HOLTVILLE — Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holtville City Council unanimously authorized a local emergency at its regular meeting March 23.
The meeting was held by
conference call with City Manager Nick Wells, Mayor Ginger Ward and City
Attorney Steve Walker in attendance and the rest of the council communicating
In compliance with Gov.
Gavin Newsom’s March 19 directive for state residents to shelter in place,
Wells urged Holtville residents to limit their visits to city facilities and
complete as much business as possible by phone or email.
Public meetings of
various boards and commissions were postponed indefinitely. In addition, park
restrooms will be closed as well as the Gene Layton pool. During this time
there will be no park access, no facility reservations or rentals, no special
events, no youth or adult recreational league or club play or practices at city
properties. Also, annual business fire re-inspections have been postponed and
all station tours and presentations postponed.
Regarding utility bill
payments residents are asked to use the utility department’s drop box on the
north side of City Hall for checks or money orders. No cash payments will be
accepted. A new payment option as of March 20 is PayPal, using the email
address: firstname.lastname@example.org, which requires a $5 service fee with each
with City Council and staff, we are hopeful that this crisis is mitigated by
the measures being put in place. In exercising great caution, we have decided
to minimize staff interaction with the public as much as is feasible, while
working to create as many options as we can to continue ease of access,”
Wells stated in a March 24 press release. “We are still here to help, but
please call in for service.”
Key city contacts
include: Administration, Billing & Finance at (760) 356-2912; City
Clerk/Records at (760) 356-4685; Planning at (760) 337-3883; and Police at
(760) 356-5960 for business calls. For emergencies, call 911.
emergency center opens
“The city is
implementing social-distancing measures all across nonessential services,”
The city also decided
to open an emergency operations center at the civic center with same hours, 8
a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-in inquiries are acceptable, but the
city urges alternative means to communicate.
“We were hesitant
to open an EOC because we do not have highly trained medical personnel or an
EMT (emergency medical technician),” said Wells. “If people have
concerns, we want them to know, we’re here and ready to go with contingency
plans. But we prefer the public phone: 760-356-4574 or email:
Wells made a brief
mention of the city’s stormwater conveyance system, a large portion of which
flows through a drainage ditch along the east side of Mellon Avenue that then
drains into the Alamo River via a pipeline, open ditch and culvert. Much of the
pathway is through private property.
creates a nuisance for one of the property owners and he has requested the city
do something to alleviate the problem in the past,” said Wells. “The
property is a produce storage facility. And a recent mandatory food safety
inspection revealed the ditch would require undergrounding (of pipeline). The city
engineer started working on it in December, but we are still waiting for
completion of the feasibility report.”
The long awaited Fern
Crossing Apartments has at last gotten under way. This is a 44-units complex along
the block bound by Holt Avenue, Fern Avenue and Fourth Street.
“It’s been in
construction for the past month,” recalled Wells. “It will include
available retail space, but it has not been identified who will occupy it and
we don’t have an estimated time of arrival yet.”
In other business, a
mid-year budget review disclosed the city’s general fund has a $336,859
But that is largely
owing to revenues from other agencies yet to be paid. Within the next few
months, reimbursements from the state Office of Emergency Services for the Kincaid
Fire in Sonoma County is due to the city. Holtville firefighters contributed a
strike team to help with the blaze.
The state’s COPS (Citizen
Action for Public Safety) grant will start to trickle in. This fund is expected
to be in before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, assured Wells. It helps
pay for police services.
The water fund posted a revenue surplus of
$225,547, owing to normal business activity. Meanwhile, the sewer fund saw a
revenue surplus of $440,538. However, the trash fund has a miniscule revenue
deficit of $6,000.