Don Mosier | Del Mar Mayor
The City Council held their second retreat on March 26th to receive updates on the status of city finances and ongoing projects from the City Manager and Department Heads, and to establish a revenue-constrained priority list for the next two years. At our first retreat on January 22nd, the council discussed what they would like to accomplish, our “wish list.” This retreat focused on our “can do list”, given the limits of financial resources and staff time. The good news is that city revenues are improving, so we are not as financially constrained as the prior council was two years ago. The remodeling of L’Auberge and the success of the sidewalk cafés and the new restaurants in Del Mar have resulted in increased TOT and sales tax revenues. This will allow the city to take on some new projects, complete ongoing projects, and still maintain a 10% reserve balance in the general fund.
High priority projects include the Fairgrounds negotiations, getting the Beach Safety Center under construction, moving forward on downtown revitalization, and completing the 21st Street pumping station and the retrofit of the North Torrey Pines Bridge. Other short term projects include utility undergrounding on Camino del Mar, reviewing and commenting on the Fairgrounds Master Plan and Final Environmental Impact Report, and working with our SANDAG representatives to influence regional transportation priorities. We also must update our housing element plan. We agreed that more citizen involvement in advisory committees to the council was an important goal, and to start an outreach program to facilitate community conversations about council initiatives.
Other important projects that will be undertaken as soon as feasible include a general parking plan that reduces impacts to residents and recovers some of the expenses associated with the many visitors to our beaches, a master plan for the Shores property, a review of our long term pension obligations, and an update to our circulation plan for pedestrians and bicycles.
Del Mar has come through the economic downturn in much better shape than most cities thanks to our prudent financial management and the dedication of our city staff. We are fortunate to be able to move forward with these initiatives to make our small city an even better place to live.