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New council is making real progress

By From page A10 | August 24, 2014

This is the first installment of a monthly column I am calling “The Mayor’s Corner.” It will appear toward the end of each month and is intended to provide an update of what’s happening at the City Council and introduce any new policy initiatives.
City Council update: Our new City Council was sworn in just a little over a month ago and already we have made a significant degree of headway on a number of issues. Noteworthy items include:
* Water rates: After working with the community, including the proponents of Measure P and the city’s rate consultant, the City Council has unanimously devised a rate structure that is simple and equitable. By now, property owners should have received a Proposition 218 notice in the mail for the proposed rates, with the public hearing to adopt the rates set for Sept. 16. Please read it, and if you should have any questions at all, please attend one of the upcoming community workshops or call 530-757-5686.
* City manager: The City Council has been making progress on the very important task of hiring a new city manager. The application period closed recently, and the council has begun the process of culling through the applicants and will be interviewing candidates. It is my hope we will select a new city manager by the end of September.
* Economic development: Our community is fortunate to have received three proposals for innovation centers in response to our Request for Expressions of Interest — centers that will bring highly skilled jobs and revenue to the community. At least two of these will be submitting formal applications in September.

In addition, the city is considering options for the Nishi property and downtown densification.  It is my expectation that the council will place one or more of these proposals on the ballot in 2015.
* Infrastructure measure: The council has decided not to place a revenue measure on the November ballot but has assigned Council member Brett Lee and me to work on developing a plan to fund critical infrastructure like our roads, bike paths and swimming pools. With the recent revelation that the Civic Center Pool is leaking more than 7,000 gallons per day, this task has grown even more critical. Council member Lee and I will report back soon on our efforts.
* New poet laureate: At our Sept. 2 meeting, the council will thank Eve West Bessier for her service as Davis poet laureate and will welcome the inimitable Dr. Andy Jones to ply his craft for a two-year term.
* Improvements to council meetings: Working with my colleagues, I have begun implementing a number of changes to make the meetings run smoother and promote public participation, including dedicating one meeting a month to ceremonial items (as opposed to each meeting), strictly enforcing the City Council’s rules of order, and keeping the meetings from going too late.
Healthy Families Initiative

Currently, the City Council is rightly focused on a number of key items, many of which Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis and I outlined in a previous op-ed piece. But we should not lose sight of other important efforts. This fall, I plan to formally introduce a “Healthy Families Initiative” to address various health and safety concerns in our community.

If implemented, this effort would:
* Ban smoking in all multi-family housing complexes.
* Require all schools in Davis to have a network of safe and accessible routes available to children who attend.
* Ensure that every child from birth through 5 years old is screened for developmental and behavioral challenges, through partnering with First 5 Yolo, the Yolo Family Service Agency and the Davis Developmental Pediatrics Group.
* Stamp out bullying in our community by partnering with the Davis Phoenix Coalition and the Davis Joint Unified School District, among others.
* Make low-fat milk or water the default beverage in “kids’ meals” at restaurants (preserving soda as an option).
To kick off the Healthy Families Initiative, I plan to organize a flu shot clinic immediately preceding a City Council meeting this fall. I hope you will join the City Council members in receiving your free flu shot.

More information
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first installment of The Mayor’s Corner. To contact me for any reason, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 530-574-4360. The city’s website is www.cityofdavis.org.

— Dan Wolk is mayor of Davis; his column will be published monthly.

Dan Wolk

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