A Few Minutes with the Mayor

9/17/2020

Hello Community Members,

The city staff has been working diligently with a potential large scale Industrial Distribution Company, in hopes of them choosing Chowchilla as their new location.  On August 5th, city staff gave their presentation, as did several other potential sites.  Recently we were informed Chowchilla is selected as one of two candidate finalists in Central California.  If Chowchilla is lucky enough to be chosen, this will spur our industrial area development, bring more jobs to our community, and generate revenue for Chowchilla. I want to thank our city staff who have been working hard on this project, as well as the Madera County Economic Development Commission. Fingers crossed as we continue with the process of being selected.  

In other economic development news, Jack in the Box has submitted a site plan showing the proposed location at Prosperity Boulevard between Carl’s Jr. and Holiday Inn Express.  The city is continuing to receive and process Temporary Use Permits for restaurants to offer outside dining for their customers. And lastly, Madera County EDC still has grant funding available for businesses. For more information, you can visit their website https://maderacountyedc.com. 

At our last City Council meeting, staff recommended the City Council approve the resolution for the budget amendments for fiscal year 2020/2021 relating to the securing of the police department building. The building is currently an unsecured facility, which has been an issue for many years, putting our police department staff at risk. Council decided to delay the commitment until we had a better projection of the impact COVID-19 would have on the city.  After receiving our April through June sales tax disbursements, we performed better than the predictions made by Muniservices and almost met our original budget amounts. The city staff recommended the council to approve the split of the costs between the General Fund and Measure N Funds available.  This allows us to move forward with the project in a timely manner while preserving the current cost estimates. After review, the City Council approved the recommendation unanimously, and the project will move forward to secure the police department building.  The protection of our law enforcement is essential, and I am happy to see this project move forward. 

Lastly, I would like to thank Chowchilla Rotary for hosting a Food Drive this week. For future reference, Food Drives are hosted at the following places: Valley Harvest Church - Every Friday at 1:00 pm, St. Columba Catholic Church - Every Tuesday & Thursday (except 2nd Tuesday of the month) at 9:00-10:00 am, 
Madera Food Bank at the Chowchilla Library, 2nd Tuesday of every month at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, and the Iglesia Emmanuel Church, the First Saturday of every month, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm. Cornerstone Community Church hosts on occasion; please call them to inquire for more information.  
I hope you all enjoy the upcoming weekend; stay safe and healthy. 

Until Next Week,
Waseem Ahmed, City of Chowchilla Mayor

                                                                

Hello Community Members,

COVID-19 cases are still steady throughout Madera County.  Per the Governor's new tier colored system, Madera County remains in the widespread purple tier.  Unfortunately, we have more than seven new daily cases per 100k, and more than 8% in positive testing.  It seems as though it will still be some time before we are released from restrictions per the Governor's guidelines. I understand how frustrating it is, especially to our small businesses. Keep in mind that Madera County Economic Development still has grant funding available.  You can find more information on their website, maderacountyedc.com. As more funding sources become available, we will notify our businesses right away. 

At our last City Council meeting on September 8th, we received an in-depth report from our Elementary School Superintendent, Dr. Charles Martin.  Within his report, we learned of all the special implementations the teachers and staff have had to add to their daily routines to adapt to the distant learning program. I am impressed with the forward-thinking of the school districts and thankful we have proactive leaders in our school system.  I understand it is hard not only for our teachers but the parents and students as well.  I am very proud of our community in making these difficult adjustments in these unprecedented times.  We thank you, Dr. Martin, for your informative report to the City Council. Anyone interested in viewing the past council meetings, they are available on our webpage: Click WebEx Meetings button > Scroll down to past City Council Video > Click on which meeting you would like to view.  

