Cody Campbell, Vista City Council-State of the City of Vista
The budget is in the best shape it has been for years. There have been gains in finances. There is more affordable housing projects including the projects on Santa Fe. The roads have been repaired including Bobier and Melrose and are the best they’ve been in years. In a recent survey/needs assessment Vista scored high with optimism at its highest among the under 30 group at 25-1; 30-65 group is at 5 to 1 and the 65 and over group is at 2 to 1.
Our unemployment rate is very low at 4.1%. The business market is good and the vacancy rate in our business park is very low. Our ½ cent sales tax has fully funded our City so we don’t have to go into our general fund and have saved millions of dollars. Our building reserve fund is 20% of operating budget. 100% of our property tax goes to fire and law enforcement as public safety is our #1 priority. We had very little damage from El Nino because of prior planning and preparation. Our fire department pay has been upgraded to medium and the deputy fire chief was promoted to chief after the chief retired. Vista is the Sheriff’s Department largest contract with dedicated officers. Crime is at the lowest it has ever been. Property crime is down due to information oriented policing where deputies use data to police highest crime areas and move as crime moves. Though the jail is here and more drug and petty property crime criminals are now released in Vista, our crime rate is still low, while other cities who don’t use data policing have seen and uptick in crime.
We are spending money on infrastructure including $40-$50 million on the pump station in the lagoon which will prevent us from having burst pipes. Vista owns 39% of the Encina plant in Carlsbad. We have spent $8 million on 13 parks from money from developer fees. There will be 2 new skate parks on Santa Fe. Paseo Santa Fe will be completed in the next few months and there is 100% occupancy in the new apartments. Phase II will happen in 2017. New business are moving in. Our business vacancy rate is below 4%. We have a cooperative business relationship with Oceanside, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Escondido to find business spaces for moving or incoming businesses.
There are some conflicts on the City Council and the dynamic changed with the last election. However, some ordinances have been passed including a ban on retail sale of dogs and cats. Now it only takes one member to introduce legislation which is helpful. Though the council doesn’t get along that well, they have managed to get some things done.
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