New Mount Shasta Mayor Barbara Wagner was asked to give her perspective on important issues the city’s going to be facing in the coming year and significant issues that either did or did not get resolved successfully in the past year. In response, she wrote the following, with subheads added by the newspaper and other minor editing:
Thank you for the chance to speak about some challenges our local government faced in 2018, and what we can anticipate for 2019.
City decided against pursuing sales tax for non-profits
The Council considered placing a 2.5% sales tax on the ballot to provide additional funding to non-profits, to be divided up at the City’s discretion. We decided against this for several reasons. Given, the large number of organizations requesting funds, the final amount to any one organization would be small. Criteria for qualifications for funding would need to be set. We knew there would be other initiatives on the ballot, such as the Parks tax (Measure P), and the Cannabis Tax (Measure S), which would diminish the possibility of a successful outcome. In addition, consideration of over taxation is important, especially because of the recent increase in utility rates.
We were asked to focus our efforts on what the City’s main role and responsibility is, that is, to provide infrastructure and services. We decided it was best for non-profits to create their own ballot initiatives.
General Plan vision for the year 2045
The General Plan for the year 2045 defines the City blueprint for decades to come. The Planning Commission launched a visioning survey to collect input from the public regarding the direction of the City. The results of this survey helped produce our Vision, a snapshot of what the community hopes for the City in 2045: The City of Mount Shasta is a diverse, innovative, and walkable small town surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty that is easily accessible from a vibrant downtown full of strong locally-owned businesses. The City takes pride in the ability of its residences to connect with each other as well as its own capacity to support local industry and provide cutting edge infrastructure while preserving the rich, natural environment.
The installation of the SMART meters caused some disruption. Here, jurisdiction comes into play. The installation of power meters is under the jurisdiction of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Installations with a higher adoption rate contributed their success to an extensive marketing campaign that began as much as a year in advance of installation. Pacific Power experienced a fairly-high rejection rate in our area, with many opting out of the upgrade, and choosing to continue instead with the analog meter.
Using Social Media
The City uses Social Media to communicate with and inform citizens. With this tool, it is important to stay within the guidelines of the Brown Act. To help clarify the restrictions of the Brown Act, an article is available in the City’s Fall Newsletter.
Considerations when doing big projects and contracts
Sometimes, by the time the Council is notified of a potential project, some of the baseline decision making has already been done. Without an explanation of how the project was initiated, the Council has additional work to unravel the beginnings of the project, to better understand the scope. When a pretty package is presented with gift wrap and a pretty bow, questions about what’s in the box, prior to accepting the gift, can be taken as objectionable by the gift bearer. This was the case for both the library expansion project and the Broadband contract. A thorough briefing of the background, current data, case studies, modern trends, local expertise, is important to consider when doing big projects and contracts.
Being prepared for disaster
2018 brought an unprecedented smoky summer, during a period of highway construction. This combination of circumstances raised some concern about adequate exit routes during an emergency. Highway construction will occur again in 2019.
To address emergency preparedness concerns, the City Manager is working with other agencies, such as the Forest Service and the Fire Department, to help set Wild Fire priorities. While the fire season is still months away, now is a good time to consider what is needed for your household, and for your business, if we are once again facing the possibility of a wild fire in our area.
Looking at lessons learned and being well prepared for disaster will greatly increase our chances for a successful outcome.
Finding common ground
2019 offers the opportunity to be more inclusive. It is important to find common ground, to go about solving a problem with many sides looking at a specific problem from different angles. By being open to the various perspectives, creative, innovative solutions can surface.
A time to talk to Mayor
All the best of wishes for 2019. If you would like to have a conversation with the Mayor, she will be at Berryvale on Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. to meet with the public.