As you are all aware, the air quality is unhealthy in our area due to smoke from the Creek Fire. The air district advised residents to remain indoors and in a filtered, air-conditioned environment with closed windows. The Creek Fire grew to 175,893 acres burned and is at 6% containment.  Thank you to the Chowchilla Police Department, who collected items for the fire personnel and evacuees to deliver Friday morning. Our thoughts are with all the emergency personnel, the residents, and businesses who have suffered through this devastating fire. 

A few reminders and points of interest for our community; Our local Chowchilla Rotary Club will be having a food give away on September 16th.  The Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds will host a Fair Food Drive-Thru on September 19th & 20th. Our City Curbside Clean-Up will be on September 21st – 26th, depending on your address. For more information on these events, you can find them posted on our social media platforms. 

Lastly, I would like to invite you once again to join our email list so you can get weekly updates from the City. Please send your request to CommunityOutreach@CityofChowchilla.org. Our outreach consists of social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as weekly email bulletin updates and city-based information on our website. Selected information will also be included in the utility bill mailings on occasion.  As always, you may contact City Hall with any questions you have.   

 

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                            

9/3/2020

Hello Community Members,

We have made it through the month of August, which delivered record-breaking temperatures.  Based on National Weather Service Hanford data, August had produced 18 days with triple-digit temperatures. September is forecasted to continue with heat, especially over Labor Day Weekend in the Valley.  Please remember, if you have a heat-related emergency, contact the Chowchilla Police Department, and they will assist you.

In other news, Burger King Restaurant is now open and is located at 18158 Avenue 24, Chowchilla; this is the location of the old Jack in the Box Restaurant.  Also, The Lunch Box has opened at 129 N 2nd St, Chowchilla; you can find a variety of foods served here. Some have asked about the status of Jack in the Box; the Franchisee has committed to their corporate to build a restaurant in our community.  However, they have not yet applied for a building permit to the City; we will continue to update everyone as progress is made. 

I would also like to let the community know, in regards to the last Mayor’s update, I reported the City has been in talks with Madera County and Chowchilla Water District in regards to the Berenda Reservoir.  Some were wondering if the Lions Club was included in this discussion. City staff has been in touch with the Lions Club recently, and they will be included in future discussions as we progress to that level. 

On social media, there has been much discussion about the Madera County Transportation Commission’s (MCTC) corridor Planning Study/Downtown Master Plan. I assure you, the City Council is NOT taking any action on changes made to Robertson Boulevard at this time. Please refer to our post for further details on the City’s Facebook Page. 

Some may be interested to know the Community Action Partnership of Madera County has a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their energy bill. CAPMC may be able to help with PG&E assistance or propane and weatherization and minor energy-related repairs. Eligibility is based predominately on income. Please call the CAPMC office at 559-673-9173 for further details.

The City Curbside Clean-Up is scheduled for September 21st – the 26th. The flyer with all the details along with a map is posted on the City’s website if you need further information.  Also, on the City’s homepage, you will find a link to the Street Sweeping schedule.  

I understand not everyone partakes in Social Media.  The City is now sending out weekly updates by e-mail.  Anyone wishing to receive these e-mails, please send your request to CommunityOutreach@CityofChowchilla.org.

Labor Day weekend is upon us; please take extra precautions as you celebrate the holiday weekend.  Our COVID-19 cases have tapered down, and we do not wish to see another spike in numbers from gatherings, so please stay safe everyone, and take care!

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                               

Hello Community Members,

Due to the California State Governors COVID-19 restrictions, the City was able to issue six Temporary Use Permits to allow businesses to their outside storefront sidewalks.  I am happy to see some of the businesses participate and allowing the City to provide some assistance. Madera County's COVID-19 cases have reduced, and are beginning to taper off.  The lower numbers, however, are still not low enough to remove us from the Governer's watch list.  As the community continues to take the necessary precautions, we are hopeful of getting to a stable point where we can be removed from some restrictions.

In other news, the City has been meeting with Madera County and the Chowchilla Water District to complete an agreement to operate the Berenda Reservoir in 2021.   A local business is also working with the City to help with the boat dock safety issue. I understand how important the reservoir is to the community, and we are working hard to fulfill the community's request. 

