City Beat May 2022

By Don Reynolds, City Manager
As published in the May issue of the Mission Village Voice

There is thunder in the sky today! We are getting ready for Earth Day at Luck Park and the return of the Rib Cook-off as May rolls around the corner. In May, City Hall is “coming out!”

The City will be hosting three intense days of community planning, May 3 through May 5, 2022. There will be small groups gathering in the afternoons. On Tuesday evening, the Planning Commission will host a Zoom workshop. On Wednesday evening, a large community charrette will be held in the San Juan School Gym. And on Thursday, the City Council will host a special workshop hybrid Zoom/ Library. The center of attention is creating and updating a community plan that describes a new Sphere of Influence for the City and considers reestablishing an urban growth boundary. We hope everyone attends, especially the Wednesday meeting.

Later in May, on May 10 and May 17, the City will share its budget in a workshop followed by a City Council discussion. The City anticipates an unallocated positive balance of General Fund revenue of more than $400,000. It will also consider the allocation of another $250,000 in American Rescue Plan funds. A new recreation program is being considered. The water and sewer enterprise funds are also seeing revenues exceed expenses for the day-to-day cost of operating the two utilities.

In December, a rate increase was approved for the sewer system, and work on the force-main to Hollister continues to move forward. On May 17, the Council will consider a rate increase to import surface water for drinking. Hardness and salts in the drinking water will be reduced 65%. The redundancy of having both well and surface water helps resiliency. There will be workshops about the water system later in May and June. If the rates are approved, the capital improvements too import drinking water can move forward with completion expected in December 2024.

Having said all of this, on April 19 the City Council declared a state of emergency due to drought. We all need to work together to preserve our drinking water until the rains return. This includes mandatory conservation by reducing water consumption by 25% beginning May 1, 2022. Irrigating landscapes is prohibited every day between 9 AM and 3 PM and otherwise prohibited on every day except Thursday and Monday. There will be grants to incentivize property owners to reduce their irrigated landscapes and turf. 60% of the City’s drinking water is used for landscapes.

Lastly, as City Hall “comes out” in May, it will be looking inward at itself, focusing on the social equity of its standard routines, operations and practices. Something as basic as writing a parking ticket will be scrutinized. This wok will be guided by the International City Managers Association: “Benoy Jacobs Governing For Equity: Implementing an Equity Lens in Local Government Report, Nov 25, 2020.”

Thank you for everything you do for this community. That’s all for now!