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Posted on April 6, 2017 at 9:58 AM by Raina Allan
Last month the City Council began its annual goal setting process, hosting a work session attended by more than 35 residents and property owners. During the work session, the Council and public began formulating a number of goals for fiscal year 2017-18. Areas of greatest interest included affordable housing, economic development, parking, City finances and communications; with the Council expressing the greatest interest in continuing to expand the City's affordable housing efforts.
In the last two years, the City has made significant strides forward to address housing affordability in our community. The City's work has focused on three main areas: partnering with local housing service providers to expand housing programs, working with affordable housing developers to implement affordable housing projects, and adopting new housing policies. These efforts have resulted in over $3.9 million invested in affordable housing programs and projects. Below is a breakdown of the programs and projects:
As the City Council continues its goal setting process, affordable housing is expected to be at the forefront of the discussion. The Council is currently working to re-establish the Community Housing Committee whose initial work assignment is anticipated to include recommending revisions to the City’s housing policies to ensure they align with the City’s housing goals and objectives.
During the goal setting session Council also identified the need for greater communication and more transparency, expressing interest in developing a City-wide communication and public outreach strategy. These efforts would continue to build on the communication strategies that have been implemented over the last two years as we continue to cultivate broader community engagement opportunities, particularly with our underrepresented populations. In addition to continuing our Community Conversations neighborhood meetings, we have expanded our neighborhood outreach efforts to include a new Coffee with the City community meeting that will be held at the SHED every three months. This is a casual meeting, hosted by me and City department heads, where residents and businesses are invited to come and learn about City projects and ask questions.
We also continue to increase our efforts on social media, expanding use of Facebook pages for the City, Senior Center, Fire Department, Community Services and SmartLiving Healdsburg, as well as Twitter. The City’s website also continues to deliver information to our community, reaching 162,413 visits in 2016, up 53% from 2015. Several technological improvements have also enabled us to improve access to information including creation of the GoHealdsburg app which enables customers to pay their utility bills or report a concern in our community electronically and launching OpenGov.com, a tool residents can use to access the City’s budget.
As we continue our efforts, we welcome your feedback on how we can better communicate what’s happening in the City.
Posted on January 11, 2017 at 8:37 AM by Kim Murray
Posted on February 3, 2016 at 2:25 PM by Kim Murray
One of the outcomes from City Council’s adopted goals for 2015 - 2016 was to complete a conceptual plan, cost estimates, and identify funding sources for a City owned Community Development Center (CDC). In order to better understand why it became a goal, it’s important to have a little background. In February 1997, when the new City Hall building was completed, staff from the old City Hall moved into the new building. At the same time, engineering, electric staff, planning and building staff located at the Corporation Yard moved into approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of industrial leased space on Allan Court (behind the new City Hall) currently referred to as the CDC. This relocation was intended to be temporary until a plan was created to expand facilities on the City Hall lot, to include the CDC.
In 2005, as the need for more space became apparent, City Council approved funding to lease an additional 2,500 sq. ft. of space. At the same time, the Council directed staff to look into constructing a city hall building annex within the three-year lease period for the CDC space. On March 3, 2008, staff presented a report prepared by ArchiLOGIX including a Preliminary Design Study. The project was tabled until a funding source was developed.
The current CDC building itself is a warehouse, which holds 22 to 25 employees. The City spends approximately $85,000 annually in rent and utilities. The interior requires significant upgrades in order to properly house City employees. Based on the cost of rent, utilities, and capital improvements the City set off to explore what it would cost to build a building on the adjacent City owned property next to City Hall.
In August 2015, the City Council City approved an agreement with Gelfand Partners Architects to create a conceptual design for a City owned CDC. Approximately 7,000 sq. ft. of space would be required to replace the current CDC. However, it was determined that if the City were to reconfigure the interior of City Hall approximately 3,500 sq. ft. of new space would be required to accommodate the CDC operation. Upon review of the existing City Hall space and square footage required to replace the current CDC, Gelfand Partners Architects found a reconfiguration of the existing City Hall to be the most efficient path.
The goal of a relocation of the CDC and incorporation into a reconfigured City Hall is to eliminate an ongoing rental expense, create a more resourceful and improved experience for our residents when working with the City, significantly improve overall energy efficiency, reduce our carbon footprint, decrease the City’s utility expense, and provide a better work environment for staff.
The City of Healdsburg will be hosting a public meeting providing information about the proposed City Hall remodel and improvements where City staff and representatives from Gelfand Partners Architects will review the process and recommendations for the remodel. The meeting will be held Thursday, February 11 at 5 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 401 Grove Street.
For additional information, please visit www.cityofhealdsburg.org or call 707.431.1137.
(posted on behalf of David Mickaelian - KM)