City Council Holds Workshop Session
On January 19, the City Council spent 5 hours on a Saturday to discussion top
priorities of the city in a workshop format. The sessions included public
comment. The workshop gave us a chance to explore the priorities at more
depth and over a wider range of possibile approaches than is possible in a regular council meeting.
Here are some of the key topics before the council and the city:
We need to ensure a continuing supply of water to meet the needs of our residents
and our businesses. We are faced with state mandated deadlines that force
us to find new sources. I feel it is important that we approach this issue
in collaboration with the other cities on the Monterey Peninsula, rather than a
CalPERS and Pension Liabilities
There is broad agreement that our public safety costs are a serious problem.
There is disagreement on what steps we can take to cure the problem. We are now
engaged in a facilitated community workshop process to better understand the
situation. We are also seeking the best path for reducing the pension
costs. From the workshops we hear an important concept "Negotiate, don't
litigate." At the same time, we are seeking tools and approaches that will
give us better leverage in dialog with CalPERS and with our public safety
We have a good understanding of the circumstances in our city that have led to
our situation today. We also need to learn from what other cities have
experienced and are doing to manage pension expenses. If we are ultimately
to engage in very expensive legal battles, we should have allies.
Commercial activities produce fees and taxes that fund nearly 60% or our city
budget. A healthy business climate is vital to maintaining the quality of
life and the level of services that our residents desire. Further, over
35% of our general fund budget comes from visitors to our city, both the nearby
shoppers and the vacationers from farther away.
We now have an Economic Development Manager on a part time basis. He is
bringing some fresh ideas on how to build on the assets we have and create an
improved business environment for the future.
One of the current actions is the update to our commercial zoning code. The
goal is to remove the excessive obstacles to starting a business in Pacific
Grove. That action is coming to the council this month.
Our city buildings, streets, sidewalks, and lighting need ongoing maintainance.
We have recently added money to the capital improvements budget and are planning
work to upgrade our infrastructure over the next several years.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have comments on any of these topics.
A Closing Thought
I believe the desire for a positive spirit is strong in PG. I
believe that we can find ways to work together. I believe we can
create the future we desire for ourselves and for our city. Yes we can!