February Pleasant Hill Mayor's Message
Jan 30, 2017 07:35AM
● By Michael Harris
by Michael G. Harris, OD
Mayor, City of Pleasant Hill
As we begin the New Year and I begin my fourth term as Pleasant Hill’s mayor, I'd like to thank Mayor Sue Noack for helping make 2016 such a wonderful year for our city. Sue managed to attend every event in town and served our city with grace and dedication.
I also want to thank former Councilmember David Durant for his 17 years of service on the city council. David's knowledge and insight have made our city a better place to live and work. Congratulations to our recently re-elected Councilmembers Ken Carlson and Tim Flaherty and City Treasurer Mark Ceilo. Congratulations and a warm welcome to newly elected Councilmember Matt Rinn. And a special thanks to our marvelous staff for all the hard work and effort they put in on behalf of our residents.
2016 was a banner year for Pleasant Hill. We launched our mobile phone app, Ask PHill, which allows for fast and easy communication between residents and city staff. We completed numerous improvement projects, including the Golf Club Road Bridge replacement and new sidewalks on Boyd and Elinora. Other projects scheduled for completion early this year are the Contra Costa Blvd. improvements, Old Quarry Road roundabout, and citywide street resurfacing. The city will be spending $15.6 million on capital improvement projects this fiscal year to make your city safer and more beautiful.
To me, our most exciting accomplishment last year was the passage of Measure K, which opens a new chapter for our city. Passed with 67% approval, Measure K will add an additional $4 million per year to our coffers, which will be used for street upgrades, sidewalks, bike paths, storm drains, and a new library.
This year’s financial picture is extremely strong. Even before Measure K gets implemented, we anticipate $24.5 million in revenue, 38% from sales tax. Our estimated expenditures total $26 million, with the majority going to personnel costs and capital improvements. (Expenditures include additional funds for street resurfacing.)
In my previous three terms as mayor, I introduced programs to improve the quality of life of our residents: in 2005, Community Service Day, which celebrates its 13th anniversary this year; in 2009, the Senior Summit; and in 2013, The Pleasant Hill Education Initiative.
This year is no different. Based on the overwhelming support for Measure K, this year’s program will center on designing our new library. (Thanks to the Library Task Force for getting us to this point.) Imagine a modern library with ample free parking welcoming over 1600 visitors a day to an open floor plan with tens of thousands of books and other items. Space would be flexible to accommodate large gatherings as well as small afterschool activities. It would have conference rooms and study spaces for homework clubs and tutoring
The library would have an expanded children’s area and a teen area designed to provide a safe, social, and inspiring destination for young people. This 21st-century library would have state-of-the-art technology and equipment, providing the ultimate workspace for adults and students. And, it could have a Friends of the Library Bookstore, staffed by volunteers, with the proceeds going to library programs and collections.
Throughout the design process, there will be ample opportunity for public engagement and input through a series of workshops and public hearings. With your help, we will design and build a new library that will make our community stronger. For, "Without libraries, what are we? We have no past and no future."