City of Benicia This Week
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In this edition: New Utility Billing Launches Today, Arbor Day Observed with Tree Plantings Event, First Street Tree Pruning, Virtual Public Art Guide Launched, Virtual Jack-O-Lantern Contest, Neighborhood Parks Get an Upgrade, City Employee Spotlight, COVID Mass Vaccine Clinics, COVID Assistance
Message from the City Manager
October 18, 2021

Hello Everyone,
A few important items to note this week. Tuesday night at Council there are a couple important items on the calendar. One of those items will be a discussion of the current face coverings mandate passed on August 24 by Resolution 21-88. This resolution required us to bring back the item for discussion after six weeks for review. Unfortunately, we continue to see ourselves in the ‘high’ transmission rate over the last few weeks, and by the current resolution, we need 30 days below that to rescind the face coverings mandate. 
On a positive note, also on the agenda, we will be presenting an item that would allow Arts Benicia to lease the Commanding Officer's Quarters in the Benicia Arsenal. While it is fundamentally important to have a tenant in there (to help bring life to the building and as natural surveillance to the area) we are especially pleased to have a potential tenant that is so very emblematic of Benicia moving into this amazing building. 
Please pay special attention to the item below regarding utility billing and the upgrading of our financial software. This change will mean you will need to re-register if you make online payments. This upgrade is critically important to the future of what we call our ‘ERP’ (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that helps modernize and improve our financial and human resource systems. There is so much work going on behind the scenes on this to help move this City forward, I couldn’t be more proud of our Finance, Information Technology, and Human Resources staff. If you struggle in any way with the online platform, please do not hesitate to reach out to our staff personally…we will be providing extra customer service assistance through this transition. All necessary contact information is in the article below.
Finally, a shout out and ask for assistance for one of my favorite non-profit group of helpers in Benicia, Meals-on-Wheels. This organization is quietly helping those in need in our community, and now they need a few more hands to help them out! Please consider becoming a volunteer. More information is available at And thank you to Alton, Myrna, Richard, and Ben. Your graciousness and commitment to those who are in need is humbling.

Thank you for your interest in the City of Benicia This Week!

Erik Upson
City Manager
City News
New Utility Billing Launches Today
- City to launch new online utility payment system on Monday, October 18.
- Cash and check payment options available.
- Online payment customers must re-register starting October 18.
- Finance Dept staff available for assistance at 707.746.4225.

Your Autopay Payment Will Not Occur Until You Reregister
As a reminder, for customers who use the City's online customer self-service portal to make one-time payments or use autopay for water & wastewater utility bills, the City is upgrading to a more secure online bill paying system. The new system offers enhanced security and a better payment experience for users.

There are some things to be aware of. Please take note:

  • The City of Benicia bills utilities in two cycles, one half of all customers in one month and the other half the next month. If you received your water & wastewater utility bill recently with a due date of Monday, October 18, 2021 and usually pay by autopay, your autopay will not occur even if your statement says, "Autopay Do Not Pay".
  • Beginning Monday, October 18, the upgraded online payment system will launch. Payment information in the previous system will no longer be available to the City. Customers must re-register using the last five digits of their same account-customer number but must now use their email address as their username instead of their previous username.
  • Customers may also pay by check or cash in person at City Hall's Finance Department, use the secure drop-box in front of City Hall, or pay by mail.

To register or re-register to make an online payment, visit Finance Department staff are available to assist customers, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Call 707.746.4225 and choose option 1, or email [email protected] for assistance. Please note that City offices are closed on alternating Fridays.
Arbor Day Observed with Tree Planting Event
The City of Benicia will celebrate Arbor Day 2021 with a tree planting at the Benicia Public Library, on Saturday, October 23 beginning at 9 a.m. 

Eight trees will be planted to replace several trees that were previously removed, which will help provide a traffic noise buffer for the library amphitheater. Mulch will be spread to help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth without the use of herbicides. The City will provide the trees, prepare holes for planting and provide instructions for the volunteers. Benicia Tree Foundation is a co-sponsor of this event and will provide tools and snacks.

The City has selected Marina Strawberry and Chinese Pistache trees for the Arbor Day planting. These low-maintenance, low water use trees will help to provide a year-round noise buffer for the library amphitheater and amazing fall colors. 

Volunteers have three ways to register for this event:
  1. Register on the Volunteer webpage at the Benicia Tree Foundation website,
  2. send an email to [email protected],
  3. or call and leave your name and contact info at 707.745.4546.

Bring gloves if you have them and wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must sign a liability waiver. The Arbor Day Tree Planting event will follow all current guidelines issued by the State of California and Solano County for COVID-19 outdoor protocols in place at the time of the event.
(Photo of 2020 Arbor Day courtesy of Benicia Tree Foundation)
First Street Tree Pruning
Tree pruning along First Street and in St. Paul’s Square will begin on Monday October 25 with an emphasis on:
  • Branch end weight reduction, to improve structural strength, and reduce failure potential.
  • Improve safety and security for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Provide clearance for pedestrians, vehicles, and structures, and streetlights.
  • Repair structural damage and correct leaning from wind loading.
  • Improve the symmetry and aesthetic characteristics of the trees.

The work will begin on the east side of the south end of First Street moving north, and then south down the west side of the street. The work is expected to take 3-5 days.

Parking will be limited as the work moves up and down the street and egress through the work zone may be limited. Please allow a little extra time to reach your downtown destination. Every effort will be made to minimize the impacts on local businesses, pedestrian, and vehicle traffic.

