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2010 State of the City Address
Mayor Gina Garbolino
Nov. 15, 2010
Welcome distinguished guests and friends. Before I get started, I’d like to introduce my fellow Roseville City Council members. . .
Mayor Pro-Tem Pauline Roccucci
Councilmember Jim Gray
Councilmember John Allard
And Councilmember Carol Garcia.
I’d also like to welcome our newly elected Councilmembers, Susan Rohan….
And Tim Herman. And two special guests, Gavin Farnam and Stephanie Ringey from The Westfield Galleria at Roseville.
Thank you all for joining me today for my last speech as Roseville’s mayor. For those who are saddened by this, don’t worry - I’ll still be around throwing in my two cents. For those who are relieved, don’t get excited - I’ll still be around throwing in my two cents.
Whew, what a couple of weeks. The fire at the Westfield Galleria took a lot out of us didn't it. I am so very grateful that no one was seriously hurt that day. For that, I am thankful for staff at the Galleria and our Fire and Police Departments. And all the other City departments that mobilized that day. I also want to thank all of our neighbors in the area who sent emergency personnel and equipment that day. Truly, the region came together.
Ever since, the City has been working shoulder to shoulder with Westfield to get the Galleria open again. So far 88 stores have re-opened including Macy’s and Nordstrom. We expect by Black Friday more than 120 stores will be open including JC Penney’s. And Santa will be there too! Go shop! I’ll see you there!
Certainly, the fire is a blow to the Galleria and City, but hardly a knock-out punch. Roseville is tougher than that.
A year ago I was here telling you about changes in our City Managers office. We were making significant budget cuts and had spent the previous months laying off employees for the first time in the City’s history. It was a period of great uncertainty for the City and many of our citizens. It was a tough time. Today, a year later, things are looking up.
Last year, the City Council decided the City needed new leadership and a new vision. We knew that the process to bring in the right person would and should be a long and exhaustive one. Choosing the head of an almost half billion dollar organization isn’t something to be done overnight.
In the meantime, the City could not afford to go without someone in the City Manager’s office. Too much was happening, too many decisions had to be made. Into that void jumped Mike Shellito. When asked to delay his long planned retirement and serve as City Manager, Mike didn’t hesitate. (Well, maybe a little.)
Mike served from those October days through June of this year. His tenure as City Manager was the shortest in our history, but very important. Mike kept us moving forward, not just treading water.
As trying as the last year was for the City, it also highlighted our greatest strength – acting proactively, not reactively. This past year would have been even more difficult had we not been taking steps over the previous 36 months to trim our payroll and balance our budget.
Because of the City’s foresight, we had only budget challenges to overcome, not budget disasters. . .like many of our neighbors, who were forced to make large, painful cuts to their workforce and services.
At the same time, we cannot pretend that times are the same as they once were. Or that they will be again. Our economy has changed and we have to change with it.
We are reorganizing – creating a leaner, more flexible organization, with maximum attention paid to efficiency and excellent customer service. But more than reorganizing, we are creating an environment for excellence – where continuous analysis, engagement and innovation will be the hallmark.
These days, those of us in public office are not always held in highest esteem. That’s ok, it comes with the territory. But I am going to brag about our City Council. This past year during the toughest times, the Council really came together as a group and I feel served the community very well.
Some may question our decisions, but what is without question is the dedication and teamwork of our Council. No one put themselves or their aspirations above the City. In my heart, I’m very proud and thankful for that. Given what we see on the state and national stage – that professionalism is too often missing from our public servants. It is not missing here in Roseville.
Last year was not all gloom and doom however. We completed a beautiful and highly anticipated infrastructure and street scape upgrade project on historic Riverside Avenue. If you haven’t been over there yet, go walk around, visit the businesses. It is gorgeous.
We completed the Sierra Vista Specific Plan and are working on the Creekview Specific Plan, both in West Roseville. Together they will add 27-hundred acres and nearly 9,000 housing units to our City. But more importantly, these areas are designed to our high standards with plans for parks, shopping and open space.
The City’s high standards and innovation are seen throughout the organization. Roseville Electric continues to provide low-cost power with award-winning reliability. Through Roseville Electric, we took 800-thousand-dollars of federal stimulus money and made sure all of it went to our business community. And with the shepherding of our City utilities, 60 percent of all new homes under construction in our community will exceed the state’s standard for energy efficiency – many with solar panels on their roof tops.
