Police Body Cameras Coming to Rio Dell

March 4, 2015

Rio Dell Police Chief Graham Hill received authorization at last night’s City Council meeting to proceed with purchasing and equipping city police vehicles and officers with camera systems. The City Council voted unanimously to spend $15,397.46 on the cameras, support equipment and also a new restraining device for the department. The purchases were made possible through State funding set aside in the Governor’s budget to help cities across California adjust to the AB 109 prison realignment legislation that became law in 2011.

“I believe the safety of our officers and the general public will increase as a result of using the cameras.” Chief Hill stated. “These systems are not infallible, but in most cases they will provide additional clarity.”

Rio Dell Mayor Frank Wilson stated that the council concurred with Chief Hill’s assessment. “I know that the Chief has been looking into using these cameras before it became a national issue, and I want to thank him for this proactive effort.” Wilson concluded by stating. “Rio Dell is one of the last small towns to still operate its own police force, and because of this we’re a safe town to live in. These cameras are a good addition to keeping the town safe.”

The department expects to be utilizing the new equipment within the next couple of weeks.

2015-3-4 Press Release Body Cameras (pdf version)

Sand Bags Available in Anticipation of Storm Event

The City of Rio Dell is making sand bags available in the parking lot behind City Hall at 675 Wildwood Avenue. The operation is self‐service with shovels available. Special accommodations can be made for the disabled and elderly residents by contacting City Hall at (707)764‐3532. Recent forecasts are showing a storm event beginning on Thursday, February 5th and lasting through the weekend. Current projections indicate that this event will produce significant rainfall in our region and localized flooding is possible. Please contact City Hall if you have identified blocked or impaired city storm/street drains.

Rio Dell public safety vehicles next to the sand bag station located in the rear parking at 675 Wildwood Avenue. February 4, 2015.

Rio Dell public safety vehicles next to the sand bag station located in the rear parking at 675 Wildwood Avenue. February 4, 2015.

Frank Wilson New Mayor

20150107_113145_resized (2)On the evening of January 6, 2015, Vice‐Mayor Frank Wilson was elected by the City Council to serve a 2‐year term as Mayor of Rio Dell. Wilson was elected in an open ballot process in the first round of voting and was handed the gavel shortly thereafter.

“It’s important to me and to this council that our decisions be made openly and transparently.” Wilson stated. “The city still has many challenges ahead of it, and we need the public’s involvement and trust to overcome them.” Wilson said the city’s main challenge was economic, and that issue would only be solved through job growth ‐ with commercial development inside the city’s core combined with value‐added industrial jobs created in the greater Rio Dell area. Wilson is an employee of Humboldt Redwood Company which runs the sawmill in Scotia.

“Rio Dell in many ways has been one of the most economically impacted areas in Humboldt County with all the changes in the timber industry and the recession.” Wilson stated, referring to the demise of several sawmills and other area employers over the last decade. “We’re starting to turn the corner on that and there’s still a lot of opportunity to invest in the community.”
Wilson replaces Jack Thompson, who served as mayor since 2013. “Jack served as Mayor during some difficult times for Rio Dell.” Wilson concluded by saying, “I want to thank him for that service.”

New Councilmembers sworn in

The City of Rio Dell swore in three councilmembers late in the evening of December 16th during its regularly scheduled meeting. Gordon Johnson, Debra Garnes and Tim Marks were sworn into four year terms after throwing their hats into the ring back in August. Ultimately the trio ran uncontested with Johnson securing 406 votes, Garnes 414, and Marks with 494 votes.

Gordon Johnson is returning to the Council, having first been appointed in 2012 to replace R.L “Bud” Leonard who retired from the council due to medical issues.

Newly elected to the City Council is Debra Garnes, who has a background in hazardous waste management, and formerly ran a small business for seven years. Garnes has a positive outlook on Rio Dell and is excited to serve the community.

Also new to the council is Tim Marks, a well-known former Palco employee of 33 years who has served on various boards and commissions locally. Marks will assume the seat that his wife is vacating after eight years.