At the last council meeting, an industrial impact fee incentive program was approved by the City Council. This program will allow new industrial developments to utilize a portion of the fee in either Property Tax, Sales Tax, or Job Creations as a credit towards their Impact Fees. It will not be an added cost to the City, only a portion of new revenues generated, which we would not have if it were not for the development.   Incentives help attract businesses to come to Chowchilla and spur some much-needed growth.

Our next City Council meeting is September 8th, 2020.  If the community would like to know about a particular topic or want to express concerns about a local issue, you can send an email to info@CityofChowchilla.org.  If you would like to participate in the council meeting, you can through WebEx. For additional instructions on WebEx, please visit our website homepage.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate our new Fire Chief, Fred Gaumntz. The promotion is well deserved and I know he will do a wonderful job keeping our community safe. 

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed Mayor,
City of Chowchilla

                                                

8/20/2020

Hello Community Members,

Some new items have been implemented in the City. We have begun sending out weekly email updates to keep our community informed of the latest information.  If you wish to be placed on the list to receive these emails, simply send your request to CommunityOutreach@CityofChowchilla.org. This tool will help with getting information out to those who do not always partake in social media. 

Another new item we will be featuring is highlighting one of our team members weekly, and posting it on social media and the weekly email updates.  The team consists of City Employees, City Council, and those serving on City Commissions. We would like the community to be more familiar with our staff and feel comfortable reaching out to us. 

The City of Chowchilla is seeking applicants to fill three vacancies on the Planning Commission.  The three vacancies have variable terms: two expire on January 2021, and the third expires January 2023. The City is currently in the process of reducing the membership from 7 to 5 seats.  Commission members act in an advisory capacity to the City Council on proposed changes to the General Plan for the physical development of the City; make recommendations on proposed zoning and land use, and exercise control over land subdivisions. The deadline is on September 24th, at 4 pm.  The Planning Commission meets monthly at 7:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month in the City Council Chambers.  For more information, click the link on our City’s website homepage, CityOfChowchilla.org. 

We would like to remind our customers we offer an online service to pay your utility bill with Xpress Bill Pay service. There is also a link on the homepage of our website.  This service may be beneficial to you, especially with City Hall being closed to the public because of COVID-19.   

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
 Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                

8/13/2020

Hello Community Members,

I’d like to remind you all of the Madera County Public Health COVID-19 Mobile Testing site will be in Chowchilla on August 18, 2020, from 8 - 11 am.   The location is on 4th Street and Orange Avenue, at the Northwest corner. Please remember appointments are required, contact Madera County Public Health for more information.

As you all may know, August 18 is the beginning of the new school year.  As positive cases have spiked across the state, the school has to take into consideration the safety of the students, staff, and community.  This has led the schools to continue with the Distance Learning program until at least the middle of October. I understand the added stress that has been put on the students, teachers, school staff, and parents.   I feel our schools are doing an excellent job dealing with each task in a unique way as we have never experienced this before, and I thank them for their care and diligence.  

Madera County has approved a contract with CAPMC to provide home-delivered meals to residents who are over 60 living in the County of Madera, such as North Fork, Oakhurst, Coarsegold, Rancho Hills & Fairmead. This is a much-needed service for our senior citizens of Chowchilla, and I am glad this program is there to help them.  For more info, contact Community Action Partnership at 559-673-9173. 

There is an excessive heatwave approaching us here in Chowchilla, reaching 109-111 degrees over the upcoming days. Residents who may need individual assistance during the hot weather are urged to call the Chowchilla Police Department at (559) 665-8600. The City of Chowchilla does not operate a specific cooling center. Individual needs will be handled by the Police Department personnel.

Lastly, I want to bring your attention to Leigh Insurance Company, located at 340 W. Robertson Boulevard. They relocated their business from Trinity Avenue to what used to be the Chowchilla News building.  Leigh Insurance has made several modifications and upgrades to the facade of their building. Their hard work has made an attractive vision for our downtown business area. I’d like to thank them for taking pride in their business and presenting a nice looking storefront. 

