Crumbling Roadways Face Trickle-In Funding

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-05-12

One of 9,000 potholes in Sacramento County. No cars or trucks were harmed in the photographing of this pothole. 
-- MPG file photo

SB 1 Transportation Funds Will Be Protected, But Take Years to Trickle In

Funding for the repair and replacement of roads and highways across the county will begin trickling in next year following the implementation of a planned 12 cent increase in gas prices at the pump in November. But don’t expect to see those potholes filled right away.

A good chunk of the revenue earmarked for road and transportation projects under SB 1, Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial transportation funding packaged passed in April, is expected to deliver $7.5 million for the county in 2018, the first full year of implementation through the gas price hike. Future funding is phased in over the next four years. A significant portion of the initial funds received, however, and subsequent money, will be used to repay a portion of loans borrowed from the county’s transportation pot in previous years, according to Sacramento County’s Director of Transportation, Michael Penrose, who addressed issues regarding transportation and SB 1 funding during a community forum in Carmichael Tuesday.

Documents show an allocation of $685 million from SB 1 funding over the next five years will be used to repay existing loans. Potholes also will be competing against other road and infrastructure projects, such as bridge repairs and major highway fixes. But there is a bright side: All funding generated from SB 1 taxes and fees, Penrose said, will be both protected and grown over time. With protections in place, and creation of an index for the funding over the next five years, Penrose said he the county stands to see close to an additional $28 million in revenue by 2027.

“We won’t see it all come in at once, but it is estimated right now that unincorporated Sacramento County could receive up to 7.5 million in additional money in the first year,” Penrose explained during the forum, which Peters dubbed “Roads 101.”

Penrose acknowledge there are challenges to overturn SB 1 by several community groups and at least one lawmaker. He also recognized justification for widespread community skepticism over previous diversion of transportation dollars for other projects, but explained that SB1 carries a companion bill, ACA 5, which essentially protects funds collected under SB1 from being diverted away from county transportation needs.

Revenue generated from various channels, including the 12 cent increase on gas and vehicle licensing fee increases in 2018, are expected to generate close to $28 million in additional revenue over the next decade, because they will be both protected and tied to an investment-based index account. Voters will be asked to approve ACA 5 in November of 2018. Penrose said historically similar measures have been widely approved.

“ACA 5 carries constitutional protections that the dollars that are collected through SB1 can’t be redirected,” Penrose said. “People who have been watching these funds for years and years have seen the state at different times take these transportation funds to do other things.”

Road repairs, including the ongoing fix of some 40,000 potholes annually, as well as replacement projects across the county’s roughly 450-mile roadway lane system, Penrose said, are the top priority under SB1. The $450 million maintenance backlog, he added, has been intensified by Mother Nature, as the county just experienced its wettest and coldest winter on record.

“We do pothole sweeps twice a year,” Penrose said. “This year, in the pothole sweep, there were 9,000 potholes done. This year has just been incredible with the rains and the transition we’ve seen in the pavement. We seemed to have come apart in January.”

Basic street and sidewalk repairs and subsequent maintenance sweeps across residential sections of the county and some of its major thoroughfares, Penrose said, have taken a backseat to freeway and major road infrastructure projects for decades. For all of its controversy, SB1, he said, intends to reverse that.

“For years and years we haven’t had enough revenue to address the maintenance needs,” Penrose said. “The given revenue that we have had we’ve tried very hard to prioritize the allocation and use of those funds, and in many cases, what you’ll have seen is that we’ve been making a lot of investments on the major roads, the four and six lane roads that carry a lot of traffic. And those, in general, are in better condition than a lot of our neighborhoods. We just flat out don’t have enough revenue to get to the whole thing.”

In addition to gas price hikes, the state and county also receive grants through development fees, as well as grants from the federal government and the Active Transportation Program (ATP). However, much of that funding comes with a caveat, primarily that it be used only for major highway and bridge repairs, with little left over for local needs.

