LAFAYETTE -- Expressing a desire for frugality, officials have compiled a first draft of annual goals that will let the city address fire protection, public safety, traffic congestion and other pressing issues without breaking the bank.
City leaders met this week to refine a list outlining specific goals they hope to achieve this fiscal year. One of the most expensive -- traffic control alternatives at the Pleasant Hill Road and Olympic Boulevard intersection -- is estimated to cost about $1 million; officials are optimistic that could come from grants. Others measures, including revisiting a council policy regarding general fund reserves, could cost virtually nothing.
The annual goals will be reviewed at another public hearing in May following the creation of a budget, and would be implemented beginning in July, said City Manager Steven Falk.
The objectives, proposed by council members and gathered in a list by city staff, also include increased contact and coordination between Lafayette School District and city leaders; investigating alternative public safety delivery models in the wake of the recent fire station 16 closure; and implementing the Downtown Specific Plan, a hotly-debated set of growth guidelines adopted last year.
Officials also want to take a look at pedestrian and bicycle safety issues on the Moraga Road and School Street corridors, and at reusing the old library facility, which the city owns as part of a deal
Residents had plenty to say about these goals.
"A frivolous expense," wrote one resident in an e-mail city officials made available at the meeting regarding a suggestion to have Parks, Trails and Recreation commissioners explore artificial turf fields. "You must be kidding! No," responded another to an idea to study and develop a sound wall to reduce traffic noise for visitors to Lafayette Plaza.
Those attending Monday were just as passionate, if less caustic. One resident suggested officials revisit guidelines that would allow for building-height limits up to 45 feet in specific downtown areas. Another pitched forming a task force to address reduced fire protection in the wake of the fire station's closure.
But it was resident Suzanne Sommer's idea to form a health and safety commission that drew considerable interest from city leaders.
In a letter to the council, Sommer detailed issues the group could address, such as ambulance service and the availability of other emergency equipment in the wake of the fire station closure. She also suggested such a commission could save dollars, saying members could have studied the impacts of a traffic roundabout proposed by city staffers before the feature was designed. The council rejected the traffic calming measure last year.
Officials said they would check in with other groups, including the city's emergency preparedness and senior services commissions and environmental task force to see what health and safety measures are already in place.