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla
                                                                             

8/7/2020

Hello Community Members,

Madera County Public Health will have another COVID-19 Mobile Testing site in Chowchilla on August 18, 2020, from 8 - 11 am.  The location is on 4th and Orange, at the Northwest corner. Please remember appointments are required, contact Madera County Public Health for more information.

This week a new Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program launched through Madera County.  This is open to both Madera and Chowchilla businesses.  Those who have already received disaster relief funding are not eligible.  Grants do not have to be repaid, and I encourage all businesses to take advantage of any help you can get. The deadline is August 14, 2020, by 5 pm. 

Businesses, please remember you can now contact the City of Chowchilla to get a Temporary Use Permit if you wish to conduct business outdoors.  Please contact Mark Hamilton at 559.665.8615, ext. 400. 

Our August 11th City Council Meeting has been canceled. Please join us through Web-Ex on our next scheduled meeting on August 25, 2020. Directions to utilize Web-ex can be found on our website cityofchowchilla.org. 

Lastly, I want to thank our hard-working Chowchilla Volunteer Firefighters. They have been continually busy putting out several fires and keeping the community safe. We appreciate every one of you. 

Until Next Week,

 Waseem Ahmed
 Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                              

7/30/2020

 Hello Community Members,

Madera County remains on the statewide monitoring list for COVID cases. A statewide order is still in place restricting the operation of businesses with no specified end date. The statewide order supersedes the local Public Health order, which was put in place on July 7th for a minimum of 3 weeks and was dependent upon our ability to get off of the monitoring list. I hope all of the community continues to support our local businesses the best you can. 

Caltrans has approved the blanket Encroachment Permit to the City, which allows businesses located in the Caltrans right-of-way to conduct business outdoors if they choose to.  Businesses who will need to contact the City staff to get a Temporary Use Permit.  Please contact Mark Hamilton at 559.665.8615, ext. 400.  

In other news, the City has entered into an agreement with a consulting firm to assist us in the Community Development Block Grant Program.   A portion of the program will be used to assist businesses that have suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.   We will release more information as the program is ready to launch.

Today, the Madera County Department of Agriculture released information on Unsolicited Seed Shipments from China and parts of Asia.   Please heed their warning and do not open, plant, or dispose of any unsolicited seed packets, and contact their office to report it.  You can read more about this on the media release posted on the City’s social media platforms. 

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Rachel Beaird, who is the new Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. The City and the Chamber of Commerce work closely in a partnership, and I look forward to working with her soon.

I hope you all are staying safe and enjoy your weekend. 

Until Next Week,

 Waseem Ahmed
 Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                              

7/24/2020

Hello Community Members,

I am pleased to report that today, a new order was signed so the City can assist business establishment’s to temporarily make available the option of using outdoor public and private areas for their activities and services.  As well as temporarily waive regulations that

prohibit business establishments in public and private common area.  Businesses located in Caltrans right-of-way will have to obtain additional permits from Caltrans in order to comply with State requirements, which the City will help with facilitation. For further information, please visit our website www.CityofChowchilla.org.

I would like to congratulate the new Madera Community College Campus in its win in receiving accreditation.  California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted unanimously to recognize Madera Community College (MCC) as the 116th campus of the state’s community college system. With the new designation, Madera Community College is no longer a satellite campus, and will now receive funding for additional programs and staffing. It is also eligible for athletic competition within the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA). This accreditation is a huge accomplishment and great news for the entire county of Madera. Congratulations to all who were involved with this endeavor.

In Chowchilla’s latest economic development news, Orchard Bar & Grill will be opening soon and is located in the Save Mart Shopping Center.  They have chosen to expand their restaurant seating by constructing an outdoor patio area in front of their business. Togo’s Sandwiches is also expanding its operation to the suite located next to its current establishment.

