chamber-logo@2x

January 8, 2015

City Council
City of San Luis Obispo
990 Palm St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Subject: City Budget Goal Setting Process 2015-17

 

Dear Mayor Marx and Council Members:

For your consideration, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors respectfully submits our recommendations for the City’s 2015-17 Major City Goals. Consistent with input that the Chamber has advocated for in recent years, these key business community priorities were determined after extensive work, discussion and evaluation by multiple Chamber committees and our Board, involving more than 70 volunteers.

As the economic climate continues to strengthen and on the heels of the very successful renewal of Measure G, the half-percent sales tax, San Luis Obispo is in a position to move forward with important investments in the quality of life for its residents and for the success of local businesses. The recommendations below represent key opportunities for the kinds of resources and fiscal choices that will allow San Luis Obispo to move efforts forward for new economic growth and improvements to enhance the genuine character of San Luis Obispo. Our recommendations for the city’s investment of time, money and resources during the 2015-17 budget cycle include:

  1. Continued investment toward the implementation of the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan

Why:

  • Provides greater opportunities to live and work in San Luis Obispo
  • Sustainably increases our city’s base of revenues so city services can be preserved and enhanced
  • Supports the  retention and growth of  businesses and the pool of head-of-household jobs
  • Drives the development of much needed, community-benefitting infrastructure
  • Enhances community vibrancy for professionals and residents of all ages

How:

  • Build upon the progress made, implementing the next stages and strategies of the Economic Development Strategic Plan and maintain a focus on the conditions that support head-of-household job creation
  • Actively support the increase  of diverse housing stock in long-planned areas of the city so that we can develop more complete communities and great opportunities for people to live closer to where they work
  • Support funding for much needed infrastructure improvements that provide community-wide benefit so that the City sees a return on investment in the form of increased economic activity
  • Pursue the creation of an Infrastructure Investment Capital  Fund
  • Modernize the City’s zoning code to create greater flexibility and support the implementation of the updated Land Use and Circulation Element
  • Invest in technology infrastructure to increase San Luis Obispo’s competitive edge and enhance accessibility for tourists and the growing tech industries
  1. Pay down the City’s unfunded liabilities

Why:

  • Improve long term fiscal sustainability
  • Enhance transparency to how the City is addressing this challenge
  • Control costs in order to successfully meet the current and future needs and priorities of the community

How:

  • Analyze and implement the strategies to pay down the City’s unfunded pension obligations and engage the community in this discussion
  • Implement the objectives of the Fiscal Responsibility Philosophy
  • Be a leader in successfully and aggressively addressing this challenge by identifying the best practices from other municipalities on how to address pension obligations and engage the input of leading state and national experts on this issue
  1. Revitalize Mission Plaza and invest in infrastructure upgrades specifically in this area of town

Why:

  • Minimal progress has been made to revitalize Mission Plaza as described within the 2013-15 Major City Goal of “Assess and Renew the Downtown”
  • Mission Plaza is the physical, cultural, and spiritual heart of the city and is core to the city’s sense of place, community pride and community gathering
  • It’s critical to our City’s economic development and tourism brand as it attracts residents and visitors from around the world that raise our city’s profile and provide sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues
  • The Plaza continues to enhance the image of San Luis Obispo as a unique destination

How:

  • Identify sufficient funding to address this already established community goal
  • Further the vision of the Downtown Concept Plan with a focus on the Palm and Broad streets to Nipomo and Higuera street areas, the “dogleg”
  • Extend and improve facilities along the downtown creek-walk for pedestrians
  • Through public-private partnerships, work collaboratively and creatively with businesses that face Mission Plaza to create a safer, more attractive ambiance

Thank you for your consideration of these suggested Major City Goals and for inviting input from the business community. The Chamber’s recommendations reflect our continued focus on making long-term investments and informed fiscal decisions that are intended to support a balanced and prosperous community for generations to come.

We look forward to participating in the Community Forum on January 13, 2015 and believe these priorities will ensure a sustainable and prosperous economic future for those who live and work here.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Cuming 72

 

Cheryl Cuming

Chair of the Board 2015