*Note-I have to get my local news from the North County Times website because despite the fact that they have withdrawn $10 from my bank account I have never once received a paper on my doorstep.
Encinitas mayor upbeat in State of the City address
By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
ENCINITAS ---- Mayor Christy Guerin delivered an upbeat State of the City address Monday, emphasizing the positive, downplaying the negative and welcoming an audience of 250 to learn more about the city's finances.
"We invite all of our citizens to take a look at our budget, talk to our staff and council members, so that we can answer any questions or concerns that you may have," she said. "It's your dollars, and we are more than happy to share the information."
Guerin shared her concern that more than ever, city leaders must prioritize which capital projects to fund, because construction materials are increasingly expensive, she said.
"There have been challenges this past year and the year ahead of us will include them also, mostly financial challenges," the 22-year resident told her audience at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center.
In 18 months, the long-awaited Encinitas Community Library will open, Guerin said. She recounted the council's scramble to fill a $6.4 million funding gap in the $20 million project.
City officials have started to approve plans to replace Encinitas' three oldest fire stations, Guerin said. Her speech did not reveal her previously stated concerns that a $7 million budget probably won't be enough to finish the job.
She celebrated the completion of designs for four pedestrian crossings over the railroad. "In the next several years the council will be working hard to acquire funding to construct those crossings," she said. How much the crossings will cost, however, and when the first pedestrian will use one, is anyone's guess.
By the end of 2006, the city will respond to environmental concerns and certify an environmental impact study for the Hall property park, Guerin said. The park would be built as money becomes available, starting with ball fields.
"We are committed to moving as quickly as possible to get this park built," she said.
Toward the middle of her speech, Guerin addressed the recent defeat of a ballot measure that had asked property owners whether they would support a $5-per-month fee to help pay for the city's clean water program.
The loss of Proposition C "will be a continuing fiscal challenge as costs to maintain this program grow," Guerin said, "but I have the greatest confidence in both our staff and this council team to accept the challenge."
Despite any looming challenges, 92 percent of participants in a city-commissioned survey indicated that Encinitas is a "good to excellent place to live," she said. She cited the $10,000 survey of 300 residents later in her speech, reporting that 87 percent of respondents were "satisfied to very satisfied" with city services.