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Multiple projects abuzz in Auburn

Mayor's Report
By: Mike Holmes
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There has been some confusion about the role of city commissions and committees over the past few weeks. I want to set the record straight. The city has a number of advisory bodies including the Arts Commission and the Endurance Capital Committee which report recommendations to the City Council. Members of those bodies may have opinions regarding their mandate, but they are only opinions until the City Council takes action. The council, acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority (AUDA), recently postponed any decisions regarding the naming of any portions of Central Square. We want to review all portions of the project from Old Town to Downtown to ensure the entire community has a voice in the process. The StreetScape project in Central Square is ahead of schedule with the major portion to be completed by late November or early December. The city Web site has weekly updates. There are no plans to rename our historic Central Square as Endurance Plaza. While endurance activities have come to be a focus over the past few years, Central Square has been part of this community for over 100 years. Although I may endorse a section of Central Square to recognize endurance fetes, what about our champion Olympians like Roy, Ben or Stacy? How about McCann Award winners? Meanwhile, at a recent city council meeting, we reappointed Liz Briggs to the Historic Design Review Commission and Carmel Barry-Schweyer as a new member. Sandra Elder was commended for her service on that body. William Gray was appointed to the Library Advisory Board, replacing Dr. Robert Schnetzler, who received a commendation from the city for his devoted service. The Director of Public Works was authorized to execute a contract with Teichert Corporation for the Borland Avenue/ Route 49/Lincoln Way signal modification project at a cost not to exceed $205,210. The original engineer’s estimate for this project was $368,000. That project should be under way soon. City staff has been authorized to submit an application to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for $800,000 for a First Time Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program which could provide up to $100,000 in down payment loans to those who qualify. We also authorized city staff to submit an application to the HCD for $4 million for a planned 60-unit affordable senior apartment project on the Sisters of Mercy property on Sacramento Street. The Auburn Urban Development Authority (AUDA) will contribute $300,000 to that project from set-aside funds. The council authorized the Director of Public Works to execute a construction contract with GSE Construction Company for the Auburn 2009 Waste Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project in an amount not to exceed $4,478,820. An earlier estimate for this project was $7,137,900. The city will not need to raise sewer fees to complete this project. We continue to have discussions with Placer County and the City of Lincoln regarding the regional waste water treatment plant option. While the regional option may be best in the long term, funding the project without state or federal assistance would require a significant increase in sewer rates. Construction has begun on new hangars at the Auburn Airport. The city has granted an easement for the waterline extension to the Placer County Water Agency. The City of Auburn has been awarded the certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Associate of the United States for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the year ending in June 2008. Director of Administrative Services Andy Heath will be awarded a plaque and certificate in the near future. Congratulations, Andy! The City of Auburn is always looking for residents to serve on our various boards and commissions. Applications are available in the City Clerk’s office or online at www.auburn.ca.gov.