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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 2:35 am | Fair 45º


Lompoc City Manager Gives State of City Address

Patrick Wiemiller identifies successes and challenges ahead during talk at chamber luncheon

During his State of the City address Thursday, Lompoc City Manager Patrick Wiemiller told those attending a Chamber of Commerce luncheon: ‘We deserve and expect the best in Lompoc.’
During his State of the City address Thursday, Lompoc City Manager Patrick Wiemiller told those attending a Chamber of Commerce luncheon: ‘We deserve and expect the best in Lompoc.’ (Jason Reynolds / Lompoc Chamber of Commerce photo)

Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl turned over the traditional mayor’s State of the City address to City Manager Patrick Wiemiller on Thursday at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon attended by more than 150 people. 
Describing Lompoc as “a city with deep roots and rich history,” Wiemiller said one of his biggest challenges since being hired in 2014 is the “paradox” of residents who love the community but are afraid of change and uncertain the city can afford new ideas. 
Wiemiller then asked the audience to raise their right hands and pledge, “We deserve and expect the best in Lompoc.”


“Community greatness does not happen accidentally,” Wiemiller said. “It is the result of being intentional, having a plan, laying out a blueprint, protecting the principles that lead to greatness and yet being flexible enough to make necessary adjustments as we travel along this path together.”
Wiemiller listed recent good news projects for the city’s economy in the works, including a new 160-room Hilton Garden Inn, a radiation oncology treatment center, completion of a traveling Children’s Bookmobile, annexation of Summit View Homes into the city limits, expansion of the Solvang Brewing Company in downtown, and the sale of the Lompoc Theatre to a nonprofit group to restore into a performing arts center in Old Town.
He said city staff are working to develop “amenities for the community” on 82-acres of city land near Hancock’s Lompoc Valley Center after proponents of an ambitious plan for a California Space Center failed to develop pledges of investment capital. 
“That’s a teaser, but it’s going to be neat,” Wiemiller said.
Wiemiller acknowledged city government had five tough years after the national recession in 2008, but said recent budgets have been able to fully staff police and fire personnel, and rehire Parks Department positions cut in the past.
Funding improvements to parks and sports fields, and replacing aging water, sewer and electric infrastructure, will be a significant challenge in the future, Wiemiller said.

In addition to a new fire station, the Police Department needs dash cameras, an improved evidence-storage facility and a new dispatch center.
Beyond city government’s needs, the community must deal with controversial decisions regarding future growth and the complex issue of homelessness, Wiemiller said.

“We are struggling with some significant issues in matters that are not always pleasant,” he said.

Wiemiller said his message to people who object to the presence of “those people” who are homeless is direct: “You need a cardiac exam. You need to get your heart checked.”
Lompoc is also facing significant land-use decisions in the future, with limited infill capacity remaining in the city limits and natural barriers to growth in three directions. 
“There’s no doubt that a healthy future for Lompoc necessarily includes growth,” he said. “We’re a fairly dense city already. The only proposal left is to grow to the west.
“Stay informed and please hold us accountable to make tough decisions that preserve our collective future.”
Lingl, in his opening remarks, called Wiemiller “the CEO of our community,” and said his hiring “was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made on the City Council.”  
Under Wiemiller’s leadership, Lingl said, “we’ve made significant strides toward being a more vibrant community and a stronger city.”
“He runs this company. Who better to give this State of City address?”

Noozhawk contributing writer Carol Benham is a longtime local journalist who lives in Lompoc. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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