Community

(Premium) Citrus Heights News Briefs: water rates, homeless, arrests, waste

Citrus Heights Water District
Citrus Heights Water District board members listen to a report from staff prior to holding a public hearing on rate and fee increases on Nov. 8th. // CH Sentinel

Latest local news briefs include a 3-0 vote by the water district to raise rates, hundreds attending a local fundraiser to help the homeless, arrests following a car chase through Citrus Heights, volunteers helping give the Veterans Community Center a facelift on Veterans Day, and the city council voting to discontinue annual hazardous waste events in favor of a year-round contract with Sacramento County.

Hundreds attend local fundraiser for homeless assistance nonprofit
A Nov. 4 fundraiser at Holy Family Catholic Church for the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) brought out a crowd of more than 300 community members and city leaders to support local efforts to help homeless and low-income veterans. HART spokeswoman Kathilynn Carpenter estimated that close to $9,000 was raised during the all-you-can-eat spaghetti feed, with funds set to go towards the nonprofit’s Winter Sanctuary program for the homeless, an upcoming Veterans Stand Down event in April, and a newly launched “Student Connect” program for San Juan Unified School District students and their families who do not have a permanent home in Citrus Heights.

Carpenter said HART does not have any employees or overhead, so it is dependent on volunteers as well as sponsors and donations. Those wishing to get involved can find more information at the group’s website, citrusheightsHART.org. The local nonprofit formed in 2014, with a mission to implement long-term solutions to homelessness through public-private partnerships. The group is credited with helping bring a homeless navigator to the city to help connect homeless with resources and assistance, as well as hosting a first-ever winter sanctuary program in Citrus Heights last year.

Citrus Heights Water District votes 3-0 to raise rates, fees
Another water rate and service charge increase was approved by a unanimous vote of Citrus Heights Water District directors on Nov. 8, following a nearly full public hearing room at Rusch Park where nine people spoke. With the latest 3% increase, rates and fees in the district have risen by 33% since 2015, which District officials say is needed to cover infrastructure projects and compensate for increased wholesale water costs, while avoiding debt.

Confronted with an extensive hour-and-a-half long presentation on the water district’s budget, operations, and long-term plans at the beginning of the hearing, public comments during the hearing acknowledged expenses the district faces, but some still questioned whether repeated rate increases were the only solution. Responding to a question about whether another rate increase could be expected next year, CHWD General Manager Hilary Straus said “the short answer is we will look at these issues year-to-year and try to minimize that impact on the ratepayers as much as possible.” The District has raised rates and service charges each year since 2012. Beginning in 2018, customers on a typical 1-inch meter will now be charged $74 in fixed bi-monthly service fees, along with $1.02 per unit of water delivered (See Prop 218 rate notice).

Citrus Heights no longer the cheapest city to buy gas in California
In the week prior to California’s new gas tax raising fuel prices across the state, Citrus Heights held title to the cheapest fuel prices in the state at $2.47, according to data tracked by GasBuddy. However, that didn’t last long. As of Nov. 11, the lowest price on fuel in Citrus Heights was $2.79 at the ARCO on the corner of San Juan and Madison avenues. Two weeks ago, the price at the same station was 32 cents cheaper. GasBuddy now reports that the cheapest price on fuel in the state is in Stockton and Oroville, which both have a price listed of $2.69 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel. (See GasBuddy report)

City council votes 5-0 to drop annual waste drop-off’s in favor of year-round county contract
Councilmembers on Thursday approved a staff recommendation to discontinue Republic Services’ three annual household hazardous waste drop-off events and instead contract with Sacramento County for disposal services at two year-round locations. The recommendation cited declining participation and complaints from residents about the inconvenience of the current drop-off events. After Jan. 1, 2018, residents will be able to drop off most hazardous waste items at the county’s North Area Recovery Station at 4450 Roseville Rd. and dispose of antifreeze, batteries, oils and paints at the Kiefer Landfill at 12701 Kiefer Blvd in Sloughhouse.

The cost will remain free for residents, whose monthly fees paid to Republic Services cover the cost of the drop-off events. Costs to the city will remain the same, with the city contributing the first $75,000 toward hazardous waste collection and Republic Services retaining responsibility for outreach and any additional costs. The average cost is anticipated to be $55 per drop-off with Sacramento County, compared with $80 to $120 per car through the current drop off system, according to city Operations Manager Mary Poole. Some concern was raised by Councilman Bret Daniels who questioned whether a resident who couldn’t make it to a drop-off event would be willing to make a longer drive out to Sloughhouse or Roseville Road. Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins requested that feedback from residents be tracked over the next year. (Submit a letter to the editor)

Car chase in Citrus Heights ends with arrest in Fair Oaks
At least one auto theft suspect was arrested Wednesday night, following a car chase that began in Citrus Heights and concluded in Fair Oaks, according to area news reports. The incident concluded near the area of Sunset and Chicago avenues, about a half-mile from Fair Oaks Boulevard, KCRA reported. The TV station also reported that residents were instructed to stay in their homes while K-9 dogs searched the area, ultimately located a suspect who was “trying to climb a tree in order to escape.” According to another news report on CBS 13, authorities made two arrests, one being the driver and the other a passenger. (See KCRA story)

Volunteers help Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center get face-lift on Veterans Day
About 50 volunteers were busy at work Saturday morning at the Veterans Community Center on Sylvan Road in Citrus Heights. Video aired by Good Day Sacramento showed a flurry of interior and exterior painting, railing, and sheet metal work being done at the center on Veterans Day, with work being coordinated by various union-affiliated volunteers. Apprentices with the Sheet Metal Workers Union apprenticeship program were seen assisting with installation of a new oven hood in the kitchen, while others were seen turning the center’s stage area from black into a “beautiful blue.”

Painting and additional railing work outside was also performed by the Iron Workers Apprenticeship program, and an organizer said a team of carpenters also plans to come next week to construct a porch addition on the side of the building. The veterans center, located in the old 1862 Sylvan School house at 6921 Sylvan Rd., is designed to provide a place for veterans to congregate, access services, have a cup of coffee, and enjoy various events and activities. (Good Day Sacramento link)