Council updates city goals, focuses on homeless strategic plan

Council updates city goals, focuses on homeless strategic plan
There has been an increase in homelessness across San Diego County, according to Communications Officer Andrea McCullough. Courtesy photo

VISTA — City Council updates its goals every two years, and did so most recently at an open workshop March 6. Vista residents were invited to provide their input at the beginning of the workshop. Department directors were on hand to answer questions from the city manager or other council members regarding specifics such as programs and activities.

Many of the city goals from 2018-2020 mirrored those from 2016-2018. Looking ahead, the itemized goals included Fiscal Responsibility; Homeless Strategic Plan; Continue to Improve Flow of Traffic, Reduce Congestion, and Improve Roads and Sidewalks; Continue to Decrease Blight and Improve City’s Image; Economic Development; Public Safety; Parks and Recreation; and Maintain Standards for Multi-Family Housing.

New to the city goals was the Homeless Strategic Plan.

Communications Officer Andrea McCullough said that across San Diego County there has been an increase in homelessness.

“The council wanted to come up with something on how to address this,” McCullough said.  “The city already gives funding to CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds.”

McCullough said that some of these funds go toward affordable housing or can be used to support organizations that help the homeless, such as Operation Hope or Solutions for Change.

Now that the council has determined this as a goal, McCullough said that City Manager Patrick Johnson and his staff will come up with the objectives to meet those goals. Once a plan is mapped out, it will be presented to the council for consideration. It’s a collaborative approach in which council members will then provide their input and further direction.

McCullough also said “sidewalks” was added to the 2018-2020 goals under the category of Traffic and Roads.

“One of the 2016-2018 goals was to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and continue to improve our roads, which is still a priority,” McCullough said.

During the 2016-2018 period, McCullough said, the engineering department was already working on sidewalks with limited funds from Safe Routes to School grants. She also said the city was incorporated in 1963, but before that time it was county incorporated, and there weren’t a lot of connecting sidewalks. 

When the city incorporated, there were older homes that didn’t have sidewalks, so there are still areas without them, she said. Therefore, the council wanted to add the goal to this category.

Another slight difference between the 2016-2018 and 2018-2020 goals was the change from Continue Fiscal Sustainability to Fiscal Responsibility.

“The council agreed they had achieved the emergency reserves that they want,” McCullough said. “Then every year, trying to reach a 30 percent reserve. This year in the budget year, before July 1, the city will have reached and anticipated reaching its 30 percent emergency reserves goal. So, their goal instead of continued fiscal sustainability is now fiscal responsibility.”

McCullough said although there was a discussion about removing the line altogether because the 30 percent was achieved, it was decided that the item would stay with a minor rewording.

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