Mayor Strikes Balance, Non-Political Tone in State of the City Address

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Beneath the surface of other issues that arose prior to the State of the City address, was the fact that we had a Mayor delivering the speech who was an announced candidate for the State Assembly, squaring off against one of his colleagues on council.

How would the Mayor handle that seeming tension?  In the end, Mayor Joe Krovoza struck an interesting tone in Tuesday’s State of the City address.  The Mayor offered praise even on policies that he had opposed and praised the work of individuals who have endorsed his opponent.

From the beginning, the Mayor seemed committed to striking a positive tone –emphasizing the positive accomplishments of the last year and downplaying political tensions and controversy.

He began by praising the city’s partnership with Woodland on water.  He called it, “a tremendous community debate that moved us forward there.”  “By partnering with Woodland,” he said.  “We saved no less than $25 million as a community.”

He gave praise to the Water Advisory Committee in the city that took a hard look at the project and found savings.  The DBO bidding process, he said, allow us to “know what our costs for this water project for the next 15 years.  So there’s not going to be any surprises.”

He warned the audience that the new rate structure is coming, come May 1, the six month summer period will start and become the basis of each ratepayer’s fixed rates for the January through December bills in 2015.  We have, “arguable one of the most controversial rate structures in the state of California.”  But he said, it was “unquestionably a rate structure that encourages conservation.”

He argued however that this was critically important “because we should never have to build another water project again, because we are going to keep living within the infrastructure we’ve got.”

The Mayor turned to sustainability and noted that the city has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  “54% of our carbon in the city of Davis is transportation based.”  The rest of the state, that figure is 40%, but in Davis it’s well over 50 percent, to fix that Davis is working on a huge multimodal transportation project, the Mayor said.

Mayor Krovoza gave credit to his colleague Brett Lee for pushing for the parking advisory committee.  “The capital cost of a new parking space, if we built it, and you pay for it, is $50,000,” he said.  “Before we built a new parking space, we want to make sure we’re managing our existing spaces as wisely as possible.”

The parking advisory committee was put together for that purpose, and while he said things like paid parking were controversial, “the result is for far less dollars, than the $50,000 cost of a new space, we’re going to create more spaces downtown.”

He added, “At the 4th and G Parking Structure, there are hundreds, hundreds, of parking spaces available right now.”

Mayor Krovoza also announced that “the City is very seriously looking at creating a POU – Publicly Owned Utility – we received our second big report on that in the last month, it continues to show… we can take greater control of our sustainability future and the savings of the rate payers of the city of Davis could be up to up 20%.”

The total savings could be between $103 and $134 million that would stay in the community if we went to a POU.

The Mayor was praising the work of techDavis in bringing in Chief Innovation Officer Rob White to Davis.  “We’re proud to be one of the few cities in America that has a chief innovation officer,” he said acknowledging that Rochelle Swanson led on the council to bring in a chief innovation officer.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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13 Comments

    1. B. Nice

      “The Mayor offered praise even on policies that he had opposed and praised the work of individuals who have endorsed his opponent.”

      Again, I’ll be sad to see Joe go, I wish I had gotten the opportunity to work with him sooner.

    2. Frankly

      Me too. Damn virus. Hope you feel better soon. I actually feel worse today and thought I felt pretty bad yesterday.

      I don’t get sick very often, so I am guessing this is a stronger bug and it will get most of us before it crawls back into its damp and dark cave.

  1. Matt Williams

    I too thought Joe’s State of the City address to the Chamber was very well done. Joe was at his best.

    The only minor flaw was that he used an outdated Budget slide which showed a $15.07 million Genral Fund Balance deficit at the end of year five rather than the current (mid-year) Budget slide which shows the $28.43 million Genral Fund Balance deficit that City Manager Pinkerton presented to Council on December 17th.

    Despite the numbers difference, the point Joe made was the same, specifically that the City’s Budget is in a world of hurt.

    1. Frankly

      I was at another meeting last night where the City Manager also used the old slide. I didn’t ask the question there, but somebody needs to confirm are we talking about a $5MM or $7MM annual deficit.

      1. Matt Williams

        The question is $3MM ($15MM divided by 5) or $6 MM ($31MM divided by 5)

        or

        $14MM (the $31MM divided by 5 plus the incremental $164 MM for the Deferred Maintenance of the streets and bike lanes divided by 20)

        or

        is it actually even higher than $14MM when you add in

        — $xxMM for the Deferred Maintenance of City-owned buildings/structures (for which we have no reserves set aside)

        — $yyMM for the Deferred Maintenance of City Parks and Pools, etc.

    2. Frankly

      And I agree that Joe was in good form. He struck a very good balance.

      Of course I was not happy that he didn’t make a bigger deal out of our failure to adequately develop our economy. I guess in this town those points would be too hot for politics. Instead, he talked about tax increases…. AGAIN!

  2. Michael Harrington

    Toad: lately? Lets see what the court concludes on our challenge to the constitutionality of the five year water rates package. and those sewer rates. Decision expected sometime this month.

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