Watch or listen to the 2017 State of the City Address from Mayor Rohan and City Manager Jensen

Updated October 24, 2017

The 2017 State of the City Address was given Wednesday, October 18, 2017 in the Roseville City Council Chambers by Mayor Susan Rohan and City Manager Rob Jensen.

Good evening and welcome to Roseville’s 2017 State of the City address. I’m your mayor, Susan Rohan.

I share the privilege of serving this city with a group of highly dedicated councilmembers. I’d like to introduce Councilmembers Tim Herman, John Allard, and Scott Alvord. Vice Mayor Bonnie Gore was not able to join us today.

To my fellow elected officials, thank you for your commitment to our city. Only by working together can we realize our collective success.
And, welcome to our Roseville residents, and our leaders from local government, business, education, and non-profits.

The state of our city is strong.

  • At the beginning of the year, Roseville was named the Number One place in California to raise a family based on education, economy, costs, and crime.
  • We also were among the top 5 most popular places in the country for millennials to buy homes. This is because of our strong job market in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and math. The affordability of our housing—relative to income—was another key factor.
  • And this summer, Roseville was named one of the best places to retire in America, coming in at Number 24. Weather and access to healthcare and entertainment were deciding factors.

Not many cities are recognized for appealing to people at a whole range of life stages.

We are particularly proud of these accomplishments, which demonstrate Roseville’s appeal to people in every stage of life because we want to be a community that is welcoming to all.
Through the years, Roseville has learned that successful community planning brings additional growth pressures. So, we carefully manage growth and make sure that development pays its own way. This helps to protect and enhance our quality of life.

And planned growth on our horizon is bringing new opportunities.

  • The western side of the city continues to see new homes, elementary schools, a new high school, and soon, more retail.
  • The area once owned by Hewlett Packard is undergoing transformation with homes in a variety of price ranges and corporate sites for job centers,
  • And our higher education opportunities continue to expand, and our retail areas continue to grow.

Significant changes have also occurred here in the heart of our downtown. They’re part of a decades-long vision, with a few more projects moving from concept to reality each year, as funding from grants and other non-General Fund sources come through. And our community is excited by the private investment and the arrival of Sierra College students in our downtown.

On a regional level, our city has greater success when we act in our collective best interests rather than going it alone. Economic development is one example. Companies we attract to the region will locate in one area, and hire people who live, shop, and play throughout the region.

This is evident with the success of the City’s partnership with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council to bring a McKesson medical-supply distribution facility to Roseville that will provide 166 new jobs. The 316-thousand -square-foot facility will be located on property that once belonged to NEC, where rebar marked the landscape for more than a decade.

We are also supporting the Align Capital Region initiative that seeks to align educational programs and offerings with business needs and offers business experience to students in our region. A strong workforce is a key part of a well-functioning regional economic engine.

We also strengthen our quality of life when we coordinate on regional issues such as economic development, transportation, and water reliability.

For the past year, mayors throughout our region have been convening in a different city in one of our six counties to discuss and coordinate on regional issues such as affordable housing, homelessness and transportation; and we’re working to strengthen legislative coalitions on matters of mutual interest.

Providing an effective transportation network, both regionally and locally, is not only a quality-of-life issue, it’s also an economic development driver.

It’s become more challenging to meet this need because of the State’s decision to significantly reduce or eliminate funding to expand or construct new roadway-capacity improvements. While some of these costs can be allocated to new development, the majority of the costs will need to come from a new funding source. Residents of Roseville embraced Measure M, which would have provided significant funding to address all modes of transportation in Placer County and in our cities. It also would have opened doors for other funding sources as we would be viewed as a “self-help” county.

Unfortunately, the measure—which required a two-thirds vote—narrowly failed this past year. Through our regional engagement, we will continue to pursue mechanisms and strategies that can bring transportation funding to Roseville and South Placer as this is critical for our future.

Partnerships with business, educational, and community groups are integral to Roseville’s success as a community. We work closely with the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Sac Metro Chamber, our school districts and higher education, and the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, also known as RCONA, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

And tomorrow, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce will bring its annual regional study mission to Roseville. We will share success stories about downtown redevelopment, higher-education partnerships with Sierra College and Warwick University, and the evolution of “The Grounds,” the planned sports complex at the Placer County Fairgrounds being developed by Placer Valley Tourism.

Collaboration has become a central theme to future progress.

