Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Naaz! You are a true friend to the City of Roseville and to me. I know your enthusiastic leadership as the 2009 Chamber President has benefited the City and our entire community!
I welcome my fellow Councilmembers: Mayor Pro Tempore Pauline Roccucci, Jim Gray, John Allard and Carol Garcia. I want to also welcome the representatives of the Roseville/Granite Bay Chamber of Commerce. October has been designated as Chamber month, and we are excited to support the many events taking place in the next three weeks. Welcome also distinguished guests and Roseville citizens to our 2009 State of the City address.
Before I get started, I want to acknowledge that after a closed session meeting yesterday, Council agreed to put the City Manager on paid leave until we meet again to make further decisions. We have asked Assistant City Manager and Community Services Director Mike Shellito to serve as acting city manager, and he has agreed to fill his role. Although change is difficult, we are very resilient. I want to reassure you that the Council is as committed as ever to the residents, businesses, and employees of the City of Roseville.
Today, I want to first acknowledge the reality of the world we are living in.
The housing market collapse affected city revenues and Roseville residents employed in the construction industry.
The credit crunch made it difficult for our businesses to access capital and continue their operations or expand.
The steep drop in retail sales is unheard of in our market.
As a result of these factors, for the first time in a generation, we have double-digit unemployment in Roseville. The State Legislature’s difficulty in approving a budget has resulted in the loss of revenues and delayed payments to cities and counties. And for the first time in decades, the City had to decrease our workforce through lay-offs.
Three things became very apparent in light of these difficult circumstances that have made me very hopeful and optimistic as Mayor of Roseville: First, even with revenues down and the economic picture bleak, the City is committed to protecting and maintaining our core services. We began trimming our budget in March of 2007 right when a flattening in our sales tax occurred. We have cut $19 million and reduced our General Fund workforce by 15%. At the same time we have accomplished a great deal in our community. Second, our city has made great progress in the areas identified by the
Council as priorities:
- a safe and health community,
- a fiscally sound city,
- a community with a vibrant economy, and
- a city that incorporates sustainability into everything we do.
And third, it is very apparent that Roseville is on the right path towards a bright future for our residents and businesses. We are still a city of tradition, pride and progress.
And here’s why… First of all, we are committed to ensuring Roseville is a safe and healthy community. Even with a growing population and static staffing in the Police Department, crime rates are falling. Our officers know neighborhoods and are proactive, responsive, and visible in our city. Our Fire Department is among the best in the state. They are always just minutes away with outstanding medical and firefighting service.
Partnerships between Roseville Fire, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente have created programs like the advanced cardiac care program. If you need them in an emergency, they are there for you. I know that first hand! Our Fire Department continues to be a strong player in the statewide mutual aid system. Since May of this year, Roseville firefighters have responded to seven major wildland fire incidents from Trinity County in the north to Los Angeles County in the south.
As part of our focus on a healthy community, this year we celebrated the opening of two universally accessible playgrounds at Maidu and Mahany. They allow able-bodied and disabled children and parents to play alongside each other. The fundraising efforts in the community and the chamber have been phenomenal. I can tell you that these facilities are a hit with my grandchildren. As part of keeping our community safe, we have learned from the past and worked to protect our future. Our Class 1 rating for flood mitigation was just recertified by FEMA. This means a continued 45 percent reduction in flood-insurance premiums for our residents. Congratulations to our Public Works Department for this accomplishment!
Fiscal responsibility is another Council priority this year. As I mentioned, the City proactively began its response to the economic downturn more than two years ago. We continue to monitor our revenue and expense status with monthly updates at Council meetings. With the state's funding for redevelopment at risk, we lobbied and mobilized to make our voices heard at the State Capitol.
And, we made very difficult decisions regarding staffing cuts that were necessary to balance our budget.
I want to take a moment to speak directly to our City employees.
I am grateful for your work to serve our customers. You do this every day with dedication and loyalty to our city. You have all sacrificed in some way by doing more with less. You have allowed us to be in the enviable position of having a balanced budget.
Thank you to all of you for sharing in this responsibility!
It is reassuring to know that our employees are working together with an expert on redesigning our city’s organization for the future. We are reexamining our core services and matching our resources to support them. The Council is receiving regular progress reports on this effort, and we are as committed as ever to building and running an extraordinary City with talented staff. I'd like to highlight how privileged we are as a community to have the Citizens’ Benefit Fund, the REACH Fund and the Roseville Auto Mall Fund. This year, over $614,000 was distributed to 30 nonprofits in Roseville and greater Placer County. These funds allow us to support our non-profits and the good work that they do.
Another Council priority is economic vitality. The Councilmembers and I have had the opportunity to meet with dozens of businesses this year as part of a concerted business retention program. Time and time again we hear that our quality of life is the reason why they locate here and stay here. This was seconded by Forbes magazine when it recently named Roseville as one of the nation’s Top 100 places to live. Councilmember Garcia visited SIMS Recycling and heard that the quality and reliability of Roseville Electric is the best among the eight plants they have nationwide. Visits with firms like Team One Networking by Councilmember Gray confirmed that of all the places in the world, this is the place because of our exceptional quality of life.
Councilmember Allard’s work on the Placer County Economic Development Board has forged a partnership to keep tourism dollars here in the county, further improving our economic vitality. And Mayor Pro-Tem Roccucci’s service with me on the expanded Roseville Economic Development Advisory Committee will guide our work on business-retention and marketing efforts this year. Even though our General Fund is down, because of good planning, we are able to complete projects that have been promised to our residents. And, at the same time, we are creating well-paying jobs in our community.
The economic situation did benefit us with construction bids that came in much lower than anticipated. We are able to complete the long-awaited improvements to the I-80 bottleneck.
We will also have 100 percent completion of the traffic signal upgrades this year.
