Council plans to unschedule NEV study

By: Laura O’Brien, Loomis News Correspondent
-A +A

As part of its mid-year budget review, Town Council plans to kick to the curb funding a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) transportation plan.

At the Jan. 8 Loomis Town Council meeting, the council discussed changes to the town’s Capital Improvement Program. The Capital Improvement Program is a list of transportation and parks, recreation and open space projects scheduled for the five budget years starting with 2012-2013. 

Changes to the Capital Improvement Program discussed by council at the January meeting will be voted on at the Feb. 12 council meeting, said Loomis Town Manager Rick Angelocci, in an interview. 

One of the changes council discussed is removing the $26,000 NEV plan that was awarded to Bennett Engineering Services, of Roseville, from the scheduled items for 2012-2013.  The NEV plan will be moved to “unscheduled improvements,” Angelocci said.

“You have the cost of it in there but you haven’t set aside (funding) or scheduled to do it,” he said.

The funding from the NEV plan could then be used to continue design work for an additional segment of the Downtown Master Plan on Taylor Road from Walnut Street to Horseshoe Bar Road, he said.

Councilmember Dave Wheeler said at the meeting, “You’re talking tens of millions of dollars to add (NEV lanes). I’d just like to see us save the money now. We need it on other projects, clearly.”

The added street design segment on Taylor Road will be paid for using $93,911 in gas tax and money slated for transportation from the town’s general fund, said Brian Fragiao, town director of public works, in an interview.  The total estimated design cost for the project – including medians, sidewalks and landscaping – is $737,165, which represents 10 percent of $7.3 million in estimated total construction costs. 

Other proposed changes to the Capital Improvement Program include adding needed road improvements and removing the Regina Caeli Priory’s $662,000 tree mitigation fees as a scheduled improvement.

All three members of the planning commission’s tree ordinance subcommittee, planning commissioners Janet Thew and Jean Wilson, and biologist Shawna Martinez objected to the inclusion of the priory’s mitigation fees in the Capitol Improvement Program.

“It’s a puzzlement to me why that should even be listed in the 2012-13 scheduled improvements,” Wilson said.  “The priory is not going to be doing anything this year.  We’re not going to be receiving any money, and actually, since they have to do a lot of fundraising it’s going to take several years.”

Martinez said priory tree mitigation fees should not be worded like the Homewood Lumber tree mitigation fees, which the Town began collecting in 2009 as part of a 10-year plan.  Thew agreed.

At the meeting, Angelocci said amendments to the tree mitigation ordinance are being prepared for Council.  He said the priory will be subject to the ordinance in effect at the time the applicant pulls the project’s permit. 

Martinez said finding space to plant trees in town has been difficult.

“We might have room to plant 10 on town property,” she said.

Council members discussed planting town trees along Interstate 80 at the Horseshoe Bar Road on-ramp on land owned by Caltrans.   

Other proposed amendments to the Capital Improvement Plan include a Sierra College Boulevard overlay from Taylor to Bankhead roads and overhaul of Bankhead Road from King Road to Saunders Avenue, both in 2013-2014.  A sidewalk will be installed this year on Taylor Road between Webb Street and the Taylors Restaurant driveway by public works staff, Fragiao said.

Council left the Heritage Park tree preserve on the Capital Improvement Plan, with a budgeted cost of $80,000 to $100,000. 

“The council said they would like to review the results of the workshop, which was complied by Helix,” Angelocci said.

Town staff plans to incorporate Council’s changes into a revised Capital Improvement Plan, which Council will vote on at the February meeting. 

Councilmembers Sandra Calvert and Miguel Ucovich participated in the meeting via teleconference.

In other business, Mayor Walt Scherer established this year’s committee assignments.

Scherer proposed a new Council policy that each year’s mayor and mayor pro-tem sit on the business, borders and schools committees, but at the request of Calvert, she will continue on the schools committee with Scherer as an alternate.

The county and regional committee assignments remain unchanged.  Wheeler will take the place of former Councilmember Gary Liss as the town’s representative to the Placer County Economic Development Board and the alternate to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. 

Scherer did not get a green light from Council for his proposed new safety committee comprised of Wheeler and two past council members. Town Attorney Jeffrey Mitchell said the committee would have required public noticing under the Brown Act.

Council members also discussed creating a plaque for Blue Anchor Park commemorating its history that would include a photo and written description of the former structure.  Council will consider designs at its next meeting.