Mountain View Voice

News - March 4, 2011

Council's new goals: no bags, more money, better transit

by Daniel DeBolt

City Council members suggested a list of goals Tuesday that could be approved this year in light of ongoing financial challenges.

City management proposed only four new goals for the city Tuesday and all of them had to do with balancing the city finances, both in the next fiscal year and in the longer term. City Council members added their own proposals for a vote at a future meeting.

Among the suggestions, council member Ronit Bryant said that the city should come up with a plan to fund the redevelopment of the Community Center at Rengstorff Park, which has been in the works for years and could be paid for with a bond measure. The city needs to figure out "what is achievable," she said. Several other members agreed.

Mayor Jac Siegel's list of goals included a look at banning plastic bags in the city, creating a zero waste program and studying the potential of running a shuttle system in Mountain View like Palo Alto's Marguerite system. Similarly, council member Margaret Abe-Koga said she would like to see a new focus on transportation planning in Mountain View and noted that this year, cities need to pay attention to State Bill 375, which is supposed to provide transportation funds for communities that use smart growth planning principles.

Both Councilwoman Laura Macias and Mayor Siegel said finding new city revenues should be a goal, such as figuring out how the city could make more money using its assets and properties, just as a business would, because "we have to pay salaries," Siegel said.

Council members were open to making suicide prevention a goal as suggested by former Palo Alto council member Victor Ojakian, but only if affordable measures could be taken. Council members had mixed opinion about making Caltrain issues and World Expo 2020 major goals, as some said that there was little the city could do about either. Siegel said he wanted the council to at least get a briefing on the effort to bring millions of visitors to Moffett Field and Mountain View in 2020.

Macias said that the city should "look at the future of Moffett Field" because it may not always be federal property and a large part of it is under Mountain View's "sphere of influence." She also supported the plastic bag ban, and a look at how the city may fund a large new park in the Whisman Neighborhood.

The city manager's office proposed a goal to begin work on studying long-term revenues and expenses of the Shoreline Community, as promised to parents and school officials last month in a landmark deal to give schools $13.6 million in Shoreline Community property taxes over three years.

Other budget-related goals included coming up with potential mid- to long-term budget strategies and strategies to finance downtown projects and maintenance as the city's downtown tax district comes to an end in 2013.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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