Eastern Oak Park’s Expansion has Broken Ground

Source: Mission Oaks Recreation & Park District  |  2017-05-17

County Supervisor Susan Peters (center), who once lived adjacent to Eastern Oak Park, helped break ground on May 6.  With her are MORPD Advisory Board members Barney Donnelly, Jerry Ontiveros, Nghia Nguyen, Rick Morin and Jana Saastad along with District Administrator Daniel Barton. 
-- Photo courtesy of MORPD.

The Mission Oaks Recreation & Park District is excited to expand and renovate its oldest park.  Eastern Oak Park, located at 3127 Eastern Ave. (just north of Robertson Ave.), was the first developed park when Mission Oaks became a special district in 1975.  The park itself was not easily seen by passers-by along Eastern Ave. because it was set back behind the Eastern YMCA.

When the YMCA property was listed for sale in 2014, the MORPD became very interested in the possibilities of expanding Eastern Oak Park.  After seeking feedback from those living in close proximity to the park, MORPD received overwhelming support of the plan to expand the park.  The purchase was successful and that was followed by community planning meetings with valuable public participation. 

The old and outdated YMCA buildings and swimming pool were determined to be too costly to save and refurbish, so those were removed in 2015.  The grounds were excavated and left in safe condition while the architectural work was being done, and the scope of work was being finalized.  Fast forward to Saturday, May 6 and we have shovels in the soil to signify the official ground breaking of this long anticipated project.

The entire park will be closed until the project is complete.  There are many variables that can change the completion date, but we are targeting October 21 for the official Grand Opening of the park.  Once confirmed, MORPD will make an announcement.  The park will have several new features including:  A plaza to be named after fallen officer Danny Oliver; an off-leash dog area; a 6-court pickleball facility; a futsol court; a basketball half-court; a walking trail that loops around the perimeter of the park; a new playground; picnic shelters; improved irrigation; a restroom building; improved parking.

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Regional Parks Deploys Park Resource Team

Source: Sacramento County Media  |  2017-05-17

In order to tackle the impacts of illegal camping and other crime within County Parks and the American River Parkway, Sacramento County Regional Parks introduced the Park Resource Team in January 2017. The Park Resource Team (PRT), consists of a dedicated crew of five park rangers and four maintenance staff focusing primarily on the impacts of illegal camping, crime, and trash removal.

“Regional Parks deployed the Park Resource Team in January to areas hardest hit by recent flooding and illegal camping trash,” said Jeff Leatherman, Director, Sacramento County Regional Parks. “Through the work of the team, we’ve been able to improve our response and cleaning up areas impacted by illegal camping, making our parks and Parkway a better place for visitors to recreate.”

Since January, the PRT has made 65 arrests and issued 150 citations.

While the rangers continue their law enforcement efforts, County Parks maintenance staff work to remove debris accumulated from illegal dumping and flooding. This year, the maintenance team received the addition of a lightweight tractor and the support of a debris transfer vehicle—both courtesy of the County’s Department of Waste Management and Recycling.

With the addition of the tractor, maintenance staff can remove more debris than was previously removed with hand crews. The equipment also ensures maintenance staff safety by minimizing the amount of trash staff have to hand load into trucks for transport to the dumpsters or landfill. The machinery also assists staff in collecting heavy debris such as mattresses, couches, and large containers, in hard-to-reach places along the Parkway.

Additionally, trash dumpsters are emptied daily, minimizing the re-depositing of trash back into the park system from the dumpsters. Between January-May, the maintenance team has removed 165.5 tons of garbage from the Regional Park system.

For more information about Sacramento County Regional Parks, see more at: http://www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news.

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“Infrastructure Week,” Highlights $2.7 Million Water Projects

Source: Golden State Water Company Media  |  2017-05-17

In recognition of “Infrastructure Week” from May 15-19, 2017, Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) is highlighting plans to invest more than $2.7 million for local water infrastructure projects in 2017. These investments are planned throughout the Arden Cordova service area, which includes portions of Rancho Cordova, Gold River and Arden Manor.

