Mr. Putters Putt Putt stewards Mr. Putter Paddle Boats at the Atascadero Lake starting May 15  

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 27, all in attendance with the exception of Mayor Pro Tem Heather Newsom.

After approving the consent calendars 1 and 2 with a request to pull item 3 with a 4-0 vote Mayor Heather Moreno turned the meeting over to the City Manager, Rachelle Rickard.

Rickard started with a correction to item number 3 budget adjustment for the Atascadero Mall Sewer Condition Improvement Project. The approved budget for the project was $781,000, however as construction was underway, they ran into an obstruction when drilling for the underground boring. In definition, a “boring” is a trenchless method of installing underground electrical lines along a predetermined path. The obstruction appears to be an old drainage box culvert that was not noted or known by Cal Trans when the city was assessing the project. 

Rickard went on to say that the item needed to be pulled due to a “typo” in the recommendation from the staff report. The staff reports fiscal impact and discussion is correct; however, the report states that an additional $250,000 needed to be allocated from the Wastewater Enterprise Fund actually needs to be $325,000 instead. Rickard would like that correction to be made.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Councilmember Susan Funk stated, “just to clarify this for the public, is it fair to say that…the city engineer and others looked through several different options for this, and all them were costly and deeply unpleasant?”

Rickard responded with “absolutely positively, they spent days and hours and hours…. looking at possible solutions, different scenarios… trying to figure out which was the most cost-effective path forward and that was the one that was selected.” 

The council voted 4-0 to approve the additional funds.

Rickard continued with the City Manager update. Starting with the Earth Shine Clean Up Day that took place last Saturday, Apr. 24. This was the second creek clean-up this year. 

“Nearly 100 volunteers showed up bright and early Saturday morning…including our own Mayor Heather Moreno, Councilmembers Charles Bourbeau, and Susan Funk.”

The event was sponsored by the city and Atascadero Bible Church. According to the city’s public works operations manager, a total of 25 cubic yards of trash was picked up and hauled away in Waste Management donated dumpsters. 

The next North County Earth Shine clean-up is scheduled for May 15 in Paso Robles. For more information, visit earthshineorg.com.

Also, on Saturday was this year’s virtual “Brew at the Zoo” event. Due to COVID-19 recommended guidelines, the event was virtual. Rickard shared that the event was a “big success,” participants experienced a virtual beer festival that was broadcast live from the zoo. Over 325 tickets were sold, $2500 was raised on Saturday with the Meerkat challenge, and the overall total raised for the Charles Paddock Zoo was over $20,000.

Next, Rickard shared that Mr. Putters Putt Putt will be the new stewards of the Atascadero Watercraft concierge at the Atascadero Lake. The new name will be “Mr. Putters Paddle Boats.” They are looking to provide some new activities at the lake including, peddle bike rentals and games like Jenga, Gemstone Mining, and Corn Hole. Mr. Putters is planning to be open roughly around May 15 and will be offering food and beverages in addition to paddle boats.

The 4th annual Atascadero City-Wide Yard Sale is scheduled for Saturday, Jun. 5, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can sign-up to get placed on the map by visiting atascaderoyardsale.com or visitatascadero.com. Over 125 yard sales are planned to participate around the city, and all proceeds go to support the Joy Playground.

The last update that Rickard announced is that the 2021 summer concert series will be back this year and in person. The concert dates will be from Jul. 24 through Sep. 18 at the Atascadero Lake Bandstand from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. As always, it is free to the public. For band and event details, go to visitatascadero.com.

Mayor Moreno said, “thank you, Rachelle, very much looking forward to the concerts in the park… a nice safe outdoor activity for all.”

Following the city manager report, Mayor Moreno moved the meeting on to the community forum, which had received two letters directed at the Community Choice Energy that were moved to public comment during the discussion of Agenda item C1.

Geoff Auslen of Glenn’s Repair and Rental addressed the council during this time about his shop, as well as others were vandalized over the weekend.

“My business was vandalized over the weekend by somebody shooting something at the glass and causing thousands of dollars of damage along with other businesses in town. I do want to give want to give Atascadero Police Department a verbal accommodation from me as a business owner; I was not even off the phone with dispatch when they arrived. And the great work by Handler Haul in being able to… take the photos necessary before the whole window dropped… in seeing where the hole entered. I can’t say enough about our police department for this weekend and how quick they are acting; hopefully… take the people to justice. Thank you” Auslen said.

There were no presentations or public hearings, so the council moved forward to discussing agenda item C1, Draft Strategic Plan and Draft Action Plan Study Session.

City manager Rickard started with providing the council a brief overview of the community study sessions. Which she then moved on to the staff’s direction on the Strategic Plan Draft and the Draft Action Plan detailed outline. A full report of the discussion to follow in a separate article.

Following the discussion, Rickard moved on to the COVID-19 update announcing that the county moved into the Orange Tier of the California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.  

Rickard explained with the Orange Tier that goes into effect on Wednesday, Apr. 28; it will allow many new things to be able to start again, such as welcoming the first bride to the Atascadero Lake Pavilion. Read SLO County Advances to Orange Tier for more details.  

Councilmember Funk asked, “Rachelle, I don’t know if you happen to know this… I am interested in if we have an idea of what proportion of our city employees who interact regularly with the public have been vaccinated.”

Rickard replied, “we do not know… we cannot ask health information necessarily… I can tell you anecdotally it’s a significant portion that are either completely vaccinated, have had their first shot, or have had their second shot and waiting… so we have a lot of people throughout the process… in that… we don’t have exact numbers.”  

Mayor Moreno moved on to the final agenda item, which was council announcements and committee reports.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting is scheduled for May 11. To view this meeting or register for one upcoming visit Atascadero.org.