Sept 2012 – City News by Mayor Pete Aquilar

Economic Development.  Street and Road Repair.  Increased patrol and police presence.  Safety Hall.  Investments in Parks and Open Space. The Redlands Mall.  Balanced Budgets.

By Mayor Pete Aguila

     Which of these priorities is the most important to Redlands? Which is most important to you? Or is there something we’re missing that should be prioritized above all of these.

      The City has no shortage of important priorities.  But we do have limited staff, revenues and resources to address everything that is important to our residents and local businesses. So how should the City allocate available resources to address those things that are most important to the greatest number of people?

     The truth is, the City doesn’t have all the answers.  What priorities are we missing?  Which are the top priorities? How do we stretch existing resources or find new resources to address each?

    What can the City do to attract high quality businesses, retain those we have and assure the success of our local economy?

         How do we make the significant capital investment needed to reverse decades of neglect on our City’s streets and roads?

      What is the appropriate size and role for our police force, which has been reduced along with other City departments as a result of decreasing revenues? And how does the City address the Police Department’s need for a permanent facility to replace the shuttered Safety Hall?

          Our parks, trees and open space are a large part of Redlands’ unique character. What can we do to properly maintain them and even expand our open space for current and future generations?

          The City doesn’t own the Redlands Mall and talks with the owners have been unproductive. How can we use the City’s existing asset – the parking around the mall – to encourage quality development there? Or is there another direction we should be taking?

          And, in the midst of all of these priorities, how do we maintain a balanced budget and continue to build reserves, as we’ve done for the past five years? 

          The City Council has asked for comprehensive review of these issues and will give direction to City staff to map out a strategy to address a few of these concerns at a coming meeting in October.

          The input from community stakeholders is essential. We welcome and appreciate your thoughts and comments as we begin to shape those discussions.

          As we begin these discussions, there are sure to be a wide range of opinions. This City Council has proven that we can work together to discuss important issues and significant differences in an atmosphere of respect, hammering out solutions that are in the best interest of our community. While we don’t always agree on items and priorities there is a genuine openness and desire to hear from each other and the community before we make decisions.

          The City Council and staff stand ready and committed toward setting priorities and discussing solutions with public input in the weeks ahead.  Be sure to let us know what you think.