Hollister City Manager Bill Avera was up early Saturday to meet with residents at city hall to discuss any of their concerns.
“For me, it’s not about what they may take away from a meeting, it’s what I can take away from something like that,” Avera said. “I use that to learn their concerns.”
Nine people came to the meeting, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Councilman Jim Gillio was also there to speak with residents. He said the early time accommodated people who are unable to make evening meetings.
“People have mentioned to me that’s not always the best time for them,” said Gillio. “But it was the city manager’s idea to have this on Saturday.”
The idea for the Saturday meeting stemmed from a Hollister City Council discussion on growth management last month.
Numerous residents had come out to voice their concerns about traffic congestion on highways and roads and lack of high skilled jobs in the region.
Memory of the local economy-busting building moratorium is still fresh in the minds of many residents and they do not want a repeat of the disaster that impacted housing, commercial development and job growth.
While the council hasn’t established any sort of growth management program yet, Gillio said he’s in favor of maintaining a steady growth rate.
“I think what we need to have is a steady growth line,” Gillio said. “One of the things I think is lacking is community education. Since I’ve been on the council, my goal has been to research and educate those who are interested in learning what our growth is. That’s where I come in.”
Gillio is a fan of using to city data to establish growth management tools.
“If we did have a growth control program, it would set the expectations of the community so they know how much is built and for developers as well. With residential growth comes commercial growth and we’re just beginning to realize the commercial growth and potential of new, fair paying jobs in our community,” he said.
Avera said he enjoyed Saturday’s meeting and is considering holding similar ones in the future.
“I might do a few more, hopefully some of the folks out there in Facebook world could attend,” Avera said. “Maybe Saturday morning isn’t the best time. I might try to do a few others to get people to come down and have a conversation.”
Avera referred to himself as a person implementing policy and said he’s around to provide facts.
“For me, I want to know what people are really thinking and I want people to come and learn how it works.”