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Council hears 2nd annual State of the City reports

November 27, 2013

Bishop Fire Chief Ray Seguine unveils to the Bishop City Council a GIS-supported Pre-Incident Planning Program that essentially gives firefighters an advantage when battling structure fires before they ever enter the building. Seguine was one of several officials to speak to the council during the city’s second annual State of the City address. Photo by Marilyn Blake Philip

In the City of Bishop’s second annual State of the City address before City Council on Nov. 12, city staff gave extensive, overall optimistic reports of the city’s accomplishments over the last year.
City Administrator Keith Caldwell expressed gratitude for the opportunity to present the achievements of Bishop’s “outstanding” 38-employee staff and the “wonderful things” they do on a daily basis.
Caldwell, who is also the Community Services director, briefly mentioned the city’s ongoing vigorous branding campaign and the attendance of five council members at the League of Cities Conference in Sacramento “so we can be a better city.” He acknowledged new council members Pat Gardner and Keith Glidewell, welcomed new City Clerk Robin Picken and thanked outgoing City Clerk Denise Gillespie.
The Finance, Fire, Police, Public Works and Parks
and Recreation/Community Services departments then delivered reports to Mayor Laura Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ellis and Council members Dave Stottlemyre, Gardner and Glidewell.
Assistant Director of Finance Cheryl Solesbee said things have slowed down after an “extremely challenging” time that required creative budgeting and the search for grants and extra sources of revenue. Her report included:
• Smooth implementation of the Pension Reform Act changes;
• Installation of Delphi Transparency web application on the city website,, allows staff and public to view department budgets, revenues and expenditures;
• Preliminary 2012-13 fiscal year audit revealed General Fund revenues/expenditures are expected to be “in balance;”
• Newly-formed budget workshops oversee city projections/savings and “continue to make the city sound.”
Fire Chief Ray Seguine unveiled Bishop Volunteer Fire Department’s most recent technological advance, its newly-enhanced Pre-incident Plan Program. It is designed to increases citizen and firefighter safety and the speed and accuracy of on-the-scene decision-making, he said.
Using Geographic Information System software, information such as the Emergency Response Guide, map books, GPS and city business’ Consolidated Unified Program Administrator plans are consolidated on the command-vehicle laptop. According to Wikipedia, GIS stores, manipulates, analyzes and manages geographic data. Seguine acknowledged Public Works Director David Grah, “who got GIS up and running” for the city.
As an example of how the program works, Seguine said, “A brewery is coming into town with a heavy boiler on the second floor mezzanine. It could come crashing down on firefighters if we didn’t know about it. The program would alert me.” It can also calculate the size of an evacuation area to prevent over- or under-evacuation.
Seguine demonstrated how the program quickly provides building layouts; sprinkler, hydrant, water source, utilities, shut-off and hazmat locations; and occupancy, handicapped person and prior BFVD call information for service to 11,000-plus city, district and reservation dwellers.
Police Chief Chris Carter credited department successes to his staff, citing achievements such as:
• Staying at or under expected budgets;
• Two “very complex” embezzlement cases, with one pending prosecution;
• Webpage updates and expanded social media and news presence foster greater transparency and “more exchange of information with the media;”
• BPD Reserve Academy qualified 20-plus citizens to apply for reserve officer positions – 10 have applied;
• Front lobby renovation provides greater employee and public safety;
• K-9 unit seized $100,000-plus in illicit cash and assets in recent years, which provides training, equipment and K-9 program support;
• Officer Mark Gutierrez was recognized by Wild Iris for dedicated domestic violence investigations and Officer Dan Nolan graduated from FBI National Academy;
• Entire staff receives regular letters of praise from the public;
• Passed all regularly-scheduled, annual Bureau of Corrections and Grand Jury inspections; and
• “I believe our biggest accomplishment is providing 365-days, 24/7,” timely, professional response to calls for assistance with “100 percent commitment to the very best service in every instance.”
Grah introduced presenters Superintendent Deston Dishion, Secretary Michelle Thomas and Public Services Officer Gary Schley.
Dishion listed accomplishments such as:
• Completion of Clark Street Water Main, First Street Curbs and Gutters and Sneden Street Improvements projects and Pine to Park Path design work;
• Near completion of Positive Pressure Water System Improvement and Wye Road Intersection Improvement projects;
• Continuous upgrade/maintenance of GIS and the water system’s brain, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition);