New businesses that have recently opened in Chowchilla is Wisdom’s Royal Polishing & Tint, located on the corner of 15th street and Robertson Boulevard, as well as The Pretty Little Flower Shop, located at 129 N. 3rd Street, and lastly Chowchilla Small Engine & Repair, located at 235 Robertson Boulevard. I wish you all success in your new adventures and thank you for opening a business in our community.

Lastly, the City of Chowchilla and Mid Valley Disposal has announced September 21st, 2020, is the new date for the Chowchilla Curbside Clean-up.  More information will be posted to our social media, as well as August’s Utility Bill.

 Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                             

7/16/2020

Hello Community Members,

This last week the California State Governor, Gavin Newsom, imposed further restrictions on our businesses, leaving them to close if they cannot make modifications to conduct business in an outside environment.  As the City has to abide by these guidelines, we try to figure ways we can assist the businesses to enable them to keep their doors open.  As discussed at our last City Council Meeting, City staff is working with Caltrans to approve a blanket Encroachment Permit for the City.  This action will then allow the City to issue Temporary Use Permits, so the businesses are able to use their storefront sidewalks to conduct business if they choose to. City staff is still working on this process, but we should be able to release information to the businesses soon. Please be assured the City of Chowchilla does not want to see our businesses close, and we are trying to do everything we can to help.

Also discussed at the last City Council Meeting, through the states Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Chowchilla’s allocation is approximately $225,000, which will provide funds for COVID-19 related expenditures only. 

In community news, the Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds released information on a fundraiser they will be having.  On July 25 and 26, 2020, from 10 am – 6 pm, they will host the Fair Food Drive-Thru. This fundraiser will allow the community to enjoy some of the fair food vendors, being they were not able to host the fair this year. It also provides the community with a chance to support the Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds in its efforts to raise funds. Our fairgrounds depend heavily on fundraising to sustain operations.  I would love to see all of the community to support them if they can.

Information and the latest updates are continually distributed via social media to the community.  Please follow the City’s page’s if you participate in social media. Also, you may call the City Hall with any questions you have.

Until Next Week,


Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                        

7/9/2020

Hello Community Members,

As you may already know, Governor Newsom has rolled back closures for some businesses. Businesses that are affected in Chowchilla is the limitations on the restaurants as well as the bars closing. Dine-in restaurants must close indoor seating to customers. During this closure, all dine-in restaurants may continue to utilize outdoor seating and must comply with the guidance for dine-in restaurants and should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible. Bars must close ALL operations. We have been informed that the State Licensing Boards, such as ABC, will be visiting businesses in the Chowchilla area; be sure you are complying with the order appropriately. These closures shall remain in effect until directed otherwise by the Madera County Public Health Officer, which will be no earlier than July 28, 2020.

In our Economic Development Department, we have a lot working behind the scenes. Although the economy took a downturn due to COVID-19, it hasn’t stopped the progress of bringing new businesses to Chowchilla. Information cannot be released to the public until a business is at a particular stage. What I can let you know is construction for Burger King is almost completed, O’Rileys Auto Parts is in the construction bid process, and we have had discussions with multiple franchise’s regarding site selection as they are interested in coming to Chowchilla. We also have interest in the Industrial sites as well, which is very exciting.

In other news, have you been counted yet in the 2020 Census? The Census is very important; your response helps guide the planning for the future of our community. It will help inform decisions on how billions of dollars are allocated annually for critical public services, as well as representation. You can quickly complete the Census online, by phone or by mail. Currently, Madera County has only a 60% response rate. We need to get this number higher for the benefit of our community. The easiest way to complete the survey is to go to www.2020census.gov > Click on “Respond” > and begin the questionnaire. It’s that easy.

Please continue to stay safe and remember to support our local businesses in this challenging time.

