the final pour scheduled for Monday. Good news and things are proceeding on this project.

·         Winters Fire returned this week from a ten day deployment to fires throughout the State. They went to the Topaz near Tahoe and the Mission Fire near Fresno. Our staff works really hard on these incidents and does amazing things to help people. They represent our community really well where ever they go.

·         The cabinet with the controller for the Grant/Main Traffic Signal is ready for pick up and we may see the signal working before the end of the month. This project has been a roller coaster going from behind schedule, significant delays to now way ahead of schedule. Good news!

·         The draft report and recommendations from the consultant on the Downtown Parking Study is due next week. Staff is doing the final parking survey today and data will be to the consultant for the initial draft.

·         The Wooden Playground at City Park is but a huge pile of lumber. We have preserved some elements of the structure for future re-use. Kudos to the Public Works crew for some really hard work. For a structure that was “falling down”, it was a tank to try and take apart.

·         Project Playground is on their push for volunteers for the re-build October 10-15. They have 3 shifts each day from 7:30 am- Noon, 12-5 and 5-9 pm. To sign up, go here http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build

Have a nice weekend.


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09/19/17 City Council Agenda/Packet

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Friday Update on September 8 2017

For a short week, lots happening:

·         The Main/Grant Traffic Signal went from a major issue causing a huge delay to being a couple weeks ahead of schedule in about a day. Expect that the signal will be lit and operational by the end of September. Overall, good news.

·         The City Park Playground is officially “closed” in preparation for the demolition and re-build. The party in the park was a huge success and a wonderful way for the playground to have its last hurrah of children playing. Look for the removal of the playground over the next two weeks in preparation for the new build.

·         Project Playground is an all volunteer effort which needs people to sign up for the October 10-15 build. To sign up, go to

·         http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build

·         They are also looking for some park captains for the week of the build. Please respond to this message or call Moyra Barsotti 530-392-6264. This is a critical part to the success of our build so please consider giving your time.

·         Downtown Hotel is getting ready for the pour of the slab. I get to watch the entire project and I will tell you they are making progress. Look for the slab over the next week.

·         Winters JUSD had a nice groundbreaking this week for the first building at Winters High School. A nice event prior to open house. The entire team at the District is working hard to improve the facilities at each of the school sites. The new building will house both science and culinary classrooms. It very exciting to see the progress being made.

·         This is the first weekend of soccer!!!!

Finally a shout out and a plug for the work done by the past and now current folks involved with the construction of the City Playground. They truly represent what makes our community special and the deepest values which make Winters…..Winters.

At last nights “Party  in the Park” we saw the reunion of many of the folks who organized and built the current structure back in 1989. These were folks (similar to Bobbie Greenwood and the town pool) who set a goal to build a very special playground to benefit the children of our community. They fundraised, organized, then designed and built a fabulous play structure. It is the definition of people coming together in a unified manner to do something of meaning. The result was something which has benefitted generations of children over the past 28 years!

I don’t dare try and name off all the folks who I know were involved (they know who they are) by I will tell you that they are some of the most generous and giving people I have ever met in my life. They have been deeply involved in the Winters Community in many facets and are the soul of why we have such an incredible place to live and raise our families. They put the town before self interest and invest their time and resources for something bigger than themselves. To say the community should be grateful to them is an understatement.

(I will share that the day before I interviewed to be the City Manager in Winters in 2001, my wife Kathy and I took our kids to the park and they thought it was the greatest playground they had ever seen. I read the plaque about the community coming together to build it and I was amazed. I remember asking our City Attorney John Wallace if the story was true and he told me that it represented what Winters is all about. John was right!)

The folks with Project Playground have taken on the huge task of replacing an iconic park through a similar process, having raised more than $400k, led a design process which professional planners would be challenged by and they are on the cusp of replicating a community effort which few can pull off, a second community build. Most communities just punt it to the city government to do because that is the easy way. Nope, not this group, they are digging deep and working harder to give the people of Winters a chance to do something bigger than themselves which will again, benefit the next few generations.

Project Playground is special and the build is an opportunity of a lifetime. This is a chance for you to come together with your neighbors, friends and future friends to build something for others. Take a couple days off work, come to the park and work side by side with others for the benefit of families and children. The result of your labor will not just be a structure, but more importantly, the joy and memories of childhood for thousands of kids and their families as they attack and climb until they are exhausted. They will go home tired with the goal of coming back the next day to do it all again.