We’re laying the groundwork for a “food waste to energy” program which will divert 36-hundred tons of food waste from the landfill each year and turn it into clean energy – another way we are keeping our utility rates down.
We are actively engaged in state and regional water conservation issues – keeping a close eye on their effects on Roseville. And in 2011, we’ll be ready to fully utilize our own water “bank account” with the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program, ensuring Roseville’s water supply is reliable into the future.
FEMA renewed our Class 1 flood protection rating – we’re still the only City in the nation to have achieved this - and our Fire Department was once again given International Accreditation – one of the few fire departments in the state to achieve this. Those may not sound exciting, but at the end of the day, Roseville property owners will save money on their flood and fire insurance because of these.
These accomplishments are just a sampling of the great work done by our City staff – the people who work for you. All that we enjoy, the open space and parks; the security and emergency response; the clean, well maintained roads; the low electriCity rates; the comprehensive planning; the business friendly environment and on and on - all happen because those people work here. There’s no magic involved. Just hard work day in and day out. And a dedication to making Roseville the best community it can be. To our City staff - thank you for all you’ve done to help me over these many years and for all that you do for our citizens every day.
In June, Ray Kerridge walked into our lives as our new City manager. Ray has boundless energy, a constant smile and a firm dedication to bring Roseville to its fullest potential. He brings an incredible track record of magnificent development and redevelopment projects from Portland and Sacramento. And just as importantly, he brings a commitment to government that serves its customers - its citizens - in the best, most effective and efficient way possible.
At Ray’s suggestion, we have set up a Development Advisory Committee representing a broad cross section of the development community. It will be a forum for the public to provide their input on development service policies, with the goal of improving the ways business and the City work together.
But to me, the most exciting idea I’ve heard in a long time is our creation of a non-profit Development Corporation. This public/private venture would be focused on infill development in Roseville, particularly our downtown.
Because of its non-profit status, the Development Corporation will have access to state and federal money that by law the City does not have now. And this money can be used to attract and leverage private development money. That is just so cool. Development projects that would not have been able to get off the ground, now will be given life.
Once the first project is started, I believe you’ll see a snowball effect of more and more development projects. We’ve never been this close to remaking our downtown. After all these years of planning, I can’t possibly explain how excited I am about this.
This is another example of the steps Roseville is taking to make sure we are at the front of the wave of economic recovery. Preparing now, laying the ground work for the future, this will reap long-term rewards for the City and our citizens.
Ray, I so wish our career paths had crossed earlier. But I can’t wait to see what other great ideas you have up your sleeve.
While we are planning for the future, it’s vitally important that we continue to be good neighbors to our friends in South Placer. Roseville is not an island. Our successes and problems affect our neighbors - and theirs affect us. We share many common interests including growth in undeveloped areas, improved roadway systems including Placer Parkway, water issues and the yearning for a regional four-year university.
A university would be an excellent complement to our already outstanding education system. Universities bring jobs, fresh young faces, fresh new ideas and economic stability. It is a major component of our future and the City it committed to working with any and every partner to make this happen. I am really big on this.
We cannot hope to be successful in a larger region if we are not successful in a smaller one. As Roseville continues to grow, our regional responsibilities will most certainly grow. We have to be prepared to carry out those responsibilities.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this is my last speech as mayor. The end of this year will mark the end of my elected career. It’s been a fantastic experience and has given me much, much more than I could have ever imagined.
I’ve been lucky to see the second best era in Roseville’s history - filled with remarkable growth and prosperity. But I say second best, because I absolutely believe the very best is still to come. We are at an exciting crossroads, one I haven’t seen since the early 1980s when technology giants HP and NEC came to town - changing and shaping the landscape of Roseville in exciting new ways.
We have a great opportunity today. Let’s grab it. Let’s continue to plan for our future and before long, we will all see that vibrant downtown we’ve talked about for years. We will see universities, new parks, new families and new jobs. We will see our boundaries grow north and west. We will see Roseville become an even bigger player in the region…. Others will see Roseville as the jewel of Northern California. We will be the ones lucky enough to call it home.
Before I finish today, I wanted to say thank you Roseville – for welcoming me into your community 41 years ago when I moved here with my husband Jim. Thank you for giving me this chance to serve…. and contribute and participate. For allowing me to witness incredible accomplishments and sustained growth and prosperity. For the civic engagement of my fellow citizens. For giving my family a safe and nurturing place to grow. For being my home.
I may not have been put on this earth in this wonderful place. But when it is my time to leave, it will be right here.
Thank you very much.