City Express

Sacramento ranked a top ‘Digital City’

Digital Cities award

Sacramento is now ranked within the top 10 cities in its population class for enhancing the public’s online access information and services.

e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government (The Center) included Sacramento among its top-ranked cities in the just released 2014 Digital Cities Survey.

“Transparency, engaging the citizens, making access to local government easier – that’s part of being the best managed city in California,” said City Manager John Shirey. “I’m proud of the achievements we’ve made to be recognized as a ‘Digital City.”’

The City enhanced its open data platform earlier this year. Citizens can now access meaningful data on one webpage, create reports and download information including building permit activity, crime reports, budget information, and land-use data. The City was also a finalist this year in the 2014 Best of the Web awards by Government Technology for converting its website to an easier to navigate content management system.

In its 14th year, the annual survey is part of the Center’s Digital Communities Program, which focuses on collaboration among cities, counties and regions. Open to all U.S. cities, this year’s survey questions targeted which initiatives cities were most proud of in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data.

The top-ranked cities in their population categories provided financial transparency, city performance measurement dashboards, and citizen feedback on city initiatives. They also made improvements in their infrastructure, open-data architecture, security levels and collaboration efforts, providing cost savings and enhanced services.

The top ranked cities will be honored at a special awards ceremony during the National League of Cities annual conference in Austin on Nov. 20.

To learn more about our other accolades, visit the City’s Awards page.

Our free holiday parking program for downtown shoppers continues!

Free Holiday Parking - Details apply

Downtown, Old Sacramento and Midtown shoppers can take advantage of free parking to encourage people to shop and dine downtown during the holiday season.

The City is offering modified parking hours on weekdays that are free after 4:30 p.m. and free all day on weekends starting the day after Thanksgiving through December 25, Downtown, Midtown and Old Sacramento.

New this year: The City’s new 4,000 smart meters will not accept any payments during the free holiday parking hours. The meter display will inform customers that parking is free!

The program will be in effect in these areas at these times:

On-street metered parking  

  • There will be two free metered holidays:  The first one is on Thursday, Nov. 27, (Thanksgiving Day) and the second will be Thursday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day).
  • Weekends will be free all day from Saturday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 21.
  • Weekdays will be free after 4:30 p.m. (This will also include Friday, November 28). Prior to 4:30 p.m. weekday meter rates remain in effect.

Please note that the free parking zone will extend from “I” to “L” Streets and from Front Street to 29th street, and only applies to metered on-street parking spaces. See the map.

2014 Holiday Parking Map

All other parking violations are still enforceable as posted, such as time limit restrictions, street sweeping and color zones.

East End Garage (17th Street between L Street and Capitol Avenue) – We offer year-round a flat rate of $2 after 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturday and Sunday, except for “Second Saturdays,” when the flat rate will be $5.

The six metered on-street holidays that  are displayed on every parking meter:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

 

Lots of leaves in the city!

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Since November 1, crews have completed two full leaf collection rotations throughout the entire City in two weeks, and we’ve started our third rotation this week. Crews are reporting heavier leaf drop, and larger piles. It can take crews ten days to two weeks between leaf collections during these heavy weeks.

Check the Service Day Finder often as we update our collection estimates daily and your date may change.

To make our estimates we factor in how many crews we have and how many zones we are clearing in a day. The biggest variable is Mother Nature herself. There is no completely accurate way to predict how many piles we will encounter in any one zone due to any variety of weather conditions.

Also, unlike previous years, the heavy leaf drop is starting later this year. Lots of residents are using their yard waste containers which we continue to collect weekly. This is proving to be a great help in getting more material off the street.  And, as a reminder, our crews will be working throughout the week of Thanksgiving.

Find out more on Leaf Season in the City.

Stuff the ‘Believe’ campaign mailbox at City Hall and benefit Make-A-Wish

Santa MailYou only have until November 20 to bring your “letters to Santa” to City Hall and drop them in the Macy’s “Believe” campaign mailbox in the lobby. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

After November 20, the mailbox will head over to The Wishing Place in North Natomas, and then continue to travel throughout Sacramento, bringing the magic of the “Believe” campaign to the community.

