City Council directs City to handle delinquent accounts, approves temporary pause on new grading permits

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The Winters City Council held one of their shorter meetings of the year on Tuesday, Aug. 3 taking actions regarding delinquent accounts.

The council held a public hearing and unanimously adopted Resolutions 2021-47 and 2021-48, directing the city clerk to record delinquent water, sewer and garbage charges with the Yolo County Auditor-Controller to place a lien against the property on the Yolo County Tax Roll.

The delinquent amount of water and sewer was listed as $106,172.78 and $17,504.40 for garbage.

Winters Director of Financial Management Shelly Gunby said customers with delinquent accounts have been notified multiple times of their delinquency and anticipates some walk-ins will have brought their delinquent accounts current by the Aug. 5 filing deadline.

A public hearing on Emergency Ordinance 2021-02 was held to place a temporary pause on issuing new grading permits without plan approval or security while the city creates a comprehensive grading ordinance.

City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa told the council that the ordinance is needed after some recent site preparation and grading activity commenced by Meritage in early July in the northwestern subdivision by Meritage Homes.

As reported in the Express on July 21, Meritage prematurely began site preparation and grading activities without an approved development agreement. At that time, Trepa pointed out that although Meritage had property rights, they did not have development rights.

Winters City Attorney Joanna Gin said, “The purpose of this urgency ordinance is to create a 45-day moratorium on the issuance of any grading permits unless certain conditions are satisfied…”

Gin clarified that the moratorium does not preclude the city from issuing a grading permit if all the conditions are met pending council approval of a formal comprehensive grading ordinance. The item carried unanimously.

Trepa said in her manager’s report that the scheduled Aug. 17 council meeting will likely be cancelled because the NeighborWorks project is not ready to bring before council. NeighborWorks is working with the city to build 24 “sweat equity” moderate income homes on two acres through the USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Program.

Trepa gave an update on the spike in COVID-19 cases, and specifically the delta variant in Yolo County. Trepa said Yolo County is reporting a doubling case rate and encouraged everyone to exercise forms of protection, like wearing masks indoors.

Mayor Wade Cowan closed the meeting honoring Karen Lorenzo, who passed away in July.

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