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                          

07/02/2020

Hello Community Members,

The COVID-19 cases have continually risen, bringing an average of around 25 cases per day in Madera County. The more testing and increase in gatherings will continue to raise the numbers as we have seen. We have begun to see Governor Newsom shutting down businesses once again and rolling back restrictions in selected counties. Thankfully, Madera County has not yet been affected by this new three-week order; we are still open for business. However, we must all continue to take the necessary safety precautions when out in public.

Having said that, a topic that has been brought up recently on social media is the annual Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department’s BBQ celebration.  Every year the Chowchilla Volunteer Fire Department holds a gathering in observance of Independence Day, along with the celebration of their close bond with their brother/sisterhood. It is usually a large gathering with all the volunteers and their families attending. It saddens me greatly that due to the COVID-19 gathering restrictions the annual BBQ had to be altered to allow only the volunteers to attend.  This gathering would be the same scenario as when they gather for their weekly meetings.

Please know that we would have liked to host all the events that were planned annually as usual, but we have to think of the overall safety of our community, and mass gatherings are not allowed right now. These are the same reasons we had to cancel the City’s Movies and Music in the Park, and our local Chamber of Commerce, non-profit organizations, and VFW all had to cancel their events as well. Everyone has had to sacrifice in order to follow the State and County guidelines for everyone’s safety.  

Our Volunteer Fire Department is essential, and we cannot risk a gathering exposing them to the virus, nor can the city risk losing funding from the State because we allowed gatherings. The entire community of Chowchilla appreciates the service of these volunteers and knows their value and sacrifice made to our community.  Once the restrictions are lifted, the city staff will be happy to put on a large BBQ for our Volunteer Fire Department and their families to gather together once again.  

In closing, as we approach the Fourth of July holiday, please remember to safely dispose of your fireworks, and be a considerate neighbor, only lighting fireworks on the 4th. I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend, please continue to practice social distancing and safety measures.

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                   

6/25/2020 - Hello Community Members, 

Since last week, we have not had any new restrictions lifted from the Madera County Public Health Department. Because of the increase in COVID-19 cases, we have been told the projection to lift any more restrictions will not happen for a while. Unfortunately, we will not be able to gather together in any celebrations, but we must think of the safety of our community. The city staff has made the difficult decision to cancel the summer series events with the Music and Movies in the Park. As we stated, when we announced the events, there was always a possibility we would not be able to host them, and unfortunately, the time has come to make this difficult decision. The Chowchilla Chamber of Commerce has also had to make the difficult decision to cancel its annual Classic Car & Custom Bike Show this year. We look forward to planning an eventful year in 2021 for our community.

Some good news is coming from the City’s Public Works Department. The new Well, Tanks, Booster Stations, and Pressure Sustaining Valves Project has won another award for the Outstanding Water Project.  This award is given by the American Society of Civil Engineers, San Francisco Section.  The award recognizes projects where the primary purpose is the supply, storage, and conveyance of potable and / or recycled water, and which demonstrate innovation and improved the state of the practice for water supply and delivery projects. This includes the implementation of new methods, improvements on existing methods, and/or incorporation of emerging technology. Congratulations to our Director of Public Works, Jason Rogers, and his entire team on this accomplishment.

For those who have been asking, we have a secured date for the City’s Clean-Up Event. Monday, September 21st, 2020 has been selected as the new event date. More information will be sent out soon regarding the process and procedures. Thank you for being patient with us as we had to reschedule due to COVID-19.

Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone of the summer season outdoor landscape watering schedule.  Even-numbered addresses for residential dwellings and businesses ending in 0,2,4,6,8 water only on Tuesdays and/or Saturdays. Odd-numbered addresses for residential dwellings and businesses ending in 1,3,5,7,9 water only on Wednesdays and/or Sundays. No watering is allowed on Mondays, Thursdays, or Fridays for residential dwellings and businesses. Public parks, schools, and common areas water only on Mondays and/or Fridays. Watering is prohibited every day between 10 am and 7 pm.

