City manager performs balancing act: Chico City Manager Tom Lando says that, despite an ongoing state budget disaster and the state’s habit of stealing revenue from local-government budgets, the city of Chico is in pretty good shape. Lando presented a proposed balanced budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year to the City Council last week that calls for $54 million in community improvements.

“The budget which is being presented to you is balanced and leads the city toward fiscal stability assuming no significant additional state raids,” Lando told the council in a memo.

The capital improvements called for in Lando’s proposed budget include intersection improvements at East First Avenue and Mangrove, reconstruction of the Chico Municipal Airport airfield apron and the big makeover for the Downtown Plaza Park. The total General Fund operating budget as recommended by Lando is $40.3 million. The city’s redevelopment agency budget adds another $36.6 million.

The council will meet all day June 7 beginning at 8:30 a.m. to discuss, possibly adjust and then tentatively adopt the budget. Final adoption should take place June 21.

Bring all the boys to the yard: Barber Yard is about to turn political.

The city of Chico is hosting a neighborhood meeting June 8 to get public input on what residents would like to see in the way of projects for the southwest Chico neighborhood slated for redevelopment.

In the background, opposing forces are steeling themselves for a fight.

Developer Jeff Greening has proposed a large “new-urbanism”-style development on the old Diamond Match property just west of the historic Barber neighborhood.

In a flier sent to neighborhood residents, project backers urge people to contact the City Council and tell members to “reprioritize and reinvest in southwest Chico.” The flier goes on to say that, without a new coalition, the city will continue to “ignore” the Park Avenue corridor, including a visioning study. “Are they betting on our apathy?” Greening’s flier asks, calling for “a mixed-use transportation corridor planning approach” and the acquisition of a park site along Comanche Creek.

At the same time, a group of neighborhood residents has formed to oppose the Barber Yard project. They feel that, among other things, the increased traffic would hurt the neighborhood and the development would damage the creek and riparian habitat.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, June 8, at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 421 Main St.

Meth murderer found guilty: The Oroville apartment manager who became known as the “stabbin,’ burnin’ man” after he was charged with murdering an acquaintance who he thought was a child molester was convicted of murder in the first degree last week.

Kelly David Fredericksen, 29, faces life in prison for using a phony drug deal as a pretext to lure Ronald Duane Bailey, 54, to a remote location in Oroville, where Fredericksen stabbed Bailey dozens of times then later returned to the scene to burn the corpse in hopes of covering up the crime. Fredericksen, a habitual meth user, had been told by a teenage girl and family friend that Bailey had molested her, which prompted him to take revenge on her behalf.

Fredericksen’s lawyers attempted to show that he was not in a rational state when he committed the crime and thus shouldn’t be held completely accountable, but the jury apparently didn’t buy it.