Ever wish you could have some meaningful input into the city’s budget process? After all, the budget defines the services offered by the city to all our citizens, so it only makes sense that budget time is THE time to make your wishes known. That’s why we’ve scheduled not one, not two, but three times when you can weigh in on budget issues. The first opportunity was May 12th when the first discussions of the city budget drew a small attendance at City Hall. The next opportunity will be the meeting of June 7th. The final opportunity will be June 21st. You can find budget materials and presentations as well as the existing budget report (audited by an independet agency, I might add) on the city’s website, www.prcity.com. I really hope you will take a little time to look at this information. If you have any questions feel free to contact city staff or the Council member(s) of your choice. Then, plan to be present during public comment on the city budget. It really is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to city services. (And, for the record, we are NOT entertaining a notion to build a new City Hall with gym facilities for employees. Where DO these rumors get started?)
The Chambers of Commerce in Paso Robles and Atascadero staged a “State of the North County” presentation in Atascadero recently. I and Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley were pleased to present information about our two cities in the context of our current cooperative effort called “Dos Alcaldes” or “Two Mayors.” We are dedicated to working together to address regional issues such as water, economic development and homeless services. You can find out more by visiting our website (yes, we have a website) at www.dosalcaldes.com.
We are almost halfway through my year-long Mayor’s Museum Tour. Our most recent tour was at the Paso Robles Historical Society Museum in the Carnegie building in the downtown City Park. What an amazing collection of local Paso Robles history! Other museums we have visited include the Camp Roberts Military Museum, the Templeton Museum, The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum and the Estrella Warbirds Museum/Woodland Auto Display. These tours are intended to spotlight our local history. Tours are held monthly on the second Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. The next tour will be in June at Mission San Miguel. Check the City website for the complete tour schedule. The tours are open to the public and are free of charge. Please join us!
Major, major kudos to Paso Roblans for the super-successful first Mayor’s Fundraiser Event. Councilman Steve Gregory headed up the effort to raise funds to defray the cost of re-opening the Centennial Park swimming pool. The pool was closed for five years due to budget constraints caused by the recent recession. The island-theme party at Centennial Park offered me and others the chance to dance the hula but, more importantly, raised nearly $80,000 for the effort! Congratulations, Paso Robles! You did it again!
Road repairs continue. Thanks to the 1/2-cent sales tax override YOU voted in, we are putting $3M-$4M per year into street repairs. Add that to the allocations we’ve ordered from the General Fund and a long list of grants solicited by our staff and you are seeing significant improvements to our city street system. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s getting done!
When it comes to water usage, you’re doing it again! When the State of California required us to reduce water usage by 28% we showed them how we do it in Paso Robles, reducing usage by nearly 30%. Now we are in the second round of mandated water conservation. So far we are meeting the challenge and the mandate. Let’s keep at it. When we reduce water usage, we save ourselves the cost of fines and penalties. And please remember: your water rates don’t pay for water, they pay for the system that collects, treats and delivers the water to your home. The cost? (Quick! Take a guess.) LESS THAN A PENNY A GALLON FOR MOST USERS. Clean water, enough of it to cover our needs through our projected residential build-out and a bargain cost. Is this a great place to live or what?
Here’s an interesting factoid. Did you know that we employ less than six people per thousand to deliver ALL city services? That includes police, fire, maintenance, library, recreation, etc. That’s efficiency! We will continue to monitor staffing levels to make sure that we deliver superior service at the most affordable rate.
Want to stay informed about what’s going on in your City? Check out the Weekly Summary Newsletter. You’ll find it posted each week at the city website!
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!