Message from the Mayor: Moving to reopen and looking out for each other

Updated May 20, 2020

By John B. Allard II

Last week, Governor Newsom approved Placer County to move into stage 2 of reopening. Placer County was one of the first and most populous of California’s counties to receive this approval. It happened because of positive health data and advocacy by our City at the County and state levels.

On the health side, I want to thank Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson and the County’s Public Health Department for their leadership in providing guidelines and explanations that helped our residents meet the health criteria to begin a phased reopening. Our residents’ diligence in adhering to these guidelines significantly slowed the spread of the virus so we were in a safer position to reopen.

On the advocacy side, our city pushed for autonomy to open when it was safe to do so here, not based on health data in other parts of the state. We urged regional variance, and we also pushed for the state to develop operational and equipment safety guidelines for the eventual reopening of all sectors of our economy.

Within days, we were encouraged to hear the governor’s remarks reflect the kinds of actions we were advocating. We sent a letter to the governor’s office letting him know we supported this approach.

Phased reopening of our community

Last week, our community began a phased reopening.

This brings mixed feelings throughout our community. Since March, we’ve heard from people with opposing points of view passionately insist that their perspective is the correct approach.

The approach the City of Roseville is following is the law of the state. I’m asking for us to show patience and grace with each other. Everyone is adjusting to new social norms and new ways of doing things—things that we used to do without a second thought now take planning and intention. 

As we move forward in a different world, we want to maintain the progress we’ve made in slowing the virus. A reopening doesn’t mean a return to the life we once knew. Social distancing, hand-washing and the other safety directives remain imperative.

Instead, a reopening means learning to use new processes in familiar places. We also need to remember that it’s new for everyone and affects people in different ways.

  • It means considering that someone might not understand what you’re saying because they can’t see your facial expression or read your lips behind a mask. They may not be able tohear you as well behind the plastic barrier that now may divide us. We can all be patient and kind, and ready to speak a little louder and repeat ourselves if needed.
  • It means that traffic is coming back! Those of us who have been enjoying the open roads will need to slow back down and drive safely and with courtesy. Our streets and roads belong to everyone, from the new drivers to the older drivers who would rather stay safely at home but need to take care of critical errands. We owe all of our fellow human beings this respect on the roads.
  • It means being patient and planning ahead. Instead of the walk-in service you’re used to, you will likely need to make appointments and wait a little bit longer for service. You may have to follow new walking instructions inside familiar establishments.
  • It means remembering that health officials recommend wearingmasks.. Establishments serving the public have a right to require masks and to refuse service to those who don’t comply.They’redoing their best to protect their employees and their customers.

We are moving forward at the pace allowed. I want to thank our incredible community for your civility and caring. At the city level in a health crisis, we follow state laws. There is so much we can’t control about a pandemic, but we can control the amount of grace we extend to one another as we get through this together.


Family Meal Roseville

Family Meal Roseville helps residents and businesses by purchasing meals from Roseville restaurants and providing them to vulnerable residents in our community facing food insecurity. This program launched just two weeks ago (see video here) and received an outpouring of support from the community. A $50,000 grant from the City’s Citizens’ Benefit Fund started the initial phase. With donations the first week from Placer Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, Sutter Health, Rotary Club of Roseville, Roseville Firefighters, and dozens of individual donations, the program is expanding this week to include more restaurants and more sites, serving 940 households weekly.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to Roseville Transit for providing delivery from restaurants to sites, to Roseville Electric for their significant in-kind support, and to Bayside Church for providing 500 cloth masks for residents and volunteers. Our city staff and their families are volunteering at school and community sites to deliver meals. At one of our school sites, teachers are volunteering to take meals to families in need.

I especially want to recognize our dedicated community partner, Health Education Council. This non-profit has been working with our City through the Invest Health partnership for the past four years. Family Meal Roseville is the latest result of the collaboration to improve health outcomes throughout our community. Their organization is staffed with experts in public health and experienced community organizers. We are so grateful for their partnership.

This pop-up program is scheduled to conclude June 12 due to funding allowances, and you can follow our progress on Facebook.


Transparency and public access

On March 17, we held our first City Council meeting where the public was not in physical attendance, but the public was still able to participate via email, phoning in, and submitting written comments. As we’ve been doing for years, we continue to broadcast and livestream our City Council meetings on our YouTube channel, and Comcast 14, Consolidated 73, and AT&T Uverse.

We went to all-online video meetings in April and the first part of May. For our May 20 meeting, although Council Chambers is still closed to the public, City Council and staff will return to in-person meetings. Public participation for this meeting will still occur through phone and email as we determine safety protocols needed to accommodate in-person participation for upcoming meetings.

Council meetings continue at 6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Other commissions will meet only when essential and timely agenda items warrant. You can view all agendas and minutes on our website at www.roseville.ca.us/agenda.


City budget outlook

It is impossible to anticipate at this point how long and how deep the economic downturn will last. Yet, Roseville’s conservative approach to budgeting has withstood the test of time, allowing for cautious optimism.

As restrictions are lifted in phases, we’ll have a clearer picture of our revenue outlook and whether the City will be reimbursed for additional expenses related to the crisis response.

The City’s taken some immediate actions on the expense side related to labor costs. In March the City laid off more than 600 temporary employees as we ceased offering services they provided to the public. In April, a temporary hiring freeze was implemented with the exception of critical positions that require executive-level approval.


Public input on FY2020-21 Budget

Our budget-approval process continues for Fiscal Year 2020-21, which begins July 1.

The process began last fall with a public workshop where the City Council Strategic Plan was developed. Two planned public open houses on the budget were to occur in March, but were canceled as social distancing measures and restrictions on public gatherings took effect.

Today, May 20, the City posted the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21. You can view it here: www.roseville.ca.us/budget. You can provide comments in advance at publiccomment@roseville.ca.us. The next opportunity for live public input will be at the City Council’s annual budget workshop at 4 p.m. June 1 (and June 2 if needed) in Council Chambers, 311 Vernon St.

One thing that’s certain amidst all the uncertainty: Budgeting decisions will be adjusted throughout the year as we get a clearer picture of how deep the cuts will be to revenue projections.

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