Road repairs continue to be the big topic in Paso Robles. Your City Council revisited the repaving plan during the March 3, 2015 Council meeting. The plan is on schedule and budget so far. We are spending between $3.5M and $4M per year to reconstruct the most heavily traveled streets in the city. The independent Citizens Oversight Committee recently gave the Council the equivalent of an A+ grade for adhering the plan and, in some cases, exceeding it. Still not satisfied, however, the Council discussed ways to broaden the scope of road repairs and make those tax dollars go even farther. Council action resulted in a policy change regarding the investment of road repairs surpluses and direction to staff to investigate more cost effective methods. Believe it or not, sometimes projects come in under budget. It has been the Council’s policy to use any road repair surpluses to accelerate other projects listed in the master plan. We shifted direction on that one. We have now designated road project surpluses to be programmed to repair streets and problem spots not currently on the priority list. This will allow us to stay on schedule with the road repair plan and still put some money aside for other critical repairs. Additionally, we directed staff to check out new methods of street repair that might reduce our expenses.
Elsewhere, the Council programmed funds received from the federal Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds. About $108,000 will be used for handicap ramps. Nearly $25,000 will be used to assist the El Camino Homeless Organization efforts to shelter and feed North County homeless. Just a note: I continue to meet with representatives from local groups and county Social Services to create a pilot project for homeless services in Paso Robles. We may see something special happen as soon as May.
You may have seen information about a plan to put more toxic/volatile materials on freight trains headed through our city. Councilman Strong made a brief report on the Phillips 66 proposal at our most recent meeting. The Council directed staff to bring the issue back for full discussion. Preliminary indications are that we are small fish in a very large pond regarding this issue. Nevertheless, we will take a closer look and take appropriate action to address the potential consequences of this activity.
It was truly a pleasure to meet with some of my very youngest constituents recently at the Paso Robles City Library. We shared some very important information from Dr. Seuss and his book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” My audience came prepared. One young lady knew the story so well that she caught met sliding by one rhyming line. After sharing the book with the group I answered questions. The most difficult to answer? “Why?” Thanks, parents, for sharing your delightful children with me and thanks also to the library staff and volunteers for putting on the Dr. Seuss event, complete with story-reading, face-painting and (YUM!) cupcakes.
City goal-setting is just around the corner. On March 21st the Council will consider goals submitted by the community and attempt to integrate them into the already existing goal structure and work plan. Don’t miss your opportunityto make a suggestion. Check out the city website at www.prcity.com.
City staff continues to assemble costs associated with the potential opening of the Centennial Pool complex. As of this date the estimate for deferred maintenance repairs and new ADA requirements total more than $322,000. Council members have expressed a strong desire to re-open this facility. We will need to get creative and call upon the community for assistance if we are to make it happen. More to come.
With the announcement that City Manager Jim App will retire at the end of this year the Council is preparing the process to locate a replacement. We will have a public discussion soon about ways we can tap the wisdom of the community as we proceed.
If you are a bicycle enthusiast you have to be excited about a couple of activities coming our way. April 11-12 Paso Robles will participate in Eroica California, a festival feature a Bicycle Concours d’ Elegance and a Vintage Fair in the City Park as well as three challenging bike rides. The event promises to bring even more national and international exposure for Paso Robles. A portion of the proceeds from this even will go to Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. Then, in May, get ready for a major bicycle event involving Paso Robles, Templeton and Atascadero. May is Bicycle Month so I and Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley will team up to bring cyclists from both cities to Templeton for food, music and bike safety events. Stay tuned for more details.
It has been the Council’s pleasure over the last couple of months to honor the tremendous accomplishments of the students at Paso Robles High School. We have recognized track stars, football champions and journalism gurus. Congratulations again to all and a tip of the Mayoral hat to our schools for creating the atmosphere where excellence can occur.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!