Davis City Council members sat down together Tuesday to chisel out policy goals for the next two years while they serve together on the dais.
One by one, each council member prioritized the various issues facing the city of Davis, picking what they considered were the five most important to address, within six sub-categories: fiscal stability, economic development, sustainability, downtown Davis, community strength and effectiveness, and infrastructure.
The idea is that the comprehensive list will roughly determine the order in which the council deals with the various issues.
The items that were not placed at the top of the council’s to-do list will continue to be looked at by the city, however, just not as strongly as the council’s top priorities.
The council may further prioritize action items across the six sub-categories once City Manager Steve Pinkerton and his staff have digested the list.
Pinkerton and staff plan to come back at the council’s meeting Nov. 13 with a complete breakdown of what the council decided and perhaps with a tentative schedule of when and how the city can begin tackling each issue.
For fiscal stability, the council picked developing sustainable parks funding — while reducing the demand on the city’s general fund — as its top priority.
In June, Davis residents voted to renew the $49-per-year parks maintenance tax that generates about one-fourth of the funding the city uses to service its parks. The remainder comes from the general fund.
“I really would like to see us, and I’ve said this before while we were talking about our last budget, I would like to seriously explore raising that parks tax and ideally even linking it to improved recreational facilities,” Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk said.
In addition, the council chose addressing employee group contracts in general, pursuing shared services with other jurisdictions and considering third-party partnerships to deliver effective and efficient city services as its other fiscal priorities.
The council then moved to economic development and unanimously decided the two most important items were partnering with UC Davis and other regional players on business-related projects and supporting entrepreneurship in general.
Earlier this year, the City Council permitted Davis Roots, a startup business accelerator geared toward helping UCD businesses get off the ground, to move into the Hunt-Boyer Mansion downtown.
The council hopes to continue that trend, perhaps starting with entitling the Nishi property as the “downtown/university mixed-use innovation district.”
Continuing in the vein of economic development, the council then addressed downtown Davis.
From the list of issues facing the downtown, the council homed in on promoting mixed use and continuing the replacement of existing decorative lighting with LED lighting to further enhance downtown ambiance.
The council also seemed to be unanimous in agreeing to pursue a permanent downtown music venue.
In May, the council named the downtown a cultural arts and entertainment district, a mechanism to, among other things, enhance or introduce new art into the Core Area. The music venue could come as part of that plan.
Next, for infrastructure, the council keyed on evaluating water rate reduction strategies, supporting the Beyond Platinum bicycle action plan and improving bike circulation and safety in general.
The Beyond Platinum Plan — spearheaded by Dave Kemp, the city’s new active transportation coordinator — will enhance all bicycling aspects in the community over the next five years that Kemp hopes will result in a Bicycle World’s Fair and Exposition, held in Davis.
Under the fifth sub-category, community strength and effectiveness, the council identified the delivery of “premium public safety services to the community” as its top priority.
Beyond public safety, council members placed importance on creating a “second unit” or residential infill program and implementing a rental ordinance that would be used to ensure the proper use of rental units in the city.
Last, for sustainability, the council picked prioritizing and implementing goals from its Climate Action Plan as the most important issue in the community.
The council also chose advancing the development of a community energy plan such as switching to a Community Choice Aggregation system or even creating a publicly operated utility.
The council will formally adopt the goals it set Tuesday at its Nov. 13 meeting.
A full list of the goals the council had to choose from can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofdavis.org under City Council and Commissions, Council Meetings: Special Meeting Agenda — Oct. 30.
Before the council opened up its goals discussion, it made appointments to the Downtown Parking Task Force that it had directed city staff last month to create.
The parking committee will be responsible for advising the council on how to address downtown parking issues such as parking structure upgrades, streetscape enhancements and parking management in general.
The council hopes the group will specifically address those issues and come back with recommendations in six months.
The appointees are Jennifer Anderson, co-owner of Davis Ace, and Amanda Kimball, UC Davis, appointed by Lucas Frerichs; Robb Davis of Davis Bicycles! and Michael Bisch, co-president of Davis Downtown, appointed by Wolk; Johannes Troost, a Finance and Budget Commission member, and Rosalie Paine, owner of nestware, appointed by Brett Lee; Steve Tracy, a local transportation planner and member of Davis Bicycles!, and Matt Kowta, appointed by Joe Krovoza; and Lynne Yackzan, a local businesswoman, and Sara Granda, appointed by Rochelle Swanson.
— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash