Vacaville workers praised for delivering services despite tough 2012

By From page A4 | February 13, 2013

VACAVILLE — The city delivered the goods when it came to public services despite a rough year, according to a report Tuesday to the City Council that recapped 2012’s accomplishments.

That was true in spite of continued losses in revenue, belt-tightening in the city budget and going to the voters to ask for more taxes.

City Manager Laura Kuhn and her department heads even came close to saying the city may have turned a corner when it came to November’s successful effort to get Measures I and M passed, which will provide $6.3 million a year worth of a financial breathing space. It also helped that the city managed to get a new contract with Recology that will bring in $1 million in new revenue.

Each department head laid out specifics of how they have continued providing services despite having fewer employees and money to do so ranging from continued maintenance and repair of city streets and utilities to providing rental assistance to more than 1,400 low-income senior and working poor Vacaville households.

Community Development representatives, for example, said they were even a littler busier than they were last year due to what could be the beginning of an uptick in development projects in Vacaville, such as the proposed Brighton Landing subdivision and the expansion of North Village. Longstanding plans to develop Lagoon Valley quietly moved forward as well during 2012.

This report is the basis for the annual State of the City presentation that Kuhn and the mayor have presented in previous years to the council. It will be presented to the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce some tine in April, according to Kuhn.

Council members were generally pleased with what they heard, joining department heads in praising city employees for their dedication despite heavier workloads brought on by the last few years of budget cuts and personnel losses.

That was particularly true for the city’s former Office of Housing and Redevelopment Department, which was reduced to the Office of Housing Services after the state eliminated redevelopment and took away redevelopment funding.

That loss forced that department to eliminate, suspend or transfer to other departments 20 redevelopment projects and 18 affordable housing programs and projects, and to lay off seven full-time and six part-time employees.

Councilwoman Dilenna Harris thanked city staff on behalf of Vacaville’s residents for their work during what she called “a long, hard year.” Councilman Curtis Hunt said that despite having to deal with difficult financial issues, Vacaville staff are still doing a great job.

“It is important to tell the people that we are open for business,” Hunt said.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • PatriotFebruary 13, 2013 - 5:36 am

    ok, sounds like the city has turned the corner. If that is true why is the council still taking away money from the city workers through concessions. Other cities have already stopped the concessions.This council does not support city workers.

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  • FF64February 13, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    Public employees have become scapegoats for all things bad about the government, whether Fed, State, or Local. Trust me, they will not stop taking "givebacks" when they can use that money for their pet projects.

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  • PatriotFebruary 13, 2013 - 6:18 pm

    Agreed, there biggest "Pet project" is the fire paramedic service that costs the city $3.0 million per year, every year..In todays age we need to review all programs and make the right decisions that effect all citizens. All other cities in county use private medic and get a reimbursement of $500-600,000 per year..As long as they keep these types of "Pet Projects" we will continue to "kick the can" down the road until we are really in trouble..

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  • VV citizenFebruary 13, 2013 - 8:19 pm

    Not sure where you get your facts, but the PM\ambulance service MAKES money through the PM tax and transport fees. Plus its done with a higher level of service and better response times then a private company. If it was a money-loser, it would get tossed.

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  • PatriotFebruary 14, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    Let me respond to your comments. If you would please look at the 2012-13 budget for the city of Vacaville you would find out that the Paramedic program does make money, but the net effect of the program is that it costs the city over $3.0 million in added expense to run the service..In the past 5 years since other hospitals have opened the city ambulance service has lost more money due to not have to go to Vallejo. Your comment about quality of service is a good one. I believe we have a superior service for ambulance in our city..How good would it be with a private ambulance service we should look at all other cities in the county..I believe they get the same training and are held to the same standards as our paramedics.. However they are not paid over $100,000 per year and work 9 days per month. I would suggest you ask the city council and city manager if you don't believe me. In todays work do we really need the cadillac of service when we run a minimal staffing every 24 hours of 5 police officers and 1 sergeant in police and then run 14 fire/paramedics and 4 supervisors in the fire department. They run these minimals 24/7. I heard the fire department had a total of 25 structure fires last year for all of these resources. Sounds awful fat to me.If that still makes sense to you, then you must work for the fire department.

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