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Winn pitching Ripon projects in Washington
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The City of Ripon will be sending not one but two representatives to the 2014 San Joaquin One Voice trip.

Elected leaders agreed Tuesday that more would be merrier in terms of local representation as part of the San Joaquin Council of Government’s contingent to Washington, D.C.

Ripon City Council approved $3,600 to send two, considering that one – namely Mayor Chuck Winn – is a SJCOG board member ($1,500), to the One Voice trip scheduled April 6-10 from the general fund.

The two projects Ripon is trying to receive funding for are the Ripon-Manteca Class 1 Regional Bikeway Connection ($2.5 million) and the Surface Water Supply, linking the City’s water system to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District Nick DeGroot Water Treatment Plant ($3.5 million).

“There’s significant money involved,” Councilman Leo Zuber said at the Dec. 17 meeting.

The bike path is the One Voice Regional Transportation Project whereas the surface water supply is the One Voice Local Priority Project.

According to City Administrator Kevin Werner, Ripon did send a representative to the One Voice trips years ago but stopped because lack of return on the investment. “It was hard for small cities to receive funding,” he said.

The last three years, Jeff Shields of SSJID has served as the advocate for the City of Ripon projects. Mike Amman, who attended the meeting on behalf of San Joaquin Partnership – Council also agreed earlier to bring in the non-profit economic development corporation, serving cities within the county on the focus of business attraction, retention and expansion – indicated that the One Voice meetings can be very intense.

Last year, he along with Ripon Community Athletic Foundation President Stephanie Hobbs – she made the trip on behalf of a non-profit seeking funding for the all-weather surface at Ripon High’s Stouffer Field – was part of the group of 37 local representatives.

“We had 32 to 34 meetings in two days,” Amman said. “(As a group) you do split up so the more, the merrier.”

He believes that solidarity and consistency wins out in the end.

Those attending this year’s One Voice trip will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Washington, D.C.

SJCOG board members are reimbursed 50 percent of their airfare and hotel costs.

Registration fee is $175 but waived for SJCOG board members. Included is a continental breakfast each day and the Wednesday evening reception.