The Project Playground team is that next generation who are perpetuating the values of Winters that great things for communities happen when the town works together on a common goal. This is your chance to not only help others, but a chance for you to do something for yourself by building something great.

Sign up, get your friends, neighbors and family to sign up. Make it a party!http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build

Have a nice weekend.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager

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Friday Update for September 1, 2017


I mentioned a very comprehensive update of the City, so here it is. I have covered all of our Departments and the various main projects occurring in town. We have a lot going on, so we have tried to hit the highlights and areas of interest.

In the coming weeks, I will be featuring specific departments for an in depth look at what is happening.

City Highlights memo for August, 2017


Key Projects Update:

  • PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center (GOTTC) will officially open on September 27 with a grand opening.
  • Starbucks is coming out of the ground and things are looking up for a fall opening.
  • Grant/PG&E Way Traffic Signal is installed and should be operational within a few weeks. The Granite Construction, DPR and PG&E Teams did an amazing job.
  • Grant/Main Traffic Signal has moved to the south side of the street. Expect the poles to be delivered and installed in October.
  • Grant/Walnut Lane Roundabout will see construction start on the south side, then move to the north, then to the center. Expect closure one it is moved to the center for up to 4 weeks. So far, so good on this project.
  • Downtown Hotel is moving along with the foundation poured and the slab coming next. The construction side of the project is working really well at this point.
  • Walnut Park is 98% completed with monument signs and the community garden yet to be installed. Look for a grand opening in the next month.
  • Stone’s Throw has completed their rough grading and is moving toward the installation of utilities. The grading team did a miraculous job!
  • Callahan Estates has begun the rough grading for Phase I and is in the process of installing storm and sewer pipe.
  • Green waste and organics implementation is not going well. The first run had almost 40% trash in the load, requiring the entire load to be landfilled versus composted and recycled. We have determined that more education needs to happen so people know not to throw trash in the green waste container!


City Manager’s Office:


Key Projects in the City Manager’s Office includes:

  • Helping move key economic development projects forward including projects at the freeway, Downtown and the completion of the PG&E Project;
  • In August, Staff met with Caltrans to clear up a number of issues related to the Grant/Main Signal, Grant/Walnut Roundabout, Grant/PG&E Signal and ongoing relations. A very productive meeting and a renewal of a commitment from both agencies to work together in the future.
  • Downtown Parking Plan is in the final stages. The Consultant will be delivering draft recommendations the first week of September and the parking Committee will meet to review and refine the final report, a second public workshop (including the City Council and Planning Commission) will occur in early October, then the final plan will be presented for adoption in November.
  • Preparation for the FY 18-19 and 19-20 Fiscal Year Budgets is well under way. Current focus is on preparation for capital programs and infrastructure, public safety services, utility rates and senior services.
  • Working on regional issues including animal control, the many Joint Powers Agencies and such topics as cannabis and broadband.
  • Succession Planning is a key issue at City Hall in an effort to retain valuable information and continuity in the future.
  • Code Enforcement with updates to various municipal code sections to strengthen the ability of public safety to deal with problem residences.
  • General Plan Update– Working on a plan to refresh many of the key master plans and elements of the City’s key planning document.




  • A comprehensive review and update of the City’s Zoning Code is under way. Many of the definitions and references are very antiquated and confusing. Staff is working on an update which will include the development of a subcommittee including members of the City Council and Planning Commission to review, prior to a comprehensive workshop with both boards.
  • Staff is working with property owners on updates for the North Area Storm Drainage Plan and on the potential for an annexation request. These are huge projects which will require the City to look at many other planning issues.


Administrative Services:

  • Memorandums of Understanding MOU – Labor negotiations with all bargaining groups will be being held over the next month
  • CalPERS Health Open Enrollment begins Sept. 11th and ends Oct. 6th – Will be meeting with employees to discuss plans and options
  • Personnel Rules and Regulations – working on drafting new Personnel Rules in order to establish a uniform procedure for dealing with personnel matters
  • Intranet – to provide a vehicle for communication similar to the world wide web that is pertinent to the City of Winters.  Helping employees find the information they need easily.
  • Recognition Policy – Establish a mechanism for employers to recognize employee’s achievements to the organization


Housing and Economic Development:

