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Citrus Heights Messenger

Council Accepts Completion of Capital Projects

Oct 05, 2023 03:22PM ● By Shaunna Boyd

Approximately $2 million in the budget for this fiscal year has been apportioned for road work, in addition to SB 1 and Measure A funds. Photo courtesy of the City of Citrus Heights

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - At the September 28 meeting, the Citrus Heights City Council heard a report from City Engineer Leslie Blomquist about two recently completed capital projects.  

The Residential Street Resurfacing Project included resurfacing of 20 residential streets, with additional improvements such as 33 ADA curb ramps, 4,800 square feet of sidewalk replacement, 200 linear feet of curb and gutter replacement, and 750 linear feet of storm drain repair and upgrades. The project also integrated traffic safety enhancements. On Wachtel Way, buffered bike lanes were installed, and green conflict markings were put in at areas where vehicles and bicycles cross. The travel lanes were narrowed to increase safety for bicyclists and vehicles. At Verner Ave., the road was widened to accommodate separated bike lanes with clearly marked road edges.

Construction started on this project in August 2022, and at project completion the total cost was $2.9 million— $75,000 under budget. Funding for the project came from four sources: Senate Bill (SB) 1 Road Maintenance Rehabilitation Funds, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, Stormwater Utility funds, and a $227,846 contribution from Sacramento County for the work on Wachtel Way, which is a shared jurisdiction.

The Greenback Lane Complete Streets Project was also recently completed, and work included roadway resurfacing of Greenback Ln. between Sunrise Blvd. and Fair Oaks Blvd. Other improvements included the installation of 10 ADA curb ramps and 600 linear feet of storm drain upgrades and replacements. There were also bicycle and pedestrian safety upgrades at the Greenback/Fair Oaks intersection, including video detection, and CCTV traffic monitoring cameras at Fair Oaks/Arcadia.

Construction began on this project in March 2022, and the final cost was $2.8 million, coming in $188,825 under budget. Funding came from eight sources: SB 1 Road Maintenance Rehabilitation Funds. Measure A Traffic Safety Funds, Measure A Capital Funds, Roadway Impact Fees, Gas Tax funding, CDBG funding, Stormwater Utility funds, and a contribution of $516,165 from Sacramento County for work on the shared jurisdiction along Fair Oaks Blvd.

Councilmember Jayna Karpinski-Costa pointed out that “of the 20 residential streets, 12 are courts.” She said it seemed like there was a lot of focus on paving courts “where five people live, instead of most of the city. And the rest of the streets we all travel on are not getting paved.”

The report stated that the residential resurfacing work came in under budget due to a credit for paving defects, and Councilmember Karpinski-Costa asked for clarification. Blomquist explained that the top layer of paving was coming loose in some areas, but it was so minor that the City elected to take a credit from the contractor rather than further inconvenience those living on the streets with another round of repaving. “Now we have a small pot of funds that we can go and make minor maintenance upgrades if needed,” said Blomquist.

Karpinski-Costa said, “Well, I hope that the next time we take bids, we take that company and kind of put them at the bottom of the stack. They’re doing shabby work.”

Vice Mayor Bret Daniels said, “I am so happy to see this done. I wish we were doing more. That’s all about money though: Got to have more money to do more.” Daniels also said that while he understands Councilmember Karpinski-Costa’s point, he said he has seen some courts that were in terrible conditions, and the “people that live in those courts probably haven’t had their roads fixed in decades. And they pay taxes too.” He said the City plans to focus on busier roads with future projects, but “I think it was good to get these done too.”

Blomquist added that the City is planning further partnerships with Sacramento County for major shared roads so that the cost can be shared—in particular, she said they are hoping to resurface Madison Ave. in the next couple fiscal years.

Mayor Tim Schaefer said that with $2 million in the budget this fiscal year for road work, along with SB 1 and Measure A funds, “hopefully this time next year we’ll have a longer list of completed projects.”

Council unanimously voted to accept these projects as complete so a Notice of Completion can now be recorded and the contract can be released. 

Council also considered resolutions to adopt Memorandums Of Understanding (MOUs) for the Citrus Heights Police Officers Association and the Citrus Heights Police Employees Association, to include an amended salary table with cost of living adjustments and increased medical benefits.

City Manager Ashley Feeney explained that the City conducted a compensation study and found that employee compensation was well below the market rate for similar jurisdictions: “We had fallen well behind.”

City Manager Feeney said that the City has faced many employee retention and recruitment challenges in recent years, with some key team members leaving City employment for other agencies. In exit interviews, those employees were clear that they were leaving for better compensation.

It costs more money to recruit, hire, and train new employees than it does to retain existing employees, so Feeney said it is more financially responsible to ensure the City’s employee compensation rates are in line with the market rate. Employee compensation is an ongoing cost, and Feeney said that the recommended adjustments have been included in the long-term financial forecast and will allow the City to fairly compensate their employees while still maintaining healthy reserves and putting general fund dollars toward other City priorities.

Feeney also said it’s important to ensure that employee compensation stays on track, because the City doesn’t want to be back in this situation of “having to pull ourselves out of a hole.”

The MOUs recommend increasing the City’s medical contribution benefit for employees, which brought most employee classification’s total compensation up to the market median. For other classifications, an additional adjustment was required to meet the market median. And all classifications will also receive an 3% cost of living adjustment for fiscal year 2023-2024, which was already budgeted in the current financial forecast.

Councilmember Karpinski-Costa said, “We have just been seeing so many people leaving the police department, and so I think it’s awful that they leave for more money, because this is a great place to work. I want to congratulate the people who have stuck it out, and hopefully we can rectify some of the gap.”

Vice Mayor Daniels said, “We’ll never pay our police officers enough for what they do … And this is one of the ways to do this, to get us back closer to where we need to be.” He thanked all sides that worked together on the negotiations to get a fair agreement for City employees.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the resolutions for the increased compensation and benefits as recommended.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for October 12, 2023.


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