“We can’t use federal funds for the minor roads, so in the neighborhoods we have to look to our local revenues to be able to do the repairs on our minor roads, and that’s where you see the squeeze,” Penrose said.

Where SB 1 money comes from is one thing, how and when it will be allocated is another. Funds will be directed by the Sacramento Transportation Authority to the county, which in turn allocates funds directly to the cities in the county and unincorporated areas. But there are several areas under the allocation table that the county will have to compete for or attempt to pull funding from, including a $200 million fund for a state-local partnership and a $25 million account for local planning grants.

“It’s going to a whole bunch of accounts,” Penrose said. “There will be allocations of funds to the state, the locals, the cities, and some of it will be loan repayment. I can say that historically, Sacramento has done a good job of applying for and receiving grants.”

Peters used the example of the ongoing construction and beautification project currently underway on Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael to illustrate how difficult it is to obtain funding for street and road projects, and how varying stakeholders (business owners and residents) each have different priorities.

The Fair Oaks corridor plan, Peters explained, involved several phases, including road repair, underground power pole work, sidewalk repair and landscaping, as well as competition for funding to make it all happen.

“We have to compete for it, it’s federal, its’ state… it’s crazy, and it takes a lot of work from the department (of transportation) to put it all together and compete for it,” Peters said.

Proposed SB 1 Funding Allocation Accounts:

$1.5 billion for state highways
$1.5 billion for local roads
$750 million for transit operations and capital
$685 million in loan repayments
$400 million for state bridges
$300 million for goods movement/freight projects
$250 million for the new “Solutions for Congested Corridors” program
$200 million for state-local partnership
$100 million for the active Transportation grants
$25 million for Freeway Service Patrol
$25 million for local planning grants
$7 million for UC and USC Transportation Research


...Read More!  
  |  

Taste of Carmichael Benefits Children, Community

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-05-11

Linda Martin (L) Donna Miller (R) and the rest of the Carmichael Kiwanis Club’s team invite everyone out to this year’s Taste of Carmichael for great food and great fun. There will be plenty of wonderful foods and desserts, along with wine and drinks. (See how to purchase tickets at the end of the story.) 
-- Staff photo.

The long list of non-profit organizations and the countless number children and their families who will benefit from your attendance at the annual Carmichael Kiwanis Club’s Taste of Carmichael event should be motivation enough.

But should you need further prodding, consider the fact that more than four dozen of the region’s restaurants and purveyors of fine wines and craft brews are on tap for this year’s event, and every penny raised goes right back into to the community via the Kiwanis Club’s long list of private and non-profit beneficiaries.

For $40, you can eat and drink an evening away, knowing that all that imbibing will serve to ensure, for example, that children in the San Juan Unified School District have access to performing and visual arts, as well as learning incentive programs through grants funded through Kiwanis.  Support for the event will also make it possible for parents of children admitted to the hospital to take up temporary residency in the Kiwanis Family House at UC Davis, where sliding-scale payments are made available in order to give parents in need of long-term housing an affordable alternative to hotels.

“Every dollar from we generate from the fundraiser goes to the Carmichael Kiwanis Club, which has a theme of ‘Serving the Children of the World,”’ said Linda Martin, President of Kiwanis Club of Carmichael. “We are 100 percent into service, so all the money goes to help the children in the community, whether that’s through arts programs, nature centers or donations to hospitals. It’s the community, children and families who are serviced.”

Funding also goes to support service organizations such as the Salvation Army, Loaves & Fishes, Boys Scouts of America, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American River Parkway, the Koobs Nature Area, The Red Cross of Sacramento and way too many more to list.

“A lot of people don’t know much about Kiwanis and what we do,” said Martin. “But the truth is we are one of the oldest service organizations out there providing funding for children and community programs, as well as support to many larger non-profits across the country and around the world. We do a great deal to promote and support community programs focused on providing opportunities for the betterment of children’s lives and the lives of their families.”

In fact, the Carmichael Kiwanis said Martin, is the largest club in the network of Kiwanis International, with 100 members.  Globally, Kiwanis has roughly 650,000 members in more than 80 nations and provides a combined $1 million in community funding to communities across the globe each year.

