This Week at City Hall - A Big Step Forward for Fresno

Unanimous budget approval is a positive sign for Fresno

The City of Fresno’s financial situation experienced a turning point with the adoption of the fiscal year 2012 budget by City Council on Friday.

We have worked diligently over the last 30 months to cut expenses, live within our means, and begin to put the City back on firm financial ground. This budget addresses the remaining $18.5 million of our overall shortfall and eliminates the 5-year structural imbalance in our operating funds. In other words, it is good for the City in both the short term and the long term.

The City Council is to be congratulated on its efforts to make difficult decisions and choose the path that is in the best interest of our citizens. Now, we’re in a position to begin to stabilize and finally see a break in the financial storm clouds.

The adopted budget assumes a 3 percent across-the-board salary concession from all City employees as well as the creation of a commercial solid waste franchise. While bargaining units have not yet approved concessions, Mayor Swearengin remains committed to coming to terms with City employees to prevent further cuts to public services and city employees.

Based on previous votes, a supermajority of the Council has indicated support for the commercial solid waste franchise. Final contracts for the franchise will be brought back for Council approval in approximately 45 days, and, if approved, the franchise is expected to be created by Oct. 1.

Planning a Bigger, Better Food Expo

Mayor Swearengin on Wednesday will be joining representatives from the Fresno Food Expo Advisory Committee and Save Mart Supermarkets to formally open registration for an expanded Fresno Food Expo next year.

Based on the success of the inaugural event this year, exhibitor spaces are being expanded to make room for food and wine manufacturers from San Joaquin to Kern counties, covering the entire eight-county San Joaquin Valley.

The Food Expo will once again provide opportunities for local food growers, manufacturers, processors producers, brewers and winemakers to introduce their products to international, national, regional and local retail buyers, restaurants and chefs while helping to grow their business and positively impact the region’s economy.

The Fresno Food Expo will be held on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at the Fresno Entertainment & Convention Center New Exhibit Hall.

Mayor Swearengin’s Activities

While some of these activities outlined below are not public meetings, these are some of the issues being addressed this week by Mayor Swearengin:

  • Meeting with a number of stakeholders about the Learn 2 Earn initiative, a public awareness campaign targeting adults who are still in need of a basic education. In addition to sending the message that it’s possible to go back to school and that everyone needs a basic education, the Learn 2 Earn initiative will involve an easier process for students to actually get enrolled in a program that’s a good fit for them.

  • Continuing to address high-speed rail issues through internal meetings and briefings on the most recent developments.

  • Focusing on our continuing efforts to revitalize downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods, with an emphasis on the potential for retail opportunities in the Fulton Mall area.

  • Working with the executive committee and staff of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley to plan an upcoming quarterly meeting of the Partnership’s board of directors.

  • Meeting with Central Unified School District officials to discuss issues of mutual interest.

  • Meeting with City residents as part of the Mayor’s Open Door Day program, which provides citizens with the opportunity to meet directly with Mayor Swearengin to share ideas or concerns. Topics of this week’s Open Door Day meetings include a potential initiative to attract and promote technology and clean energy businesses and updates on nonprofit organizations.

‘Go Green and Clean’ to resume July 9 at Carroza Park

Each Saturday, volunteers are hard at work in our “Go Green and Clean” park beautification program. Volunteers participate in basic park care through litter removal, flower bed raking, pruning, painting, graffiti removal and other light tasks from 8 a.m. to noon.

The program will take a week off on Saturday, July 2, and will resume on Saturday, July 9, at Carroza Park, 4921 E. Olive.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear long pants, hats, gloves and sun block and bring plenty of drinking water. Basic work tools and supplies will be provided by the City of Fresno. Each volunteer will be required to complete a volunteer form and waiver.

Follow Mayor Swearengin, City of Fresno on Twitter

For up-to-date information on happenings related to the City of Fresno, follow Mayor Swearengin on Twitter @MayorSwearengin or the City of Fresno @CityofFresno.

NOTE: There will be no “This Week” next week. It will resume on Monday, July 11.