City Manager reflects on first 100 days on job
Kerry Miller makes predictions for 2007
By: Cheri March
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 1:32 PM PST
After 25 years in half a dozen cities, City Manager Kerry Miller is happy to call Folsom home.
As he approaches his first 100 days in office, an enthusiastic Miller reflected on his time in Folsom, his hopes for the city's future, and what brought him here in the first place.
Several years ago, Miller assumed he would retire in Encinitas, the coastal Northern San Diego County city he had managed for seven years. But as his family migrated towards Reno and the Bay Area, Miller, a Northern California native, changed his mind.
"I was feeling lonely seeing them so infrequently. It made me realize if I had the chance to relocate, I would - and I couldn't be more delighted with this community," he said.
Upon his arrival, Miller quickly noticed similarities between Folsom and Encinitas. The communities shared comparable median incomes, school test scores, and a landscape of rolling hills.
Encinitas had reached build-out. Not including the annexation on south of Highway 50, Folsom is beginning to grapple with approaching build-out, Miller said.
Both cities went through the challenging process of building a new library. Encinitas' nationally recognized Main Street program reminded Miller of the Historic District revitalization in Folsom.
Initially, Miller thought no staff could beat his "top-notch" Encinitas crew, but Folsom proved him wrong.
"There's good decorum between the five city council members and how much time they are willing to dedicate. They're a great staff," he said. "I look forward to developing real team-building programs to further cement working in the same direction with the community vision."
Recently, Miller appointed Evert Palmer and Nav Gil as Assistant City Managers and David E. Miller as Community Development Director.
"I couldn't be more delighted with the recent appointments," he said, explaining that he prefers to first look for talent internally.
The new Assistant City Managers had nothing but good things to say about their boss.
"We're very excited to have Kerry as city manager; he brings a great deal of experience," Palmer said. "And it's very good timing. There are exciting things happening with the opening of the new library and the groundbreaking of the new bridge. He's the right person at the right time."
Like Palmer, Miller agreed that 2007 will be an exciting year and he predicted several issues would dominate. At the top of his list is the annexation of land south of Highway 50.
"The annexation is probably the most significant in the total scheme of things," he said. "The prospect is very exciting. We're planning so that future development preserves our quality of life and is something the entire community can be proud of."
Miller is hopeful the annexation will be well underway this year. An agreement has already been worked out with the county. The community and property owners have embraced a land use plan, he said.
Another significant development will be the bridge project. With an expected completion date in late 2008, this year will see the groundbreaking for a highly anticipated bridge that will alleviate congestion caused by the closure of Folsom Dam Road.
Also on Miller's mind is the revitalization of Folsom's Historic District.
"Sutter Street is a diamond in the rough. I can't begin to imagine what its potential may be," he said.
Miller called the project fun, but challenging. "The challenge is in developing a streetscape that builds upon and enhances its character," he explained.
He is well qualified to oversee the project, When Encinitas underwent its own revitalization under Miller's management, shops not only remained open, but actually generated more income during construction than before.
As for his personal goal of being close to family, Miller now sees his children and grandchildren almost every weekend. Living in Folsom, he is conveniently at the center of his children's Reno, Tahoe, and Bay Area homes.
"This holiday was the first in many years that almost the entire family was together," he said.
Though he misses Encinitas, he is happy to be in Folsom, he said. "I love living here. I enjoy driving to and from work, seeing the beautiful trees out the window."
A self-proclaimed fast-food addict, he is also in love with Folsom's abundance of restaurants, including his favorite, Mel's.
"Give me a Vanilla Coke and a hamburger, and I'm in 7th heaven."
Kerry Miller looks just like the Dad from the tv show 7th Heaven. It's uncanny ain't it?