Mike Deis, substation director for Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD), addressed Galt City Council on Aug. 6 about its Galt SMUD Park, located on A Street and Lincoln Way, which will be renovated in the coming year. According to the SMUD representative, a transporter will have to be replaced, and the area in which the electrical equipment is located will be expanded. Ten trees, which include six redwoods, one Callery pear and three crepe myrtles, will be removed. The chain link fence will be replaced with a precast concrete wall to enclose the equipment.

Council member Rich Lozano asked Deis “the rationale” for removing the trees.

“It’s challenging for us at over 280 substations,” Deis said. “If one were to fall into the substation, it could cause outages and damage.”

Deis also reported that the existing transformer is over 40 years old and required replacement due to age and general health.

The slide show presentation showed that the equipment area would take up most of the park. All grass will also be removed and replaced with drought tolerant shrubs, including White Cloud Muhly Grass, Purple Fountain Grass, Gold Lantana, Trailing Lantana and Purple Hopbush.

Trees will be replaced with Western Redbuds, Palo Verde, Arbutus Marina and Chitalpa trees.

“We will be putting in some picnic table areas so people can enjoy this area,” Deis said. “This landscape was actually developed by the American River Horticulture class. This was one of the winners.”

The substation and park renovations will come at no cost to the city.

Councilman Paul Sandhu discussed the project and asked questions.

“SMUD will pay for the project,” reiterated Sandhu to Deis. “What about maintenance costs?”

Parks & Recreation Director Armando Solis asked to answer this question.

“There will be a big reduction in maintenance,” Solis said. “There will be no grass to water and mow, and the landscape will be low maintenance.”

Solis said in an email after the meeting that the SMUD landscape contractor will maintain the site for the first year, at which time the city of Galt will maintain the park after the one-year warranty expires.

Construction is expected to occur starting in September 2019, with a June 2020 date expected for completion.

Galt Police Lt. Brian Kalinowski gave the annual report on the Public Safety Commission. He said the main focus this year was on traffic and how to make streets safer.

Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer said, in light of the recent massive shootings, he’d like to see a focus on event safety. Chief Sockman asked to add to the discussion.

“The procedure before every special event includes having a threat assessment,” Sockman said. “There’s always a plan in place.”

Steve Lissick, a 30-year resident of Galt, spoke about park maintenance during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I’ve always been proud of the plans we’ve made,” Lissick said. “You’re losing one of the best assets you have here. You’re looking at the market being sold for development? Are we going to sell something that’s a long-range asset? I’ve seen the Carillion plan, when we don’t have enough money to water. Before we develop more, let’s take care of what we have.”

Antoinette DuBois, a five-year resident, also spoke.

“It’s really hard to see at the corner of East Stockton Boulevard and Walnut,” DuBois said. “You can’t tell where to enter the correct lane. It needs a street light … My city of Galt bill has escalated every year. I’m hoping there could be some consideration given to seniors and retirees.”

Galt Joint Union High School District Superintendent William Spalding invited council members to the grand re-opening of Hatzenbuhler Field. The revitalized Warrior stadium will host its first football game on Aug. 23.

Council adjourned and went into closed session after the open meeting. On their agenda was a conference with real property negotiators for the land at 140 Enterprise Court. Interim City Manager Tom Haglund answered questions about this conference before the meeting.

“The city will consider whether Enterprise Court is an opportunity for the location of the subject transportation facility, instead of the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP),” Haglund said.

Results of the closed session discussion were not available as of press time.