City Council Prioritizing Goals For Next Two Years – SFGate

city-council-prioritizing-goals-for-next-two-years-–-sfgate

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Updating the city’s housing element and finishing old business concerning pandemic recovery, climate action, and race and justice are on the horizon for Walnut Creek, as the City Council will discuss strategic priorities for the next two years at a special meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The council has a history of setting two-year goals. The last time it did was for 2019-2020, when it prioritized economic development, forming a climate action plan, fiscal sustainability, and infrastructure and facilities.

That work isn’t entirely done. The report says the city will evaluate what it has learned from its pandemic rebound program to help businesses moving forward. Work on its environmental plan still needs community engagement and final action.

Budgets for the next two fiscal years still need shaping and a comprehensive review of city fees should begin this summer. Staff also seeks direction from the council on Your Parks Your Future, the push for a new master plan for park facilities and programs.

The city will also keep working on social and racial justice, especially in the aftermath of the police shooting of African American resident Miles Hall in 2019, with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s report on the matter still pending. The city settled a civil suit from Hall’s family for $4 million last September.

The staff report says the city, along with other Contra Costa cities, expects to implement changes in how it deals with mental health-related emergency calls. By this summer, city officials expect to have a crisis-intervention team in place that includes mental health professionals.

The city is also working with an outside facilitator on its goal of forming a diversity and inclusion task force, which would include two council members, two to four city staffers, and a number of community members. Their goal would be to make recommendations to the council.

The report also says the city will continue adjusting to COVID-19, shifting operational focus from response to recovery, including how to hold meetings moving forward and a timetable to re-open the Lesher Center of the Arts.

Staff is recommending new priorities include updating the city’s housing element. State law mandates all municipalities plan for the housing needs of residents of all incomes. A key component in keeping up with requirements is adhering to the regional housing needs allocation from the state and the Association of Bay Area Governments. The report says the city’s number of low and very low-income units will double the next cycle.

The city also needs an updated clean water permit from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, which requires a management plan governing stormwater pollution.

The report says, “As currently written, the new requirements could make basic road improvements so costly that the city would have to scale back its road maintenance and capital improvement program activities.”

The Walnut Creek City Council meets virtually at 1 p.m. Tuesday. To join, go to http://www.zoom.us and use webinar ID number 936 7897 8564, passcode 606068. The meeting can also be accessed by phone at (669) 900-6833.

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