Both the City Manager Department and the Finance Department presented their annual work programs for FY 2021/22 to the Goleta City Council in a special meeting Thursday evening.
The council set priorities for each of the departments’ projects and goals.
Both departments shared with the council that the shift in work priorities and reductions to revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that instituted a hiring freeze greatly impacted staff’s ability to finish previous projects and programs, including the Annual Work Programs for fiscal year 2019-20.
The City Manager Department presented to council its currently filled and unfilled positions, requesting someone to fill a management analyst position. In addition, staff listed numerous upcoming and potential new projects and programs beginning in FY 2021-22, including: developing a public art installation policy; exploring affordable childcare policies; adopting project labor agreements; exploring cannabis tax revenue streams; developing a citywide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan; and overseeing developments such as tenant protections, the Old Town visioning process, the homelessness strategic plan and providing incentives for Goleta employers to provide new housing for their employees near the employers’ workplace, among many others.
In addition, Mayor Pro Tempore James Kyriaco suggested that staff consider working remotely for the foreseeable future.
“Let’s think about our existing city facilities where we have employees work and think about things such as: Does it make sense to still have a cubicle farm environment in some areas? Could we change the setup and do flexible work spaces where desks, chairs and tables can be rearranged to easily facilitate small group meetings … so you can have collaborative work spaces that can also really help in the times when we have more people … with social distancing,” he said. “I have a feeling that’s going to be something that we need to have with us into the future as we have other challenges.”
Council member Kyle Richards added that he’s looking forward to the agenda report indexing project, which will make staff reports, minutes to the council meetings and follow-ups with resolutions and ordinances made after the meetings available online on Goleta’s website.
“In terms of transparency … they’re not necessarily easy to access, so I just want to say I’m excited to see it’s on our list,” Mr. Richards said.
Council member Roger Aceves recommended staff prepare for the discussion on coming out of the pandemic and what it will look like for Goleta, especially financially.
The Finance Department listed its upcoming and potential new work efforts starting in FY 2021-22, including: evaluating credit card merchant services; assisting with meeting compliance for funding related to the American Rescue Plan; submitting the final two-year budget plan; evaluating short-term vacation rental compliance; and preparing final mid-cycle budget update for FY 2022-23, among others.
The department also listed potential new work efforts that they hope to accomplish with additional staff members. These include: developing the sidewalk vending business license; implementing independent contractor reporting as required by EDD to assist with child support collection and ongoing reporting; and increasing flexibility on the use of extra space in the City Hall building, among others.
Mr. Aceves requested the prioritization of projects that are revenue generators, and other members of the council echoed the request.
“The further we push them out … the more we delay income revenue that we need to conduct city business,” he said.
Mr. Richards cautioned that the list of goals and projects was ambitious.
“We don’t have any lack of projects on our to-do list,” he said. “We certainly have a lot already going on, more than we can accomplish in the next year … This really speaks to the need for us to start looking at the year ahead and potentially unfreezing some of those vacant positions we have … We have a lot of unmet needs that we have in the city and we certainly need to be putting some resources toward them.”
The lists of priorities and future goals are available on the staff reports online at cityofgoleta.org.