Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dixon Keeps Lambtown in the Fold

Dixon Keeps Lambtown in the Fold
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

The 21st annual Dixon Lambtown USA Festival received City Council approval Tuesday night to hold the event in Hall Park.

In further action, biotech giant Genentech received a green light to move forward with its plans to build a research facility in the city.

The council voted 4-1 in approving Lambtown's plans, with Jack Batchelor dissenting. The festival will be held July 28.

Due to rising costs to rent space at the May Fair grounds, Lambtown committee members asked to move the festival to Hall Park, where it now has approval for one year.

The council also approved a list of 15 conditions on the festival's use of the park and the Senior Multi-Use Center.

City staff also has agreed to budget for the additional anticipated Lambtown costs estimated at between $3,000 and $4,000 to pay for staffing and overtime, according to a staff report.

Several festival events have been cut to secure approval to use the park including, mutton busting, a sheep shearing competition and sheep dog trials.

"This is not the Lambtown I have enjoyed in the past," said Gabrielle Menn, Lambtown committee president. "And it's not the best Lambtown I had hoped for this year. I hope to have a bigger and better festival next year."

In acting on Genentech, the council enthusiastically voted, 4-0, to approve a Memorandum of Understand between the city and the biotech company.

Vice Mayor Michael Smith did not vote due to a conflict of interest.

The proposed 140,000-square-foot research facility is to be built on Fitzgerald Drive, south of Vaughn Road.

"It all just seems to fit," said Mayor Mary Ann Courville. "The land was already zoned correctly and the utilities are already in place."

Councilman Michael Gomez agreed.

"These are the types of businesses we should be attracting to Dixon," he said.

The council did not decide by press time whether to approve a cost-of-living adjustment to City Manager Warren Salmon's salary, an additional item on the agenda.

Salmons earns a $150,168 base salary each year, approximately 115 percent of the base salary of the next-highest-paid city employee.

If the council approves the resolution to amend the employee agreement between the city and Salmons, the salary adjustment of between 3 percent and 5 percent would be effective in the first full pay period after July 1.

Salmons' performance was evaluated in November 2006 in accordance with the employment agreement. During that evaluation, the council's consensus was that Salmons' performance for the prior year was generally "commendable" or 'highly acceptable,' - performed in a comprehensive manner, according to a staff report.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

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