City Manager's Community Update - April 2017
Dear Millbrae Residents,
A lot has happened since the start of the year. Winter storms have kept Public Works crews busy. Over the past 90 days, they have responded to downed utility lines, and addressed mudslides along Richmond and Skyline that forced us to close those roads. While the storms caused much havoc, our crews made themselves available 24-7 to ensure Millbrae’s residents were not severely impacted.
Winter presents a variety of risks to our infrastructure; we are being proactive to address a variety of needs that you will see crews working on in the coming months. In March, Public Works began its phased upgrade of streetlights with LED bulbs and low-voltage wiring. The first phase replaced bulbs and wiring along Victoria, Lewis and La Cruz Avenues. Later that month, we began the second phase of this project with streetlight upgrades along Hillcrest and Taylor Boulevards, and Hazel Avenue. Over the two phases, 33 street lights will be outfitted with new low voltage, energy-efficient LED lighting, and the underground 5kv high voltage wiring will have been replaced with regular 120 voltage wiring.
In February, our crews responded to an emergency break in a sewer main along Sequoia Avenue. While they were able to fix it within 10 days, emergency repairs like these place a heavier burden on the City because of higher costs, service outage to homes and businesses, and unexpected traffic congestion. Public Works, the City Council and I are exploring various options to address these needs, and will be announcing upcoming repair projects and proposals to the community in the coming weeks.
This month, City contractors will begin work to repave portions of the road along Millbrae Avenue and Magnolia Avenue. In total, 2,450 linear feet of roadway will be removed and replaced. This work is expected to go until the end of June. Because of the flow of traffic along these streets, delays and increased traffic congestion is expected. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we complete this necessary work.
Over the past few months we have hosted a series of water utility infrastructure study sessions. During these public meetings, our Public Works staff has presented the City Council and community attendees with a robust analysis of our water system. Unfortunately, our system is more than 60 years old, and recent work has been reactionary to line breaks instead of preventative replacements. While no official decisions have been made, we are exploring ways we can replace Millbrae’s 75 miles of water pipes. To learn about the meetings and outcomes so far, please visit: http://www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/waterutilityinfrastructure.
This year, we welcomed a new Finance Director. One of her first actions was to report our FY 2016 budget to the City Council. I’m happy to say that our City is in a very good financial position, and we out performed our budget projections by more than $2 million. While the additional revenue is welcome news, we remain cautious because of ongoing long-term infrastructure needs, as well as the rebuild efforts for the Millbrae Community Center.
Recently, the City Council approved a contract with Group 4 Architecture of South San Francisco to provide a comprehensive master plan for the future Millbrae Community Center. Council also approved the use of a $3.7 million partial payment from the City’s insurance providers to help pay for ongoing costs. Together, these two items allow the City to move forward with significant progress in rebuilding the Community Center.
Over the next six months, a portion of the insurance money will be used to have Group 4 host a series of meetings to gather input from the community to develop a needs assessment and preferred plan for rebuilding the Community Center. Our main goals at this point are to understand what the desires of the community are, and develop a plan that is affordable but gives you what you want. To achieve these goals, we need you to participate in this process. I encourage all residents to participate in upcoming Community Center meetings to help us better understand your wants and needs, and develop a plan that can address them while staying within budget.
Last month, the Recreation Department released its Spring and Summer 2017 Activity Guide. In addition to your support for the Community Center, we thank you for your support of Millbrae’s recreation programs. We have a multitude of sports programs and summer camps for your children this year. To learn more about these programs, please view the Activity Guide at: http://www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/departments-services/recreation/activity-guide.
Public safety is a number one priority. The City Council and I are pleased with the service of the men and women from Central County Fire and the Millbrae Police Bureau. Recently, Central County Fire replaced an old fire truck at Station 37 with a new one. In addition to their continual training, the investments CCFD makes in their crews always impresses me, and confirms that Millbrae has the best fire fighters responding to us in our times of need.
Last month, the Millbrae Police Bureau brought a new community resource officer to address burglaries and similar crimes in our City. I’m happy to report that they recently arrested a habitual auto burglar who was breaking in to vehicles to steal valuables people left in plain sight. This is one of many successful investigations over the past few months that has shown me the Millbrae Police Bureau is actively responding to our concerns and devoting more resources to these crimes.
To support this effort, we are asking for your help by considering registering your video surveillance cameras with the Millbrae Police Bureau. This new Security Video Surveillance Registry program is for Millbrae residents and businesses to register their personal surveillance cameras and make their surveillance videos available to Millbrae Police Bureau investigators on a voluntary basis. The Video Surveillance Registry is an additional tool they will be using to investigate burglary and unlawful entry crimes. But we need your help and participation to make it a success.
We are very pleased that Living Spaces recently opened its store downtown. Their friends and family soft opening on March 29th, and grand opening on March 31st were a great success; they exceeded their $100,000 opening week sales goal. This is welcoming news, and I know that they will be an economic asset to our community.
My staff and I are dedicated to serving you, and all who live, work and play in Millbrae. We do our best to understand your concerns and needs, and address them in a timely manner. We are working diligently to find good solutions to the issues facing us, but ask that you stay involved in the process; especially on projects like the Community Center and infrastructure improvements. Together, we will achieve great things for our community.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your City Manager. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you.
City Manager, City of Millbrae