City Beat August 2022

By Don Reynolds, City Manager
As published in the August issue of the Mission Village Voice

In the “heart of summer, it is hot t City Hall.” Admittedly, sometimes we invite the heat. Tuesday, July 19, 2022, the City held its first in-person City Council meeting. It was 89 degrees in the Chamber when the meeting began at 6 PM. But relief is around corner. (“Caliente!”)

August 1, the City’s new Deputy City Clerk Melissa Lee starts her new job. I am not very good with details, and at the last City Council meeting, my weakness revealed itself to the world. I apologize if things seem sloppy because they were. If you’re not aware, it is the Deputy City Clerk and City Clerk that hold these meetings together, and we have been struggling now for several months. Ms. Lee impressed me because we have been relying on professional retired city clerks to “clerk the meeting.” These meetings have been very-professionally “clerked.” Ms. Lee has these same skills, and her attention to detail is impeccable. “Yes, relief is around the corner.”

The City issued a press release July 22, 2022, announcing the agreement between it and Regional Water Quality Control Board to settle the City’s fines from violations for sending salty, treated, “effluent” wastewater to a creek (since 2007). This matter began with an inspection that occurred June 19, 2019. My first day was July 2, 2019, and the acting City Manager wrote to me (in his old, sarcastic tone), “we are having fun now.” The “fun” is over, and the courageous City Council should be congratulated. The City was successful in making certain that the bulk of the fines ($700,000) be paid to solve the problem: the cost to send the City’s wastewater to Hollister. That’s the best outcome the City could wish for.   

The City took another step toward improving its source of drinking water at Tuesday’s July 19, 2022, Council meeting. It closed the period for protesting a rate increase that will pay for the distribution of surface water from the San Benito County water District. The City is working on several grant and low-interest loan opportunities to reduce impact to ratepayers. It has already raised $4 million in State and Federal grants to support the sewer project, so rate payers don’t have to foot the whole cost. It looks like both projects will be fully funded by a variety of sources the end of the summer.

What makes City Hall “picante” right now is the November election! On July 18, 2022, the City opened its doors to all residents of the City of San Juan Bautista interested in running for 3 of 5 City Council seats. Please make an appointment soon with the acting City Clerk staff if you are interested in “pulling papers” by calling the office M-F 8-5 (831)623-4661. The deadline is August 1, 2022 and make it a point to meet Deputy City Clerk Melissa Lee. Don’t wait too long, however, because there are a few steps to take care of before submitting your paperwork. TAFN.