Melissa Marks was joined by Julie Woodall in their decision to not seek another term on the Rio Dell City Council. Woodall earns the distinction of being the City’s longest serving Councilmember in history, having 20 consecutive years of service dedicated to the city and its residents.

“On behalf of the communnity I really want to say thank you to Julie and Melissa.”, stated Rio Dell Mayor Jack Tompson. “These two have served this community with distinction and honor. I know that they will continue to remain involved in the affairs of the city, and we are all grateful for that.”

The next city council meeting will be held on January 6,2105 where the council will hold a mayoral election and also make committee assignments, amongst other business.

Sand Bags Available

The City of Rio Dell is making sand bags available in the parking lot behind City Hall at 675 Wildwood Avenue. The operation is self-service with sand, bags, and shovels available. Recent forecasts are showing a Wednesday storm event with potentially the highest levels of precipitation experienced this year.

Please call City Hall (707) 764-3532 if you have identified block or impaired city storm/street drains.

Rio Dell Wastewater Treatment Plant Receives Award

The North Coast Section of the California Water Environment Association presented the “Treatment Plant of the Year” award to the City of Rio Dell and Mr. Rick Chicora, Wastewater Superintendent. The award ceremony took place during a November 7th banquet at the River Lodge in Fortuna, assembling dozens of water technicians from across the state.

“I’m very excited to receive the award.”, stated Rick Chicora. “Six years ago the Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the city to update our wastewater infrastructure. It’s been a long six years since then with a lot of expenses being borne by our ratepayers, the citizens of Rio Dell. However, we have one of the premiere wastewater treatment plants in Northern California, and this award shows that.” The City’s old plant had not been updated since the 1970s and the cost to update the plant to modern requirements exceeded the cost to build a new one.

The plant helps remove ammonia and nitrates from Rio Dell wastewater, meeting or exceeding federal EPA standards. The system can handle one million gallons a day, providing plenty of capacity for future growth in the city. “The sludge is converted to a completely safe fertilizer, ready to be used for agriculture, landscaping, or any regular use. Not many plants recycle this into something useful. The treated water itself is pumped to nearby agricultural fields and used to irrigate hay production.”, Chicora concluded.

“We now have a plant that will last 30+ years, crossing an important hurdle in order to secure future growth in Rio Dell well into the future while protecting the river that surrounds this city.”, stated Kyle Knopp, Rio Dell’s City Manager. “This award is something we want to share with the entire community. We invite residents to give us a call and take a tour of the facility.”

Citizens are invited to call (707) 764-3532 to set up a tour time. Individual tour requests will be grouped together with other requests.

City Honors Rio Dell Teen

On the evening of November 4, 2014 The Rio Dell City Council presented a Community Service Award to local teen Madeline Cole for her work in organizing and implementing a successful river bar cleanup on September 6th of this year. The cleanup mobilized over 70 volunteers who collected and removed over 2,500 pounds of trash from the river bar.

“The River is a special and unique feature of Rio Dell.” Mayor Jack Thompson stated. “It’s great to be able to walk or drive down to the river bar and catch some sun, swim, fish, or just enjoy the view. While most people respect this natural asset, some don’t and they leave garbage behind. We cannot express enough gratitude for people like Ms. Cole who step up to help maintain this wonderful Eel River.”

“I know numerous people who were involved in this project, and all of them deserve credit.” Rio Dell Police Chief Chief Graham Hill stated. “But Ms. Cole was key in making it work. And for someone who is just 17 years old, that is a great accomplishment.”

Public Notice – Town Hall Meeting

The City of Rio Dell will be holding a Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
6:30 – 7:30 P.M.

Monument Middle School
Multi-Purpose Room
95 Center Street, Rio Dell

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss:

1)     Proposed 1% Transactions & Use Tax (Sales Tax) – Measure ‘U’

All citizens are invited to attend and comment on the proposed measure.

For questions contact City Hall at 764-3532