Community Questions Answered: Bill Biasi

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WE: What is your greatest accomplishment while in a leadership position? Biasi: I have served in leadership roles on many committees and commissions, both locally and during my employment at UCD. I am currently serving as Mayor. The role I feel has been my greatest accomplishment has been serving to champion accessibility issues. In 1992 I worked with the Winters City manager to review all of the city’s facilities and programs and helped to develop a transition plan on how to make them more accessible. I have also served on Disability Issues Administrative Advisory Committee at UCD for 28 years, 4 years of which I was the chairman. That committee addresses various issues involved with physical barriers and program access. My leadership in these capacities has benefited many people, enabling them to lead more productive and successful lives. WE: Do you believe in a city government that is run by the council or run by the city manager? How do you define the separation of influence? Biasi: I believe the system of city government we currently have in place works well. It is a system that is run by both the City Manager and the Council members. The City Council members set policy, goals and priorities for the City; and oversees the City Manager. The City Manager runs the day to day operations and oversees all of the City departments and employees, and prepares reports and information for the City Council so that they can make informed decisions. WE: What do you think your role as councilmember should be vs. that of the City Manager/Administrator? Biasi: As a Council member my role is to represent the citizens and their needs. This is accomplished by listening to them, looking at the options, thoroughly analyzing the information and reports provided by the City Manager’s office, determining whether the recommendations are consistent with the community’s goals and desires, and then deciding how best to achieve them. The City Manager’s role is a very important one in our community. Many people may not be aware of how much is required of a City Manager in a small town. Our City Manager is the administrator of our city, overseeing and manager every aspect of daily operations. Both City Council and the City Manager must possess the ability to understand financial and budgetary issues, water and sewer services, public works, planning, employee relations as well as being informed and complying with ever-changing state and federal regulations. Both City Council and the City Manager must work together toward the goal of providing a variety of local government services and making sure the taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely and needs are met. WE: If you could take action on one thing during your term, what would that one thing be? Biasi: There are a number of goals I have for the city: Improving our streets and sidewalks, ensuring that we have adequate fire and police services, promoting economic development. The latter is of most importance as it will bring in funds to help address the others. In 2018 we put together an Economic Development Committee which I served on. This committee produced a report with recommendations on what we can do to attract new businesses. We are also working with the Solano Economic Development Corporation to identify businesses that would be a good fit for Winters. I will vigorously support implementing those recommendations. My mission is to do everything possible to encourage economic development and local job creation. This has benefits to our community in many ways. It helps to reduce the impact on the climate, brings in new revenue sources for Winters which in turn increases our vitality. WE: What is your stance on the topic of annexation and development in Winters? Biasi: I am all for smart development and smart planning, and in support of infill projects. The members of our community need to understand the importance of developing a comprehensive plan for future growth, so that we can adequately address circulation, flood issues, utility corridors and many, many other elements. It’s a planning effort that needs to include the sphere of influence, which is the area identified in our General Plan for future growth. As for annexation, I am not now and have never been in favor of any annexation beyond the area shown in our general plan for future growth, known as the sphere of influence. I do not believe annexation beyond our current sphere of influence is currently necessary nor do I believe it will happen in my lifetime. Annexation requires approval by both Yolo County and LAFCO and at this time I do not believe either is in support of allowing Winters to expand beyond our current sphere of influence. WE: What is your stance on the amendment being proposed by the Keep Winters Winters group? Biasi: No initiative has been filed yet so it is difficult to respond fully to this question at this time. I’ve seen the video produced by the KWW group and it is appealing, as it describes well the things we love about Winters. Of course we want to preserve all that is good about Winters. But this video doesn’t tell the full story of how this type of initiative may impact the city. I have concerns that this proposed initiative will cost the city in a variety of ways. It will likely have a negative impact on economic development, be a deterrent to attracting new businesses to town, and result in stunting job growth. I am also concerned with the possibility that this initiative may open the city up for potential lawsuits which would cost the city (meaning us residents/tax payers) millions of dollars to defend, money that should be spent on vital services for our city. And I don’t think the initiative being developed by KWW is necessary because I think our current city government has worked well. Under the leadership of the city council and city manager we have made achievements that have been a great benefit to the community. Some of these projects are shown in the KWW video– projects like the train bridge rehabilitation, the downtown beautification project, the Putah Creek restoration park, the new vehicle bridge, the Winters Hotel. These projects have brought jobs to Winters; they have attracted visitors to Winters businesses; they have brought salmon to the creek. And they have brought an increase in revenue that benefits everyone in our city. Our city council has the ability to plan wisely, to plan for incremental development, to plan for smart growth. I have full confidence in our city leaders and our city manager, and with the input of our residents, to continue to make decisions that have Winters’ best interests at heart. WE: The Winters city government is addressing the issue of communication, however, transparency is also a concern to some citizens. What would you do to address the lack of transparency with the current processes, especially as it relates to projects and development? It is possible to conflate communication with transparency? Biasi: I think our citizens currently have the ability to be as informed as they want to be. Our city manager does a weekly update via email, available to anyone that requests to be included. Our city council meetings are open to everyone that wants to take the time to attend, with each member giving a report of who they’ve met with, what committee meetings they’ve attended, and all their other involvements. These meetings are also televised. In addition, there’s a lot of information available on our city website: Meeting minutes, supporting documents, General Plan, Budget info, City officials’ email addresses; and new to the website is a “transparency” tab that will contain communications between city officials and outside entities such as developers, the KWW group and others. With this, I think the City is addressing citizen’s concerns regarding transparency. Some people may complain that there’s too much information, that there should be a summary or bullet points. But then others would likely complain that some info was being excluded and criticize the city for a lack of transparency. Just as we welcome public participation and input, we welcome questions and we welcome our residents to be informed. WE: How will you support all areas of Winters from businesses, to homeowners, to agricultural, citizen concerns? There are no council districts, so you are responsible for supporting all members of the Winters community. What does that mean to you? Biasi: I am very committed to representing all the members of the Winters community. And I appreciate hearing from many who have contacted me directly with their issues. I encourage all members of our community to bring their concerns to the city council.]]>

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