Mayor’s Blog | Nov. 24, 2017

Mayor Steve Martin

Mayor Steve Martin

Happy Post-Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying a terrific holiday weekend with family and friends. This year I got more involved in preparing the meal. I enjoy cooking, but have always left Thanksgiving to others. It was fun hustling in the kitchen, trying to get everything ready on time. With a little help from my friends I got it done and I’m really thankful that long-time buddy Bob Curry brought the pies (no way I could have got those made). The pies were great, by the way, and now, on the day after,I am seriously considering having pumpkin pie for breakfast every day. Perhaps, after each Council meeting also.
Speaking of Council meetings, here’s a sample of what’s been going on in your city recently.
Our 4th Quarter Budget Report shows the City’s revenues have outpaced projections and departmental expenditures/operating costs have been lower than expected. The Council has authorized the use of $5 million of General Fund reserves to pay down a portion of the City’s Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) associated with the City’s public retirement contracts.
In response to our withdrawal from the County’s plan to build a $13-million animal shelter in San Luis Obispo, the Board of Supervisors has asked for time to address the concerns raised by the cities of Paso Robles and Atascadero. Both cities and the Board have appointed ad hoc committee members to discuss the issue. I am confident the result of these discussions will be an alternate plan to provide high-quality animal services at a substantially lower cost.
We’re not going to do another downtown parking study. At least, not right away. Downtown parking continues to be a concern because, well, we have so many people who want to visit our downtown. The problem is compounded by the parking needs of retail employees. Rather than paying $32,000 to study this situation again, the Council approved a plan that would accomplish four things: 1) a summary of previous studies, 2) demonstrations of high-tech timed parking innovations (no, not parking meters), 3) more parking education for downtown merchants/employees and 4) consideration of parking alternatives for employees.
PG&E is closing Diablo Canyon Power Plant, which will leave a $1-billion hole in our county’s economy. Although our cities and other entities have worked with PG&E to design a package of financial and other benefits to soften the blow, a judge recently struck down that plan. If this ruling stands it will deprive Paso Robles of more than $1-million worth of benefits. Our cities are working together to change this ruling. State Senator Bill Monning and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham have also weighed in on our behalf. More to come.
Good news for folks on 12th Street (Merry Hill to Fresno), Bolen Road and Caddie Lane. Those streets will be slurry-sealed at a cost of around $2.5-million. These funds will be paid out of the General Fund and covered by revenues from the sales tax override approved by citizens for road repairs. There are seven years left in that plan.
Environmental studies are going forward for a multi-pipeline project along Dry Creek Road. The project will include sewer, water and recycled water pipelines. There will also be a partial road realignment and re-surfacing. This will support future development around the municipal airport.
The construction industry will benefit from the decision to track permit expenses on hourly rates rather and estimated fee schedules. The system is made possible by the addition of a new software system and will make permit fees more accurate and fair. The Council has also directed that fees for small projects (installation of water heaters, etc.) be lowered to reasonable levels. These minor project fees will remain flat fees to save users money.
Play structures and restroom facilities at Larry Moore Park will be upgraded at a cost of about $156,000. These improvements are the first in a series of projects designed to revitalize this community park.
City water use is tracking approximately 30 million gallons under 2013 usage for the month of October. The city has sufficient water to accommodate growth through build-out as defined in our General Plan.
We’re planning to update the city’s website: www.prcity.com. The site holds and amazing trove of information and that info will be even more accessible after the update.
We are still waiting for information from the State of California re: our request to use the former California Youth Authority property for a variety of public benefit projects. We hope to get an update next month. Likewise, we are awaiting word from our Board of Supervisors regarding when our request to use a portion of property for affordable housing will be agendized.
We are all looking forward to the Christmas activities just around the corner. I am looking forward to seeing you there and I wish everyone a joyous holiday season.
Until we blog again, here’s to you Paso Robles!

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