From Marjie Pettus, City Manager
It has been a month since we adopted the budget, yet we remain
in transition. Staff has spent the past few weeks training and
preparing for the retirements and reassignments of personnel. There
is sorrow around City Hall as we say goodbye to friends; as we
mourn the loss of institutional knowledge; as we anticipate “takes”
from the state; as we recognize the inevitability of change. August
brings new challenges, but also new opportunities. Now more than
ever I will be encouraging innovation, creativity and teamwork. I
am also calling for partnerships between community members and
local government. And feedback. I will need lots of feedback — from
both the public and employees. Please indulge me.
An Answer to the Grant Street Question
Grant Street has seen quite a bit of construction activity
lately and citizens are asking what we’re doing and when it will
end. Street paving just west of the fire station was recently
completed. This work was performed in conjunction with Grant Street
Villages, a new single-family housing development. Current work
includes utilities for the Eden affordable housing project at 40
West Grant Street. Eden Housing has partnered with the City to
construct 64 affordable housing units. The work on Grant Street
consists of installing new water and sewer mains, storm drainage
improvements and electrical utilities. The utility work should be
completed by the end of July with final trench patching completed
by late September.
Matheson/Center Street Project
I received some inquires regarding the construction work at the
intersection of Matheson and Center Streets. The Public Works
department initially responded to complaints of a backed-up
sanitary sewer main. This project started out as line cleaning and
the fairly simple installation of a 2-way cleanout. However, due to
significant problems with the pipe configuration and root intrusion
it turned into a major project. Work was coordinated and scheduled
to minimize disruption to traffic and the surrounding businesses.
The result: installation of a new sewer manhole that will allow for
routine maintenance of the sewer main. It also provides a long-term
solution to an area that has been very problematic. Staff would
like to extend a thank you to the surrounding businesses for their
patience during the work activity. I believe it is also appropriate
to publically acknowledge the Public Works employees affiliated
with the project: Jaime Licea, Scott Byrn, Greg Way, Dewayne
Burgess, Victor Halverson, Charlie Jurecek, Eddie Uribe, Jorge
Valencia, David Hambly, Brian Diamantini, Kathy Anunson and Leo
Larkin. These folks worked hard to expeditiously complete a
difficult job. Kudos!
Volunteers Needed for Giorgi Park
The Community Services Department is actively seeking volunteers
to help build the new custom playground at Giorgi Park. The
“Community Build” will take place on August 7 and 8 from 8 a.m. to
4 p.m. at Giorgi Park (540 University Street). Volunteers can
expect to help assemble decks, stairs, railing, specialty swings,
and other assorted play equipment. All tools and equipment needed
for the project will be provided. In addition, volunteers will be
treated to lunch, snacks and refreshments. Contact Park
Superintendent Matthew Thompson at 431-3384 or [email protected]
to sign up or to obtain more information. This is a great
opportunity to build a one-of-a-kind playground that Healdsburg
children will enjoy for years to come. Come and be a part of
K9 Program Update
The Police Department’s K9 program had a minor setback but is
now moving full speed ahead. A chocolate Labrador from Master K9 in
Southern California was originally selected for the program.
Unfortunately, after a medical review we learned the dog has hip
dysplasia and a bullet lodged in his left leg from a previous
hunting accident. The dog was returned and the PD began searching
for a new K9. A replacement was found from Mar-Ken International K9
Training Center in Santa Cruz. Our new K9 is a female Belgian
Malinois, 2 and a half years old, fully certified in narcotic
detection and with a clean health record. The dog had already been
named “Dasha” by Mar-Ken. To eliminate any confusion on her part,
the PD decided not to change her name. Dasha began her tour of duty
on July 23 with her handler, Officer Katie Close. Look for them as
they patrol the streets in a black and white Dodge Charger.
A hearty thank you to everyone who participated in the “Name
That Dog” contest. To have your donation returned, please contact
Sergeant Matt Jenkins at 431-3163.
Water Conservation – We’re Doing It!
On March 2, 2009, the City Council adopted a three stage Water
Conservation Ordinance. At the same time the Council implemented
Stage I voluntary water conservation, with a goal of achieving a 20
percent reduction in water usage from last year. For the second
quarter of 2009 the City residents and businesses achieved a 19.5
percent reduction in water usage compared to the same time last
year. Congratulations and keep up the effort. For tips on
conserving water please visit our Web site at www.ci.healdsburg.ca.us and
click on Water Conservation.
A Few Words On Signage
With the increasingly difficult economy there has been a
tendency to install temporary banners, sandwich boards and other
signs that conflict with Healdsburg’s Sign Ordinance. While these
signs may help one particular business owner, they can also create
unforeseen problems. These problems include trip-and-fall hazards
on sidewalks and traffic hazards near corners where signs can
interfere with the line of sight for motorists. Temporary signs can
also introduce clutter in a manner that is inconsistent with the
experience we aspire to achieve.
To address signage issues the City Council adopted a Sign
Ordinance, which establishes standards for the design, review and
installation of all signs, including temporary signs. This
ordinance seeks to balance an individual’s desire to install
signage to attract customers with community-wide desires to
maintain, enhance and promote Healdsburg as a quality destination.
With few exceptions, business signs, including temporary banners,
window lettering, awnings and wall-mounted signs, require a permit
from the Planning and Building Department prior to installation.
The review process is typically fast and the costs are generally
low. In many cases there is no fee for review and signs can be
approved over the counter. Unfortunately, in recent weeks several
signs have had to be taken down because they created a hazardous
condition or because they conflicted with very clear standards for
signage. Please contact the Planning and Building Department at
431-3346 before proceeding with any signage.
Marjie Pettus is the Healdsburg City Manager. To submit ideas or
questions for this column, email [email protected].