Golden State Water continually invests to maintain and improve the local water system to ensure delivery of reliable, quality water is not compromised. Local projects planned for 2017 include: Pipeline projects to replace and install more than 3,600 feet of water main throughout the service area; Water supply enhancements through facilities upgrades and implementation of technology at local well and water treatment plants; Upgrading local meters, services and safety equipment.

For a complete list of local infrastructure projects, customers are encouraged to visit www.gswater.com/arden-cordova.

“Golden State Water has invested approximately $700 million companywide for infrastructure improvements over the last decade, because proactive system maintenance is critical to protecting water service now and for future generations,” said Denise Kruger, Senior Vice President of Regulated Utilities for Golden State Water. “We continually invest to improve our water systems here locally and across all of our service territories.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released its 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which assigned a “D” grade to the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. The report noted that upgrading existing water systems to meet drinking water infrastructure needs of a growing population may require at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years.

“As the nation’s aging water infrastructure continues to draw much attention, proactive system investments to protect water systems and avoid the costly and sometimes dangerous effects of deferring maintenance is now more important than ever,” said Kruger. “We appreciate the community’s patience as we work to complete these important projects.”

For additional information about Golden State Water’s local water service, customers are encouraged to call the 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800.999.4033, visit www.gswater.com or follow @GoldenStateH20 on Twitter.

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SACRT Offers Free Transfers for Connect Card Users

Source: Regional Transit Media  |  2017-05-17

With a unanimous vote, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SACRT) Board of Directors approved a pilot program to provide a free 90-minute transfer option to passengers who use a Connect Card, the region’s new smart card fare payment system. The transfer option will be available to customers beginning on Thursday, June 15, 2017, marking the official launch date of the new Connect Card system.

RideSacRT, the agency’s mobile fare app, has included 90-minute transfers since its roll-out in January 2016. The new Connect Card is expected to be more widely used since the initial cards will be free, whereas the mobile app requires a smart phone. Transfers on the Connect Card will be good for unlimited boarding within a 90-minute period on both bus and light rail, just like the mobile fare app. The free transfers are expected to help generate additional ridership.

Connect Cards can be loaded with transit passes and stored value online, SACRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center located at 1225 R Street, and at participating retail outlets. Customers who prefer to pay with cash will also be able to receive the benefits of the 90-minute transfer by simply loading cash onto their Connect Card at SACRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center, and at select retail outlets, including Raley’s/Bel Air markets in mid-June when the Connect Card officially launches.

The Board action comes on the heels of news that fare revenue has increased by 18% over the past nine months, despite a decline in ridership. The revenue increase is being attributed to SACRT’s fare enforcement efforts, which has successfully reduced SACRT’s fare evasion rate from more than 15% a year ago, to just 5% now. “SACRT staff has taken every measure to ensure that our trains and buses are cleaner and safer than ever before,” said Henry Li, General Manager/CEO. “Fare enforcement efforts have reduced the number of non-fare paying passengers and increased the security presence throughout our system. It’s a win for everyone.”

Bus agencies throughout the Sacramento region are also adopting the Connect Card in order to provide seamless travel for passengers transferring from one bus line to another. The free 90-minute transfer will be available for six months, while the agency conducts an equity analysis.

The Connect Card and the RideSacRT mobile fare app will make it more convenient to ride by providing online sales, speeding up boarding times and removing the worry of having exact cash to pay fare.

Other ridership initiatives that SACRT is working on include improving service reliability; optimizing bus routes to make them reflect 21st century commuting patterns.

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SMUD Launches “Shine” Community Sponsorship Program

Source: SMUD Media  |  2017-05-17

SMUD recently announced that it has launched Shine, a new community development program designed to improve and revitalize neighborhoods in the Sacramento region.

Shine awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are very competitive. Any nonprofit organization —501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(6)— within SMUD’s service territory is eligible to apply.

Shine awards are available at three funding levels: Spark (up to $10,000), Amplifier (up to $50,000) and Transformer (up to $100,000). Applications will be accepted through June 26.

