Folsom City Council chews through quick meeting, school board member sets council straight

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Compared with the previous week's meeting, the April 23 Folsom City Council gathering went fairly quickly, clocking it at 96 minutes. The only fireworks came during public comment, during which Folsom Cordova Unified School District board member JoAnne Reinking took issue with an off-hand remark made by Councilman Steve Miklos the previous week. He had mentioned to those in the packed council chamber they might consider attending a school board meeting because they were the ones making cuts and laying off teachers. "When I got over my (initial reaction)," Reinking said, "I thought, you probably don't know what we're doing." Reinking said the district didn't want to put the community through a fourth year of painful employee cuts. "The last (few) years, employee groups have worked with us," Reinking said. "This year, we were determined not to layoff teachers. ... I have confidence in our leadership." Reinking said she thought it was best everyone operated from the same information. "I wanted to set the record straight," she said. "We are not laying off teachers and are trying to save jobs." After last week's passionate and more than 4-hour long meeting, this week's meeting went quickly with little public comment. The council adopted the Capital Improvement Plan, part of the $64 million operating budget approved last week. "There are no general funds in the (plan)," said city Finance Director Jim Francis. The plan calls for $200,000 in public safety replacement vehicles, including an ambulance, and $1.25 million for a new East Bidwell Street "infill" project. No details were discussed regarding the project. Rainbow Bridge was also allocated $10,000 for minor repair work but, according to city engineer Dave Nugen, there is hope for some retrofit money to come from CalTrans to eventually remove the old sidewalks, replace the guard rails and repair the joints. That is some time away, he said. Mayor Kerri Howell warned city staff to be sure to reach out to the public when that time comes since the Rainbow Bridge is such an icon in town. Another $1.6 million was allocated to the Willow Hill Water Line, meant to replace 21,600 linear feet of water pipeline, and $2.1 million was allocated to sewer improvements. Francis cautioned the city council, saying there is "no clear financing mechanism for vehicle (or) equipment replacement" in the plan. Councilman Ernie Sheldon asked Folsom Cynthia Renaud to look at the Dodge Chargers being purchased. "(They) look good and are fast, but they're hard to maintain (according to the) mechanics," Sheldon said.