Everyone, please stay safe and practice cautious measures when you are conducting business in the public. As always, stay safe and take care.

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

WASEEM                                                                       

6/19/2020

Hello Community Members,

As the Madera County Public Health Department has moved into stage 3 to allow expanded personal care services, please remember, we must do our part by staying 6 ft. apart, wear masks, and always wash or sanitize your hands.  The Public Health Department has made hand sanitizer available for distribution to non-profit organizations, government agencies, healthcare providers and facilities, and now small businesses.  Please contact them if you qualify to receive some. The number of COVID-19 cases has risen dramatically as most businesses reopen, and an increase in testing.  We are monitoring our progress with the county and will continue to keep you updated.  I understand there are a lot of questions as to how some restrictions are lifted, and others are not; the city follows the State and County guidelines as to what is allowed to open. As soon as we get any updates, we will inform the community. 

I would also like to remind our community our city staff is currently in the middle of planning the Movies and Music in the Park for you all to enjoy.  However, as it states in the social media post, the city is not sure yet if the restrictions will be lifted in time.  We are trying to prepare and be ready to host the event if we are allowed to do so.

City Hall opens again to the public on Monday, June 22, at its regular business hours.  Thank you for being patient with us during the time of our closure.  We have taken all precautionary measures to be sure you are safe when visiting City Hall. Our Council chambers will be open to the public for the upcoming City Council meeting. Still, we will be implementing social distancing policies and will limit the number of people who may be in the Council chambers. We are encouraging residents to participate virtually following on Webex; directions are located on the city webpage. We are asking no one who is sick to attend the council meeting.

In the Community Economic Development Department, we received two award letters executing the agreements for Emergency Solutions Grant of $127,000, as well as the Home Grant Award of $500,000 which relates to first time buyers and homeowner rehabilitation programs.  Please contact our Community Economic Development Department for more information.

In other news, I would like to congratulate our new Madera County Sheriff, Tyson Pouge, who was sworn in for duty last Tuesday.  He served as the Under-Sheriff and took over after Jay Varney left to pursue a new career with Madera County. I welcome him in his new position, and I am glad to have him serve the community in this capacity.

Please remember to continue to shop locally and help support our restaurants and small businesses in these difficult times.

Until Next Week, Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                                 

6/12/2020

Hello Community Members,

Madera County Public Health Department has added a new dashboard to its website that gives more detailed information regarding the local COVID-19 cases. The information provided gives you a general location of the cases within the county.  I know many of you in our community has asked for this specific information, I am glad the county can now provide you with that. Please remember as we open back up, we need to be wise about reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Also, keep in mind that an increase in testing may produce a higher number of positive test results. 

Good news, we are moving into Phase 3 of the guidelines for reopening our businesses on 6/12/2020. We are beginning to get back to some form of normalcy, and we encourage our community to continue to support our local businesses. Not all sectors are open yet, but we are hopeful they will be soon. For more information on the guidelines, please visit the Madera County Public Health’s website.  The Housing and Community Development (HCD) has issued its COVID 19 CDBG grant, and city staff is currently working on the application process. Potentially, it could provide roughly $100k that can be used to help local businesses and supplement our Save Our Community Businesses Program.

In other news, the City has seen an increase in building permits as construction activity has now resumed.  Recently, Caltrans and the City of Chowchilla partnered in repairing some major sidewalk hazards along Robertson Boulevard.  Caltrans supplied the material, and the City’s Public Works Department completed the repairs. If you see a safety hazard on the City sidewalks, please call city hall to notify us.

The City staff is proceeding to work on the summer series events with Movies in the Park on Friday Nights, as well as Music in the Park on Saturday Nights. We are hoping these events will be able to take place for our community to enjoy. It will be nice for the community to be able to gather safely once again. 

