The following letter to residents was issued by the City of Ukiah:
On behalf of the City of Ukiah, it is my honor to wish you a happy and healthy New Year. As we look ahead eagerly to 2021, I am reflecting on the challenges we faced over the course of this past year and am humbled by the strength and resilience of our city and its residents. I am confident that things will improve in the coming months with the pandemic, and our local, state, and national recovery will be strong. Your team at the City of Ukiah, including staff and elected leaders, will be working diligently in pursuit of local priorities, ensuring reliable and affordable municipal services, and delivering community programs that support the high quality of life in our region.
I wanted to highlight in particular several of Ukiah’s initiatives that focus our attention and dedication:
Promoting a resilient economy and a vibrant community
- Ukiah’s growth is guided by our commitment to promote a business-friendly environment that attracts local investment, positive economic growth, and job creation. By ensuring quality municipal services and desirable local amenities, Ukiah is helping foster economic growth and economic diversity.
- To assist businesses facing the operational challenges resulting from the pandemic, the City took action by issuing an Emergency Order which expedites, streamlines processes, and eliminates fees associated with utilizing outside space for business operations and mobile food vending.
- Local businesses have managed to survive the many pandemic-related challenges of 2020, and we even welcomed the addition of several new businesses. We will continue to make it as easy as possible for businesses to get the permits they need and avoid any unnecessary fees or red tape. If you are looking for business development assistance, please reach out to us!
Ensuring reliable utilities at an affordable rate
A large part of keeping a city operational is ensuring that water is flowing, electricity is humming, and wastewater is responsibly handled, all while protecting ongoing ratepayer affordability. The City of Ukiah is proud to deliver these many different municipal services with lean but talented operations teams.
Understanding that our region faces continued water reliability challenges, Ukiah is taking both immediate action, such as enhancing conservation efforts of the Russian River Watershed and is planning proactively in order to ensure reliable water supplies well into our future. The City of Ukiah has the only complete water portfolio (surface, ground, and recycled water) in the region, and has invested over $40M in water infrastructure over the last five years for reliability and resilience.
- City officials are working closely with state and county representatives to not only secure our water reliability but also to ensure ongoing affordability. As part of this regional coordination, Ukiah recently joined several other local agencies and water policy experts to form the Mendocino County Water Resiliency Task Force.
- Currently, the Task Force is working to advocate for fair and accurate water resource planning as state officials prepare a response to drought conditions in the Upper Russian River. To learn more about the Task Force, see the recent press release linked here.
- Recycled water and wastewater: The City manages its own Waste Water Treatment Plant safely and efficiently, and has now completed the first three phases of its “purple pipe” recycled water project. This project provides an additional 1,000-acre feet per year of water supply to the Ukiah Valley. Phase 4, the final phase, is scheduled for construction in 2021 and will provide an additional 400-acre feet per year. This recycled water is delivered to parks, schools and farms, supporting a vibrant agricultural region, and reducing water diversions from the Russian River.
Check out this video for more on the recycled water project: Recycled Water Project Video, and click here for the project FAQ.
- Ukiah’s electric utility has a track record of procuring and delivering safe, reliable, and affordable power. We are proud that our utility produces more than half of its energy from renewable sources such as geothermal, hydroelectric, wind and biomass at rates roughly 25% lower than PG&E.
- We place great emphasis on safety and ongoing maintenance of our electric utility infrastructure, including implementation of wildfire mitigation measures, which helps ensure reliability and avoid planned or sudden blackouts.
Strengthening our infrastructure
- As our city continues to grow and modernize, the quality of our 53 centerline miles of two-way streets, sidewalks, and signals must similarly modernize, all the while maintaining the characteristics that make the city unique. Ukiah’s Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project does just that and is well underway. Ultimately the project will provide streetscape improvements on State Street, Perkins Street, and Standley Street, including sidewalk widening, curb ramps and bulb outs, streetlights, street furniture, and landscaping.
- I encourage all residents who regularly visit the downtown area to sign up to receive Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project update emails here. Residents can also find information on our many other initiatives on our Projects + Information page here.
Despite the challenges we have faced both individually and as a city throughout 2020, Ukiah’s brightest days are ahead of us. From all of us at the City, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year.