Mayor Ignacio Velazquez: State of the city

Every year we have the opportunity to make a change in our community, but 2019 is special in that there are four new council members with a willingness to actually make change.

This is the year we can make positive changes. I would like to explain my vision for a better community. My vision includes a dedication to repairing our local roads, shifting focus from residential development to retail and commercial development and laying the groundwork for providing quality facilities.

Residential growth has been a very contentious issue over the last few years, and it has now become very clear that we need a new course rather than continuing down the path of just becoming a bedroom community for Silicon Valley.

I want to shift our focus from aggressive residential growth to retail and commercial growth. Implementing smart growth for future residential developments will be very important to ensure that future infrastructure repair costs do not outweigh revenues being collected. Smart growth will also ensure that we only build the number of units that can be absorbed into our community without adding stress to our infrastructure. New developments will also have a mix of affordable units for our local residents. A successful future for our community will depend on more investment in retail and commercial projects, which will lead to more local jobs.

Last year, we were able to allocate over $3 million for local improvements to our roads because of the savings from paying off old city debt. This year, I want to make sure we work to permanently allocate over $2 million in funding from vehicle license fees to our road funds account rather than our general fund account. By shifting funds we will have the dollars needed in our road budget to adequately maintain our roads on a yearly basis. This simple move will mean that we will never have to experience dilapidated roads again.  In the 2018 election, voters passed Measure G to widen highway 25 to four lanes and also to help repair local roads. Making Highway 25 a four-lane road will take a lot of work and many public meetings, but it will be very important to our future.

Building a community that we can be proud of is important because it gives our residents quality local facilities and it also makes our community more attractive to tourism. One of the best ways to spur a local economy is through tourism. We have many places to visit, such as Pinnacles National Park, Hollister Hills and several wineries. We also can bring many more weekend visitors by building a quality sports park, which will bring families into town to compete at a local facility that has baseball, soccer, football, lacrosse and other types of fields. Hundreds of families would visit our community on weekends, staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores. During the week our local families will have quality facilities to improve their skills. We all win with a sports park.

A TEL Center project—Technology, Education, Library— is one that I believe is important to our community. This facility would be able to educate our community for high-paying jobs in technology by providing high-level courses in programming and other important computer skills.  There would be classrooms for our middle school, high school and college students who have an interest in a career in technology. The TEL Center would also have gaming rooms for and rooms for tutoring in all subjects. The building would also have a new and improved high-tech library for the entire community to use. The TEL Center would be the modern version of a community center that would be located in the heart of our downtown.

If the entire community comes together to create partnerships, it will all happen. These projects will take time, but they will change our community for the better.

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