Water conservation efforts to continue despite rain
Update from Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin
–Well, it didn’t take long, but some folks say they have had enough rain already. The good news is our lakes are filling, the streams are running and aquifers are benefitting. Scientific folks say, however, it will take several wet winters to fully restore the aquifers and it’s likely the State of California will keep conservation mandates in places for awhile.
Locally, we continue to meet those usage mandates and plans are underway for the establishment of a groundwater management plan to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Engineers are drawing up the designs for an addition to our new water treatment plant that will produce nearly as much recycled water as we currently pull from the underground aquifer. That addition should be finished in about 18 months. Concurrent with construction, we will design a “purple pipe” system to distribute the non-potable irrigation water.
One unwelcome effect of the rain is the continued damage to our city streets. We are making great progress using the General Fund, grants, and the citizen-approved sales tax override to repair our roads, but inclement weather creates flooding, flooding creates erosion, and erosion accelerates street damage. City crews have been working hard to keep all streets passable and patched.
The weather has slowed down the EEMP Grant Project along Riverside Avenue. Work along Riverside between 10th and 12th is almost complete. The sidewalk, driveway, curb and gutter along the west side of Riverside just south of 14th is complete. This will expand the right turn lane at southbound Riverside to 13th and should help the traffic congestion during peak hours. The area at 14th west of Riverside will be next. This project is funded partially with a $500,000 Environmental Enhancement Mitigation Program (EEMP) Grant from the State of California.
The Paso Robles City Council has approved plans for community input into proposed improvements to Creston Road. Citizens will be urged to participate in surveys and workshops to determine the nature and extent of improvements to assure the completed project meets their expectations. Watch for notices of opportunities to get involved.
The council has sent the rough Short-Term Rental ordinance to the Paso Robles Planning Commission for tweaking. The ordinance is the product of a broad-based citizens committee that has been studying the issue of short-term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods. The committee reached a broad consensus on the terms of the ordinance. Citizens will have two more opportunities to weigh in, one at the planning commission and another when the finished ordinance returns to the council. Keep an eye of agendas posted at www.prcity.com for dates.
City maintenance staff have worked to enrich the city library’s entry space by adding a splash of color. This particular project was completed with absolutely no interruption to service. Meanwhile, the city’s library volunteer program has been recognized as one of California’s most innovative models of volunteerism in library service by the library academy, an intensive training program for library volunteers.
I met with law enforcement, city staff, school representatives and a member of the public recently to discuss the hazard of discarded drug paraphernalia in city parks. I called the meeting after a local child handled a discarded syringe and received a needle prick. We are putting together a multi-prong program to address the issue. The program will contain elements of prevention, education and community involvement. If you are interested please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Speaking of drugs, the city manager continues to work with local residents to draw up guidelines for the distribution and use of medical marijuana usage. As far as recreational use goes, the city continues to prohibit brick-and-mortar outlets. The debate will, no doubt, continue regarding the impacts of recent legislation making recreational use legal.
The council has approved recruitment efforts to locate an interim Fire Chief and Battalion Chief for the Emergency Services Department. Once this is accomplished we can return to major planning efforts to address emergency services needs for our growing community.
On Feb. 1, representatives of the Paso Robles Police Department met with residents of the Paso Robles Housing Authority to discuss community outreach and crime prevention. Topics included concerns about drugs, gangs and graffiti. If your neighborhood would like such a meeting please contact Detective Eric Azarvand at (805) 227-7424.
On Friday, Feb. 3, the City of Paso Robles hosted the monthly San Luis Obispo County Mayors’ Meeting. We met at the Pioneer Museum on Riverside Avenue. The Mayors from the seven cities in our County were joined by First District Supervisor John Peschong and representatives from the League of California Cities and the office of State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham.
That’s a taste of what’s going on in our city. If you have concerns, questions or suggestions please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven W. Martin
Mayor, City of Paso Robles