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Fourth of July celebration back on

Roseville City Council approves paying for parade and fireworks
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville residents can stay close to home for a Fourth of July parade and fireworks this year.

The Roseville City Council unanimously approved funds to pay for an Independence Day celebration during the May 18 meeting. The city has not staged this event in the past, and for many years the parade was organized by longtime community volunteer Sylvia Besana, who passed away in 2008.

The parade was canceled last year and fireworks were significantly scaled down.
The council approved $11,000 of unspent funds from the current year’s budget to pay for these activities. So this isn’t just a one-time celebration, the proposed 2011-12 fiscal year budget also includes $5,000 for parade coordination and $12,000 for fireworks.

“It’s nice to be in a position where we’re trying to add things the community likes and wants to have,” said Mayor Pauline Roccucci.

In other business, the city’s Environmental Utilities Director Derrick Whitehead presented staff’s proposal for rate utility increases during a public workshop. The department is suggesting increases for water and solid waste to cover the cost of providing service.

Roseville owns and operates water, sewer and garbage utilities. The city is not proposing a rate increase for wastewater for the next two years.

The city proposes a 4.04 percent cumulative rate increase for 2011 and 3.89 percent cumulative rate increase for 2012. Currently, the typical monthly residential bill is $77.49. With the increase, the bill would increase to $83.76.

Whitehead said the department trimmed $1 million out of its budget this year, but several factors — unfunded state mandates, rising cost of chemicals, contributions to rehabilitation funds — continue to increase the cost of operation.

“We increased our contribution to rehabilitation,” Whitehead said. “I can give you a really good example of why this is important. Today we’re going through a very large modification of the facility of the Dry Creek wastewater treatment plant. It’s roughly a $16 million project.”

Without the contributions to the rehabilitation fund over the past five-to-10 years, he said, the department would be asking the council for a rate increase to pay for this project.

“We’re not doing that,” Whitehead said. “We put money aside and we do not have to go back to the ratepayers on a short-term basis to get increases to replace or update infrastructure. That’s the key for the rehabilitation program.”

Vice Mayor Susan Rohan said legislation such as California’s water conservation mandate that calls for a 20 percent reduction in urban water use by 2020 greatly increases the department’s operating costs.

“We have to put these programs in place to incentivize people to use less water,” Rohan said. “But we still have the treatment and the conveyance and the people that are necessary and very important in delivering the quality of water. But we have less water to charge it off on. We are in a cycle, and I think it’s extremely important for customers to understand the situation we’re in. And it’s a trend for the long term.”

The council will vote on the rate increases at the Wednesday, June 1 meeting.

Here’s a look at some items approved during the May 18 Roseville City Council meeting:

Loan agreement to Roseville Community Development Corporation: The Roseville Redevelopment Agency will loan the RCDC $5 million to cover start-up capital for the recently formed corporation, which will focus on the revitalization of downtown and economic development. The redevelopment agency’s funds come from a Strategic Improvement Fund loan.

Budget adjustment for fuel purchase: The council approved $300,000 for the purchase of fuel for city vehicles and equipment for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Fuel prices spiked 19 percent from Jan. 3 to April 18. This brings the city’s total fuel cost this year to nearly $2.7 million. The estimated fuel cost for 2011-12 fiscal year is $2.4 million.

Memorandum of understanding with SACOG: Roseville will join in a memorandum of understanding to form a regional consortium of Sacramento Area Council of Governments members to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy. This will be used to update SACOG’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The strategy is funded through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.

Study on effectiveness of Shade Tree Program: Roseville Electric is required by law to evaluate selected energy-efficiency programs to confirm energy savings and provide recommendations for future program design. These reports are filed with the California Energy Commission.

The utility selected the Shade Tree Program for the evaluation, which will be conducted by an independent third party. Roseville Electric says shade trees are a cost-effective and reliable source of energy efficiency and kilowatt-hour reductions and help customers reduce their monthly electric bills. The cost of the survey will not exceed $25,000 and should be done by September.

Basketball officiating services for adult sports: The city finalized an agreement with Hawkins Officiating Service for an annual cost of $32,100 to pay for basketball officiating fees for the parks and recreation department’s adult sports division. The cost is paid from fees collected from participating teams and players.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.