Where do we go from here?
It does appear this fine little town is approaching a critical time. There are financial and service issues at the top of the list, but guess what? We are still not taking any immediate action to resolve those very critical issue.
Yes, the Amports fees and the giveaway of the Yacht Club can be considered short-term fixes but what is short term? Is it two years? I think not, try more years than the mayor/council wish to talk about.
It is getting to the point that I think the Planning Commission and the Historical Society are running this town, not the mayor/council. I do know that the mayor/council would disagree with that. That may be the case, but resolution is the answer, not words.
First off, I would like to see a long-term economic plan, not a Wolf plan. That would put the needs of the city out front. It would also show the lack of revenue needed to keep this city on an even pace. Without a long-term economic plan, this city is in danger of losing services. As I have said before, we do look as if we will get barely by in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 budget years. But after that, watch out.
The 2018 council election is going to be a very important election. It will not be won on the back of crude by rail or a sanctuary city state rule. It will not be won punishing the local refineries either. It will be won on building relationships/partners with those that can take part in a very strong economic development plan. The Wolf $605,000 investment will not get it either. In the short term, the existing council/mayor must start putting the effort into short term fixes. It may mean not using Measure C money as intended but use it to shore up our city staff and keep our reserves at the desired 20 percent.
The former interim city manager left a very strong message on Jan. 9, which serves as a very good marketing outline that could very easily be accomplished for a good start. He did suggest a goal of maintaining a 25 percent reserve instead of the present 20 percent. There are many very good points in this executive summary. I urge all to get a copy and review it. This is your city. It is now going to be in the hands of a new very talented city manager. It will not be easy, but with strong guidance from the new city manager we may be able to turn the council/mayor attention to the financial shortfall this city will be facing.
I do trust that the new city manager will see that right away and suggest an action plan. I will be watching the action of the mayor/council very closely to see what goes on the council meeting agendas. That is where it starts. “The Owl” is always watching. Stay tuned.
Bob “The Owl” Livesay,
Do you have opinions based on Benicia Herald articles or issues or events happening around town? Send your letters to email@example.com or by snail mail to Benicia Herald, 820 First St, Benicia CA, 94510. Letters are asked to be no more than 500 words and may be run on a space-available basis.