The pandemic has made Sebastopol’s city government more accessible than ever before
The city of Sebastopol has taken several actions to combat the pandemic and ensure that citizens can still access a broad range of city services.
The public works department has installed six handwashing stations around downtown. In March, it installed three handwashing stations: one in the city parking lot at Main St. and Burnett, one in the alley between Ramen Gaijen and WestAmerica Bank on Sebastopol Avenue (Highway 12) and one on the southwest corner of the town plaza parking lot against the rear wall of Silk Moon. Last week, it installed three more handwashing stations: one in front of the Sebastopol Police Department; one on the side of Screamin’ Mimi’s Ice Cream; and one near Community First Credit Union, 328 N. Main Street.
This week the city of Sebastopol will start offering free, locally made masks bearing the logo of the city of Sebastopol to those who are caught in public without a mask — and to anyone in town who needs a mask but cannot afford one.
On Friday, April 17, Sebastopol Mayor Patrick Slayter ordered 500 masks from a Windsor-based company that used to make motorcycle wear but has turned its production line over to making cloth masks. The masks, which cost the city $8 a piece, are 100% cotton and washable.
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Civic business goes online: online updates and an improved website
City council meetings have been available on video for a couple of years, but they are now being streamed live as well. You can watch the meetings at bit.ly/sebcctv. To submit comments before the meeting, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Mayor Patrick Slayter has taken to giving regular video updates, which you can see on the city’s Facebook page and find on the city’s website, ci.sebastopol.ca.us.
The city’s website has also recently made a giant leap forward in terms of usability. Agendas for upcoming council meetings and links to live and recorded city meetings are now available on the front page of the website.
The city has also expanded its city newsletter, which will keep you up-to-date on everything it’s doing. Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/34Q39to.
Essential services will continue
The most recent city newsletter includes the following information about essential services:
Water: The city of Sebastopol will not turn off water due to nonpayment. The city recognizes the hardship that the pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place orders have created in our community and will temporarily suspend non-emergency turnoffs and late fees.
Electricity: PG&E will not cut off power due to nonpayment. PG&E voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment, effective immediately. This suspension will apply to both residential and commercial customers and will remain in effect until further notice.
Garbage: Recology will not suspend trash service due to nonpayment. Recology understands that customers are starting to request delay of payments or payment plans due to the circumstances, and they are sensitive to what the community is going through. Recology will not stop service due to non-payment at this time.
Department by department
Administrative Services: Administrative Service staff are available by phone or email for questions. Email email@example.com, or call 707-823-7863 and leave a message and someone will respond to you. If you would like to renew or apply for a business license click here, or you can email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Manager's Office: City staff is continuing to work on budget preparations. City hall staff are available by phone or email for questions. Email email@example.com; or call 707-823-1153 and leave a message and someone will respond to you.
Engineering Department: The Engineering Department is using this time to prepare contracts, prepare design drawings in-house, and prepare bid packages so that when construction activities are allowed to resume the City is immediately ready to get going on all projects.
Fire Department: The fire department is open and continuing to provide first response and emergency services as usual. Please note that the fire department lobby and business office are closed. The 2020 Weed Abatement Program is now in progress, under the direction of the fire chief. Letters will be mailed out later this month. According to the city newsletter, “It’s a great time to start mowing, weeding, brush removal, pruning, and general yard cleanup. The April rains will bring a new growth of weeds and can/will dry out very quickly this month. Let’s all use this time to get a jump on cleaning up our property!”
Planning Department: The Planning Department is (virtually) open and continues to accept applications, but has moved to electronic submittals. See ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/Departments-Services/Planning for details. New submissions have slowed to a stand still with the shelter-in-place order, however, so planning director Kari Svanstrom is temporarily in charge of amassing a list of local businesses that are open for business, which is available on the city’s website.
Police Department: the lobby is open to the public. For non-life-or-safety-threatening situations, we encourage the public to call the 24/7 police non-emergency line at 707-829-4400. As always, in the event of emergency, call 911.
Public Works Department: Water and sewer utility systems continue to be monitored and maintained. Maintenance of parks and public spaces continues at a reduced schedule. According to Vice Mayor Una Glass, the city’s public works departments is practicing a form of self-quarantine that has city workers working either singly or in teams of four that don’t mix with other teams, so that if one team is struck with the virus, the whole public works department won’t go down with them.