Our plans for downtown will strengthen our city’s core. Great progress has been made on the Riverside Streetscape. I want to thank the businesses on Riverside for their patience during construction. We will finish this project this year, and you will benefit from this work for many years to come! The approval of the Downtown Specific Plan is also very exciting. A panel of judges from the California Downtown Association agreed. Congratulations to our Redevelopment team and our Revitalization Committee for winning a statewide award for the plan.
Our Historic District investment is paying off! The Redevelopment Funds invested by the City have brought an infusion of private capital. We have seen a lot of activity with new restaurants and night life!
We also should be proud of the growth we have seen in our community. Even with fewer construction starts, Roseville accounts for 25% of the region’s new housing. And, one percent of the total new housing in the entire State.
And yes, even in this economy, we are looking to the future. The development departments are writing the environmental impact report and working with the Sierra Vista landowners to bring a land use plan forward to the City Council by May 2010. This will ensure we have entitled land to accept our fair share of the region’s future growth. This growth will occur at our high standards with benefits for both the new residents and those that already live here. Many of us attended the dedication of Kaiser's new hospital earlier this year. We are also thankful for Sutter’s investment in their Roseville Medical Center. Their job growth and their services are a key reason families and companies locate here! We have enjoyed continued positive press thanks to the investment by Westfield in our community. Most recently, coverage of the Tiffany’s opening has been incredible and added to our reputation as THE place to shop. The new Dave and Busters is under construction at the Fountains and will join other successful restaurants as destinations in Roseville! And, right on cue, this is where I encourage all of you to participate in the Chamber’s Dine Out program this month. Sustainability is another Council priority. There has been a strong focus across our organization on this goal. Visit our wastewater and water treatment plants and you’ll see a green fleet of electric vehicles. These electric cars are saving us money.
Another area of focus has been recycling. We are nearing a 70 percent diversion rate from the landfill. The opening of the Dry Creek Bike Trail will connect more of our community and offer a truly alternative, safe transportation option to downtown Roseville. We will continue this work to connect our bike trail system regionally. Technology is also allowing us to go green on a daily basis. We have millions of unique visits to our website and thousands of customers who have signed up for online bill pay. We have computers in police cars and online library-book reservations. We’re able to serve customers 24/7 with a very low carbon footprint.
Sustainability and growth of our public libraries is very important in Roseville. Library attendance is up as readers check out books and use our services. In addition to the Friends of the Roseville Public Library’s fundraising efforts, a Library Foundation has been established this year. Our work will be to enhance private support for our library collections, capital improvement projects, and staff training, while lessening reliance on the City’s general fund. I hope you’ll join me at the Library Foundation’s Winter Classic fundraiser this year on December 5th.
Our sustainability efforts also include planning for the future. Staff has completed the city’s Climate Action Plan, which will allow us to comply with current state and future federal regulation. The Plan will identify ways to reduce greenhouse gases and city costs. The Council will review this Plan in early November.
Placer County has approved an AB 811 program to allow property owners to finance solar, energy-efficiency and water-conservation improvements through their annual property tax bill. We look forward to joining them in creating jobs at local companies and lowering utility bills.
This AB 811 program is perfectly timed to coincide with a community-wide effort to create a Sustainability Action Plan. Funded by a grant from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, the plan will include input from a Green Task Force. I invite you to participate on the committee beginning later this year. Finally, stimulus funds are helping us make a difference. We’re using federal dollars to hire local contractors to install energy-efficient retrofits and upgrades at our small businesses, reducing both utility bills and energy demand. We continue to make great strides for our citizens. And, at the same time we are setting the stage for a bright future.
The Council has gotten a preview tour of our beautiful, new indoor pool. Set to open this January, the Central Park Indoor Pool will allow us to provide swim lessons year-round, along with numerous other programs. Construction funding is not from the City’s General Fund. A combination of developer-impact fees and Community Facilities District funding will pay for pool construction. User fees will keep the pool open as a signature facility for our recreation program. I think it’s magnificent timing that our permanent Maidu Interpretive Center will open this year as our Centennial year comes to a close. The roundhouse, funded through $2 million in grants and developer fees, will pay tribute to our earliest residents and offer learning opportunities right in our own backyard. I look forward to the grand opening celebration and to seeing the first exhibits in early 2010! Community engagement will continue in the next year through a variety of means.
The Charter Review Commission has been meeting since February to examine our city's charter. All meetings are public and forums will be held prior to Council approval of November 2010 ballot language. Our future leaders are present in a number of ways today. High-school age Youth commissioners are bringing their wonderful ideas to several of our Boards and Commissions.
Our group of young professionals – Ignite – has certainly provided a lively forum to engage our under 40ish leaders in the issues and opportunities facing our community. Thank you for strengthening our community with your time and talent. According to our economic development staff, we have an extraordinary number of companies looking at Roseville for future investment. This could mean hundreds of new jobs in our community. Stay tuned!
And, as I speak with my counterparts in other cities and look at the news reports, I am so thankful to be in Roseville. Our conservative fiscal values and our quick action beginning two-and-a-half years ago have positioned us well right now and especially for when the recovery begins.
New facilities, new jobs, new investment!
All of this is possible only because of the talented and dedicated people that serve our community every day. Thank you to Naaz and the Chamber for your work to strengthen our business community. Thank you to all of you who volunteer your time here at the City and with the dozens of non-profits that serve our community. Thank you to our educators who make sure our children are prepared for whatever might be in their future from technical careers to postgraduate studies. I am grateful to each and every business that is weathering this storm. Thanks for your entrepreneurial spirit and your sacrifices to stay here. And finally, thank you to the talented city staff who show every day that they truly care about every customer. Our future is bright because of the people in this room and in this community.
We’re all in this together and for that I am grateful.