THIS JUST IN: Paso Robles residents have reduced water usage 37.5% compared with July 2013. That puts us in the top five water-saving cities in the county. Congratulations, Paso Robles!
Paso Robles residents continue to use water at a level that satisfies state mandates. That’ s the word from our Public Works Department as we headed into a couple of weeks of extremely hot weather. The water conservation job only gets harder, however, as we look forward to the winter months ahead. Home irrigation usually drops during the winter, meaning water savings will have to come from personal usage. While some predict an unusually wet winter, others say the expect El Nino could miss us all together. The temptation will be to hope for the wet winter and increase water usage, particularly for landscape irrigation. Because we face the threat of stiff fines if we don’t comply with the state order I urge all citizens to keep water usage to a minimum. Thanks for all your efforts to date. We are showing everyone that we can be responsible without resorting to punitive water fines. Meanwhile, City staff is working on a process to add a new Water Element to the City’s General Plan. This would take existing studies and policies and craft them into a foundational document that will incorporate water supplies into the planning process for future development.
Department heads continue to report in. The Council receives reports directly from a different department head each month during regular Council meetings. We asked for these reports to get a closer look at departmental functioning and needs. Most recently we heard from Jim Throop of Administrative Services. Bottom line: the department is requesting three new employees and a computer software upgrade. The upgrade would provide more accurate auditing of business licenses and Transient Occupancy Tax. While there seems to be an opportunity to enhance city revenues, the budget will not accommodate more staff at this time. It’s probable we will discuss this further at a later date.
Those of you who are going solar already know this, but the city already complies with state mandates regarding timely and efficient processing and inspection of residential solar projects. You can find out more by visiting the city’s website at www.prcity.com.
Have you experienced some traffic snafus at controlled intersections lately? It could be the aging traffic monitoring cameras at those locations are are the culprits. The Council has approved an expenditure of more than $115,000 to replace cameras at six intersections. Look for smoother signalization in the near future.
The hunt for a new City Manager continues. The Council will discuss the screening process for the many people who wish to fill current City Manager Jim App’s shoes. That item is expected to come before the Council on Sept. 1.
The City Council and the Planning Commission will meet in joint session soon to discuss constraints on housing development. An all-day Saturday session is being planned. Your thoughts and input will be crucial, so I hope you will plan to attend and participate. More to come on that.
Plans are underway for our first Mayor’s Fundraiser next May. The event will be called “Everybody In The Pool” and will be dedicated to raising money to defray the cost of reopening Centennial Pool. Councilman Steve Gregory has taken the lead in organizing the event which will be an island-themed pool party featuring lots of music and food. Be sure an give him a call if you want to help out.
For those who have contacted me about the possible impact of heavy farming equipment using our newly paved streets during Pioneer Day: I have spoke with our Pioneer Day Committee and they assure me they have taken every precaution to prevent this from happening. According to one committee member, the pressure per square inch of that equipment is probably less than that of some of the modern traffic that uses the street every day. In any event, the Pioneer Day Committee is confident the annual parade will cause little or no damage to the streets.