Come on by! City Hall is located at 915 I Street, Sacramento CA, 95814.

Five tips for preparing trees for winter

California’s drought is having some significant effects on the region’s vegetation. Lawns can be brought back to life relatively quickly, but once a tree dies, the loss is irreversible. When the seasons change and the amount of sunlight decreases, trees go into a state of dormancy and require less water. Droughts can interrupt this cycle because the tree may not have enough stored moisture to survive the changing seasons until the drought improves.

Experts at U.C. Davis recently along with City Urban Forestry staff shared with the media that even with normal rainfall occurring this winter it still might not be enough to sustain trees without special care and watering. As no one knows when the drought will be over, preventive measures become even more important.

U.C. Cooperative Extension Horticulture Advisor, Chuck Ingels encouraged homeowners to follow these steps:

  • Dig into the soil 6 to 8 inches at a tree’s drip line – the area immediately below the widest part of the leaf canopy; if the soil feels dry and crumbly, it will need water.
  • Apply water slowly using a soaker hose that circles the tree at the drip line. Allow water to saturate the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.
  • Allow the soil to dry between waterings. For the most mature trees, one or two deep waterings per month is adequate. During the winter months when conditions are wetter, few to no waterings are needed.
  • Add mulch (leaves or wood chips) between the trunk and drip line to retain the soil’s moisture.
  • Reduce competition for water by removing weeds and grass within 4 feet of a tree’s trunk.

Trees not only provide food and shade for people and animals, but they are important to the aesthetics and health of the community. For more information about how to care for trees during a drought, visit University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Waverly, the bomb-sniffing dog joins police department

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October 2, marked the second birthday and first month on the job for Waverly, the Explosive Detection K9. The 50-pound half lab, half golden retriever is the partner of Officer Clayton Buchanan and newest member of the Sacramento Police department.

Waverly was bred through the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) selective breeding program located in Santa Rosa. Following her first weeks of life, Waverly was assigned to a puppy raiser in Fair Oaks where she was initially prepared for a career as a service dog. As a result of her breeding, she comes equipped with a premium sniffer, bounds of energy, a small athletic physique and a gentle nature with Buchanan stating, “She’s as friendly as they come.”

play time

Waverly’s day job includes riding the Regional Transit in search of guns and explosives, and article search, which involves tracking a suspect’s origin from human scent left on an article. Waverly is a dual functioning dog whose training is part of a proactive approach to minimizing city threats.

For explosive training, dogs are typically taught a three-step sequence: smell the explosive compound, alert, receive a reward. The cost for this training is several thousand dollars and takes months of extensive training. Even after she begins her career in the field, she will work with trainer Steve Brewer, formerly of the Sacramento Police Department, for five hours of maintenance training every other week. The price tag for a fully trained Explosive Detection K9 can range from $8,000-$15,000.

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Waverly patiently awaiting her next command.

Despite comprehensive training, not all dogs make the cut. Waverly was the third dog Officer Buchanan was assigned since June. When asked how he knew Waverly had secured the position, he responded by saying “When a dog makes the Facebook page, they are here to stay.” Considering she made a hit on her first day helping service a search warrant, it’s no wonder they want to keep her on the team.

On and off the job, Waverly is at the side of her human partner Officer Buchanan, who is currently assigned to explosive ordinance disposal and has the benefit of working with an exceptional dog as part his job.

When she is not looking for explosives, Waverly resides at the home of Officer Buchanan and his three children. Buchanan said that “Waverly loves to sleep.” When her day starts at 4:30 a.m., he’s waking her up, reminding her it’s time to get to work.

Her career is expected to span through the next 10 years, and her retirement will be spent living out her life with Buchanan and his family.

Free smart teen driving class is now being offered by the Sacramento Police Department

The Sacramento Police Department is offering a free driver safety class to teenage drivers. This class is being offered in an effort to educate and keep new drivers, and their passengers, safe on the road.

