San Luis Obispo residents asked to help city shape goals

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJanuary 7, 2013 

San Luis Obispo residents will be asked Tuesday night to help guide the goals for city spending in the coming two-year budget cycle.  

A forum will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St., to discuss the city’s anticipated budget for 2013-2015 and where that money should be allocated.

Participants will be given three minutes to present their ideas and how they hope those goals will be accomplished.

In past years, increased playing time on the city’s soccer fields, improved bike paths and a continued focus on economic development were among community requests.

The City Council will use the information collected tonight to set the major city goals on Jan. 26.

The city enters the 2013-14 fiscal year with $5 million more than budgeted, mostly because of grueling negotiations with employee groups that will result in $3.2 million in annual savings.

Participants at Tuesday's forum will also be asked how they want funds from Measure Y, the city’s half-cent increase, to be spent.

That added sales tax will cease on April 1, 2015, if voters do not renew it. If that were to happen, the city -- as the budget is projected now -- would be spending $7.3 million more a year than it was bringing in.

The city’s last goal setting session, two years ago, came at a time when the city was drastically reducing costs because of a structural deficit.

“This will be considerably different than two years ago when we were in reduction mode,” City Manager Katie Lichtig said. “We now have the resources to do a finite amount of things and we are asking the community what they want us to accomplish with those resources.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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