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2014 State of the City Address


Jan. 15, 2014




(Mayor Susan Rohan)

Good evening.  Welcome to those of you here in the audience and those watching on TV or the Internet. I’m Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan.  Joining me this evening are Vice Mayor Carol Garcia, and Councilmembers Tim Herman, Pauline Roccucci, and Bonnie Gore.
 
Together we’d like to update you on the state of our city as we begin 2014.
 
We are mid way through fiscal year 2013, and pleased to report the City remains on sound financial footing as we begin to plan implementation of the Council’s goals and objectives for next fiscal year.
 
While we are optimistic about the City’s direction, we are also very concerned about how this year’s water supply situation is unfolding. You will hear more about more about all these topics this evening.
 
Our Goals and objectives reflect the community’s values, and the Council’s perceptions of future challenges and opportunities.
 
I’d like to start our 2014 State of the City Address by talking about one of Roseville’s long- standing community values and a core city goal, which is to maintain excellence in Public Safety.
 
Our Police Department continues to make advances in fighting crime. From January through November of last year, violent crime went down 8%, and there was a 28% reduction in robberies, compared to the same period in 2012.
 
In response to the community’s concerns for the wellbeing of our city’s young people, we approved additional Youth Service Officers to work with our school-aged children.
 
On October 25th Roseville experienced one of the most violent incidents in our history.  Several of our police officers and a federal agent were injured during an active shooter incident.  We are praying and hoping for a quick and full recovery of the remaining injured officer.
 
We are very proud of our Police Department’s performance and the effective collaboration between Roseville and neighboring law enforcement agencies. The suspect was taken into custody without any injuries to neighbors or the public.  In the budget for fiscal year 2014, the Council will be looking for opportunities to get more police officers on the streets.
 
Our Fire Department continues to evolve as an organization; emphasizing rapid and systematic problem-solving and increasing efficiency.  We opened Fire Station Number 9 in west Roseville this past year,
 
And plans are underway for a new and more efficient Fire Station number 1 downtown, and that will facilitate the transformation along Dry Creek, as envisioned by the Downtown Specific Plan.
 
Response times for both our police and fire service will be shortened with the implementation of a new Computer Aided Dispatch system later this year.  The new system will also allow dispatch centers from othercities and the county to be more easily connected.
 
Each year, the Council meets to review our performance as a City, and discuss our goals and areas for additional advancement in the coming year.
 
Our specific goals and objectives this year are:
Fiscal Soundness
Economic Vitality
Sound Utilities
A Great Downtown
Infrastructure Maintenance
Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy, and
Civic Engagement.
 
The three new goals added this year: Infrastructure Maintenance - Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy - and Civic Engagement ---reflect where the community can achieve more gains in long term cost savings, legislative and regulatory relief, and enhanced civic involvement.
 
I’d like to continue the Council’s review of 2014 Goals with our first objective, Fiscal Soundness.
 
Like excellent public safety, Fiscal Soundness has long been a hallmark of Roseville.   We can take great pride in having a balanced budget each year.  We do that by living within our means. We use our savings accounts to invest in future opportunities and to pay for future obligations and emergencies  - not for on-going expenses.
 
Our fiscal conservatism allowed us to weather this recent economic downturn better than most cities, because we made the fundamental changes we needed to make.
 
We embarked on a five-year strategy in 2011 to close our structural budget deficit, and a key part of that strategy involved labor costs.
 
We asked all city employees to share the cost of their PERS retirement benefit and we achieved that goal this year. This saved 5.7 million dollars in our current fiscal year and will save an estimated 6 million dollars next fiscal year.
 
This achievement improves our fiscal soundness, an important goal that governments at every level must address to ensure the services its citizens “value”--- can be delivered.
 
At the same time, the entire Council recognizes that paying for this future benefit meant a significant cut to city employees’ take-home pay.  We appreciate the key role our employees have played in closing this structural deficit. 
 
We have also begun changing the retiree benefit structure for future employees.  We predict you’ll see more cities and counties in California heading this direction.
 
Moving to a two-tier benefit structure will help control the costs of future retiree health care and pension benefits.  This will have a profound impact on the city’s future fiscal stability.
 
At the same time, running a full service city like Roseville requires a skilled workforce. Recruiting and retaining talented employees is a critical element of our future success. 
 
While this combination of changes will provide the city much needed financial flexibility on the expense side, we also need to focus on the revenue side.
 
So we must also look for ways to increase revenue, including expanding our economic development efforts, as we look for new ideas to ensure our economic vitality. 
 
With that, I’d like to introduce Councilmember Tim Herman to talk about those efforts.
___
 
(Councilmember Tim Herman)

As Mayor Rohan said, Economic Vitality is one of our City Council’s primary goals. 