New drivers lack the experience that is sometimes needed in various driving situations. Teen drivers are found to be at fault in 66 percent of all fatal accidents in which they are involved. In contrast, they represent only 4 percent of the state’s licensed drivers. The leading cause of death for all Americans 15 – 20 years old is motor vehicle collisions.

The next class will be held Thursday, Nov. 20, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Class will be held in the Hall of Honor at the Public Safety Center located at 5770 Freeport Blvd. The class is free and open to teenagers, 15-19 years old. They are required to bring a parent or guardian.

Space is limited, so register now online at http://www.sacpd.org/. Access the “Community Events” link on the left side of the home page and click on the “Start Smart Program.” Follow the instructions about how to register after choosing the “Attend” link next to Start Smart November. Please use your student’s name in the registration box. If you cannot register online, call (916) 808-6030 and register over the phone. Only one registration is needed per student/parent combination.

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Please direct any inquiries to Officer James Anderson at (916) 808-3776 or Sergeant Chris Prince at (916) 808-6069.

Thousands showed up to show their appreciation at Sacramento’s fourth annual Veteran’s Day Parade

The fourth annual Veteran’s Day Parade was the place to be Tuesday. Citizens lined the streets surrounding the State Capitol to salute the nation’s military heroes. The parade concluded with activities for children and adults while food trucks  set up to feed the hungry marchers.

Sacramento Police expand wireless 911 deployment

The Sacramento Police Department has advanced into the second phase of a 5-year deployment plan in which its Police Dispatchers are directly answering increased numbers of cellular 911 calls. Starting October 13, 2014, the department added two additional wireless towers to accept 911 calls from cellular phones. This phase of the deployment plan brings the total number of towers to six. The first phase began in September 2013 and involved four towers.

The two newly deployed cellular towers are in the areas of Center Parkway and Valley Hi Drive, and McClatchy Park in central Oak Park. This augments existing coverage in parts of South Natomas, all of which routes calls directly to the Police Department’s Communications Center. All other wireless 911 calls in the city of Sacramento will continue to be routed through the California Highway Patrol Communications Center before being transferred to a police dispatcher.

The goal of the wireless deployment program is to improve 911 answer times and ultimately decrease emergency service response times for wireless callers. Eventually, Sacramento Police dispatchers will take all cellular 911 calls within the City, saving valuable time – time that can be critical in an emergency situation.

The Sacramento Police Department would also like to remind you to register your phone numbers and emails at Sacramento-alert.org. All public safety agencies in Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties have partnered to have a state-of-the-art community notification system to alert residents about emergency events and other important public safety information. This system enables us to quickly provide critical information in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. Sacramento-Alert went live December 1, 2013.

City gets nearly $1 million from state to offset cost of drought-related devices

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The City is preparing to keep water flowing by installing essential devices at its intake facilities to continue pumping water even when river levels are way down from years of drought.

The good news received from the state: The special devices to help pump water out of the American and Sacramento Rivers when water levels drop too low for the City’s pumps are being paid for by state funds. One device is already in place at the City’s Water Intake Facility on the Sacramento River. Another will be installed in December at the City’s American River intake.

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At a press conference held Nov. 6 at the City’s Sacramento River Intake facility, the California Department of Water Resources announced nearly $14-million to fund projects throughout the Sacramento region to provide immediate drought relief and prepare for future droughts. The City was granted closed to $1 million for three projects – two intake devices and money to improve nine groundwater wells to supplement the City’s river water supply. In general, each well site requires a pump, motor, electrical and mechanical improvements, treatment systems and shelters to secure supplies and equipment. Once complete, wells will be capable of producing 7.7 million gallons of groundwater per day.

The City has been a leader in water conservation and is becoming a model for California communities. City water customers are saving over 1 billion gallons of water per month. This is approximately a steady 20 percent reduction every month.

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Thanks to citizens for their outstanding water conservation efforts. For more information about the City’s track record in water conservation please visit
www.SpareSacWater.org or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SacramentoCityUtilities.

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