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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catching Up

City Budget: The $3.2 billion budget was passed by City Council on September 3rd. No cuts in service for the first time in several years. It included additional funding for sidewalk and street repairs as well as for fixing up our libraries and parks. Management informed Council that due to the number of infrastructure projects that would be generated that the City staff was at capacity and that “project managers” would need to be hired to manage the work. We set aside more funds to pay down unfunded liabilities. We were able to negotiate pension reforms with our employees which will save taxpayers many millions of dollars. Both the budgeting process and its format need serious revisions, however. Not enough time was given for the public to provide input and there are few “performance measures” that taxpayers can review to see if they are getting their money’s worth.

Slurry Seal: The 5th Council district is the first district to have streets slurry sealed and the Public Works Department selected the streets. I received numerous complaints about the work done in El Dorado Park Estates and the contractor was required to come back out and redo several areas. Our Public Works Department is still following up on issues related to the work.

Curb Number Painting: As you know, I arranged with Rosie the Riveter Charter School to paint house numbers on curbs. These young people are learning how to run a business and they send out a notice to homeowners asking for a small donation and then go to the home and collect the donation and paint the house numbers. The Charter school is excited about this project because of the skills it teaches.

Standing Water: There are several locations in the 5th district were water pools in the gutters due to rain or in the case currently when gutters should be bone dry, over watering and allowing run off. The pooling happens because of curbs raised by tree roots. Nuisance water is the single largest contributor to standing water issues. Nuisance water is domestic water that is discharges to the curb and gutter. Nuisance water can often be attributed to improperly set irrigation timers, washing down driveways instead of broom sweeping, draining swimming pools, and residential vehicle washing. With the range of reported West Nile Virus cases expanding over the past several years, it is important for both the City and its resident to minimize the amount of standing water that accumulates.
It is unlikely that standing water in the gutter can provide breeding conditions for mosquitoes due to the constant replenishment with new nuisance water and the fact that the gestation period of the mosquito is longer than the street sweeping frequency.

Marna, Claremore and Ring streets have serious problems. I went out personally with a group of volunteers to sweep the water out of the gutters and to gather up debris that was blocking the flow of water. I have been working with Public Works on resolving this problem but in the case of 3400-3600 Marna – it would cost in excess of $375,000 to repair the curbs, cut the tree roots and replace asphalt. Each councilmember was only given $500,000 this year to make repairs so I held several public meetings at which residents prioritized where to repair. Portions of Fanwood, Lees, Keynote and Lanai were selected and fixed. As more funds become available, more streets will be fixed. During rainy season I was able to get the Water Department to use a vacuum truck to remove water. They sold the truck and so I don’t have access to one. I also have Vector Control spray the gutters to prevent mosquitoes. Please try to prevent water runoff into the streets until we can get the problems fixed.

Alleys: For the fourth summer, my office is coordinating groups of volunteers to do clean up of the 40 alleys in the 5th district. The groups start at 8 am and remove debris, chop down weeds, and get dumped items removed. Potholes and graffiti are reported.

Newcomb: After numerous attempts to get information, we have learned that construction should begin this fall. Please report problems with dust/dirt, noise, etc.

Wardlow: The Gas & Oil Department will be performing work to install a new gas facility along the north side of the 8000 block of East Wardlow Road (between Lama Avenue and El Dorado Drive).  The sidewalk will be closed until approximately September 12th. 

September 28th Good Neighbor Festival: It’s that time again to nominate a “good neighbor” for our 7th Annual Good Neighbor Festival and Picnic at (of course) Good Neighbor Park, 2800 Studebaker at 11 am til 4pm. Send your nominations to me at: There is free food, booths, games and entertainment by Flyer and The Elm Street Band.

New Dog Park in El Dorado Regional Park: A 1.5 acre large and small dog park is coming in El Dorado Regional Park off Spring Street in the late fall. This will be the first dog park on this side of town and promises to be a great site for dogs and their owners.

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