Monday Dec 07 2009
Another View: Your city met many challenges throughout 2009
By: Mike Holmes, mayor of Auburn
This is my final report to the community during this term as mayor of Auburn. As you know, mayors are selected from the city council on an annual basis. The rotation is determined by the number of votes received during his or her election. At our last meeting on the Nov. 23 the City Council approved the following: a tax sharing agreement with the County of Placer for the annexation of the Denham property at the Auburn Airport which was purchased by the city in 2003; the city’s participation on the Placer County AB 811 program which may provide funding to city property owners to improve energy and water efficiency; a strategic plan to prevent catastrophic wildfires; and a resolution urging the governor and state legislature to approve CALPERS pension reform in 2010. We also approved a plan to allow directional winery signs within the city right-of-way. In December of 2008 the Auburn Journal editorialized that 2009 was going to be a year of challenges during difficult economic times. I am happy to report that we have met those challenges in a number of different ways. The improvement of our wastewater treatment plant was authorized and work is currently under way with an expected completion date in late 2010. We will continue to find a solution for the funding of the regional plant connection in Lincoln. The city has instituted a campaign to keep Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) out of our sewer system. During the routine cleaning of sewer lines some sections of the community have shown higher levels of FOG in the lines which then has to be removed at the wastewater treatment plant. You can get a Fat Trapper Bag for your kitchen from the Department of Public Works. Through a public-private partnership, two rows of new hangars are under construction at the Auburn Airport and available for lease soon. Construction on the first phase of the Streetscape project is nearing completion in Central Square. While I have heard some negative comments about the project, the vast majority of comments have been positive. The live fir tree has been planted and was lighted for the annual Festival of Lights parade which attracted thousands of visitors to Auburn. A committee has been appointed to consider the public art and historical recognitions that will be part of the total Streetscape project. The committee has a wide range of members eager to contribute to the betterment of the community. The street overlay on Indian Hill Road is in its final stages of completion making for a much smoother ride. City staff is currently reviewing changes to our animal control ordinance as a result of the vicious dog attack which took place this past September. It is clear to me that we must hold owners responsible for the actions of their pets. I recently received a note from a constituent regarding the number of employees working for the City of Auburn. After some research of staffing over the past 10 years, we found that the city currently employees 68 full-time employees which turns out to be the same number we had in 1999. Since 1999, we had a high of 102 at one point, but due to the current financial downturn and some reorganization actions taken by the council, we had to impose some layoffs of personnel. However, even with an increased demand on our police and fire departments, city productivity has never been higher. I want to commend the Placer High School football and track teams for the outstanding seasons they had this year. It really makes the community proud, especially if you are one of the Hillmen. Finally, many thanks to the City Council and city staff for their support during this term as your mayor. We have accomplished much this year and will continue to do so as we move into 2010. Mike Holmes is the mayor of Auburn.