The workshop has proven successful in guiding the city manager and department directors in developing their operating budgets and work plans for the city to achieve the council’s priority goals.
We expect everyone in the organization to constantly enhance quality of life and customer service. Five other areas that received extensive discussion are of equal importance:
• Long-term fiscal stability and economic development.
• The Concord Naval Weapons Station.
• Public safety.
• Infrastructure maintenance.
• Organizational health and employee success.
For long-term fiscal stability and economic development, we will be looking for long-term funding strategies to address operational and budget challenges. Measure Q, the half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2010 and extended in 2014, expires in 2025. We will need increased or new revenues to fill the gap when Measure Q expires, so we are gradually reducing our reliance on that revenue. At the same time, our expenses are rising, so we need to plan now for ways to balance the budget over time.
We also discussed evaluating opportunities to revitalize aging shopping centers. This is a challenge because all the shopping centers are privately owned, limiting how effective the city can be in encouraging the owners to improve their properties.
The redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station will have enormous impact on Concord’s future, so we will continue our focus there in the coming year and well beyond. I hope you have an opportunity to attend one of the public workshops in June or September to give input on the Infrastructure and Specific Plan for the base. We had about 300 people attend the first workshop on March 18, and we received a lot of great comments. For dates and details, visit www.concordreuseproject.org.
Public safety is always a big topic of discussion. City crime rates are down, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t looking for ways to continue this trend through resources to the police chief and his staff. We will be focusing on additional strategies to minimize the impacts of homelessness, enhancing multi-family inspection programs and evaluating park management strategies to encourage appropriate park usage 24 hours a day.
Infrastructure maintenance refers to upkeep of streets, storm drains and sewers, parks and other facilities. We will be focusing on completing more street repair projects with Measure Q revenue and new state funds with the passage of SB1, identifying more grant opportunities.
Organizational health and employee success looks at programs that help us keep and train one of our most valuable assets – the city staff. We will be focusing on a number of items that will enhance training and improve use of technology to leverage operational effectiveness.
Some of our quality of life initiatives will look at local marijuana laws in response to the new state law legalizing recreational use and sales, enhanced use of parks and recreational activities, encouraging new affordable housing and enhancing code enforcement program to improve proactive efforts in residential areas.
Customer service initiatives will include development of a new website platform that allows the public to access more services at any time, a new registration system to enhance the customer experience when registering for Parks & Recreation programs and expanding the city’s use of social media to bring news to residents.
It’s going to be a busy and exciting year as we delve into these issues and continue to provide leadership in addressing these issues and others that our community deems important.
Email questions and comments to the mayor at Laura.Hoffmeister@cityofconcord.org