Newcomers to Taste of Carmichael this year include three from the new Milagro Centre, including Mesa Mercado, Fish Face Poke Bar and River City Brewing. Regulars will include Raleys/Bel Air and their widely anticipated seafood, wine and cheese fair, as well as Lido Café, Nothing Bundt Cakes, El Papagayo, Chocolate Fountains, Serritella’s, Terra d’Oro, Vino Noceto, Wreckless Blenders and more.

“Railey’s and Bel Air are amazing,” Martin said. “They have been one of our biggest supporters each year and I can’t say enough about how great they are.  Every year they bring out about 15 people with them, including team members from Pacific Seafood, and they do a seafood, wine and cheese booth that is just amazing.”

Sacramento’s Todd Morgan and the Emblems will be making a return appearance at Taste of Carmichael, belting out electrifying blues, rockabilly and pop originals.  Carmichael’s own Vintage Fare is also on the entertainment bill this year, bringing a nostalgic if not timely 1960s-era style repertoire of folk harmonies to the stage.  
There will also be a classic car show, a raffle and other giveaways at the event, as well as information and representation from some of the service groups served by Kiwanis. Tickets for this year’s festivities are $40.00 and may be purchased at the door or in advance.


...Read More!  
  |  

Climb Aboard the Elks Fourth of July Parade

Story by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-05-11

You can plan your float or parade entry so you can “Clown Around” with friends and neighbors in the annual parade. 
-- MPG file photo

Now Accepting Sponsorships and Float Applications

The Carmichael Elks Lodge is calling for applications for sponsorships and float entries for what is arguably one of the highest-attended Independence Day parades and celebrations in the region.
The Elks 59th Fourth of July Parade delivers everything you’d want or expect in a parade: vintage car clubs, fancy horses, marching bands, princesses doing the light-bulb wave, and, how cool is this, the one day a year you get to sleep on Carmichael’s main drag without fear of getting a trespassing ticket. And floats, plenty of floats, each representing area businesses and community service organizations and clubs.

“It’s such an uplifting, red, white and blue feeling, and I don’t mean that it’s political, because it isn’t. This parade is for everybody,” said Elks Lodge Secretary, Jim Warrick who oversees the annual production.

More than 10,000 spectators are anticipated to attend this year’s parade, themed Proud to Be An American.   Thousands of them will be in lawn chairs and sleeping bags the night before, camping out for a good seat on the two-mile route, which begins at Marconi Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, and terminates at Cypress and Manzanita avenues.

The parade was started by Warrick’s father, Barnie, a former charter member of the Elks Lodge and an event promotor. As the younger Warrick puts it, the club was new and his dad was charged with organizing its first community event.  When Warrick Sr. found out about a family from Carmichael getting into a car accident on their way to a 4th of July event that previous year, he came up with the idea for a parade with the hope of convincing locals to stay close to home on Independence Day.

“That story really touched my dad,” said Warrick, who added that he was in the first parade (and many since). “I was 10 years old. I was there. It’s a great tradition and, although dad passed away in 1982, the tradition lives on.”

This year’s Grand Marshall is Allan Davis. He and his late wife, Nancy Emerson-Davis are behind the development of the rapidly expanding Milagro Centre on Fair Oaks Boulevard, and other successful projects in the area. Emerson- Davis was the daughter of the late Sacramento developer, Joe Benvenuti who is credited for establishing the developmental footprint for much of the capital region.

 “Allan personifies the desire to enhance our community,” Warrick said. “He’s chosen to make Carmichael a better place.”

“I’m very excited to be selected as this year’s grand marshal,” said Davis. “This is a terrific community event and I would encourage anyone with a business to sign up to participate in it with me. The Elks club relies on the support of sponsors to put this amazing, free event on every year.”

Sponsorships are critical, as the entire costs for the parade, as well as the after party hosted by the Elks Club, run close to $3,000, which includes fees for marketing, insurance, payments to the Highway Patrol to cover road closures, food for the party, payment to the band, and much more.

