Bruce O’Krepkie, Mayor of the Town of Windsor, presented an overview of the activities that are going on in that community.
Bruce O’Krepkie, Mayor of the Town of Windsor, presented an overview of the activities that are going on in that community.
Windsor enjoys a relatively stable financial picture. Since the time of their incorporation they have leased police services from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, leaving the Town of Windsor with no long-term liabilities for pensions. They are also part of a joint powers agreement (JPA) with the Rincon Valley Fire District and payment for that service comes from property taxes that are paid to Sonoma County.
Environmentally, Windsor is leading the way in energy and water conservation. They are a member of the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program under which citizens who make improvements that increase the efficiency of water usage can have the costs of those services put on their water bill to be paid over an extended period of time through funding from an outside source, that may include low interest investment funds. The slight increase in their water bill, paying for this set of improvements over time, is more than offset by the reduction in water bills for reduced use of water.
Windsor is also part of the Sonoma Clean Power Initiative and is virtually entirely supplied by that entity. In the past year the city of Windsor has saved over $100,000 from what it would cost to have the same service provided by PG&E. One of the next subdivisions that is currently approved and will be starting soon, includes a dual piping system wherein recycled water will be used for outdoor irrigation and for toilet functions within the home. Clean water will be used for cooking ,bathing and other uses of potable water.
Windsor is currently in the process of building an Oliver’s Market along with retail shops, senior housing and business offices on the east side of Old Redwood Highway west of the freeway. This will be completed in the next 6-12 months. They are also planning on 2 developments of apartment housing. One of these will be north of the Oliver’s shopping center and will have approximately 470 units; the other will be on Windsor Mill Road off Windsor River Road and will have approximately 400 apartments. There is a subdivision of 70 single-family detached homes that will be all solar powered and irrigated with drip systems is planned for the area just north of the Walmart shopping center off of Shiloh Road.
Perhaps the largest factor influencing Windsor at the present time is the Lytton Rancheria, a project which will incorporate approximately 1,000 acres on the west side of Windsor near Eastside Road. The Lytton tribe, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to develop this as a residential area for their community. The city of Windsor, working with the Lytton tribe, has developed a memorandum of agreement  (MOA) with the tribe that hopefully will be acceptable to the voters. This memorandum of agreement would include the building of approximately 260 homes that would follow the building codes set forth by the county. The tribe will be responsible for all property taxes which will be paid to the county and they will be making proposals in the next several years for possibly developing a winery and/or a resort in the area, for which they would pay all of the appropriate occupancy taxes to the county. Part of the mitigation plan would include the development receiving its water and sewer service from the Town of Windsor,. There would be a permanent restriction on gaming within a 4 mile radius of Windsor
The town of Windsor is hoping to get this memorandum of agreement enacted in a piece of legislation that would supersede the Bureau of Indian Affairs changing its content in the future. The current administrative structure in Windsor thinks that this is a good idea and is moving forward cautiously in hopes that a reasonable deal can be put together.
Additional highlights of the Windsor scene include Concerts on Thursday Nights that are attended by between 3,000-5,000 people, farmers markets on the weekends and the development of an arts committee to help decorate the two new roundabouts with appropriate sculpture and landscaping materials.