Chico City Council

An expansive swath of undeveloped land that’s been a local political flashpoint for three decades once again goes before the Chico City Council again Tuesday, along with a host of other issues.

Larger than a square mile, the Bidwell Ranch property was purchased by the city after successive plans to subdivide and build as many as 3,000 homes on the site fell through.

The city purchased the property in 1997, nine years after a public referendum spiked plans for 1,500 homes and 14 acres of shops and offices. The area has since been closed to the public.

Expert: LAX, Vegas Eyed For Chico Air Flights

Jun 23, 2015
Rafael Gonzalez / Flickr CC

It may never be bustling, but a busier terminal with more flights to more destinations may be the reality at the Chico municipal airport somewhere down the line Butte County officials were told Tuesday morning.

The bullish assessment was offered to the Butte County Board of Supervisors by Tom Reich, a representative of AvPorts, a management firm hired by Chico to run the airport after Skywest airlines pulled the plug on its passenger service last December.

Chico Council Approves Operating Budget

Jun 17, 2015

Following a lengthy hearing with little fanfare, Chico’s City Council narrowly approved an $87 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The amount is about the same as last year’s figure.

The total budget, which includes spending on big, so-called capital projects — typically large infrastructure paid for in part by state and or federal funds — slipped $13 million to just under $110 million.

Chico Council Considers Bidwell Park Expansion

Jun 3, 2015
Derek Curry / Flickr, via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Parks and recreation figured high on the list at Tuesday night’s Chico City Council meeting where conditions were lamented, while consideration was also given, in the abstract at least, to substantially increasing the size of Bidwell Park.

Without more money and a restored staff, complaints about shuttered access gates, locked restrooms and closed parking lots aren’t going away. Dan Efseaff, the city’s park and natural resources manager, got an earful, but noted that there are limits to what his three-person crew can accomplish.

Several hot button local issues will likely amplify the rhetoric Tuesday, as the Chico City Council convenes to discuss a shuttle van for the homeless, the remaining balance owed on a controversial loan and the disposition of open space adjacent to Bidwell Park.

City administrators are proposing to drop a decade-and-a-half-old shuttle bus service for the homeless. The bus moves people between the Torres Shelter, which offers overnight accommodations, and the Jesus Center, which until recently was where Torres clients went for meals.

City of Chico

Impassioned appeals appeared to compel Chico’s city council to keep its Art Commission alive last night, if only on paper.

Following the meeting, a commissioner noted that the body hasn’t weighed any new public art since his term began—there hasn’t been any money.

Those facts aren’t likely to change soon.

Though budgets aren’t as tight, Chico is hardly flush with cash. While the commissioners aren’t paid, complying with state open meeting laws and other regulations are a financial burden leaders are unwilling to shoulder.


Plans for a major rehabilitation or replacement of Butte County’s jail cleared a major hurdle Tuesday night, with the county’s biggest city signaling its support.

In a vote that saw Chico Mayor Mark Sorenson breaking with his conservative allies, the council narrowly signed on to a plan that significantly raises certain fees to pay for jail construction. 

Chico City Council To Look At Budget, New Jail

May 4, 2015

The upcoming year’s budget, a strategy for using federal housing funds and raising fees for a new county jail are among the issues up for debate Tuesday before the Chico City Council.

While far from flush with cash, the city’s once-dire financial picture is on the mend. Department heads and the public will have opportunities to suggest changes in the existing draft budget, though it is unclear how much wiggle room exists.

Chuck Brown / Flickr,


There was plenty in terms of local issues and discussion, but little in the way of resolution at last night’s Chico City Council meeting.

In one hotly debated topic, the council ended up unanimously tabling a proposal seeking to lift the city’s longstanding ban on fireworks. The proposal was made by Councilman Andrew Coolidge. 

Chico Council To Discuss Scrap Yard's Future

Apr 20, 2015

Yet another chapter in the decade-and-a-half-long battle over a Chico scrap yard will be written Tuesday when the Chico City Council again takes up the subject. 

Turn of the century zoning changes by county officials launched a process that would have forced the long-standing business to move or shutter long ago. But the recalcitrant and politically deft owners of the business have leveraged legal proceedings and shifting political majorities on the city council to their advantage.