We make it a point to meet regularly with our neighboring cities in South Placer to

  • share ideas,
  • streamline processes,
  • coordinate on safety, traffic, and infrastructure issues, and
  • discuss county issues.

We are also meeting with Placer County to ensure that new development planned on our city borders will be mitigated. Growth in unincorporated Placer County has the potential to impact our city services, including police, fire, roadways, parks, and libraries. Our goal is to ensure that the impacts of this unincorporated development on Roseville’s services will be thoroughly addressed.

The City couldn’t do all of this without the outstanding staff we have. Our employees are dedicated, hard-working, and truly care about our businesses and residents, particularly since so many of them are residents themselves. As a service provider, labor will always be our greatest expense since it takes great people to provide great service. We appreciate that our staff has been an integral part of the solution to managing our labor costs.

  • We’ve controlled pension costs by transferring the responsibility to employees to fund 100 percent of the employees’ share of pension costs.
  • We’ve capped liability for retiree-health benefits.
  • We set salary-level targets at median in labor-market comparisons, and
  • We’ve slowed the rate of increases within each salary range.

The changes we’ve made together still allow the City of Roseville to attract and retain competent, dedicated people to serve our community. When we have positions open, we usually are overwhelmed with the number of applicants who want to work for our local government and serve our community.

But even with the cost savings those changes provide, budget challenges remain.

Our two primary sources of general fund revenue are sales tax and property tax. Property tax continues to grow at a steady rate, however growth in sales tax has significantly slowed. At the same time, expenses including labor, materials, and supplies continue to rise. A downturn in the economy could create more challenges for us as we strive to live within our means.

Combined with that, several recent performance audits have shown that although our staff is highly efficient, increasing workloads— without adding capacity—is unfeasible. So additional staff would be needed to maintain our service levels—especially as our city grows.

We have tough choices in front of us as we balance controlling costs with providing services. At last year’s Goals Workshop, the City Council directed staff to engage the community to determine what services the City should be providing and what levels of service should be provided. From a financial perspective, we’ll also need to consider what we can afford. The City embarked on this effort—called EngageRoseville— this summer. We want to know what services you value most, since the City will continue to face challenging budget decisions in the years ahead.

EngageRoseville includes a Community Priorities Advisory Committee of about 20 volunteers. They meet twice a month for eight months and hear from public works, police, fire, development services, and parks, recreation and libraries about the services they provide.

To learn about our services, you can watch brief videos and listen to short podcasts, or come to one of the public CPAC meetings. To have your voice heard,

  • you can send an email,
  • come to a town hall workshop early next year,
  • or signup online for FlashVote to take brief surveys.

We invite you to go to “” for all the details.

One of the biggest responsibilities of our city manager is to present a balanced budget to the City Council and to steer our fiscal course. As we work with the community to understand what you value most, it helps our city manager know where to focus our efforts and our budget.

I’d now like to introduce City Manager Rob Jensen. Rob has worked for the City of Roseville for the past 27 years, and for the past two years as our city manager. When he was assistant city manager and public works director, he played important roles in the development of the majority of the city. We’re so pleased to have Rob running the day-to-day operations of our city.


Thank you, Susan. It’s my pleasure to serve this city where I’ve spent my career and raised my family.

Balanced growth defines the outlook for Roseville’s economy this fiscal year. It demonstrates our community’s consistent ability to draw business investment and new residents.
Roseville’s population is estimated to grow a steady 2 percent this year, to 139,000. That’s a 10 percent increase over the past five years, and reflects the availability of both jobs and housing in our community and region.

Job growth remains strong, with a projected increase of 2,700 new jobs this year, for a total of 81,600. That’s more than a 20 percent increase in job growth in the past five years.

Companies continue to be attracted to Roseville for the quality of our workforce, the accessibility of housing, and the wages in our labor market.

Our high school graduation rate is an impressive 95 percent and nearly 40 percent of Roseville’s adult residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, eight points higher than the statewide average.

We have a range of educational opportunities from associate’s degrees at Sierra College that provide immediate paths to the job market; to graduate-degree opportunities with William Jessup University or the planned Warwick grad school campus right here in downtown Roseville.

I would like to thank our education partners, including all four elementary school districts that serve Roseville residents, the Roseville Joint Union High School district, and our higher-education partners for providing the highest levels of educational excellence in our community.

