The start of the new year means a new mayor and vice mayor for the City of Cotati. Tuesday night was the first city council meeting of the new year. This meant new mayor, Wendy Skillman, and Vice Mayor John Moore presided over the proceedings for the first time, while old mayor John Dell’Osso took a different seat, that of a council member.
The night started off with introductions and a lively public comment section, before that Skillman and Moore were honored in a little reception. The reception gave community members time to mingle amongst themselves while enjoying refreshments.
Some of the issues discussed in the open session were related to issues regarding the homeless and how dangerous some of the cross walks are in Cotati. The issue of crosswalks, traffic flow and construction came up later in the night.
Another cool event also occurred. Former Mayor Dell’Osso was honored by members of the council. They all said a little piece about him and Dell’Osso himself gave about a three-minute speech highlighting some of the accomplishments of the council last year.
After this wrapped up the meeting got serious. The one major topic of the night was the issue of Fire Safety. With Sonoma County being a prime target for fires, this was a very important topic to start the year with.
Members from the Sonoma County Wildlife Prevention, Emergency alert and response measure team gave a very thorough presentation on fire prevention. The report focused mostly on the problem, what the goal is towards stopping the problem, some background information on what they do and listed the fire service chiefs in charge throughout Sonoma County.
One thing which was prevalent during this presentation was the need for more firefighters. The prevention center believes more staff will make the problem easier to solve and have more fighters ready to prevent the fires from getting out of control.
Something else the presentation focused on was vegetation management. The prevention center brought up the idea of funding this, because funding enables fire agencies to provide vegetation management services and reduce loads in the rural and urban wildland that work together to prevent fires from entering areas where it’s most likely to spread.
This part of the presentation got the most response out of the council, especially Dell’Osso. The fire issue was discussed for over an hour. The council and prevention team had a good back and forth dialogue.
As mentioned previously, the issue of crosswalks came up during the public hearing section. The council approved the acceptance of the East Cotati Avenue Street Rehabilitation project and adopted a resolution accepting the 2019 Street Construction Improvements Project. These were items which were discussed back in 2019 which finally got approved by the council.
As usual the city manager gave a report and members of the council brought up their items, not for discussion, but for community members in attendance.
This was a very long meeting because of both the reception and number of items needing to be covered. Though the meeting was long, the topics discussed were important and community members got the opportunity to bring up their concerns to the council. The next meeting will be January 28 and should be much more normal, since it’s not the first one of the new year. Community members again are free to show up and share any concerns they might have in front of the council.