A good year in San Carlos
Despite a tumultuous year on the national scene, in San Carlos we’ve made significant progress on important community priorities. As I turn over the mayoral reins, I want to take a moment to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together in 2016.
In the area of public safety, our law enforcement officers responded assertively to an uptick in burglaries early in the year, making arrests, engaging our community and quickly reducing the burglary rate. We also increased the number of crossing guards to make sure kids are safe when they walk to school.
To improve our fiscal standing, we increased our “rainy-day” fund from 10 percent to 12.5 percent of the city budget, and instituted new performance-based metrics to make sure that tax revenue is spent effectively and efficiently. We held the line on new assessments, with no increase in sewer fees and a only a 2 percent bump in garbage collection fees.
We upgraded parks and city facilities, including reopening the beautifully remodeled Adult Community Center, and choosing a new design for the Highlands Park playground, to be opened next summer.
We are now a more environmentally-friendly city, joining Peninsula Clean Energy and powering all city facilities, streetlights and traffic signals with 100 percent greenhouse gas-free renewable electricity.
To play our part in addressing the regional housing crisis, construction began on more than 300 new housing units, and we’ve added new fees on commercial development earmarked specifically for the creation of affordable housing.
To encourage more citizen engagement, we initiated the San Carlos Citizens Academy which proved so popular that we now have a waiting list for future classes.
To protect the popular mix of locally-owned small businesses on Laurel Street, we enacted an ordinance requiring the public review of requests from chain stores wanting to move into downtown.
To shield our calm and welcoming neighborhoods from overdevelopment, we enacted a moratorium on “lot splits” and began a public process to consider stronger limits on home sizes.
To reduce traffic, we added two new public transportation options. The very popular SamTrans 61 bus line now serves our local schools, and a new Caltrain commuter shuttle helps workers get to Eastside businesses.
Governing the City of Good Living has always been a team effort. We would not have accomplished so much this year without the hard work and dedication of my colleagues on the City Council, our city staff members and many individuals from our unique community.
Thanks to all of you who live in, work in and visit San Carlos. It has been my privilege to serve you as mayor.
This Op-Ed originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/opinions/2016-12-13/op-ed-a-good-year-in-san-carlos/1776425172699.html