Single-family home permits continue to indicate that Roseville remains one of the most desirable areas in the region. We’re anticipating 1,000 total permits for 2017. This level has remained consistent over the past three years and reflects a steady recovery from the recession. It also indicates desire to move to a community that offers a high quality of life including low crime rates, great schools, and outstanding civic amenities including parks, recreation, and libraries.

Over the past few years, we have seen significant business investment in Roseville. In addition to a new FBI regional headquarters and the popular Top Golf complex, we are seeing significant expansion in healthcare campuses, including a new headquarters for Adventist Health, new facilities for Kaiser Permanente’s Riverside campus, and expansion of medical office buildings at Sutter’s campus, along with the McKesson distribution facility. The new animal-control facility, which is a joint venture with the SPCA and the City of Roseville, will open early next year, providing a new home for animals in our community and the people who care for them.

In total, we expect 12 new commercial construction projects to come on line this year, totaling more than 1.2 million square feet of development and over $100 million in capital investment.

As I mentioned earlier, Warwick University is adding to the development excitement. This UK-based university, among the top-ranked research universities worldwide, plans to open a graduate school campus in the soon-to-be-purchased Fire Station 1 Facility. We’re looking forward not only to the higher-education opportunities they will bring to our region, but also the innovation and links to business that they will provide. Their presence downtown, along with Sierra College, both of which line the town square, will provide another layer of vibrancy and excitement to our growing downtown.

A balanced economy is a cycle that fuels itself. While there’s no one place where the cycle begins or ends, we do know that a great community with excellent schools will attract new residents. Those new residents will comprise a strong workforce that draws employers and new jobs. Ensuring this environment retains its vitality is one of our top priorities as a city.

We have seen that a healthy business sector is essential to our quality of life. Visitors and businesses generate sales tax revenues that, when combined with property tax revenues from large companies and small businesses, provide significant City revenue that funds the services our residents enjoy.

It’s important to recognize that it costs about $1,800 dollars per household per year to provide the City’s general fund services such as public safety, roads and streets, and park, recreation and libraries.

Yet on average, each household contributes about $750 dollars in combined sales and property tax revenues that go to the city.

So we rely on about $1,100 dollars in tax revenues generated by businesses and visitors to help fill that gap.

Diversifying our tax base has been a very intentional vision of our city council over the years and it’s because of this our community has the high level of services we enjoy.

Taking a closer look at our municipal government, I want you to know that our City is in good shape. We’re the only full-service city in the Capital region, meaning we provide the full range of municipal services, including electricity, water, parks, libraries, public works, police, and fire. We have a General Fund budget of $140 million dollars and a citywide budget of nearly a half-billion dollars.

While our economy is healthy, we’re not immune to the challenges faced by cities throughout California. The City of Roseville is experiencing the double impact of both slowing revenue growth and increasing cost structure.

The shift to buying things on the internet has resulted in an annual loss of $3 to 4 million dollars in tax revenue. And we expect this deficit to grow by 9-10 percent annually.

Also, the change in consumer spending patterns from purchasing products like lawnmowers—which are taxed—to purchasing services like yard maintenance—which are not taxed—compounds the decrease in our sales tax growth.

All the while, a constantly changing legislative and regulatory environment continues to add unfunded mandates and significant costs to the City’s operations.

The current fiscal year marks the third consecutive year we achieved a break-even budget, where operational expenses matched operational revenues. Because expenses are growing faster than revenues, service level reductions were required this fiscal year to achieve a balanced budget. These reduction included closing the City’s libraries and the Maidu Indian Museum on Fridays, and eliminating vacant positions.

As a result of costs outpacing revenue growth, we have deferred maintenance costs and other long-term liabilities. If the City were to maintain its current levels of service while also fully funding its long-term obligations, the general fund budget would realize a $14 million structural deficit per year, resulting in a fiscally unsustainable position moving forward.

This is why the Council asked us to move forward with the EngageRoseville effort that Mayor Rohan mentioned, to get community input on what services you value most.

Public safety remains a top priority of the Council. This is reflected in this year’s budget, which allocated 69 percent of our sales and property tax revenue directly to police, fire, and medical services.
With the current budgetary constraints, our goal is to maximize the value to the community. One example is our police department’s social services unit. It has been successful in connecting those needing services with government and non-profit organizations that provide them. It’s a prevention-focused approach that is ultimately less expensive than enforcement.

