Mayor's MessageJan 01, 2021 08:43PM ● By Sue Noack
Sue Noack, Pleasant Hill Mayor
On December 7, 2020, I was honored to be elected mayor by my fellow councilmembers. Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, there are many things to be optimistic about in Pleasant Hill. Our new library is progressing well. Although we definitely need rain, the limited rain so far has allowed significant progress to be made. As council subcommittee members, Michael Harris and I have been busy along with staff and our architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, in selecting furniture and fixtures. Luckily, BCJ presents us with only good options so Michael and I do not have to rely on our own interior decorating skills. The fundraising arm for many of these items and technology pieces is well underway, and more public information will be forthcoming in the new year.
Prior to COVID hitting, the General Plan Advisory Committee held several public meetings and events to get the community’s feedback on the vision for Pleasant Hill for the next twenty years. We took a hiatus at the beginning of the pandemic but are back on track now. We are reviewing one plan element at a time and hope many of you will join us at our online meetings. For further information about the General Plan, go to pleasanthill2040.com.
We will have challenges as we come out of this pandemic. Many of our local businesses have suffered or, sadly, closed in some cases. The city has tried to assist with outdoor dining options and resources as well as signage for social distancing. We will be looking at ways to support our city’s economic recovery through our Economic Development Committee along with the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce. Until we can fully reopen, please patronize our local businesses and restaurants as much as possible while continuing to wear masks and socially distance.
With a reduction in sales tax revenue and transit occupancy tax, the city’s finances have also been put under a bit of strain. The city implemented a hiring freeze and made operating cuts across all departments to alleviate some of the strain without sacrificing services to the community. We are fortunate that years of fiscal diligence resulted in a healthy reserve. The reserve was built to sustain us through an economic downturn like we are currently facing.
During this pandemic, we have also been addressing the many issues surrounding social inequity and racism. Our Civic Action Commission’s Diversity Subcommittee held four Town Hall Community Conversations. Each town hall dealt with a different aspect of these issues, and I hope to continue these in 2021. Our focus will continue to be a welcoming and inclusive city.
Throughout this pandemic, I have been so impressed with this community. To the businesses adapting to the ever-changing health regulations, the community using social media to stay connected and communicate important information, the essential workers, teachers and first responders working long and exhausting hours to keep our lives as normal as possible – thank you. This is what makes Pleasant Hill the fantastic community it is, and I am so proud to serve it.
Lastly, I want to note that it is with great sadness that I am writing this article for the last edition of the Community Focus. I have looked forward to reading the Focus at the beginning of every month. It was a great source of local information on people, businesses, and activities. It will be greatly missed, but thank you for all your efforts over the last several years.