Millis Manafi Retires

Millis Manafi, center, accepts a certificate from Deputy Director of Public Works Robert Andrade as Mayor Deborah Novelli looks on. Manafi retired after just over 20 years with the City of Patterson Public Works Department, spending his career at the city's Water Quality Control Facility.

Water Meter System Replacement

Editor’s note: This item was approved during the Dec. 3 City Council meeting.

To comply with regulatory requirements, the city is pursuing funding to replace all existing water meters. The upgraded metering system will have Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Per the staff report, AMI uses a low-powered communication device that will transmit hourly water usage information over a secure network, approximately four times a day.

This information could be very useful in pinpointing the cause of excess water consumption: leaks, or sprinkler, water softener or other equipment malfunction.

The upgraded system is expected to cost between $2,500,000 and $4,000,000 for the approximately 6,500 meters currently in use, and is anticipated to begin in early 2021. This cost estimate includes meter replacement of approximately 6,500 water meters, installation costs, construction oversight, supplies, software and integration, training and contingency.

The city will self-fund the project through the Water Enterprise Fund, and seek reimbursements when eligible. The report notes that the cost for this project has been included in the first water bonding series. Although funding is supported by the recently approved water revenue bond, the city will apply for reimbursement of up to half of the project’s cost through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF).

Longtime Public Works employee retires

Millis Manafi, Public Works Operator 3, was recognized for 20 years of service to the city. He retired on Dec. 20. “Anywhere I go, I will remember my best time,” Manafi said, adding that he had felt at home in the City of Patterson.

City receives huge grant for Salado Creek bike trail

The city has received a greening grant for the Patterson Urban Bicycle Trail Project along Salado Creek. The $1,808,145 grant was made by the California Climate Investments Urban Greening Program, and will allow the city to plant trees and construct 6,458 linear feet of bike and pedestrian paths. The project will connect Apricot Valley Elementary School, Creekside Middle School, and three public parks.

The new trail will cross under Sperry Avenue.

The city qualified for the funding because it falls into the disadvantaged community category, based on the Cal-Enviro screening criteria.

The project will include the planting of 273 native trees, as well as a bike path that starts on the northern city limits, along Salado Creek, and continues past Sperry Avenue to the southern city limits.

The trail will also provide a link to the Sports Park, Ulloa said.

The project will be broken into three segments: Cliff Swallow Drive to Shearwater Drive; Phase 2 will be Shearwater Drive to Sperry Avenue and Phase 3 will incorporate Sperry Avenue to the southern city limits. The connection at Sperry, Director of Engineering, Building, Capital Projects and City Engineer Fernando Ulloa said, provides a critical link to the planned Centennial Park on Ward Avenue.

Ulloa drew applause when he pointed out that, while the total cost for the project was estimated at 1,871,945, the city will only have to put in about $58,000, or 3-1/2 percent of the total cost. Grants typically require the city to contribute a higher percentage of the cost of a given project, he said.

The project “would implement the General Plan’s vision, that provides a Class 1 bikeway route along Salado Creek, as well as the Master Plans for the projects that are north and south of Sperry.”

The project also falls in line with the Urban Forest Master Plan, Ulloa said, “fostering sustainable urban forestry resources,” and “rebrands trees as a community infrastructure.”

The statewide grant process was highly competitive, Ulloa said, adding that only 11 cities had received funding, and Patterson and Berkeley were the only recipients north of Bakersfield. Of those 11, only four were awarded larger grants than Patterson.

He acknowledged that all city departments had worked together during the grant application process, and credited Capital Projects Manager Tiffany Rodriguez with coordinating among all the departments to ensure a complete and competitive grant application.

Councilmember Farinha asked if native trees would be used for the project. Ulloa confirmed that, to the greatest extent possible, they would be, specifically mentioning concerns about water requirements of non-native trees.

Councilmember McCord commented favorably on the Sperry Avenue undercrossing, which will be constructed as part of the project. “A lot of people who are running along there, or riding their bikes; lots of people stop (at the intersection), some don’t,” he said, adding that the undercrossing would make the intersection safer.

Ulloa responded that the improved safety at that intersection was probably one of the reasons the city received the grant. “I’m sure it had some kind of point value,” while the application was being considered.

Ulloa said the next step in the process is for city staff to generate a Request for Proposal (RFP), which should be completed early this year. If all goes well, he said, the construction contract will be awarded in summer of 2021.

Northern and Central Delta-Mendota Region Groundwater Sustainability Plan

The council adopted the plan, which is designed to address concerns about the area’s groundwater supply over the coming decades. The plan has a 20-year implementation period, and a 50-year planning period.

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