• Provide improved water to pastures;
• Headworks and Automated Sludge Transfer projects “increase the efficiency and effectiveness” of waste water plant system;
• Increased collaboration with Eastern Sierra Sewer District to save city and customers money;
• Continuous Warren Street Improvement Project focus group and public meetings; and Adventure Trails Project and public parade traffic control participation; and
• Ongoing maintenance of city streets, alleys, sidewalks and lots – a “never ending job.”
Next, Thomas, who is also the city’s web master, spoke about the “extensively enhanced” Site use has increased by 38 percent, from 3,800 daily visits to 6,000-plus, partially due to Finance and Police department job listings. Next, Schley listed accomplishments that included:
• Building permits up 10-12 percent – roughly a 40 percent revenue increase, a “good sign for the economy;
• Nearly 50 Woodstove Replacement Program-generated permits;
• Two new-home construction permits (the first since 2008) and some residential remodels, a good sign of “people investing in their homes;”
• New fee structure “significantly” supplementing Building Department operations;
• Addressing first-round State Department of Housing and Community Development comments on the city’s 2014 Draft Housing Element draft document – “hopefully” available for public review in early 2014;” and
• Planning allocation for a recent $1.1 million Community Development Block Grant award, to impact Clarke Street Apartments and the city General Plan Economic Development Element.
Parks Supervisor Dan McElroy, Community Services Secretary Karey Poole and Recreation Supervisor Waylon Cleland presented. McElroy began with achievements that included:
• Hosted and/or collaborated in Street of Lights, Christmas Tree Lighting, Blake Jones Trout Derby, Earth Day, Bishop’s newly-proclaimed Arbor Day, Mule Days, Millpond Music Festival, Fall Baseball Classic, Fish Camp, Skate Jam, tree and cancer walks and Recovery and Domestic Violence Awareness months;
• High school baseball, softball and tennis; city league softball and soccer; American Youth Soccer Association games; Little League baseball; Mammoth Lakes soccer and softball; National Alliance for Youth Sports training;
• Facilities improvements/maintenance: Chamber of Commerce and Sunrise Mobile Home Park buildings, park restrooms, pool floors and outdoor fitness area drinking fountain, landscaping and sports field preparation;
• Arboretum oak grove completed, giant sequoias added and Tree Committee participation; and
• Staff certifications in pesticides application, playground safety inspection, pool operation and risk reduction.
McElroy thanked volunteers for thousands of hours given and the city’s part-time season staff, who helped with “our goal to provide safe, well-maintained destination.”
Poole said things “have been hopping” with accomplishments that included:
• All-ages gymnastics, middle school physical education, Kung Fu self-defense, Zumba and Kids Zumba, and art classes, like Thanksmas where kids hand-crafted items such as a family-night popcorn bowl made of rolls of tickets;
• Sunrise Mobile Home Park’s “much-needed clean-up;”
• Community Center and Sports Complex committee formed to create space for programs that promote community “health, wellness, education and exposure to the arts;” and
• Improved video presentation systems in City Hall’s executive conference room and Council Chamber, and new carpeting in the Clarke Wing main hallway.
Cleland closed the department reports with city achievements such as:
• Basketball teams, Baseball Under the Lights, Fall Ball Classics and adult soccer; 213 kids took swim lessons, 45 pool parties, water aerobics and team practices and meets; hunter education class; and middle school ski program;
• Dive in Movies, Winter Movie series and Movies in the Park;
• Kid’s Night Out, 19th Annual Children’s Day of the Arts, Third Annual Eggstravangza and Trunk or Treat events, Fourth of July Big Day in the Park, kids summer camps, Tennis Club socials and Bike to Work Week;
• First-ever Senior Living Festival;
• 35 private pavilion parties, Head Start graduation, Cinco De Mayo and three weddings;
• Outdoor exercise equipment center installation, Pine to Park Path Project input and ongoing Dog Park development;
• Collaborations with Health and Human Services, WIC, school districts, Northern Inyo Hospital, Toiyabe Indian Health Project, 4-H and First 5 to promote community health; and
• Exceeded projected revenue by $10,000 as well as a program goal of one per week by now providing events nearly daily.
At the conclusion of State of the City 2013, council members commented on city employees’ passion and dedication, impressive ability to juggle myriad projects and hours of behind-the-scenes work. “We can’t thank them enough. Without them, our job would be almost impossible,” Ellis said. Stottlemyre added that it was “a remarkable example of leadership (and) collaboration within and between departments and with “all the various entities and agencies in the county … That’s a win-win situation.”

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