City Manager’s Update: school safety, water and sewage rates & other notes

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City Council Agendas:
~ 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
~ 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

Manager’s Notes:
~ Election results from Yolo County Elections are delayed, thus certification of the June 5 Election will not come before the City Council until Tuesday, July 17.
~ 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. There are lots 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 $1 million grant to the State and for us to reapply for a higher amount of funding. The projected costs for the Senior Center are around $2 million. The previous grant limit on capital construction was a maximum of $1 million. The upcoming grant process will allow construction costs of up to $5 million and there is no penalty if we give the current grant back.
~ The 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 Wednesday, June 27 at the Public Safety Facility.
~ The Tuesday, July 24 Planning Commission Meeting will 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 Tuesday, July 24.
~ Many 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 128 has 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 Thursday, July 12 at City Hall beginning at 6 p.m.
~ 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 is 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 percent reduction in water use, called for by the Governor and the Legislature during the drought. Our customers responded accordingly, reaching 30 percent 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 percent 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 serving 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 percent Fixed/60 percent Volumetric Rate Revenue.
In June, 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.

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