  • Walnut Park is in the final stages towards completion.  Monument signs are under production and will be installed at the east and west entrances to the park.
  • Community Garden #2– Meetings have been held with various local groups building towards community participation in finishing the build out of the community garden.  Among the groups expected to participate are the Rotary Club of Winters, the HAC, FFA, and residents of the Almondwood and Orchard Village apartments.
  • Downtown Hotel construction is underway, with construction of the foundation and civil work occurring. Plan check is in progress for the building plans. In the near term, staff will be meeting with the developer to discuss Abbey Street improvements (Mike Olivas is working on Ashok Patel’s participation).
  • Blue Mountain Terrace Senior apartments and the senior center are progressing, with the developer’s senior management meeting today (Tuesday, August 29) to review and discuss the new revised cost estimates.  City staff expects to receive those updated cost estimates later this week.  Upon receipt of those cost estimates, staff will work with YCH staff to develop and submit a pre-application to USDA RD for gap financing (in the form of a loan).
  • HCD (state) HOME staff is resisting Winters using an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for grant administration for the Blue Mountain Terrace HOME grant.  Staff and YCH are working with state staff to resolve this issue.  After we work through the issue with HCD, it is likely staff will bring a HOME specific IGA to City Council for review/approval.
  • The delivery of Senior Services (via an IGA with Yolo County) is on temporary hiatus as the consultant (Sheila Allen) is away on a previously planned European vacation, with an expected return date of September 11th.
  • Staff will begin the preparation of a comprehensive report on Affordable Housing in Winters which will identify all of the units throughout the City, quantify important goals and include a workshop with the City Council and the Planning Commission on the challenges associated with addressing one of the most important issues in California.

Police Department:

Chief John Miller recently completed his first year as Winters Police Chief. Organizationally, the Department is as strong as ever, but is dealing with changes in personnel due to persons taking jobs with other agencies. Key highlights happening now include:

  • Sergeant Recruitment. Currently conducting recruitment to permanently replace vacancy currently be filled by Sgt. Kelly Schroder as a 960 hour employee. Position should be filled by end of October.
  • Automatic Electronic Defibrillators will be deployed in the coming months in Winters. With assistance of WFD, WPD will be receiving 6 AED’s for patrol vehicles. This will allow us to better serve the community as we are often on-scene to medical emergencies.
  • K9 program. Ofc. Jose Hermosillo still seeking innovative funding sources to launch a K9 program. Yocha De he tribe may be providing grant opportunity.
  • Juvenile Restorative Justice Still  working with the WJUSD to launch a re-vamped youth diversion program paid by WPD  through grant and supported by Yolo Conflict Resolution Center.
  • Updating technology. Currently conducting test and evaluations, as well as seeking funding, for  new body cams, Automated License Plate Reader’s, and a new Records Management (RMS) system.

Financial Management:

  • Closing out the FY 16-17 and preparing the year end reports in preparation for the annual audit.
  • Staff is facilitating meetings and data information for the AB1600 update for the City’s Impact Fee Program
  • Completing the update of the Building Permit fees in the building permit system
  • Getting  ready to prepare an Request for Proposals  for an update to the Water and Sewer rate study
  • Preparing for the audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report preparation

Public Works:

The Department is busy with preparation for the busiest time of the year, where the City transitions to preparation for winter, implementation of the lasts projects from summer and preparation for key maintenance of facilities. Key highlights happening now are:

  • Futsal Court construction at City Park. Look for paving in September and completion toward the end of October.
  • Working with Project Playground for the construction of a new play structure at City Park. This will include the demolition and removal of the existing structure build, assistance with site preparation, coordination of the build and the relocation of the current tot structure to Valley Oak Park.
  • Preparing street projects and submittals to the State for the new gas tax funds which will begin in November. This includes an update to the City’s pavement management index, identification of a 5 year maintenance program and establishing a financing strategy for future budgets.
  • Developing and revisiting capital maintenance programs for all facilities including parks, streets, accessibility, water, wastewater and sewer, storm drainage management and City buildings.
  • Continually Striping streets and pavement. The never ending project.
  • Working on the implementation of new infrastructure in the under construction subdivisions. This includes the development of sewer and storm drainage lift stations, water, sewer and storm drain lines and park development.
  • Implementation of the annual sewer collection system maintenance program in October.
  • Transition Plan (ADA) and accessibility improvement City-wide.