While SMUD will consider a broad variety of potential projects, it is primarily interested in proposals within the following areas: Neighborhood revitalization or clean up; STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); Environmental, energy-efficiency, energy conservation or greenhouse gas reduction; General beautification.

“As a not-for-profit, community-owned organization, we work hard every day to improve the lives of our customers,” said SMUD CEO & General Manager Arlen Orchard. “The Shine program is a perfect extension of that commitment. By taking a collaborative approach and working directly with local nonprofits, we’re helping make improvements that neighborhood leaders believe will have the biggest impacts on residents in their communities.”

SMUD awarded three pilot Shine sponsorships over the past six months to test the feasibility and administration of the program. Those grants include: Lighting up the Kay and St. Rose of Lima Park (Applicant: Downtown Sacramento Partnership); Creating the College and Sports Academy of Del Paso Heights (Applicant: Mutual Assistance Network of Del Paso Heights); Renovating the Wellspring Women’s Center kitchen (Applicant: Wellspring Women’s Center).

“SMUD’s Shine award will provide an important spotlight on the great people and exciting opportunities in Del Paso Heights,” said Richard Dana, executive director of Mutual Assistance Network. “We see it as the start of something tremendous.”

A Shine program information session will be held on Wednesday, June 7 at 12 p.m. at the SMUD Customer Service Center at 6301 S St. in Sacramento.

To RSVP for an information session, or for additional questions, please email rsvp@smud.org.

For more information about the SMUD Shine program and to apply today, visit www.smud.org/Shine.

To learn more about the commitment of SMUD to this community and SMUD’s efforts to keep Sacramento bright for more than 70 years, visit www.smud.org/Bright.

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Bill Giving Tax Relief to Homeowners and Renters Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Assemblyman Matthew Harper  |  2017-05-17

On May 16th, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R- Diamond Bar) announced the passage of their “American Dream” bill which increases the existing homeowners’ exemption on their property tax from $7,000 to $25,000, giving relief to homeowners, renters and those aspiring to own a home.

“Homeowners and renters in California are paying some of the highest overall taxes in the nation,” Assemblyman Harper said. “It’s about time that the size of the homeowner’s property tax exemption kept up with the increases in cost of living. Also, I want to thank Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish for working with me to bring this bill forward.”

“High property taxes are making it impossible for too many Californians, who spent their lifetime living and working here, to stay”, said Assemblyman Phillip Chen. This bill would provide immediate relief for millions of homeowners with an emphasis on helping those whose taxes far exceed their ability to pay.”

The homeowner’s exemption hasn’t been increased in 40 years. Meanwhile, the cost of a median priced house has increased from $21,000 to over $450,000, and represents a home that only 30 percent of Californians can afford to purchase. California has a housing crisis and providing tax relief for homeowners and renters will unquestionably lead to enhanced economic stability,” said David Wolfe, Legislative Director with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The “American Dream” bill will also adjust the renter’s credit by a corresponding amount.

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Senator Gaines Issues Statement on Governor’s Budget Revise

Source: Office of Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-05-16

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) issued the following statement regarding Governor Brown’s revised 2017-18 state budget proposal:

“I demand a full and complete explanation as to why Californians’ truck weight fees have been diverted from their true purpose over the past five years and why our sky high gas taxes have not been enough to pay for our roads. Instead, we’re now forced to pay $5 billion more per year for increased gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads.

“California's income tax collections were nearly $1 billion short of projections during the month of April. I know the legislature will be tempted to sink every last dollar into new and ongoing spending programs at a time when we should heed State Controller Betty Yee’s warning that we may be ‘inching towards an economic downturn’ and that we must ‘tailor our spending accordingly.’

“Brown continues to sound all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has the largest ever state spending plan, out of whack spending priorities and little accountability. Overtaxed Californians need relief, not a continuation of the government’s never ending tax and spend cycle that makes California so unaffordable.”

To view the entire revised budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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