Strengthening the city’s financial condition and prioritizing parks and recreation were among the broad goals the Guadalupe City Council adopted Tuesday as it begins development of the two-year budget to cover fiscal years 2020 to 2022.
The overarching goals, which will guide city staff as they begin to develop the budget for the next budget cycle, include improving the city’s financial stability, re-establishing parks and recreation as a city priority, revitalizing downtown and developing partnerships with other agencies.
On Tuesday, the council approved the goals in a 4-0 vote. Councilman Eugene Costa Jr. was absent.
In a crowded room at the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Center, high school students and youth advocates gathered for the second time to ask Santa Maria Joint Union High School District board members and administrators to realign their graduation requirements with those needed to gain admission to one of California's 31 public four-year colleges or universities.
Mayor Ariston Julian said an important component of improving the city’s financial health is ensuring that the City Council can continuously monitor city revenues and expenditures.
“In the past, we haven’t had the ability to see even quarterly financial reports,” he said. “We need that information so we can monitor where we are. We really need to make sure we’ve got our fingers on the pulse.”
Implementation measures to improve the city’s financial condition include prioritizing deficit reductions, balancing the budget and also exploring ways to increase revenue like tax increases.
Julian said the city should be thinking regionally about how to improve recreation-related facilities and services by coordinating with Santa Maria.
“There needs to be that strong collaboration because [Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department] is willing to help, as is Santa Barbara County,” he said.
Two goals identified as high priorities but dependent on resources to implement included continuing to focus on improving city facilities and infrastructure, and initiating public safety restructuring dependent on sustainability.
The Paul Nelson Aquatic Center and Santa Maria Valley Family and Youth Center were some of the beneficiaries of $1.4 million of federal funds were apportioned among different projects and community organizations during the Santa Maria City Council’s Tuesday meeting.
In other business, the City Council heard a presentation from the Squire Foundation about a proposal to loan Guadalupe art to display in central locations that are walkable and bikeable, and selected a resident to chair a commission that would review which sculptures would be displayed.
Under the proposed collaboration, the city of Guadalupe would provide space for exhibiting the art and hold community events to promote the work.
The Squire Foundation would install the sculptures and insure and maintain the artwork.
Jana Brody, artist in residence program manager at Squire Foundation, said the foundation hoped to begin the installation of the sculptures in the latter part of the summer. The sculptures would remain in Guadalupe for a minimum of five years.
“We at the Squire Foundation have a very strong mission on public outreach and public art,” she said, adding the foundation had successful art installations at Waller Park and Preisker Park in Santa Maria.
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LeRoy Park, Central Park and neighborhood parks in the Pasadera location were proposed as possible locations for artwork.
Brody suggested the city could develop bike or walking trails that go by each of the sculptures as a city attraction.
“I think it is a great opportunity for us to think outside the box,” Julian said.
City Clerk Joice Earleen Raguz was selected to chair a committee of volunteers who wished to review potential locations and sculptures for display.