  • PG&E Welding Lab is on Schedule. A temporary certificate of occupancy has been issued and they are well on track for the final.
  • Classes are  currently being held in PG&E T&D and Learning Center
  • Underground plumbing and electrical being installed Winters Hotel
  • Starbucks exterior wall up framing
  • Winters Ranch moving along toward completion with the final 10 units.
  • Yolo Traders close to final

City Attorney:

  • Preparing a revised ordinance that will update the City’s Municipal Code sections related to Marijuana cultivation.  The proposed ordinance will continue to prohibit commercial and industrial cultivation and processing of marijuana in the City, and limit personal cultivation to medical use and the amount allowed to be cultivated for personal, non-medical use under state law.  The proposed ordinance will also prohibit the outdoor cultivation of marijuana, whether for medical or non-medical use.  We plan to take this to the Planning Commission in September, and the City Council in October.
  • Working with the School District and Homes by Towne to resolve issues related to dedication of street right of way and public utility easement from the School District to the City.  This issue appears to be resolved, and will go to the District Board and City Council in September.
  • Consult on legal issues related to the Project Playground project as they arise.  Preparing documents to allow for the acceptance of the final playground when it is complete.
  • Consulting with Environmental Management and SCWA on the Agreements needed to access property adjacent to Putah Creek for continued clean up/improvement work.
  • Working with Financial Management ly to clarify the process for determination of property tax related to the PG&E GOTTC.

Environmental Services:

  • Waste Management –Green waste/ Organics  roll out for residential and  newly added commercial accounts.  Staff is working to get the word out on new WM services and collection dates.
  • Dealing with issues related to the contamination of the green waste bins with garbage.
  • Residents leaving green waste on the street for extended time rather than prior to the new monthly pick up dates. Ultimately, this may lead to an ordinance limiting the time green waste can be deposited in the street.
  • Roundabout is project is moving along, currently travel lanes have been narrowed to facilitate construction on the south side of the street. Lane closures won’t be happening for several weeks. Vehicles are advised to slow to 25 Mph in construction zone.
  • Grant/Main Signal Project is also moving along sidewalks on the north side are near completion.  Delivery of the Signal pole will be in October, but the rest of the project should be completed within a 4 week window.
  • Influent Wastewater screen design- staff is working with design team to complete design for new influent bar screen for the waste water treatment facility, the addition of this equipment will increase capacity on existing East Street Pump Station. The bar screen helps remove debris from the sewer ponds which helps in the processing of the water and reduces damage to wastewater equipment.
  • 2nd annual Salmon Festival November 4th– planning for another great festival to be held at Rotary Park 11-4, a great way to celebrate the return of the Salmon and all of the restoration efforts in the Winters Nature Park

Fire Department:

  • Wildland Training continues with Live Burns. We continue to rotate personnel through utilizing fire engines and personnel during Mobile Fire Attack. Our personnel are using the different fire apparatus we have, as well as understanding the different types of basic wildland strategy options available to company officers – Direct Attack, Indirect Attack and Pincer Attack using mobile fire attack. The fire captains also get the opportunity to fine tune their Size-up skills which describe fire conditions and give commands during training scenarios, in a real life situation, utilizing Incident Command System (ICS)
  • AB1600 Fees –We are working with the other city departments to identify impacts of future city growth potential, from identified building projects, and trying to determine appropriate equipment levels needed to meet the future impacts.
  • Incident Action Plan development (IAP) – We are working with our local stakeholders and emergency partners to provide a standardized way to coordinate public safety at our many local events. We have begun talks with our local law agencies and introduced them to our statewide ICS forms used for IAP’s.
  • Fire Prevention  continues on an almost daily basis. Fire prevention includes residential fire escape plans, building plan reviews for fire protection, new construction inspections, juvenile fire setter programs and a variety of public education outreach – including CPR training. Recently, we have partnered with Cal Fire and Cal Trans to work on Hwy 128 corridor fire hazard reduction. We have had wildland fires in the same area four (4) years in a row, and we recognize the need to work together to reduce this risk along the heavily travelled state highway.
  • AED at Schools – We are working with the schools to install Automated External Defibrillators (AED). These devices greatly increase the survivability of persons having a heart attack with bystanders assistance.

 OES – The State of California Office of Emergency Services (OES) provides a fire engine to the City for participation in the Statewide Master Mutual Aid Agreement. We have deployed “OES 333” to several fires outside of our county and provide one of the highest levels of all-risk emergency services in the nation. The members of Winters Fire Department staff the vehicle for up to 14 days during each deployment. Staff are currently on the Topaz Fire.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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