A $100 Gold-level sponsorships includes what Warrick called “a prestigious front of the parade position in a classic car.”  There also are $50 and $20 sponsorship level options available.  All sponsors will be recognized in marketing collateral for the event, the Elks and event Facebook pages and day of speeches. Local TV media and print coverage are anticipated again this year.

The Elks Lodge party includes a barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs and “Elks beans,” which Warrick says are as much a parade tradition as the floats and vintage Cadillacs. The Elks Lodge swimming pool also will be open and there will be a children’s play area.  The Crystal Image Band returns to the main hall to rock the party prior to fireworks at dusk.

“This band is just fantastic,” says Warrick. “They’ve played this event many times and we’re thrilled to have them back.”

Carmichael Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Linda Melody will be announcing the parade again this year. She also is encouraging the business community to sponsor the event, consider getting their float on, or both.

“This is my second year announcing the parade and it’s so exciting to be able to do that,” Melody said. “It’s such a great community gathering of our local businesses and service organizations, not to mention all of the attendees. It really is an event not to be missed.”
    
For 59th Annual Elks Club Parade sponsorship and float registration call: Jim Warrick at (916) 479-2103 or e-mail: jdwarrick@lanset.com


...Read More!  
  |  

IRS Tips on What to do After the Tax-Filing Deadline

Source: Internal Revenue Service  |  2017-05-10

Tax day has come and gone for most people, but some taxpayers may still be dealing with their taxes. The IRS offers these tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:

Didn’t File by April 18?

There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if the taxpayer receives a refund. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. IRS Free File is available on IRS.gov to prepare and file returns electronically through October 16.

“Where’s My Refund?”

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on www.IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need specific information to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. That information includes the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the amount of refund.

Changing Withholding?

Events – like a change in marital status – during the year may change the exemptions, adjustments, deductions or credits a taxpayer expects to claim on next year’s return. Employees can use the IRS’s online Withholding Calculator to figure and then adjust their withholding by filling out a new Form W-4, normally with the company’s personnel office. Taxpayers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay or don’t have enough tax withheld, may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers who are self-employed normally need to make estimated payments that can be adjusted to avoid a balance due in the future.

Need to View a Tax Account Balance or Make a Payment?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply for an online payment agreement. Before accessing your tax account online, you must authenticate your identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on www.IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment.

Need to Fix an Error on a Return?

Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on www.IRS.gov/forms at any time. Do not file an amended return before the original return has been processed. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to change the filing status, or correct income, deductions or credits. The IRS generally corrects math errors and mails a request for any missing documents. Use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of your amended return. It will take up to three weeks after mailing the return to show up in the IRS system. Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

Need Help Responding to an IRS Notice or Letter?

An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Most questions can be answered by visiting the “Understanding Your Notice or IRS Letter,” on www.IRS.gov. Taxpayers can call the phone number included in the notice if they still have questions. Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” presents these rights in 10 categories. This helps taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights a list of taxpayer rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them. If normal IRS channels don’t solve the problem, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is available at 877-777-4778.

Watch Out for Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer via e-mail, text or social media. Any e-mail that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal information. Forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue will be by mail.


...Read More!  
  |  

Pioneer History Day Returns, Our Heritage Matters

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-05-10

Free wagon rides will be available at California Pioneer History Day at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, on May 20. 
-- Photo by Patrick Twomey, 2mefotos Photography

On May 20, 2017, California Pioneer History Day is coming back to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. Admission is free, State parking fee is $8 per car. The event opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., with parade at 10 a.m. It is sponsored by the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors are encouraged to get into the spirit with period costume, if they wish.

Last year more than 5,000 people enjoyed the Day and new features have been added, to include a larger area of activities and events in the park. A log cabin will actually be erected during the day in real time, and will be donated to the Park.

