Participatory budgeting Measure B info talk of Chamber breakfast

Posted in the Martinez Forum


Vallejo, CA

#1 Apr 18, 2013
Participatory budgeting Measure B info talk of Chamber breakfast

A room full of Vallejo's business and civic leaders got an ear-full of Participatory Budgeting and Measure B information at a Vallejo Chamber of Commerce-sponsored breakfast event Wednesday.

City Finance Director Deborah Lauchner told the audience that the funds raised by the voter-approved 1 percent sales tax are meant to help the city exit bankruptcy and refill its empty coffers. This is happening at an even faster pace than expected, she said.

The funds are supposed to help address areas such as public safety, infrastructure, community aesthetics, economic development, government efficiency and Participatory Budgeting.

The largest share of the $12.6 million estimated to come in for the current and part of the previous fiscal year -- 30 percent -- is earmarked for Participatory Budgeting, while the second biggest slice, 20 percent, is flagged for public safety.

Already, five police officers are being hired, upgrades to the police department's dispatch and records management systems are under way and a Neighborhood Law Program was formed to address blighted, vacant or neglected property-related issues, Lauchner said.

Two code enforcement officers have been hired, proactive graffiti abatement is under way and some funds are available to raze derelict buildings. Also, the marina was dredged, 875 trees have been trimmed and pavement is being repaired, she said.

Some Measure B funds are being used for upgrades to the Florence Douglas Senior Center, JFK Library, Cunningham Pool and the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum. A program also is being created to help the city better manage its records, Lauchner said. She added that ideas like hiring a citywide volunteer coordinator, implementing the city's economic development strategy, adding campaign finance reform and hiring even more police officers are being considered for next year.

The City Council will review Measure B proposals, and provide direction April 30. The city manager's proposed budget should be available May 15, with approval expected by June, she said.

But, with the power to find the best uses for more than $3 million in citizens' hands, the Participatory Budgeting portion got the most attention at Wednesday's event.

The 36 best community project ideas will be introduced in exhibits in coming days, with a final vote next month. Anyone 16 or older will be able to vote to implement up to six projects.

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