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Local News

Goleta Sees Hope in Future for State of the City

Mayor Margaret Connell says the city will stay 'lean and effective,' and that next year's revenue bump from its agreement with the county will help maintain services

Goleta has much to be thankful for 10 years after incorporation, Mayor Margaret Connell said during Friday’s State of the City address at the Elks Lodge in Goleta.

“Times are tough, but we’re used to running a tight ship, and we’ll continue to be lean and effective,” she said at the event, sponsored by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The city government hopes to maintain services with next year’s “revenue bump,” the first payout after portions of the revenue neutrality agreement with Santa Barbara County expire.

For the first time since incorporation, there’s a clear picture of who lives, works and visits Goleta since it participated in the 2010 census, City Manager Dan Singer said. With 11,500 dwelling units, the population has fallen about 3 percent, a trend seen in other South Coast cities. Goleta has very low rates of foreclosure, vacancies and unemployment (4.8 percent) while it brings in high numbers of visitors.

City officials touted the relationships with businesses, schools and other agencies.

With 1,668 active business licenses, the city is home to multibillion-dollar corporate businesses and small start-ups. Big private development projects in the works include the Cabrillo Business Park, hotels and housing complexes, and city officials acknowledged the successes of many Goleta-grown companies such as Deckers Outdoor Corp. and Cottage Health System.

Singer quipped that revenue charts look like Mount Kilimanjaro, as they peaked at 2007 and have dropped off ever since. The $3 million-or-so bump from the revenue neutrality agreement comes in bed and sales taxes, the most volatile areas.

“It’s important because to some extent, we do become a little more vulnerable,” Singer said.

The new contract with MarBorg Industries was a “huge victory” for the city at a time when all other utility costs are increasing, he said.

Steve Chase, director of Planning and Environmental Services, said that 61 capital improvement projects are in the pipeline but would be jeopardized by the elimination of redevelopment agencies.

In closing, Connell said the city hopes to continue its work on the strategic plan, noting that it’s exploring the purchase of the Glen Annie Golf Club.

She also thanked the city attorney’s office and past city councils for their dedication in supporting the city’s rent-control ordinance at Rancho Mobile Homes.

“They have never flinched,” she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review the ordinance, allowing an earlier ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to be upheld.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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