WALNUT CREEK -- Three months into the fiscal year, the City Council has finally adopted its work program.
For months, council members have been hashing out a work plan that spells out exactly what they and city staff should focus over the next two years. That period runs concurrently with that of the two-year budget adopted in June. With a November election, there will be at least two, and maybe three, new faces on the council.
But on Tuesday, the council members passed their work program, which is specific in some instances, including the possibility of adopting a secondhand smoke ordinance and of creating a centennial celebration. But the plan is broad in other areas, with sweeping language about evaluating the city's mission and studying "alternative service delivery models."
The work program identifies four priorities -- fiscal stability, strong local economy, community health and well-being and inclusive governance.
The council will look at the work program, and possibility update it, every six months.
"It's not cast in stone for two years; that's particularly needed with the council changes coming up," Mayor Bob Simmons said Tuesday.
Some Work Plan Activities:
Residents and various interest groups have been sending in letters and speaking at council meetings for months asking that their project or program be part of the work plan.
At last month's council meeting, several library supporters showed up to urge the council to make funding for library hours part of the work plan. In 2014, the $1 million it costs to keep both Walnut Creek libraries open 56 hours a week runs out; that money has come from savings of a parcel tax that expired in 2010.
The city needs to look at the consequences to going down to 35 hours a week with libraries that are used by 28,000 visitors a month, said Ed Del Beccaro, a past president of the library foundation who helped raise millions for the new library.
"I know plastics is important, getting rid of bags, but I would rather have on my tombstone 'We kept the libraries open,'" he said in September.
While some council members argued in September that paying for library hours is no different then trying to find funding for other needs such as the Clarke Swim Center, Councilwoman Cindy Silva disagreed.
The library "hours are not funded by general fund dollars and they are on a definitive expiration date," she said.
"These funds will expire and we will basically have to allow the county to close the library."
Whether that means a new parcel tax or finding city money to fund the library is unknown.
In the work plan adopted Tuesday, the library issue isn't listed separately, but instead was rolled into an activity that will look at sustainable funding for recreational, educational, cultural and social service programs.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.