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American Canyon city budget includes funding for new sidewalks

American Canyon’s city budget for 2018-2019 includes funding for new sidewalks as well as a new format to make the document more transparent and usable by the community, according to city officials.

City Manager Jason Holley, overseeing his first city budget, said he was “excited” by changes that will make the $23 million budget a functional tool for outreach with the community.

The intent was to make the document something people can use throughout the year, whether it is statistics and background about American Canyon or detailed financial data on programs and departments.

“That’s the fun stuff in this budget,” said Deanna Parness, the city’s assistant to the city manager.

Residents will find a new section in the budget that provides historical information on American Canyon, plus demographic details about the community. For budget wonks, the new structure includes more line-item information to study, according to officials.

“I do like the format,” said Councilmember Mark Joseph. “It’s always good to have line-item detail” and improved transparency with city finances.

When the City Council reviewed the proposed budget on June 5, the document did not include funding for a sidewalk on Eucalyptus Drive — something residents lamented because it made walking children to school challenging.

Sindy Biederman urged the city to address the lack of sidewalk, saying she has to walk her grandchildren down Eucalyptus to get them to school and sometimes is forced to use the adjoining drainage ditch to avoid automobiles.

By June 26, the day that the council formally approved the new budget, $61,000 in funding was added for a new sidewalk.

But the project won’t begin construction for another year at the earliest, according to Holley.

“It’s in the capital program for next year,” he said after the hearing. The city will begin working on designing the new sidewalk during the new fiscal year, Holley added.

“It’s not a big project in the grand scheme of things,” Holley said, “but it has some challenges, it’s got some slope, it’s got some grading and drainage” involved.

The city will “use the money we do have to come up with a design, and once the design is done, we’ll have to see what additional funding is needed,” he said. Early rough estimates put the cost at about $100,000, “and that’s probably relatively close,” according to Holley.

Another sidewalk project long in the works — for Donaldson Way — will begin very soon, now that the City Council approved the contractor’s bid on June 26.

“You can expect to see activity out there in the next month,” Holley said.

The $635,000 project will establish a sidewalk along Donaldson Way between Highway 29 and Carolyn Drive that is used daily by students when the high school and middle school — which are on opposite sides of town — are in session.

The work will involve construction of curbs, gutters, sidewalk, storm drains as well as grinding and overlaying of asphalt.

Holley said the city will have to lower a portion of the roadway to remove “a crown or hump” from years of asphalt overlays that would have produced a slope in a new crosswalk that would not comply with the American with Disabilities Act.

The budget, which includes a $23 million General Fund plus other dedicated revenues for water, wastewater and other services, features numerous highlights, according to city staff:

  • $7.71 million for new capital projects, including $500,000 for an update to the city’s General Plan.
  • $7.91 million for wages of 88 full-time city employees, which includes a 3 percent cost-of-living-adjustment.
  • $6.21 million to Napa County to staff and operate the American Canyon Police Department.
  • $3.59 million for current year contributions to CalPERS for active employee retirement, health care, and other benefits.
  • $2.34 million for all of the city’s current year debt service obligations.

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American Canyon Eagle editor

Noel Brinkerhoff has been editor of the American Canyon Eagle since 2014. Prior to that he covered state politics in Sacramento for the California Journal.

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