At the Dec. 15 City Council meeting via Zoom, City Manager Lorenzo Hines gave his bimonthly update on the pandemic, saying positive cases in Galt rose 20% over the last two weeks and deaths went up from 8 to 11.

“This pandemic is definitely surging at this time,” Hines said. “We have to do everything we can to protect our loved ones and neighbors. The number of cases in Sacramento County went up to 35% over the past two weeks.”

Representing the Galt District Chamber of Commerce, Bonnie Rodriguez asked Council to clearly let businesses know how they will enforce the state mandates.

Referencing data released by Sacramento County Public Health, Rodriguez said that businesses were being punished for something they have no control over.

“We recognize that COVID is a very serious issue,” Rodriguez said. “Statistics that are not being shared as regularly are only 7% (of cases) can be attributed to eating indoors and 17% from businesses. This is data that is not being talked about. So businesses are being hurt when they are not significantly responsible. Our businesses need to know from the city if educational enforcement is going to continue.”

Mayor Shawn Farmer reacted to Rodriguez’s questions.

“It’s having an effect across the board – we need to protect our businesses,” Farmer said. “If Council could draft a letter to county and state leaders to please keep in mind businesses are being affected – to put pressure on funding for businesses and easing the mandates, would that be something my fellow Council Members would support?”

Each Council Member agreed that it would be a good idea. Council Member Rich Lozano said they also need to ask that funds earmarked for small business loans be made easier.

“It was the mechanism that people needed to use to get the funding that was difficult,” Lozano said. “This is affecting our local economy. It really affects us hard.”

Council Member Kevin Papineau also joined the discussion.

“We need to include in our letter that we need to relax these provisions,” Papineau said. “We cannot take an enforcement track but I believe it is coming to that.”

Hines said he and Economic Development Manager Amie Mendes would work on the letter and have it to Council by the following week.

Interim Community Development Director Craig Hoffman began the Housing Element Update Kick-off with Mintier Harnish’s Amy Yang and Rick Rust, the project manager. The three explained the new state mandates for housing options in Galt.

Hoffman explained that the city was required to find suitable spaces for each housing option. It would not be up to the city to build the homes but find land where developers could build. Each site would have to be identified for specific housing types.

In the next eight years, the state says Galt needs to add 273 very low-income dwellings, 152 low-income dwellings, 253 moderately priced houses and 569 above moderate-income homes. Hoffman said they would have to find room for 1,926 sites to accommodate builders. The city will have until next May to have found building sites to accommodate all incomes.

Council approved unanimously the resolution to a Development Impact Fee Credit Agreement with TL Partners XI, LLP and the filing thereof for the Cedar Flats development. Public Works Director Mike Selling explained that the company would build a structure over Deadman’s Gulch and since it will benefit the city of Galt as a whole, they would give the company credit for a portion of the cost against their permit fees.

Vice Mayor Sandhu asked how that would be calculated. Senior Civil Engineer Bill Forrest said they would calculate the percentage that the development would benefit and also what percentage the city would also benefit. The fee credit would be based on those calculations.

Also on the agenda was deciding on which board, commission or committee each of the five council members would serve.

Council Member Papineau will serve on City And Schools Together (CAST), Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) as an alternate and Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District.

Mayor Farmer will serve on City And Schools Together (CAST), Galt Youth Commission, Public Safety Committee, Sacramento Public Library Authority, Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) – Alternate, Sacramento Homeless Policy Council and City Selection Committee.

Council Member Lozano will serve on Sacramento Council of Governments (SACOG) and Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) 2x2.

Council Member Jay Vandenburg will serve on 457 Deferred Compensation Plan Committee, City And Schools Together (CAST) as an alternate, Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District as an alternate and South Sacramento Conservation Agency as an alternate.

Vice Mayor Sandhu will serve on Public Safety Committee, Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA), Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) 2x2, and South Sacramento Conservation Agency