SOLEDAD — Soledad City Council along with city staff have been busy over the past year to make progress in several goals that were to be the focus of the council in many categories. The council developed several goals for 2017 in different areas.
In the Administrative category there were priority areas, including updating the housing element of the general plan, updating the other elements of the general plan, conducting an audit of the Transit Occupancy Tax compliance, development of a Community Facility District Measure to help fund Public Safety Services/City Services and conduct neighborhood and community meetings.
The first priority for the updating of the housing element of the General Plan had specific goals concerning Measure Y, a 1 percent sales tax measure that sunsets after 15 years. The goal included funding for the Measure Y committee who decides what those funds should be used for, and then those recommendations go to the City Council.
According to City Manager Michael McHatten, city staff submitted to LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) a request for annexation; discussions are still ongoing between the City of Soledad, Monterey County and LAFCO regarding Bryant Canyon Road and the tax sharing agreement. The project remains on track, and in 2018 the Planning Commission along with the council will be considering a Specific Plan for Miramonte.
The next priority, conducting an audit of the Transit Occupancy Tax, is at 12 percent currently, and the city is working through a consultant to audit the income on a two- to three-year basis. The number of visitors to Soledad has changed since Pinnacles became a National Park.
“The TOT audit launched the beginning of September,” said McHatten.
Another priority the City has is the Community Facility District Measure to help fund Public Safety Services/City Services. In 2017, the police departments from Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City started working together to strengthen regional law enforcement. One effort made was the survey that was on the City webpage to solicit responses.
The City also approved an agreement for Professional Services with Willdan Financial Services to provide a Fee Study update.
“This is an important first step in identifying potential revenue sources in advance of initiating a Community Facilities District,” said McHatten.
The last priority to conduct neighborhood and community meetings, also part of strengthening regional law enforcement, is making progress. McHatten said the Parks and Recreation Committee met on a variety of issues and had significant discussions regarding both current and future needs and progress.
“For now, the position of a Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator is not part of the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget,” said McHatten. “We may reconsider adding the position at mid-year.”
The City also reached out to the community through National Night Out held at the YMCA and hosted by the Soledad Police Department. An Immigration Task Force for South County also conducted a “Know Your Rights Forum” at the Soledad Community Center. The council and Soledad School Board District held a joint meeting as well in November that McHatten along with Superintendent Tim Vanoli and Brigid Massie are scheduled to meet about to review and compile results and future outcomes.