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Goleta Council Talks Strategy in Updating Its Strategic Plan

City leaders also grant a $200,000 Redevelopment Agency loan and defer a decision on a facilities reserve study

The Goleta City Council did some stocktaking Tuesday afternoon as it considered updates to its Strategic Plan, a wide-ranging list of goals, objectives and priorities the city revisits periodically to guide and assess its progress on a variety of issues.

Among the things the city can strike off its to-do list include goals such as participation and promotion in the 2010 federal census, addressing the city’s growth management ordinance (a county hand-me-down ordinance that recently was retired) and the initiation of a parking ordinance in Old Town Goleta.

Other items on the “completed” list require further work, according to some council members. The pursuit of outside funding for transportation and other city improvements is essential, Councilman Roger Aceves said, as is the continued dissemination of Old Town-related information, which will be coming via the soon-to-be released Old Town Bulletin.

Council members added some items, including a meeting with the Goleta Water District to hash out common issues regarding growth and development.

“What we do impacts them, and what they do impacts us,” Aceves said.

Councilwoman Margaret Connell suggested an emphasis on a business-related partnership with UCSB, given the recent steam lost on the Venture Acceleration Initiative, a partnership that sought to collaborate over tech-incubator businesses.

Looking to the future, the council put down as a topic for consideration for a future Strategic Plan meeting the creation of a commercial property inventory within the city for potential marketing purposes, and along with it a list of entitlements to the properties and pending applications.

Still on the city’s burners are projects involving the revenue neutrality agreement with the county, an employee housing assistance program, the city’s Zoning Code and the creation of a foot patrol, among others.

The council will revisit the Strategic Plan in March 2011.

On Tuesday evening, the council, acting as the Goleta Redevelopment Agency — minus Councilman Ed Easton, who recused himself — voted to grant Surf Development Co. a one-time forgivable loan of about $200,000 from the agency’s Low-Moderate Income Housing Fund. The money goes to the development of Braddock House in the heart of Old Town Goleta that is slated to become all-affordable housing for low-income people with developmental disabilities.

Surf Development Co. is a nonprofit affiliated with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. The company has 54 other affordable housing units in the city of Goleta.

Also, faced with the somewhat prohibitive costs of rehabilitating city-owned facilities, the council voted to defer its decision to allocate money according to its facilities reserve study findings.

Steve Wagner, Goleta’s community services director, said the total estimated immediate need to rehabilitate facilities such as the library, buildings at Stow Grove Park and potentially the Community Center, come to about $217,000 a year. Over the 20-year projection of the study, the cost is estimated to be about $1.97 million.

Funding could have come from what the council set aside for the Measure a Maintenance of Effort, a baseline assessment of money required to be spent to qualify for funds from the recently enacted half-cent transportation sales tax. The MOE was recently adjusted down such that the city now has an estimated $200,000 that it no longer needs to pay toward the MOE.

Council members, however, weren’t comfortable with the ongoing uncertainties that remain despite the study.

“It seems unsatisfactory at first blush,” said Councilman Michael Bennett, pointing out other expenditures the city is faced with, including the reinstatement of a detective position. Other problems, he said, could come in the form of unanticipated repairs or more work.

Mayor Eric Onnen, meanwhile, said that the $200,000 meant for the MOE already came from reserves.

The council instead voted 4-1, with Aceves dissenting, to receive the report but defer allocations, pending more information and decisions on other potential large expenditures.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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