We’re fortunate to have a strong foundation built on the policies and actions of our predecessors on past City Councils and management teams.
 
We’re fortunate to reap the benefits of their bold vision being turned into reality, having community assets such as the Roseville AutoMall, Westfield Galleria, Fountains and Creekside shopping centers. 
 
In fact, the four corners of shopping at the intersection of Galleria Blvd and East RosevilleParkway generate almost one billion dollars in retails sales each year.  
 
Major national and international retailers from Payless Shoes to Louis Vuitton have a presence in Roseville, in some cases, in more than one location. 

But we don’t believe in resting on our laurels.  The City recently unified all of its planning, permitting and inspection processes under a new Development Services Department.  And re-emphasized our commitment to economic development by creating a department to focus on new economic opportunities.  

These two new departments will work hand-in-hand to give businesses in Roseville and businesses looking to move to Roseville the smoothest path to reach their goals. 
 
In short, Economic Development will help bring in new businesses  - and Development Services will make sure they are up and running in the shortest time possible. 

We’ve had great success in the past with public/private partnerships and will continue to look for those opportunities now and in the future. 
 
Under the Roseville Community Development Corporation, a group of 20 local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and the City teamed up as Advantage Roseville - with a mission to grow Roseville’s economy, market Roseville and to attract new business to our city. 

As chair of Roseville’s Higher Education Task Force, I am very excited about three key initiatives underway to provide our region’s residents with more higher education opportunities and our businesses with a highly skilled workforce.
 
First is the university center. Our focus on partnerships lead directly to an agreement between the city, Sierra College and four regional universities to start aninnovative University Center in Roseville.
 
In the University Center, courses from Sierra College, William Jessup University, Sac State, the University of the Pacific and Brandman University would be available in the same physical location - - expanding the availability of courses right here in our area and easing the path to a college degree. The university center is set to open this fall.

And then with a longer term vision in mind, Mayor Rohan and I traveled to England last November with representatives from Placer County, to meet with representatives from the University of Warwick, a top-rated research-based university looking to establish a campus in the United States.
 
They have visited our area and like what they see as they consider a site west of Roseville. Our city council and the Placer County Board of Supervisors have directed our staffs to work together with the local landowners to figure out the best solution to successfully get the University of Warwick here as soon as possible.
 
And finally, a project to create a satellite campus of Sac State got new life a few months ago. Twenty-three hundred acres north of Roseville in an area know as Placer Ranch was purchased by Westpark Associates.  The new owners committed to donate part of this land for a university site.
 
We already have a memorandum of understanding in place with Sac State to work towards its expansion into our area.  The pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
 
These are incredible opportunities for our region, especially considering that one new four-yearcomprehensive university in Roseville has an annual economic impact of approximately one billion dollars to the local economy.  That’s billions with a B.
 
We are also making significant progress in bringing a high-quality hotel and conference center to Roseville.  Market research has demonstrated demand for a full-servicehotel and expanded conference facilities in the South Placer region.
 
Roseville is ideally positioned geographically to serve this unfilled need, and it seems that the timing is right with partners from the private sector to turn this vision into reality.
 
Locating this facility on city-owned land adjacent to the Galleria along Highway 65, makes an ideal connection to Roseville’s transportation, entertainment, and retail amenities.  It strengthens our tourism appeal, creates jobs, increases tax revenue and adds an estimated 85 million dollars to our economy each year.
 
As we consider all options we have to finance projects like this, we’re well aware that the current banking and financing environment requires new thinking and new ideas.
 
It’s highly encouraging that this project has attracted the attention of international private-equity investors. To keep Roseville’s economy strong we must be willing to go to those available sources of capital and bring the resources to Roseville.
 
We are aiming for groundbreaking on the hotel conference center in about a year from now.

With that, I’d like to introduce Vice Mayor Carol Garcia to talk about downtown Roseville.
__
 
(Councilmember Carol Garcia)
 
Thank you Tim. 

We are committed to creating a Great Downtown.   This commitment traces to the mid-1980s, when the City Council made the strategic decision to keep City Hall and city offices on Vernon Street.
 
Transformations succeed with the right mix of innovation, expertise and tenacity. As our community grows, our unwavering commitment to downtown’s success takes on a new importance. We’ve seen private investment follow public investment throughout our downtown.

This transformation of the J.C. Penney building into the site for Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill helped jumpstart an active restaurant and entertainment use in the heart of downtown. This type of use and venue is what the citizen group that created the Downtown Specific Plan had in mind.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was forced to close recently.
 
Although we don’t know for sure when a restaurant might reopen in that location, the Roseville Community Development Corporation is actively engaged with the restaurant’s ownership group to determine the next steps.
 
