On Feb. 7, I delivered the mayor's State of the City address to the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce, highlighting some of the city's accomplishments.
I share some excerpts here.
"We all know Pleasant Hill is a great place to live, work, raise a family, conduct business and play. Our citizens are highly educated and we have fantastic schools from preschool through college all right here in Pleasant Hill.
We have excellent parks, thanks to our Rec & Park District. Our city is walkable, it's bikeable and we have wonderful commercial areas from our northern border on Contra Costa Boulevard to the downtown and all the neighborhood commercial areas in between.
I believe that if we conducted a survey of the citizens of Pleasant Hill we would find that they love their city and they are extremely happy to be here.
The Pleasant Hill Library is one of the most highly utilized library facilities in the county, despite being open five days per week for 35 hours, which is below average for the county. It is an aging facility that needs to be replaced.
The city has been creative in finding money to support library services but more needs to be done. The City Council has adopted as one of its goals this year to organize a task force to look into the need and feasibility of a new library facility in Pleasant Hill.
It has been 10 years since the city last took an in-depth review of this issue.
Economic conditions and lack of community support at that time caused the concept to fallow. There appears to be a resurgence of interest and the purpose of the task force would be to dive into the community to reassess the situation.
Of course, the cost of a new library will take overwhelming community support in favor of financing what would be an important addition to our community.
In the past year, significant resurfacing projects have occurred throughout the city. I am pleased to report that our street conditions overall have maintained their good condition rating, according to the Pavement Condition Index or the PCI.
I'm not sure how many of you are aware of the existence of the Pavement Condition Index, but it is a grading system that scores the conditions of streets and roadways from poor to excellent.
Overall on average, Pleasant Hill streets are good, recognizing that an average by its definition means that there are streets that are not good and there are streets that are excellent. Pleasant Hill's goal is to have no street with a PCI score less than 60. To appreciate the loftiness of this goal, it would take tens of millions of dollars to accomplish that.
We expect to end this fiscal year with a modest budget surplus -- the first in four years. This year, the city will be adopting a new two-year budget for the fiscal years 2014-2016, and the discussion of that budget will necessarily include discussion of our community priorities.
Do we dedicate funds toward increasing the hours of the library? Do we dedicate funds to increasing the quality of our roadways? Do we invest in economic development, capital improvements or perhaps even recycling and renewable energy?
These are just a few of the needs and desires of the city that will be competing for the limited budget dollars.
I'm sure there will be lively debate and difficult choices to be made in the months ahead.
In the coming year we will begin the process of updating our housing element -- a process required to satisfy a state mandate to determine the housing needs of the city now and in the future, and where that housing will be located and in what density.
In the past year Pleasant Hill has revamped its website, adding content and making it more easily navigable.
We have been successful in attracting new business by implementing marketing and branding efforts and hosting numerous community events. (Speaking of events, I would be remiss if as a mayor named Flaherty I did not remind you of the Pleasant Hill Rotary's "St. Patrick's Night of Merriment" taking place at 5:30 p.m. March 14, at the new Community Center. Tickets can be purchased by calling 925-938-5433 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Pleasant Hill may not be defined by a bridge or a mountain, a view or a landscape, but we are defined by our geography.
City boundaries become blurred lines, and by continually making an effort to brand our city -- to identify its gateways -- we reinforce not only to ourselves, but to those around us, that Pleasant Hill is truly at the center of everything."
Timothy M. Flaherty is the mayor of Pleasant Hill. Contact him at email@example.com.