Mayor's Message Pleasant Hill
Dec 06, 2017 10:25AM
● By Michael Harris
It's Been a Very Good Year!
By Michael G. Harris, OD, Mayor of Pleasant Hill
2017 has been a very good year for Pleasant Hill. I’d like to share some of our city’s highlights and accomplishments with you and thank our wonderful staff for the great job they do for our residents and for help with this column.
Public Safety is Always Priority Number One
This past year our police department completed the deployment of body worn cameras for all police officers. The PD also secured grant funding for a community resource officer to support services for homeless individuals in our community. The PD oversees 52 neighborhood watch programs and has expanded the school outreach program, where officers work with staff, parents, and students to ensure safety in and around our school.
Our engineering division completed the construction of the Contra Costa Blvd. Complete Streets Project and began the $5.3M Golf Club Road/Old Quarry Road Improvements Project, including the city’s first roundabout on Old Quarry Road. Staff has installed new city gateway signs at major entryways into the city.
The city spent over $3 million on street resurfacing this year and completed 7,500 square feet of citywide pothole repairs on residential, arterial, and collector streets. During the resurfacing, almost six miles of new bike lanes were installed along various streets throughout the city. Staff is completing the city’s first Citywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which will identify existing bicycle/pedestrian facility locations and design templates and future needs throughout the city.
With new funding from Measure K, the city is developing a long-term pavement management plan, with significant resurfacing of residential streets over the next five years. Engineering staff secured over $6.8 million in grants for a number of future capital improvement projects on Pleasant Hill Road, Contra Costa Blvd., and a proposed new intersection traffic signal at Gregory Lane and Elinora Drive. Staff is developing a 20-Year Citywide Storm Drain Infrastructure Assessment and Maintenance Plan to evaluate the current conditions of storm drains and prioritize needed upgrades and their cost.
Project Information Map
The planning division created a new interactive project information map on the city’s website to provide better public information about all projects as they move through the planning process. The map can be viewed at https://pleasanthillca.icitywork.com/.
The city ended the 2016-17 fiscal year with a general fund savings of $4.3 million from careful management of expenditures and increased revenues. We also maintained a general fund reserve of $8.9 million, which is consistent with the city council’s reserve fund policy. The overall general fund balance as of June 30, 2017, was $12.6 million.
The city supported numerous special events, including the weekly Off the Grid food trucks, farmers’ market, International East Bay Jewish Film Festival, Fourth of July Celebration, Blues & Brews Festival, The Amazing Race, Downtown Summer Concert Series, and Art Wine & Music Festival.
City commissions and staff also organized numerous successful community events, including Senior Spring Cleanup Day, Citywide Garage Sale, Summer Concert Series at City Hall, Community Service Day, Light Up the Night Holiday Celebration, a vocational college and career fair, and the second annual free Family Caregiver Workshop.
As mayor, I had the opportunity to host students from various schools at City Hall for mayors for the day, mock city council meetings, presidential volunteer service awards, and holiday caroling.
Pleasant Hill Tourist Improvement District
The city council authorized the formation of a new Pleasant Hill Tourist Improvement District (PHTID) to promote and market Pleasant Hill as a destination to increase hotel stays in the city. The Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce will administer the program. The district will generate substantial revenue for marketing and advertising at no cost to city residents or businesses.
The council established the Measure K Oversight Committee to review all revenue and expenditures from the new half-cent sales tax and make recommendations to the council.
New Housing Projects
The city approved two new housing projects with 62 new homes, including affordable units, and a Carmax Auto Dealership. That development, along with shops, restaurants, a food court, and dog park, will turn the blighted DVC Plaza into a major retail center.
The city council changed the city’s cannabis ordinance to allow up to six plants per household for personal use and directed staff to prepare a moratorium on the commercial sales of cannabis for adult and medical use.
For me, the most significant highlight of 2017 was the hiring of the award-winning architecture firm of Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson to design our new Pleasant Hill Library. We have begun a series of public outreach to get your input into what you envision for our new library. Please take advantage of these opportunities to contribute your ideas and aspirations for the Pleasant Hill Library of the future! After all, it's going to be your and your children’s library.
Yes, indeed, it's been a very good year in Pleasant Hill, with many more to come!