Creating more head-of-household jobs, adopting a fiscally prudent budget, improving neighborhood wellness and relieving traffic congestion are the key goals that the San Luis Obispo City Council will embrace over the next two years.
The major city goals, chosen by the council in late January, will be outlined at tonight’s City Council meeting as members also debate how to cut $4.4 million from the city’s 2011-13 budget.
The goals include many similar to years past: economic development, maintaining the city’s essential services and relieving traffic congestion. The one new goal that emerged as a top priority is neighborhood wellness with an emphasis on proactive code enforcement.
The objectives, which will be formally adopted with the budget in June, will be used to dictate future spending.
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Mayor Jan Marx said the city’s dire budget situation led to fewer goals being set than in the past and led the council to keep them more focused on conservation of existing resources.
“It is not that we are doing fewer things, it is more hanging onto that status quo and making improvements where we can,” Marx said.
Key strategies for economic development include focusing efforts on defining what is needed to lure successful businesses to the Margarita and airport areas — both looming developments annexed into the city that will include homes but also large commercial and business development components.
Additional plans include streamlining the development review process to make it easier on incoming businesses and collaboration with Cal Poly and organizations to expand broadband fiber optic availability for businesses.
Efforts to sustain the city fiscally will include developing a plan to contain personnel costs and establishing a routine process to review and monitor those expenses. The City Council will also need to decide when to pursue a ballot measure to continue Measure Y — the half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2006 that is set to expire in 2014.
Marx said that improving the city’s neighborhoods is also essential to economic development.
“Keeping the city of San Luis Obispo as a wonderful place to live and work because we want to attract head-of-household jobs is essential,” she said.
The city will focus on a more proactive approach to code violations to keep neighborhoods in compliance with current regulations.
Other goals that will be considered as resources become available include open space preservation, infrastructure maintenance, updating the land use and circulation elements, affordable housing and homeless services.
The city faces a $4.4 million shortfall in its $54 million annual general fund for the fiscal year 2011-12 that begins July 1.
That shortfall will grow to $5 million in 2013-14 and is projected to be $4.7 million annually for each of the next five years.
“We don’t really know what the future will bring in terms of the economy,” Marx said. “But this isn’t a panic situation, and we will continue to make progress in the next two years.”
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.