April 29, 2009 > We are a community
We are a community
By Dustin Findley
"Before we are a city, before we're a state, a county, a school district we are a community," said Mayor Livengood at the State of Community address.
The State of the City address has been the tradition in the city of Milpitas for many years. Livengood wanted to broaden the scope of the address.
The mayor paraphrased the definition of community as a lot of different people, a lot of different interests sharing a common city or common area.
"The fact of the matter is our constituents are depending more and more on us as a community to get them through these difficult times" Livengood said.
Whether it be in recreation, public safety, parks, all of the things that are the building blocks of a good city and a good community our residents are depending on more as the economy continues to be a problem for us all.
A video presentation, that will be available for viewing on the Milpitas website, featured Livengood highlighting Milpitas.
In Milpitas you will find a strong economy, featuring many major Silicon Valley businesses, including Cisco and Sandisk. Milpitas is proud of its recent economic successes that includes the addition of an auto mall, that features both Toyota and Honda dealerships.
Milpitas is home to northern California's largest enclosed mall, The Great Mall of the Bay Area.
Complementing Milpitas' strong economic base is an extensive park system, a climate that is second to none, and a diverse population that brings excitement and energy to our city streets every day.
The video reminded everyone how Milpitas is a great place to live, work and play.
"The biggest issue we're grappling with, just like everybody else, is our budget. And it wouldn't be a State of the Community address, or even a State of the City address, if didn't talk about the budget" Livengood said.
The total available general fund reserves, or money in the bank for emergencies, is $28 million.
The Redevelopment Agency (RDA), "a very important part of our city," right now takes in about $29 million a year, and spends about $32 million. The good news is that Milpitas has about $21 million in the bank in the RDA.
Milpitas is looking at the possibility of a convention or conference center. Where we can bring people in from all over the country, stay in Milpitas hotels, and give them a place where they can hold their conferences.
The City is also looking for economic development stimulus. There are times when businesses are looking to move to Milpitas, "but we're in a very competitive market for businesses."
The stimulus will offer opportunities to offer certain businesses incentives to come to Milpitas. Livengood assured that this will not be something that they do often, but it should help keep businesses in Milpitas and attract new businesses to Milpitas.
Milpitas, like other cities and the state, is spending more money than it is taking in. Livengood will make financial recommendations to city council: Leaving the general fund reserves alone, using and replenishing the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) reserves, and establish an employee benefit review board, and organizing a revenue/expenditure balance plan by December, 2009.
Representatives from Silicon Valley unwired announced that free wireless internet access for the city of Milpitas will be available by June. The strongest access will be outdoors.