Measure U funds will address needs of neighborhoods

Summer is here – and we have a city budget for next year.

After much public engagement, public comment and discussion, the council approved the 2019-20 budget. This budget uses new Measure U dollars, about $50 million a year, to invest in our neighborhoods with the greatest need.

We will be able to fulfill promises made to communities that have not been kept for many years.

I want to acknowledge and thank SCNA for sending a letter of support for these types of equitable expenditures.

Measure U funding will take multiple approaches. First, about $10 million per year ongoing will support additional code enforcement officers, community service officers and other infrastructure investments to ensure city services are responsive to our neighborhoods. Second, the city, in collaboration with a newly formed Measure U Community Advisory Committee, will make capital investments with the goal of improving neighborhoods, catalyzing the local economy and creating jobs.

Some examples that I will be proposing for funding in District 5 include building a mercado on Franklin Boulevard (in partnership with the Franklin Boulevard Business Association and County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy), supporting La Familia’s Workforce Opportunity Center across the street from the Maple Neighborhood Center, our MedZone project in Oak Park (in partnership with the Sierra Health Foundation Center for Health Program Management) and our Urban Ag Center in Mangan Park. We will also work with UC Davis to identify potential city investments in the Aggie Square project. Each of these projects, when operational and successful, will boost the economies and create jobs in their respective communities.

By bonding against $16 million of annual debt service, the city will have approximately $250 million in one-time funds to invest in capital projects such as those listed above. This is in addition to $20-30 million that can be invested annually in one-time or ongoing initiatives.

We must invest in our most at-risk neighborhoods. Without question, using the second half-cent for inclusive economic development initiatives will put pressure on our overall budget to ensure we adequately support all of our employees and meet our pension obligations.

The city has contracted with two organizations to offer recommendations for savings and efficiencies. We will get their reports this July, and I look forward to sharing those recommendations with the community for input and City Council consideration.



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