Fiscal Responsibility and Balancing the Budget
I am fiscal conservative. I will monitor the City's $82.0M operating budget cognizant of the fact that these are your tax dollars. Balancing the budget and continuing to maintain our services at the highest possible is a priority for me. Our Sales tax revenue has risen just 13% over 5 years and our property tax has risen 9% over the same period of time. And in the last 5 years we have seen our expenditures catching up with our revenues. As an example, our Sheriff's contract includes cost increases ranging about 4% for each of the next 4 years. So to continue balancing our budget means we have to make choices, some easy and some not so easy. This will be a challenge. The 2018-19 Budget will be reviewed at the June 19th Council meeting. I will expand on this after we approve the new budget.
The Center was built in 1980, with significant additions in 1995 and 2000. Previous councils have been discussing a new center for years. And since then, we have been spending thousands of dollars in repairs. It was just getting too expensive and not cost effective to pour more money into the 38 year old Community/Senior Center. On January 23, 2018, this council approved two designs and just recently we approved a consultant agreement for design services. We have two versions of the Center (18,082 sq ft and 22,587 sq ft) and will wait until the designs and cost estimates are completed ( February 2019) before we make our final decision. Construction should start in June 2019 and will take about 12 months to complete. We have set aside over $12m in reserves to help pay for this.
Supporting our Seniors
Now that we have decided to build a new Center for our seniors I am committed in providing the necessary services for them while the Center is under construction. I will work with the Senior Center Board Members and our community to ensure we have the necessary services for our seniors while the Center is under construction.
Revitalization of Poway Road
Discussions on this have been going on for years. Finally this last December the Council approved the Poway Road Corridor Study. This will bring a mix of housing (for both renters and owners) and commercial investment along Poway Road.
And already we have seen benefits. The Trading Post has been approved. This is where the old Poway Irrigation and Chieftain were located. At this site (2 acres) there will be 54 residential units and about 40,000 sq ft of commercial space. And there will be two underground floors for parking. Also, the AMC Theater on Poway Rd will undergo renovations, that once completed, will be similar to the Angelika Theater in Carmel Mountain. And other property owners along Poway Road have either improved their lots and or are about ready to do so. It's a step in the right direction.
And any future development along Poway Road will always be subject to review by the council and our citizens through workshops and council meetings.
Espola Road Safety Improvement Project
For many years past Poway City Councils have contemplated improvements along Espola Road. Finally in May of 2016 this council made a decision for the long needed improvements. This is a two part project that will improve safety for those who walk, jog, bike or ride horses along the west side of this Road. In addition, the overhead power lines and other equipment will be moved underground, aesthetically improving the road way and removing obstacles from the proposed pathway.
The funding for this comes from three sources: the General fund, our Management Reserve fund and from Rule A funds made available through SDG&E.
Proposed Natural Gas Line on Pomerado Road
SDG&E has been proposing to replace a 16 inch line with a 36 inch line. This line would run from Rainbow to Miramar which includes 6 miles in Poway on Pomerado Road.
On June 6th 2017, the Poway City Council voted 5-0 against this proposed route. A safer line might be needed but not down Pomerado Road where the impact would affect schools, sport fields, churches, hospitals, homes and many businesses.
Recent news: A California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge called on the five members of the CPUC Commission to reject this pipeline proposal. Stay tuned!
As you know, our City has moved to District Elections. The change from at-large to district elections was forced upon the city by an attorney from Malibu who threatened to sue, citing the California Voting Rights Act, which is designed to give minorities a better chance of being elected. We were told by our Attorney, we could fight this but it may cost our city upwards to $1 million to fight it. And the chances on us winning were slim to none.
So for about six weeks earlier this year, the council held numerous meetings to create a boundary map establishing four geographic zones from which council members will be elected. After many reviews and discussions the council selected a map. And after thinking about it is a good map. There are 4 districts and the position of Mayor will remain as an at-large election.
It was decided, after consultation with our Lawyer, the elections in 2018 will be for Districts 1 and 2. And the elections for District 3 and 4 will start in 2020. The election for our Mayor will continue to be on the same path ( 2018, 2022, etc.) as it is now.
For this coming election in November there is a slight wrinkle. Jim Cunningham was elected in 2016 and has decided to retire about 2 ½ years before his term is up in 2020. So his seat will be up for election for this coming November and it will be an at large position for just two years. Then in 2020 there will be elections for District 3 (mostly in North Poway) and District 4 (South Poway).
As a reminder, for the council to approve an agenda item you need three votes. So by moving to District Elections you will only be able to vote for two members of the council, one for your district and one for the Mayor. But having a representative from South Poway will be good for our city.