More money at pump goes to fixing streets

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For the first time in 23 years, Californians saw an increase in gas tax, and they may have noticed a heftier fine for vehicle registration as well. This money is being collected as a result of Senate Bill 1, signed into law on April 28, 2017, to fund road repair statewide.

City Management Analyst Dagoberto Fierros presented an update to the city council on the public works plan for SB1 funding, a requirement for receiving the money from the state. The list of projects is required by May 1 for every fiscal year.

The needs for every spot of the city’s 4.3 million square feet of roadway were outlined using iWorQ software in 2016. Highway 128 is maintained by Caltrans and does not rely on city SB1 money.

“Our Pavement Condition Index is 65,” said Fierros, “If we’re in the 60s, we’re in good standing.”

Fierros said that although the state considers Winters street condition good, he feels the condition is moderate and sees a lot of room for improvement.

“The most common treatment option is a combination of spot repairs, crack seal and slurry seal,” he said, “It looks like a new road, but it’s not. It just adds new life to it.”

Fierros said that focusing on this type of improvement over completely building new roads would allow the city to maximize the funding for the biggest impact.

For the current 2017-18 fiscal year, only partial funds were granted to municipalities due to the timeline of tax collection. The city will spend $84,660 of SB1 and Highway Users Tax Account (HUTA) funding for spot repairs, crack seal and slurry seal on Orchard Lane, Almond Drive, East Main Street and Edwards Street.

The supplemental HUTA funding will go toward ramp placements in sidewalks around the city.

For 2018-19, the city is budgeting $128,725 for street repairs on Anderson Avenue, Carrion Circle, Priscilla Court, Third Street, Main Street, Betty Court, Baker Street and East Street. East Street, Main Street and Anderson Avenue will see a higher level of repair in a grind and pave overlay for more extensive cracks. This type of repair has a lifetime of 15+ years versus the 5-7 years that slurry seal lasts.

“HUTA funding is usually about $45,000, and we’ve shifted our focus with this fund to sidewalk repairs,” said Fierros.

Council Member Jesse Loren voiced a concern about the future of the new gas tax.

“There’s a ballot measure to overturn SB1 monies; is there a plan?” she asked.

Fierros responded that no contingency plans have been made.

“I don’t think any of the cities have a plan,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the project list for 2018-19.


General Plan update

   In a new feature housed in his report, City Manager John Donlevy gave an update on the General Plan and measures to keep it current.

Donlevy opened by restating his beliefs from the previous meeting that the plan, adopted in 1992 is fully current.

“I went straight to the OPR website, and I will tell you, it’s quite a website,” said Donlevy, “I think if you clicked on every single link, it would be over a million pages. We have all the requirements in our general plan.”

He claimed that most of the new requirements for planning mandated by the state do not apply to Winters.

“If you break down any type of General Plan policy, I can tell you every single one of those policies I would describe as a loaded deal.”

Resident Kate Kelly, who spoke at the previous council meeting to urge the council to take a closer look at the General Plan, reiterated her request.

“I would ask the council to look for quantifiable outcomes. How do we define success? Many communities collect a reimbursement fee from building permits or use permits,” she said.

Vacaville, a city she referenced, charges $.20 per square foot of industrial building, $.41 per square foot of commercial building and $613 for each single family home built. The costs are justified because new development benefits from a solid general plan.

Mayor Wade Cowan asked Donlevy about a General Plan fee; according to Donlevy, some money from the monitoring fee for new building goes toward paying off debt on the General Plan.







  1. Oh yeah… Great idea. Imposing ANOTHER TAX on GAS at a time when the price per gallon is on the rise AGAIN. Jerry Brown is A-HOLE. Why didn’t he put this crap to a vote?!

  2. Oh yeah… Great idea. Imposing ANOTHER TAX on GAS at a time when the price per gallon is on the rise AGAIN. Jerry Brown is A-HOLE. Why didn’t he put this crap to a vote?!

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