Historic displays and exhibits will demonstrate how the pioneers met their needs, how they traveled and cooked and laundered their clothes. There will be periodic black powder musket firings, and the firing of a replica of the cannon purchased from Captain John Sutter in 1848. Special occasional firings of the “Candy Cannon” will shoot candy to gathered kids, who can also join in with pioneer games. There will be free wagon rides.

Visitors can try their skills making bricks, candles, dolls and other crafts, try quilting and roast a biscuit on a stick. Families can bring food to eat at the picnic area or purchase food at several food stands.

After the parade at 10 a.m., certificates of special recognition will be presented at the stage area, and VIPs introduced.

Then will come the entertainment, which will be continuous from around 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jeri Clinger, co-founder with her husband Richard of the Galena Street East singing and dancing troop, is one of the organizers of the entertainment for California Pioneer History Day. “Singers will sing songs of that period, ones they might have been singing at some of the mining camps,” Clinger said. There will be dancing, musical numbers, and other types of entertainment in two locations on the grounds

The setting at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma is the historic spot of John Sutter’s sawmill, where gold was discovered in 1848. “It’s a very family oriented day,” Clinger said. “It’s ideal to help people in California feel the pioneer heritage here.”

Come early to beat the crowds. For more information, please see californiapioneer.org/cphd.


...Read More!  
  |  

Mail Carrier Canned Food Drive is May 13th

Source: Willie Henderson, Food Drive Coordinator  |  2017-05-10

Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people who need our help.

Last year we collected over 80 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 64 million people. Over the course of its 24 year history the drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire Nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The need for food donations is great. Currently, 49 million Americans are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Thirteen million are children who feel hunger's impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. More than 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.

Our food drive timing is crucial. Food Banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime many pantries are depleted entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Participating in this year's Letter carriers stamp out hunger Food Drive is easy. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mail box on Saturday, May 13th and your letter carrier will do the rest. With your help, letter carriers and the US postal service have collected over 1.5 billion pounds of food in the United States over our first 24 years as a national food drive. Please help us in our flight to end hunger as we celebrate our 25th anniversary year in America's great day of giving.


...Read More!  
  |  

Grand Opening of State‐of‐the‐Art, Water‐Wise Gardens at Howe Park

By Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-05-10

The public is invited to the Grand Opening Ceremony and Celebration of the Gardens at Howe Park, the Sacramento region’s newest water‐wise demonstration garden, on Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 a.m. at Howe Park in Sacramento.

The celebration will include a ribbon‐cutting ceremony, guided tours, workshop demonstration on highefficiency sprinklers and free gift bags filled with gardening tools for the first 100 attendees.

“We’re excited to open our newest demonstrations gardens and highlight the variety of ways people can have beautiful landscapes that are river‐friendly and low‐water,” said Greg Bundesen, Sacramento Suburban Water District’s (SSWD) Water Conservation Supervisor.

The Gardens at Howe Park are truly unique in that they showcase four, state‐of‐the‐art, low‐water use demonstration landscapes, including:

  • Sensible Switchover: This garden is designed to represent the layout of most Sacramento-area residential front yards, but features low-water plants and low maintenance solutions perfect for our region’s climate.
  • Wilder Wonders: A wilder, less structured garden filled with color and texture. It’s designed to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.
  • Water Works: A working rain garden that shows how plants can take in, filter and hold water in the soil. It’s designed to capture the rain and let it percolate into our groundwater instead of flowing unchecked and unfiltered into our rivers, the Delta and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
  • Effortless Edibles: This attractive garden features low-water edibles and aromatics, and can provide lots of goodies for your table, and color for your house.

Each of the gardens will feature informational signage that identifies all of the landscape’s waterefficient features and plants used.

SSWD customers helped transform the site during hands‐on workshops on sustainable landscaping techniques taught by EcoLandscape California instructors.

The project is presented in partnership by SSWD, Fulton‐El Camino Recreation and Park District and EcoLandscape California, which served as project manager and provided instruction for hands‐on workshops, and is part of the District’s ongoing commitment to promoting wise water use and investing in the community.

For more information about the Grand Opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park, visit www.sswd.org.


...Read More!  
  |