Tag Archives: repairs

West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Fix 50’ work to end early: lanes reopen by tomorrow morning

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE – JUNE 18, 2014 –

  The Fix50 freeway rehabilitation project is ahead of schedule, reports CalTrans.  Closed lanes will reopen during the night tonight.

The following comes from Dennis Keaton of Caltrans:

  Westbound Phase 2, which began June 6 to resurface the outside lanes of Highway 50 between 24th and 18th Streets in Sacramento, will finish six days early.   

  “After almost two months of major-traffic interfering work, motorists will be able to enjoy the open highway and newly repaved deck, which can now serve us for many years to come” said Caltrans District 3 Director, Jody Jones, in a press statement. “We are grateful for the support and cooperation by our community partners and the public for their help to reduce traffic congestion and make this Fix50 project such a big success.”

  Wednesday evening, June 18, crews will begin the process of moving traffic back to its normal configurations, reopening all lanes and ramps. The change-over will begin at approximately 9 PM Wednesday, and will take all night. The finishing steps include sealing and restriping the newly completed inside lanes and moving K-rail barriers. There will also be short traffic breaks after midnight to take down the existing overhead sign structure. The full transition will finish by 8 AM Thursday morning and will signal the completion of all major traffic-interfering work on the project.

   Non-traffic interfering night and weekend work will continue throughout the year. This work includes occasional lane closures for permanent striping, continued seismic retrofitting of the columns underneath the viaduct, and lighting and fencing installation in the parking lots beneath the project area. Final completion is expected in December 2014.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

A break from the ‘Fix 50’ headache

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MAY 16, 2014 —

Caltrans reports that work on the first part of the “Fix 50” freeway project is going ahead of schedule, and previously-closed eastbound lanes opened up today.  That means motorists have a ten-day break with no lane closures at all through Memorial Day weekend. Then work will begin on westbound lanes.

Following is an excerpt from today’s Caltrans message:

“The Fix50 project is ahead of schedule, and motorists will get a nice break for Memorial Day Weekend when all lanes will be open. Eastbound Phase 2, which began five days early to resurface the outside lanes of Highway 50 between 18th and 24th Streets in Sacramento, will finish 6 days early on May 16.

 

  “All lanes of Highway 50 will be open to motorists for a full 10 days. Work will resume after Memorial Day Weekend so there will be no interruption for travelers over the holiday when the Sacramento Music Festival and County Fair are in town.

 

 “Caltrans would like to thank our partners for their added outreach, staff, and services that helped to increase public awareness and alleviate traffic issues,” added District Director Jody Jones. “We also thank drivers who changed their regular workday commute, or chose alternate modes of transportation. Those motorists who chose to bike commute, use light rail, bus, train, walk, carpool, and avoided unnecessary trips helped lessen the overall traffic impacts in the region.”

 

 “On Thursday evening, May 15, crews will begin the process to reopen all eastbound lanes. The change-over will begin at approximately 9 PM, and involves removing K-rail barriers, changing the sign structures, and sealing and restriping the newly completed lanes into their original configuration. The full transition will finish by 7 AM Friday morning May 16, concluding all traffic-interfering work on eastbound Highway 50 in the W-X Viaduct. There will be some finishing work to do once both phases are complete, but nothing that will require major traffic interference.”

 

 Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Readers’ views on roadwork:

  Two views on the roadwork in the Westmore Oaks neighborhood of West Sacramento (the News-Ledger’s article on the project can be seen here.)

‘Thanks for roadwork’ (from the ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the News-Ledger, Sept. 5)

We live in the Westmore Oaks area of West Sacramento. Many of our sidewalks and gutters are being replaced for the city to be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (see News-Ledger Aug. 29). We so appreciate this large undertaking as many of the areas sidewalks and gutter crossings have become hazards for those relying upon wheelchairs or support walkers to negotiate while they are out-and-about.

[adrotate group=”9″]  The raised portions of sidewalks caused by encroaching tree roots also have become a dangerous obstacle for those of us walking, jogging or taking our pets out for their much-needed exercise. Plus many of the gutters have low-lying portions where water accumulates leaving stagnant water, a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes.

We would like to personally thank and applaud Bill Panos, the head of the PWD of our city, as well as his entire staff, for this project’s scheduling and guidance. We also extend our appreciation to the contractors and workmen for this important undertaking. We found them to be professional, accommodating, and most courteous during the entire process.

SHARON &  JOHN CURTIS
West Sacramento

‘Bad timing’ (from the ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the News-Ledger, Sept. 12, 2012)

While our neighborhood roadways, sidewalks and curbs could definitely use a face lift, the city should have started the project on the streets closest to Westmore Oaks long before school started.

The first few weeks of school have been utter chaos with the mix of cars, kids walking to school, construction equipment, ditches in the roadways, cones everywhere and piles of asphalt just dumped in the road. The safety of the kids walking to school was compromised as they had to walk in the street to avoid all of the ditches and closed off sidewalks and it only put their lives in danger.

I saw several near misses with regards to cars almost hitting kids. In my opinion (and many WMO parents agree with me), it was irresponsible for the city to plan this construction with school in session. They could have easily started the project at the beginning of summer break and it would have been completed well enough in advance prior to the start of school.

It’s a shame that the City of West Sacramento put our children’s lives in danger because of their lack of proper planning.

JENNI YARWOOD
West Sacramento

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012