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Wheeler, Morillas seated on council

By: Laura O’Brien, Loomis News Correspondent
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Dave Wheeler was seated on the Loomis Town Council and has plowed right into the job.

At the Dec. 11 council meeting, he said construction of the proposed town center drafted in the Downtown Master Plan should be completed at one time, rather than in phases, to minimize impacts on downtown businesses and address safety concerns such as road crossings and buckling sidewalks. 

“Make it like a band-aid. Yank it off once really hard and then we heal and go from there, but I think it we continue to do this multi-phase project it’s going to fester and our business is going to suffer throughout every single phase.”

Now that Wheeler has assumed his Town Council seat, Bill Branch told Loomis News he and a group called the Public Interest Coalition will file a written complaint with the attorney general “in the next few days.”

At last Tuesday’s meeting, councilmember Walt Scherer assumed the position of mayor.

“My agenda is the agenda of this council,” Scherer said, after accepting the mayor’s gavel from Sandra Calvert.  “I do want to declare this the year of the volunteer …We will be working very hard to provide opportunities to coordinate with the volunteers of this community this year.”

Scherer guided the town center discussion by suggesting that council assess the availability of additional funding at the mid-year budget review in January to see if more of the new streetscape could undergo construction at the same time.

The current plan begins with a $368,000 stretch along Taylor Road between Walnut Street and Shawn Way scheduled for construction in 2013-2014. The remaining $7.4 million construction cost is listed as an unscheduled item in this year’s Capital Improvements Program. Several roadway improvement projects and a signalization job are in the cue for the remainder of this budget year and next budget year. 

Council decided to put off naming a design firm until after the mid-year budget review. Councilmembers Scherer, Miguel Ucovich and Rhonda Morillas said the downtown business community was not adequately involved in the design process as described in proposals for the first phase of the project. Brian Fragiao, Loomis director of public works, had recommended hiring Bennett Engineering, also known as BenEn, for the design of the first phase.

In other business, council awarded an inspection and plan-check services agreement to Bureau Veritas North America, which maintains a Sacramento office. The company will be paid $60 per hour. Angelocci said the existing fees the town collects cover the cost for inspections and plan checking.

Gary Liss ended his single council term begun in 2008 on Tuesday and was presented with a recognition plaque. 

Liss sat on the downtown business and border committees and Town Manager Rick Angelocci said that Liss was to thank in part of the memorandum of understanding with Placer County for traffic impact fees.

“They (the county) did approve the Orchard project, however the supervisors did give clear direction to their staff to pick up the pace on getting an MOU with the town of Loomis for accepting mitigation fees for impacts in our town and that’s a huge step and Gary was the push behind that,” Angelocci said.

Morillas took the oath of office Tuesday alongside Wheeler.  The terms of Calvert, Scherer and Ucovich continue through 2014.