Following his swearing in as Antioch's new mayor, Wade Harper outlined a strategic plan to deal with crime, economic growth and neighborhood improvement.

This strategic plan will not only need input from the council members and staff, but it really needs input from its residents.

Considering that our of some 47,000 registered voters and a population approaching 104,000 that the city council chambers never seem to have more than 20 residents attending.

As your City Clerk, I will be soliciting new ways that we can get resident involvement through the city website and social media for all those residents that just can't make it to those council meetings or study sessions.

And it is important for residents to understand the financial implications to the city's budget, long term and short term, on each strategy that might come forward.

While the 300-page plus city budget document might be intimidating, it is actually laid out in a format that can be understood. That is once you realize there are budgets outside of the General Fund, such as the Enterprise Funds (which are run as a separate business like the Water Fund), and restricted funds like the various Street Lighting and Landscape Districts where the revenues can only be used within those districts), and most importantly the "strings" that come with some city revenues that limits their use.


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Beside the city budget, there are several other important documents that guide and determine how Antioch operates, which are worth reviewing to have a better understanding of our city government.

The first is the General Plan, which lays out the direction the city council wants the city to go and is essentially its "constitution."

Next is the city's Zoning Ordinance, which determines how individual properties may be used and what restrictions there are on individual properties.

The Municipal Code sets out all the ordinances for the city.

The Master Fee Schedule lists all the charges and fees for everything from renting a picnic area at Community Park to the cost of building permits and everything in between.

All of these documents are available to view or download on the city website (www.ci.antioch.ca.us), which is free and saves you the cost of purchasing a hard copy or taking the time to go down to city hall and looking at a copy.

Looking forward, the new four-member city council has chosen to seek applicants to fill the vacancy on the council when Wade Harper was elected mayor, as opposed to selecting the candidate that received the third highest number of votes, which was outgoing Mayor Jim Davis.

On a personal level, this is reminiscent of 2008 when the new council chose to do the same thing when Jim Davis was elected mayor, thus creating a vacancy on the council.

Applicants, who must be a registered voter in Antioch, is being asked to submit a nomination paper with no less than 20 and no more than 30 signatures of registered Antioch voters, a FPPC Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest, and a maximum 400-word "candidate statement" by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 to the City Clerk's office.

These documents will be available as part of the Council Agenda for the Dec. 18 Special City Council meeting. At that time, each candidate will be offered the opportunity to speak for no more than three minutes. Then the council will consider the applicants where a council member (not the mayor) may make a motion to appoint one of the applicants. It will require a second, provide for council discussion, and then a vote which would require three affirmative votes to approve the appointment.

The public should be able to speak on the agenda item and applicants qualifications before the council takes their vote(s) to appoint.

Arne Simonsen is the Antioch city clerk. Contact him at arne@arnesimonsen.com.