A new brew-pub, Monk’s Cellar, is on schedule for a spring opening on Vernon Street.  Run by long-time master brewers, it takes an empty building owned by the RCDC, gives it much needed interior renovations and brings a unique venue to the downtown -  - further developing the vision in the Downtown Specific Plan. 

The RCDC has also done extensive exterior renovations on other buildings it owns on Vernon Street.  As an independent non-profit entity, these are exactly the types of investments in our downtown the RCDC was designed to make.  This is their role in the Downtown Specific Plan’s goal of a reenergized downtown.
Separately, it is the city’s role to lay the groundwork for private investment and to create public spaces.

One giant step forward was the opening of the Vernon Street Town Square last August.  Long envisioned as a downtown community gathering place, it opened with a full day and evening of activities, drawing more than six thousand people to downtown.

It hosts a variety of activities from children’s story time to yoga to wine tasting and farmers markets. A week-long holiday celebration there, including the planting and lighting of the new community holiday Tree, topped off the year.  We plan to keep the Town Square active every day to bring people to downtown.
 
Step by step, downtown Roseville is definitely heading in the right direction.

Construction begins on a roundabout at the intersection of Washington Blvd and Oak Street in the spring.  The roundabout will ease traffic congestion at this busy intersection and the other entry points into downtown.
 
This will be a beautiful entry feature to downtown and a safety feature for traffic and pedestrians.  Along with landscape improvements on Oak Street and traffic signals at Oak & Lincoln and Oak & Grant, this project sets the stage for further development on Oak Street along Dry Creek.  We expect completion of this project later this year.
 
Now I’d like to introduce Councilmember Pauline Roccucci who will speak about our infrastructure and community-owned utilities that make all these projects possible.
___

(Councilmember Pauline Roccucci)
 
Thank you Carol.
 
The fact that the City of Roseville owns its own utilities, including electricity, water, wastewater, and solid waste, is a significant factor in Roseville’s success.  Roseville is the only full-service city in the capital region, meaning our city provides all of the municipal services in our community.
 
In most other communities throughout our region and the state, the electricity, sewer, trash collection, water, parks, libraries, and sometimes even fire and police protection are handled through contracts, by private companies, or through special districts and joint power authorities.
 
There are few California cities like ours and it gives Roseville a distinct advantage. Which means local decision making over these important elements of our daily lives. 
 
Having these services within a single organization provides businesses and residents with a streamlined way to get their questions answered.  This also allows us to manage and systematically plan our growth. 
 
Having sound, reliable utilities is an important factor in attracting business and an important facet of your lives.  Roseville Electric continues to win nationwide reliability awards even as it keeps rates lower than many of ourneighbors.  Our Environment Utilities of water, wastewater and solid waste service continue to find new and innovative ways for all of us to be good stewards of our resources.
  
However, one thing we can’t do is make it rain.  We are in the midst of a record breaking prolonged period of dry weather.  Precipitation was below normal last year and this rain season has been especially dry to this point.  The snowpack and Folsom Reservoir’s levels are extremely low.
 
The city has been proactively planning for drought conditions for many years including working on purchase agreements with our neighboring water districts, implementing an aquifer storage and recovery program and drilling back up wells.
 
Last week, the City requested a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use from our residents and businesses.   And later this month, we will begin using our four wells to ease demand on Folsom Reservoir.
 
We will continue to closely monitor the situation as we have for the past several months.  The city has many resources to help you save water, monitor your water use and find areas in your home and yard where water may be wasted.  These are all available on the city’s website. 
 
Other important infrastructure projects include our streets, parks and city facilities. 
 
We use a time tested, proactive method for street maintenance that focuses on keeping road conditions from deteriorating below a threshold where major repairs are necessary.  This approach keeps our roads in good working order indefinitely. 
 
However we are still playing catch up in some places in the city.  Before this method was started about a decade ago, some of our roads fell below this threshold.  Our challenge now is to find the money to make these needed repairs.  It is a priority for us in the upcoming budget discussions.

Roseville’s parks and bike trail system are prime aspects of our high quality of life.  We currently have 71 parks with plans to open 2 new parks this year.  Looking further into the future, we are beginning plans to build a large regional park in the western part of town, north of the future high school site off Blue Oaks Blvd.
 
This park promises to attract regional, statewide and national events furthering our sports tourism efforts and our community’s love of sports.  We are in discussions with Placer Valley Tourism to determine the best fundingoptions to build this great new attraction as soon as possible.
 
Roseville’s future population growth will be in the western part of the city.  We anticipate an increase over last year of new homes being built in Roseville with several active home builders.
 
