On Saturday, Jan. 17, it was my honor to welcome residents to the annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event was held in the auditorium at Flamson Middle School. It was truly an inspiring and affirming presentation. Thank you to all who worked to make this happen.
From Jan. 14 -16 the City Council attended a training academy put on by the League of California Cities in Sacramento. The workshops provided valuable information for new Council members and an important refresher for veterans. I and Mayor Pro Tem Fred Strong also attended League committee meetings. Also, I visited the VisitCalifornia statewide tourism offices, met Destination Management Organization leaders from around the state and received a presentation from our local VisitSLO representatives about the attractions throughout our county. Finally, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and State Senator Bill Monning and discuss issues of local concern including water, business development and the need for more resources to restore city services.
We are off to a strong start for 2015 in Paso Robles. Our first Council meeting of the year on January 6 included a recognition for a great Roblan, a recommitment to tourism marketing, work at the Paso Robles Airport and an update from the Paso Robles Police Chief on new programs to keep citizens informed of public safety issues.
It was my privilege to present a proclamation recognizing the work of the Reverend Deacon Jackie Sebro. Rev. Sebro has worked tirelessly to assist the needy through Loaves and Fishes and other efforts over the years. Thousands have benefited as the result of her selfless service to the community. We all say “Thank You” to her.
Tourism, a major source of funds for the city, will continue to be a focus this year as the Council voted to renew the assessment on local hoteliers to raise funds for marketing the City to potential visitors. The assessment is made on behalf of and at the request of local hotel owners. The renewal is for a five month period to allow the hoteliers’ organization to synch bookkeeping timetables with the city.
For many years the city has maintained its airport in excellent condition thanks to generous grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. The Council has approved application for another such grant to pay for design services to rehabilitate to taxiways. In other airport business, the Council voted to use Airport Fund Reserves to cover the cost of removing a fuel tank. Also, Mike Manchak of the Economic Vitality Corporation made a presentation that stressed the importance of airports, specifically the regional airport in San Luis Obispo, to the local economy.
Police Chief Robert Burton spotlighted three programs designed to increase communications with residents. The Police and Community Together (PACT) Program will divide the City into four areas. A patrol sergeant has been assigned to each of these four areas. The sergeant will be a point of contact and act as a liaison between the community and the Police Department. Nextdoor.com is an online version of Neighborhood Watch. Citizens can sign up for free stay updated on police activity and report problems. Finally, Nixle.com is an automatic notification system that allows citizens to receive emergency information on their Smartphones. Nixle.com is also a free service.
Re-opening the Centennial Pool continues to be a subject of great interest. The City Council has directed staff to present all the costs and impacts of getting that done. It is every Council member’s preference to have it open this year. Should that turn out to be unrealistic, however, I believe we are all committed to creating a plan to have it online as soon as possible. This is an issue we would all like your input about.
My first month and a half as your Mayor have been busy, exciting and challenging. I am enjoying the work we have begun as a new Council and really appreciate the input from all of the residents who have contacted me. I can be reached several ways. My city phone number is (805) 227-7210. My city email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check in on my activities at www.MartinForMayor.org. I look forward to hearing from you.