Auburn springs to life with plans, public projects

Another View
By: Mike Holmes, mayor of Auburn
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This past month the Auburn City Council has moved forward on a number of important issues. We reacted quickly to the news that Lake Clementine in the Auburn State Recreation Area may be closed to boating by year’s end due to lack of funding by the US Bureau of Reclamation. The Auburn Boat Club has operated facilities there for over 50 years for enjoyment of local boaters as well as visitors. With the council’s blessing, council member Kevin Hanley and I took immediate action to send letters of concern to our federal elected officials. Within two weeks, through the assistance of Congressman Tom McClintock’s office, the Bureau of Reclamation found funds to keep the facility open until Sept. 30, 2010. We will continue to work on a long-term solution to this problem. Through the efforts of Chief of Police Valerie Harris and Captain John Ruffcorn we have received grant funding to re-hire the two police officers we were forced to lay off in the recent past. Work continues on the new hangars at the Auburn Airport with more hangars becoming available in the future. The city has forwarded a request for annexation of 8.3 acres at the airport to the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). This property was purchased by the city in 2003. Council member Bridget Powers, along with county officials, recently conducted a forum on re-invigorating development and use of the facilities at the airport. The Streetscape, Phase 1, project in Central Square is ahead of schedule with the major portion scheduled to be completed by early December. Visitors to that area will notice the change in traffic pattern. While there have been some temporary inconveniences in the area I believe both merchants and the public will be pleased with the results. The city council, acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority, has approved the establishment of an ad hoc 11 member committee to review proposals for public art, recognition of individuals and historic events associated with the city and its development since 1848. Five members of this committee shall be at-large members who must be residents. We expect to approve nominations to the committee at our Oct. 12 meeting. Work will commence on the upgrade of the city wastewater treatment plant in the next few weeks. We estimate it will take two construction seasons to complete this project, which will meet state and federal clean water requirements. We continue to hold discussions with Placer County and the City of Lincoln regarding a future connection to the regional wastewater treatment plant in Lincoln. A major hurtle is the cost of the project. We have authorized a construction contract with Teichert Construction for the street overlay of Indian Hill Road in an amount not to exceed $332,200. Work is schedule to begin in several weeks. Work has started on the Borland Avenue/ Lincoln Way/Highway 49 signalization improvement program. City staff is negotiating a solar photovoltaic system for possible use at the wastewater treatment plant, which could potentially reduce the costs of power to operate the plant. Our assistant city clerk is scheduled to retire in the near future. The city is now accepting applications to fill that position. Interested applicants may visit the Employment Opportunities section of the city Web site for applications and a description of duties and responsibilities. It was my honor to declare Oct. 5 as Jean L. Couzens Day in Auburn as she reaches her 100th birthday. She continues to be an inspiration to the volunteers and leaders that make Auburn a great place to live. Finally, we dedicated our Sept. 28 council meeting to the memory of Jane Taylor, wife of former mayor and council member O. C. Taylor. Mike Holmes is the mayor of Auburn.