New state building codes require these homes to have specialized water conservation fixtures throughout the home.  And in public areas such as parks and landscape corridors, reclaimed water will be used for irrigation which does not draw from our drinking water sources.
 
Being a full service city, Roseville can plan for and be ready with the needed infrastructure for the future.
 
As we grow, it is important to stay connected and engaged with our residents and businesses.  It is also important that Roseville’s interests are protected and promoted effectively with our state and federal legislators.   I’d like to introduce Councilmember Bonnie Gore who will speak about those two new important Council goals.
_____
 
(Councilmember Bonnie Gore)
 
Thank you.  As Councilmember Roccucci said, Roseville is a full-service city.  As you can imagine, the state and federal laws and regulations relating to water, waste water, electricity, solid waste, development and public safety are numerous, cumbersome and highly complex. 

Adding Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy to our Council goals is an indication of our commitment to protecting the interests of the City, our businesses and residents. 
 
The City has been monitoring legislation for many years.  But the Council felt it was important to enhance and expand our influence, and to bring Roseville’s perspective to lawmakers more proactively.  There’s an old saying, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”  That’s why we need to be at the table.
 
We’ve sharpened our focus on this important strategy, adding staff resources and establishing aCouncil Law and Regulation Committee, which just completed its first year.  The City develops its legislative priorities each year and monitors several hundred proposed laws and regulations that may have an impact on Roseville. 
 
Working with regional partners or issue-specific coalitions, we have become effective at increasing our influence.  Our efforts aren’t only about advocating on legislation, but about serving as a resource to educate decision-makers about the real-life impacts of bills.
 
One of the most important issues for Roseville and the region right now is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - or B.D.C.P. 
 
The Plan seeks to address water-supply and water-quality issues that  affect the entire state..  The City does not have an issue with the goals of the plan, but we are seriously concerned with scenarios presented in the plan that would have a devastating impact on our community.
 
The latest draft of the plan projects Folsom Reservoir could go to “dead pool” as often as once a decade. “Dead pool” is a scenario where the water level in Folsom Reservoir drops below the level of the pipes that draw water to Roseville.
 
An inability to access water could cripple our economy.
 
Making sure Roseville’s water supply is protected under the B.D.C.P.  is our most important legislative priority.  Working with our regional partners, we have a significant public outreach effort underway and you can go to ProtectOurFolsomWater.com to learn more and sign up for alerts about how tomake your voice heard. It is important to stay engaged on this issue.
 
Expanding our civic engagement is the final Council goal for this year.  The nature of how our world interacts, shares information, and conducts business transactions has evolved dramatically in just the past few years.
 
Along with traditional ways the City interacts with our community, we are also taking full advantage of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.  And I’m happy to announce that starting tomorrow, we will begin using a popular new social media channel: NextDoor.com , which focuses on neighborhoods.
 
We have an award-winning city website where you can pay your utility bills, submit permit applications, file police reports and monitor traffic in Roseville in real time. 
 
We have over a dozen topic specific electronic newsletters to which anyone maysubscribe, including a biweekly city newsletter, Public Safety news; updates on Legislative topics like the BDCP; general city news; parks and recreation programs; traffic alerts and new business information.
 
We urge you to sign up for the electronic newsletters; follow us on social media; and stay informed on the issues that affect our city.  Your voice and your opinions matter.  It is up to all of us to keep Roseville thriving.
 
As ways to stay informed electronically expand, we continue to value the in-person meetings and events that make Roseville the community we are.
 
We work closely with the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations and support its efforts to reactivate all of the neighborhood associations in our city. We also appreciate the variety of events it sponsors that help us get to know each other and look out for each other as we build community.
 
The Council has concluded our first full year of Council Coffees, holding about one each month. We value the opportunity to interact with residents, and community and business groups, and look forward to more opportunities this year to interact with you in person.
 
I’d like to hand it back to Mayor Rohan to conclude our presentation.
_____
 
(Mayor Susan Rohan)
 
Thank you Bonnie. 
 
Each of these goals works in concert with the others.  They are guideposts to a successful, vibrant future.
 
Throughout our history, this community has insisted that its City think big.
 
Mirroring our community character --- while others wring their hands about what to do next, Roseville rolls up its sleeves and tackles its challenges.
 
That sort of resolve gives our city an energy and dynamic unlike any other place I’ve known.
 
We as a Council work hard to ensure that legacy continues.
 
As your Council plans for the future, we are committed to maintaining the quality of life that is cherished by our community and continues to attract residential and business growth to Roseville. We remain committed to guiding our growth and economic prosperity in the rightway.
 
Roseville’s potential remains great.  Our future is very bright.
 
I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2014.

Thank you and good night.


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