If you have any questions concerning the work, please contact Theron Jones, Superintendent of Parks and Community Services, at 707.746.4226 or [email protected].
Virtual Public Art Guide Launched
Benicia’s extensive collection of public art pieces, which are to be found throughout the city, are now readily identifiable and findable, thanks to a newly-created Benicia Public Art Guide map.

The map locates Benicia’s surprising inventory of over 50 pieces of public art that is part of the City’s GIS mapping project. Anyone using the map can follow it around downtown to view the series of Granizo tiles embedded in First Street sidewalks, stroll along the waterfront to check out the sculptural pieces, or wander the Civic Center path from the City Park to the Community Center.

World class artists who have made Benicia their home--such as Judy Chicago, Robert Arneson, Linda Fleming, Lisa Reinerston, and Gregg Renfrow--share the stage that is Benicia with up-and-coming artists and others who have contributed to the artscape in town. Take a virtual tour from the comfort of home, or grab your phone and walk around!
Wind, Water, Land
370 East L Street
Doña Benicia's Mantilla
(Envelops the General's Chair)
200 First Street
Virtual Jack-O-Lantern Contest
Benicia Public Library is hosting a virtual Jack-O-Lantern Contest on Wednesday, October 27, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Photos of your Jack-O-Lantern are due on Monday, October 25 by 3 p.m. Voting starts Tuesday morning and ends Wednesday, October 27 at 5 p.m.

The Halloween celebration continues with Scary Stories on the 27th:

  • 6:30 p.m.: Stories that aren't scary at all (best for preschoolers)
  • 7 p.m.: Slightly scary stories for school-aged kids
  • 7:30 p.m.: Announcement the winners of the Jack-o'-Lantern contest
  • 8 p.m.: Stories that are for teens and adults - expect these to be scary or creepy!

Watch for submission details and online ballot on the library website at Watch the stories and winners announcement on the library's Facebook Live page.
Neighborhood Parks Get an Upgrade
Benicia Parks and Community Services invites you to explore the recent upgrades completed in two neighborhood parks:

  • Ethelree Saraiva Park, East Sixth and East L Streets, has received a facelift with new mulch and a brand new play structure. Since reopening just a few weeks ago, this park has become the new local hot spot for families with kids! Come join the fun and explore the new playground, or just relax on the grass. 
  • At Duncan Graham Park, Hillcrest Avenue at Vista Grande, improvements have been made to the basketball court. It has been repaired, resurfaced, and striped. 

The City continues to invest in making improvements to our parks and invite you and your family to enjoy some time to play, because Parks Make Life Better!
City Employee Spotlight
Kendall Brown joined the City of Benicia as the new Community Preservation Officer in July of this year. His patient, friendly personality makes him the perfect fit for this role. He arrived in the middle of the City’s permitting software transition and has proven to be flexible and adaptable and is a valued member of the City team.

Kendall was born in Oakland and moved to Vallejo at three years old. His dad was a Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector for the City of Oakland for over 30 years. His mom was a Claims Adjuster for Blue Cross Blue Shield of California. He grew up in Vallejo and attended Hogan Senior High School.

After high school, Kendall enlisted in the United States Army and served for eight years all over the world. While serving, he had the opportunity to live in Germany and even jumped out of airplanes as a paratrooper. He met his wife, Angela, in Germany. She was a US Army soldier as well. They have now been married for 29 years and have 2 adult children, Jasmine and Kendall, Junior.

After Germany, Kendall and his wife moved back to the Bay Area and he began a successful career in real estate. Kendall’s wife became homesick for her home state of Mississippi, and they relocated there in 2006. After the 2008 downturn of the economy, Kendall switched careers from real estate to law enforcement. He was hired on as a patrolman with the University of Mississippi Police Department and graduated from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Academy. During his 13 years at the University of Mississippi Police Department, he served in the roles of patrolman, detective, and administrator. He ended his time with the University as the Lieutenant of Administrative Services.

In June of 2021, Kendall and his wife decided to move back to the Bay Area to be close to his mom. Since July, he’s been getting used to working with new coworkers, getting a feel for the City and its residents, and is working on addressing residents’ concerns.

In his spare time, Kendall enjoys fishing on his boat, singing, camping, and spending time with his family.
COVID Mass Vaccine Clinics
Solano County Public Health announces mass vaccination clinics now operating Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Solano County Fairgrounds. Clinics are expected to be operational for a total of 8 weeks, until mid-December, with closures the week of November 3 – 6 and again November 24 – 27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

To make an appointment for the vaccination clinic, eligible residents can sign up to for their Pfizer booster or their first/second dose with the Pfizer vaccine online at Details on Moderna booster vaccines will be available soon.

Those requiring registration assistance may call 800.672.0150.
COVID Assistance
Find vaccine locations, resources and information for seniors, local food access, basic needs and rental assistance, mental health, stress and coping, and more courtesy of Solano County Public Health. Benicia residents in need of help during these difficult times may find assistance through these local resources:

Press Releases

Recent City of Benicia Press Releases are available on the City of Benicia website under Main/Announcements.
Save the Date
Modified service due to COVID-19
City Hall is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you require entrance to City Hall offices outside of these hours, please make arrangements with staff from the department that you will be visiting.

All visitors shall be required to enter City Hall from East L street through the door located on the left (East) side of the building closest to the Post Office. Please check in with the staff person at the designated Welcome Window.

You will be required to wear a face covering over both your nose and mouth for the duration of your visit to City Hall. Please maintain 6 feet of social distancing between other visitors and staff. Do not visit City Hall if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Appointments can always be rescheduled.
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