July 2, 2015

You have done exactly what we asked you to do, and what we all must do to protect our environment:  you reduced water consumption.  Great job - we are more than meeting our state-mandated goals!  But, I'm not going to pretend this doesn't cause problems for the City's water fund.  The City must purchase every gallon of water that we sell to our customers - we don't get that water for free.  Our cost to purchase water in 2013/2014 was $2.2 million; in 2015/2016 we estimate the cost to be $3.2 million. As water gets more and more scarce out there to buy, the price per unit of water goes up and up.  The cost to operate the water plant does decrease a minor amount when water consumption decreases, but not nearly enough to cover the increase in raw water costs.  Additionally, in times of drought, the City incurs other unusual costs...extra efforts at fixing water line leaks, encouraging conservation, converting over irrigation to recycled water, and more.  And, of course, water revenues are decreasing at the same time because we are selling less water.  While the water fund can use reserves for a while, at some point we have to take action.


Between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2016 we estimate that the City will have spent $6.7 million more than we normally would to purchase water (to sell to our customers), fix leaks, encourage water conservation, and lost revenue because of the reduced sales of water.  We have upgraded some components of the water plant in order to make the most efficient use of the water we do have and we are converting as many water uses to recycled water (rather than potable water) as we can.   We have tried our best to hold the line on rates, and have not increased them more than the usual CPI rate for many years.  Our income from the sale of water in the 2013/2014 fiscal year was $4.9 million; we anticipate $4.3 million in 2015/2016 - a decrease of $600,000.  At the same time the cost to purchase water increased.


We need to increase water revenues, and that means water rates.  The City Council will be considering an drought surcharge when they meet next Tuesday, July 7, at 6:30 PM.  The drought surcharge may be as much as $2 per unit of water consumed.  A typical resident uses 9-10 units a month, resulting in an increase of up to $20 a month for the average resident.  The Council will NOT be taking final action on this matter on Tuesday, but will consider whether or not the matter should move forward for more consideration.  If the Council moves forward, every resident will receive a notice in the mail describing the situation in more detail and giving you a chance to voice your thoughts.  Want to know more?  Come to the City Council meeting next Tuesday evening at 6:30.  See you then.




PS:  Sorry to open with such a downer.  Keep reading, there is some very good news below.

City Offices will be closed Friday, July 3rd to celebrate Independence Day

Many Hands Holding Happy 4th Of July in the Sky

The 4th of July is almost here!  Our biggest event of the year is always very popular and this year should be no exception.  Festivities are centered around Community Park 2 located at 20 Benton Way and the fun lasts morning till night.  First, the local Boy Scout Troop will host a pancake breakfast at the Boys and Girls Club from 7-11 AM.  The Parade is next, beginning at 10:30 AM and travelling from Kimberly Drive up Elliott Drive to Amarillo before turning into Donaldson Way Elementary School.  The Festival kicks off with the Flag Raising at noon and features an inflatable Kidz Zone opening at 12:30 PM.  New this year is a Teen Zone that includes a teen lounge, tie dye, games, an AmCan Amazing Photo Race and human hamster balls.  There will be live entertainment all day, concluding with the high energy and fun Jump Start Band kicking off the fireworks.  The fireworks show starts at approximately 9:30 PM. A variety of food options are available too, including local favorites, Jamba Juice, Los Cantaros, La PerlaDe Jalisco and traditional favorites, like kettle korn, corn dogs, ice cream and roasted corn to name a few.


Please check the Media Alert attached for more information.


Kimberly Park Improvements


The highly anticipated improvements at Kimberly Park are one step closer!  The City Council

will consider approval of a construction contract at the next City Council meeting, July 7th.  The project will include much needed drainage improvements that will significantly reduce the chance of flooding during the rainy, winter months.  The project also includes replacement of the existing soccer fields, expanding the parking lot, a trail around the park with trees and landscaping and possibly a new restroom!  If approved, the project will start in July and is scheduled to be complete by April 2016. 

On the Agenda...


The City Council will meet on Tuesday, July 7, at 6:30 PM in the City Council Chambers.  In addition to the Kimberly Park construction contract and potential water rate increases discussed above, the City Council will consider several important issues. The Council will hold a Public Hearing to consider the annual budget and assessments in the Lighting and Landscaping Assessment Districts for the coming year.  If you own property in the Vintage Ranch or La Vigne subdivisions, this assessment is paid through your annual property tax bill and funds the parks, landscaping, and street lighting in your neighborhood. Please come to the meeting to share your thoughts. For more information read the staff report and the Annual Engineer's Report.


Since Our Last City Council Update...


Since our last update, the City Council had an action packed meeting  on June 16th .  The City's Annual Budget and the Fire District's Annual Budget were discussed and adopted.  The budget document itself will be available later this summer but in the meantime you can look at the City Budget HERE and the Fire District Budget HERE.  


Also at the June 16 City Council meeting, the City Council had a robust conversation about how the proposed Watson Ranch development, near the ruins on the east side of town, will impact traffic on the highway and at major intersections.  The recently completed traffic study demonstrates that most of the residents in this new neighborhood will travel south bound during morning peak commute times for employment.  This will primarily impact the highway at American Canyon Road, South Napa Junction and Donaldson Way, as well as American Canyon Road at Flosden Road and Silver Oak Trail.  After much discussion about how to mitigate these impacts, the Council directed staff to focus on improving the highway and these important intersections.  Because residents in the proposed development will not travel north to Napa nearly as often, the extension of Newell Drive northward to Green Island Road will be the second priority.


You can also watch the complete video of the June 16th Council Meeting.


And don't forget that every City Council meeting has a time set aside to hear from the community on any topic of interest.  This public comment time is scheduled very early in the meeting, so plan on arriving at City Hall at 6:30 PM for City Council meetings.  Finally, your Mayor and City Council can be contacted by email or by calling City Hall at 647-4360.  Contact information for all city managers can also be found on the website.