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                                       

06/05/2020

Hello Community Members,

Last week, May 26th, at the city council meeting, the city staff presented the second reading of the proposed amendment of section 18.60.180 – shipping containers. After much deliberation, the city council decided it was best to wait to act on this amendment until the public can attend the council meetings and appropriately express their concerns. It is understood that this subject is important to our community, and all of our community member’s opinions must be heard. The city council will revisit this once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and all are welcome to attend the city council meetings.

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, community members of Chowchilla organized a Memorial March in his name this last Tuesday. To those of you that participated, thank you for keeping it peaceful and respectful while expressing your freedoms. I would also like to thank all the agencies, especially the Chowchilla Police Department for working with the organizers of the memorial march and ensuring the safety of all community members.
In other news, there is an exciting progression in our city’s economic development. Flight Craft Boats, a custom ski boat manufacturer, opened for business behind Bravo Auto Sales, 1677 Robertson Boulevard. They come to Chowchilla from Merced, seeking a facility with a showroom in hopes to increase their clientele. Also, Burger King began renovations on their facility located at the old Jack in the Box building off Avenue 24. Burger King is anticipating opening soon. We are excited to have both businesses here in Chowchilla.

Lastly, City Hall is hoping to open to the public soon. We are taking all precautionary measures such as hanging plexiglass to help eliminate exposure. The city wants to ensure the safety of staff and those of the community who visit City Hall. Until then, city staff is still available for any questions or concerns you may have by phone or email.

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                                        

5/29/2020

Hello Community Members,

This week we were happy to announce the opening of places of worship as well as salons and barbershops.  We know how important these services are to our community, and we are thankful they are now opened. We still have a ways to go, we have seen a steady increase in daily cases; however, testing has also increased.  The good news is the Madera Community Hospital has only three patients at this time, which is manageable. As we re-open our places of business, it is still imperative to continue to social distance and follow the guidelines that are recommended.

Yesterday, 5/28/20, Madera County Department of Public Health hosted its second mobile drive-through testing in Chowchilla.  They conducted 72 COVID-19 tests; if you weren’t able to get tested, visit their testing webpage for options around the County. www.maderacounty.com/covid19testing

Chowchilla Union High School hosted its Class of 2020 graduation this week.  Although the ceremony was not as usual, the high school did a wonderful job allowing the students to experience a graduation ceremony and celebrate their accomplishments.  Over the course of three days, the entire class was broken up into thirds, then groups of ten students were gathered to walk at their ceremony to receive their diploma. It was 20-minute increments per group.   Each student was limited to two guests, and everyone was spread out six feet apart.  I would like to congratulate each and every CUHS graduate, and I wish you all the best of luck in your future. I would also like to thank Chowchilla Union High School for working hard to make this possible in these unprecedented times.

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla

                                                                                        

05/22/2020

Hello Community Members,

This week was packed full of information regarding the COVID-19 restrictions and procedures.  I am happy to announce Madera County has obtained approval from the state to move into "Stage 2.5." I understand the community’s feelings of wanting to open quickly as we relay this information to county and state officials. Rest assured, I would like to see our city open and productive once again. As I get continued updates, the city staff will let you all know as soon as they receive them. We all need to continue to take proactive precautions.  In the meantime, please keep your neighborly spirits helping one another, as you all have done. Your acts of kindness make me proud to be your Mayor.

In other exciting news this week, Madera County Board of Supervisors made an announcement; they extended an offer to Jay Varney, Sherriff of Madera County, for the position of Madera County’s Chief Administrative Officer. Before Varney was elected as sheriff, he was Chowchilla’s Police Chief and served two years as the city manager.  We wish him all the best at his new position; we know he will serve the county well as he has always done.  

Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge Wilson School’s Broadcast team, who produced a commercial for a local restaurant in Chowchilla, and is up for the "Best Commercial in the Valley" award through the Slick Rock Student Film Festival.  The show airs May 24th, at 6:30 PM on ABC30, and will be streamed live on ABC30.com.  Good luck to the Wilson Broadcasting Team!

Until Next Week,

Waseem Ahmed
Mayor, City of Chowchilla