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Independent Voice

State of the City

Feb 07, 2024 11:26AM ● By Debra Dingman, photos by Debra Dingman
Another success story for Chief Thompson: Dixon Police Sergeant MarJonne Roberson is surrounded by his family after being given a Chief’s Commendation. He graduated from the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute (SLI), after completing an intensive eight-month program, recognized by the California Commission of Peace Officer Standards and Training as an elite leadership development program designed to mentor and develop the next generation of law-enforcement leadership. After consulting with your instructors, his work was of such quality that he was recognized for his outstanding achievement.  

DIXON, CA (MPG) - For Dixonites who favor the growth they are seeing in Dixon, the good news is the city seems to be positioned for the influx of new businesses and residents.

The Dixon multi-purpose center filled with locals anxious to hear the annual ‘State of the City’ addresses sponsored by the City of Dixon and the Dixon Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber, Mayor Welcome

The number of memberships has doubled in the last three years to 230 members, reported Chamber Board Chair Joe Bruch of Grocery Outlet who reminded their mission was to bring businesses and the community together. He touted the many activities including the parade and the Chamber concerts at the downtown Pardi Plaza as just a few of the events this year that brought people out to enjoy the community and brought business to the town.

Mayor Steve Bird relayed the city-wide goals and initiatives that included investing in infrastructure, supporting economic development through business retention, ensuring services match growth, and building partnerships.

Steve Bird mayor Raffi Boloyan

Mayor Steve Bird listens to Community Development Director Raffi Boloyan speak about the various developments going on in Dixon.

“We’ve established new financial systems,” he said, noting the new recreation portal for facility reservations and student registrations. He told of how they also heavily utilized social media, established the parks master plan, set up a new Alert Test System and partnered with organizations for community events.

Future goals included Lights and Landscape Management and developing funding strategies for the new Fire Department off Pitt School Road in the Homestead Development.

city manager Jim Lindley

City Manager Jim Lindley fielded questions from the audience about the city's budget at the recent State of the City address.

Community Development

Raffi Boloyan, Community Development Director, spoke on numerous projects growing Dixon throughout city limits and beyond.

Getting adequate staff was crucial to “matching the high volume of activity,” he said.

“Our biggest challenge was in our building division and one major initiative was getting software to do permit tracking,” he said. The city has processed about 1100 permits for a broad range including water heaters to new buildings.

“It is a huge endeavor and allows online access to applications and issuing permits. One can see the status and offer a more thorough way of tracking activity.” He hopes for it to be live by September of this year.

On the Planning side, Boloyan talked about the housing element update required by the State that is to be done every eight years was certified in May 2023.  The General Plan, which helps make the City eligible for grants, was adopted and the final comprehensive zoning update will be before the Council for approval at the Tuesday, February 13, City Council meeting.

The planners have approved a dual hotel by Cattlemen’s, Whiskey Barrel 707 in downtown, and Rotten Robbie gas station and car wash to name a few of several projects. In about two months, there will be an opening the Bank of Stockton and a few months later, there will be Chipotle, on the corner of Vaughn and North First Street near Tractor Supply.

One that is little known to Dixonites but perhaps greater that the current discussions on Forever California is that of Campus Dixon 257.

“The major applications are for Campus Dixon 257 involving 260 acres [previously the site of the defunct Dixon horse track idea] which includes a research and development resource that is being worked on presently and one that will be ready in March or April of this year to the public,” reported Boloyan.

The project contains a total of 260 +/- acres. The site is bounded by Pedrick Road with Solano County unincorporated Agricultural lands to the east, Industrial designated lands to the north and south, and lands designated as Regional Commercial and Industrial to the west.

Dixon Opportunity Center

The 47.87-acre Dixon Opportunity Center (DOC) would be a large employment area developed to accommodate technology, business park, and light industrial uses. The intent of this area is to foster new mixed-use employment districts with a range of job-generating and other tax revenue generating uses. Clusters of related light industrial, manufacturing, office, and research and development uses are envisioned. Large and small scale industrial, manufacturing, office, research, heavy commercial uses, and other related uses could be developed as these critical uses grow within Dixon.

A total of nine lots are planned to accommodate low-, medium-, and high-density residential uses. Up to 1,041 residential units are planned. City Planning Commission will hear more about this at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, he said.

The Milk Farm Redevelopment has run into “extremely complicated” infrastructure issues and has now been put on hold. In addition, there is an application by Lewis Group for 150 acres on the Southeast of the City. They are exploring a project of 150 acres for predominantly residential.

“That will be a very long process,” said Boloyan.

Dixon Police & Fire

“This isn’t a small town, and it can’t be policed like a small town,” said Dixon Police Chief Robert Thompson, our Chief since 2017. He reported an increase in crimes due to the convenience of Interstate 80. “We know this because of new technology. It is the Bay Area impact.”

Robert Thompson chief police department

Chief Robert Thompson presents a synopsis of the last year and plans for the coming year for the Police Department to the many citizens that attended the State of the City. Fire Chief Todd McNeal and Mayor Steve Bird are listening in the background.

There has been a dramatic improvement in police force retention over the last five to six years thanks to overcoming a “massive pay problem.” He explained that when he first got here, there were 2-year cops, and now there are 5- to 6-year officers including two homegrown officers and that is due to “active management.”

“We are still smaller so have to be more creative and learn to live within our means but still provide the best services,” he said. “We’ve had to fight for training and used to shoot standing in the dirt but now have a state-of-the-art firearms training center that 14 other agencies now use. Our reputation has improved. We also have a crimes analyst and now we can investigate.”

“You can’t just add 2,000 residents /homes and not recognize impacts to community services,” he said, encouraging the public to read their online annual reports. “This community has always supported the police [and surveys showed that.] The crime rate and level of services are why our officers live here. Even other police officers choose to live here. I think we are well-positioned for the future.”

promotions chief Matt Fields Andrew Tomelloso Jackson Bird Antoine Catacutan

Signs of a healthy fire department were seen with the recent promotions in the Dixon Fire Department: Deputy Fire Chief Randy Shafer was promoted to the Battalion Chief; Firefighter Matt Fields was promoted to Battalion Chief; Firefighter Andrew Tomelloso was promoted to Captain; Reserve volunteer firefighters Jackson Bird and Antoine Catacutan were hired to full time Firefighters; and not present was Firefighter Ryan Murphy who was promoted to Engineer.

Fire Chief Todd McNeal agreed that Dixon’s reputation has become one that is considered a “regional leader.”

“It takes a team of leaders to maintain a quality of life that we enjoy in our city,” he said. “There is a constant demand and a coming wave that will force us to be ready,” he said.

Last year, there were 3,000 calls with 60 percent for Emergency Medical Services which is low as the National average is 70-percent. They are responsible for 120 square miles and fight a slew of totally different fires, he said.

He noted the department is building a large training center for staff at the station that will offer a hyper-realistic training facility.

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