This is the second installment of the “Mayor’s Corner,” a monthly column intended to provide an update of what’s happening at the City Council and introduce any new policy initiatives. And even if our town muckraker, Bob Dunning, poked fun at my first effort (my favorite line: “Quick, honey, grab the No-Doz”), I respect him for being able to write a column multiple times a week as opposed to my once a month. It’s not easy!
City Council Update
This past month has been an eventful one. Most notably:
- MRAP. On August 26, the City Council voted to have staff return with options to get rid of the 20-ton, mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle acquired by our police department from the Department of Defense. As I stated at the time, when it comes to help from Washington we, like most communities, have a long wish list; but an MRAP is not on that list.
- Water. The City Council reached two major milestones in the important area of water. First, we settled a long-running lawsuit regarding the city’s water rates, which among other things provides more funds for the city’s low-income rate assistance program. Second, we adopted a new water rate structure that is fair, simple and, as judged by the small number of protests received during the Proposition 218 process, has ratepayer buy-in. (Only 35 protests were received as compared with thousands in previous efforts to adopt different water rate structures.) The rates will go into effect on November 1.
- City Manager. The City Council has made significant progress on the search for a new City Manager. From a total pool of 88 applicants, the City Council narrowed the field significantly and has recently been in the process of interviewing a select number of highly qualified individuals. We are now nearing the final stages of this comprehensive process and a final selection will be made soon.
- Affordable Housing. Just this week, the City Council made two major decisions that will significantly promote affordable housing in our community. First, we initiated the process to reverse a controversial move implemented last year to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – without any restriction – to count toward a future developer’s affordability requirements. Second, we will issue requests for proposals for two sites the city owns, which could yield dozens of affordable units for low-income families to be able to live in Davis.
- Rail Relocation. In collaboration with Yolo County, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, and the cities of Woodland and West Sacramento, our community has received a federal grant in the amount of $171,180 to study the relocation of the north-south rail line that currently runs through the middle of town. Our region shares a vision of relocating that rail line and opening it up for community use.
- Paso Fino Of significant interest to the community is the proposed “Paso Fino” infill development project in the Wildhorse subdivision. Many in the community are understandably concerned over how much housing should be permitted, the possible loss of an existing open space/greenbelt buffer, and the possible removal of nine Canary Island pine trees. At the same time, others are interested in providing smart, infill housing at the site. It is important to stress that no decisions have been made on this project at the City Council level. The project is set to go before the Planning Commission on October 8 and is tentatively slated to go before the City Council on October 21.
- Davis Neighbors’ Night Out. DNNO takes place on Sunday, October 12. This annual event is a fun way to get to know your neighbors better via a block party. And better yet this year the city is applying for a Guinness Book of World Records award for the most neighborhood potlucks on the same day. To find a gathering near you – or to sign up to host one – please visit neighbors.cityofdavis.org.
- Run the Davis Turkey Trot with the Mayor and City Council. The annual run/walk event put on by Davis’ own A Change of Pace has become a beloved tradition for many in our community, including my own family. I plan to participate again this year along with members of the City Council (all of us will simply try to keep up with Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis). Please consider joining us. It takes place on November 22. For more information, please visit changeofpace.com/davis-turkey-trot.
- Apply to be on a Commission. Despite the aforementioned columnist’s good-natured ribbing about city commissions last Sunday, we really do have some important citizen advisory bodies which help the City Council make decisions, and we are looking for applicants for several of those commissions. If you are interested in a great way to volunteer for the community, please visit cityofdavis.org.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of the Mayor’s Corner. To contact me for any reason, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 530-574-4360. The city’s website is cityofdavis.org.