Planning Commission approves 2022-23 capital improvement plan

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The Winters Planning Commission met on May 24 to receive and review the 2022-23 capital improvements recommendations to the city’s general plan.

Senior Planner Kirk Skierski presented the commission with the City of Winters’ Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and explained, “Essentially, a capital improvement plan is a tool to help local governments make good budgeting decisions for large projects and purchases based on goals and resources.”

The CIP is a five-year flexible plan adjusted annually to prioritize and recommend funding for infrastructure improvement projects.

The CIP recommended projects falling into four categories:

*Park and city
*Sewer
*Water
*Transportation.

Each proposed project is first reviewed by city staff and determined to be consistent with the city’s general plan.

Projects incorporated in the 2022-23 CIP include major improvements to the I-505 overpass, bathrooms for Three Oaks Park, renovation of the community center, remodeling the old police station, building a 6,000 square foot Senior Center, constructing downtown Paseo Park, updating the water master plan, installing an influent bar screen at the wastewater treatment facility and improving street surfaces.

Chair Greg Contreras clarified that it is the commission’s responsibility to determine if the proposed CIP conforms with the general plan, not to approve projects. Skierski confirmed, “The planning commission acts as the land use authority for the city, so you’re essentially making sure that the CIP projects meet our general plan, our guiding document for development and growing over the future.”

Vice Chair Lisa Baker suggested employing opportunities strategically to bring proposed plans like water and sewer together to prepare for future drought conditions, adding that we are in the worst recorded drought year since 1895.

Baker observed that the current general plan is 30-years old and asked about taking up a new general plan to deal with a community that is very much different today than it was 30-years ago.

City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa responded that the city is still paying off the last general plan effort that still has an outstanding balance of about $280,000.

“I am astutely aware that we have an opportunity, it would be good if we could update the general plan; we would need significant funding if we were to take that on,” Trepa said.

Skierski said updating the general plan is at the top of planning’s “to do” list and agreed that pursuing an update sooner rather than later would be the appropriate action.

Several slated CIP projects are already underway while others are in the process of obtaining estimates, requests for proposals or require securing funding.

Planning Commission Resolution No. 2022-05 was approved after the commission concluded that the proposed fiscal year 2022/23 CIP is in conformance with the city’s general plan.

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