Our fire department is continuing to examine trends to ensure we’re meeting changing needs in our community. Data shows that calls for medical aid have become the majority of the calls to our fire department. As we continue to align expenses with revenue, we must ensure limited resources are put to their highest and best use. We’ll continue to be data-driven as we as we examine efficient and effective models to meet these changing needs.

We’ll also look at opportunities to work with our neighboring jurisdictions to meet community needs more broadly on local and regional levels.

When we talk about quality of life, the conversation usually turns to the robust and well maintained park system. For over 20 years, Roseville has been known statewide for the quality and size of our park system. It remains a source of great pride, which is why our ability to maintain our parks and facilities is so important.

While we’re in this period of fiscal uncertainty, we’re putting the development of new parks and the expansion of existing parks on hold. We’re doing this to ensure that our existing parks are maintained today. This philosophy does not apply to neighborhood parks that have a dedicated funding source; those will be completed. In the meantime, we are working to maintain the services we have today, recognizing that while we may have money to build the next phase of a park, until we have a revenue stream to maintain it, there’s no point in spending the dollars to construct it.

The same funding challenges hold true for all of our infrastructure, including roadways. We’re underfunding our roadway maintenance by $5 million dollars a year. We’re hoping that the revenues from SB1, the statewide gas tax, will help, but uncertainty about funding levels remains.

Infrastructure is also more than parks and roads. IT infrastructure includes public safety needs, cybersecurity, and our entire financial system. These costs continue to grow and will put additional pressures on the general fund.

Mayor Rohan touched on some of the regional issues we need to address, including homelessness. The increase in homelessness has become a bigger and more visible issue in Roseville due to a recent court decision regarding a person’s right to sleep. Impacts from a growing homeless population have increased our calls for service to our dispatch center and have increased our cleanup costs.

The development of our Police Department’s social services unit is helping to address causes of problems—and not just the symptoms— and to reduce the homeless population, but more is needed. We coordinate with local non-profits to address the issue, we’ve partnered with Sutter, and we engage in regional discussions as we continue to address this issue, using General Fund dollars.

On the prevention side, our Housing Authority makes the most of funds we receive from the federal government through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Authority provides safe and clean housing for 663 families through rental assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the City’s single strongest tool to prevent homelessness in our city. The program brings about $5 million dollars a year to the Roseville Economy that gets recycled through jobs and further investment and includes focused vouchers for the disabled and veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

For the 14th consecutive year, HUD named our housing authority a high-performing agency, which is the highest rating available. It also gives our housing authority a competitive advantage in its efforts to bring more federal funds to Roseville.

Switching gears to our utilities. I’m pleased to report to you that Roseville’s utilities are recognized nationally and statewide for leadership in policy, new technologies, and innovation.
Our rainy winter helped us emerge from drought conditions this year, but the issue of water-supply reliability remains front and center.

New development plays an important role in our water strategy, by helping to fund infrastructure that allows us to obtain, share, and store water. Our City Council took a significant step this year with its support of the Sites Reservoir to be developed near Chico. This will further diversify our water portfolio by expanding storage opportunities in wet years.

We’re also working hard at the state level to ensure that regulations regarding conservation and water efficiency makes sense…since a one-size-fits-all approach won’t solve our state’s water issues. We are aware that the Legislature is considering a statewide water tax, and we’re developing strategies to oppose such a measure—since it’s not the responsibility of our customers to fund water needs that exist in other parts of the state.

Changes in the energy industry continue to evolve quickly. Roseville Electric Utility is offering new opportunities and solutions to customers. And it’s remaining vigilant in a changing legislative and regulatory environment.

Last year, Roseville was ranked 9th nationally for having the most solar density in our customer base. We continue to innovate to help our customers conserve, be efficient, and have access to new energy technologies. To that end, this next year Roseville Electric will launch our first community solar project, allowing more solar access to residents who are interested in going green.

We’ve only scratched the surface, but as you can tell, there’s a lot happening in our city. Recognizing that you all maintain busy lives and don’t always have the time to participate in our public process, we make extensive use of social media and online digital engagement tools to ensure that you can participate when and how it’s convenient for you.

We produce short videos you can watch, and brief podcasts you can listen to. We develop electronic newsletters we send regularly and post alerts on Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor about a variety of topics. It’s important to Council and staff that you’re aware and can learn about city operations and services since it makes for a more meaningful dialogue about critical topics.

We remain committed to delivering high-quality services in a cost-effective manner. It’s the core of what we do.

Thank you for joining us today.