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A strategy to prevail during tough times

Mayor's Report
By: Bridget Powers
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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the written address given by new Mayor Bridget Powers to the city Monday. It is my hope that the city can maintain its fiscal position and not be too impacted by the state’s further cuts that trickle down to us. This is a month-to-month concern and we will have reports often on where we stand with regard to the budget. While dealing with the budget we will remain short-staffed and we will be working with different strategies to keep our services flowing. Some of the strategies I will encourage are the development of a volunteer academy to help bring the talents of our citizens to city hall and reengineer internal operations of the city so that all employees are cross-trained and able to maximize their efforts in a very new era of government. We will again face labor negotiations with our unions and it is my hope that the discussions are treated with respect and a quick resolution can come of them. I want to thank all the employees of the City of Auburn for your hard work and dedication in these difficult times. Your efforts to maintain services at the highest level do not go unnoticed by your council members or the citizens of Auburn that you serve. I will be working with the city manager to develop new and more effective ways to communicate with our citizens and business community. We will be reviewing options from newsletters, to webcasts, to our own cable TV channel in order to make sure our citizens know what we’re doing, when we’re doing it and why. I’m sure that in this endeavor as well, we will rely on the skills and dedication of many of our talented volunteers. The city manager and I will also be out speaking to service clubs and associations to keep you informed on how the city is doing and what is happening in the way of city services and projects. I’m going to highlight a few of these projects in no particular order and may leave a few out. Unless, of course, you would prefer I speak for about another hour or so? Boys and Girls Club. Welcome. You found a home and it could not be a better place than right here in Downtown, Auburn. Phase one of the Streetscape will see a ribbon-cutting ceremony in January, weather permitting. This will be a great celebration for our city and I encourage all of you to attend. What started to be a $3 million project will be completed at just around $2 million. It is the desire of the Economic Development Commission to begin Phase 2 of the Streetscape project with the approval of the City Council and have it continue from where Phase 1 ends and head towards city hall along Lincoln Way and make the State Theater a landmark in our community. This phase will have less impact on the local businesses and the cost will be significantly less. The airport has seen great progress with the hangar project and the Airport Aviation Association is looking forward to hosting an air show again in 2010. It is my hope to encourage the City Council to approve the hiring of a part-time airport manager. These duties are currently being done by the city manager. The airport is in need of an onsite manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the airport. You will be happy to know that there has been an increase on leasing activity in the Airport Business Park and the phone is ringing at the community service desk with inquiries. The response from a recent industrial business park forum indicated that the business owners are interested in an Industrial Business Park Association. There is a group of dedicated people working on starting this association. The Economic Development Director for Placer County and I are looking forward to this coming to fruition as we are encouraged by some grant funds that may be available to help with monument signs along Highway 49 and Bell Road. The sewer plant construction will continue throughout 2010. This project started with a $20 million price tag and now the costs are just under $4.2 million. We have a dedicated public works department that came up with innovation solutions to realize these huge cost savings for our citizens. I will continue to encourage the SHAAC (Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee) to come up with our master Streetscape plan as quickly as possible. These are but a few of the projects we’ll be tackling in the next 12 months. I am excited and humbled to be serving as your mayor for the coming year and I truly appreciate your support. I look forward to both the challenge and the opportunities that the council and I will experience in the coming year. Thank you