Officials for the city of Goleta provided an End of the Year message, reviewing 2020 and looking forward to 2021.
The Goleta Mayor, City Council members and the City Manager each said a few words reflecting on the hectic events of 2020 and Goleta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Manager Michelle Greene gave a coronavirus financial impact update, and said that sales across many business sectors declined, hotel occupancy hit a historic low and unemployment soared.
Goleta’s overall revenue dropped more than 30% since last year.
To manage the impacts of COVID-19, Goleta’s revised budget had $5.9 million in revenue reductions, $2.3 million in spending cuts, and a temporary hiring freeze and deferral of certain projects.
Goleta also initiated a one-time use of over $3 million in obligated funds, lowering the revenue loss more than expected from July through September.
The city saved $2.1 million through further cost cutting, and the unassigned fund balance is now $8.9 million in the General Fund.
“Ensuring the city has the resources to help the community recover is critical, so these additional funds will help us weather the storm over the coming months,” Ms. Greene said.
She listed Goleta’s COVID-19 relief efforts, including the Emergency Rental Assistance program, individual assistance grants, shelter and rapid-rehousing programs, meals for seniors, child care scholarships and small business loans and grants.
Goleta City Council member Stuart Kasdin reminded residents to shop locally this holiday season, referencing the #GoodLandGoodShopping campaign.
“Many of our businesses offer online shopping, shipping, home delivery, curbside pickup and gift cards. These options are safe, easy and fast,” he said. “At the heart of our city are our resilient small businesses who have been severely impacted by this crisis, and will be for some time. It’s critical we do whatever we can to support them.”
Council member Kyle Richards covered the transition of all the city’s services from in-person to online, hosting virtual programming activities and services.
He also pointed out items to look forward to in 2021, including: the implementation of Goleta’s new online permit tracking system; a new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative; the first ever Historic Preservation Ordinance; clean energy with the Central Coast Community Energy as a power provider option; several new pedestrian crosswalks; playground installations in parks; new LED lighting throughout the city; renovating the field at Stow Grove Park; creating a new splash pad at Jonny D. Wallis Park; and a community garden at Armitos Park.
“We understand that there will be challenges ahead in 2021 and we encourage you to continue doing what you have been doing — social distancing, wearing masks and following health guidelines,” Mr. Richards said. “Together, we will get through this.”
Council member Roger Aceves mentioned several campaigns Goleta initiated or participated in, including Goleta To Go, Recover Goleta and Protect, Respect, Wear a Mask. In addition, he mentioned the CERT team ambassadors guiding businesses on the ever-changing reopening guidelines.
“Our city has been proactive in keeping the community informed throughout this global pandemic,” he said.
Council member James Kyriaco named the various policies passed by the council in light of COVID-19, such as an eviction moratorium, a development permit to expand outdoor dining, code compliance implementation, enforcement of COVID-19 rules, securing additional warehouse space for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, opening a state-run testing site at the Goleta Valley Community Center and the completion of the Old Town Sidewalk Improvement Project.
“Even in the midst of a crisis, progress has been made,” Mr. Kyriaco said. “Goleta Public Works has been busy paving streets, maintaining our infrastructure and completing projects.
“It is great to see the Old Town community enjoying the new continuous sidewalks, parking spots and improved drainage,” he added. “Old Town is now safer and easier to navigate thanks to this project, which we are pleased was delivered both on time and under budget.”
Mayor Paula Perotte pointed out the Fairview Avenue sidewalk improvements that were completed, along with the San Jose Creek emergency channel repairs and the progress made in preparation for the upcoming Hollister Avenue bridge.
She also mentioned the city’s amendments to the new zoning ordinance, developing a creek and watershed management plan and developing a homeless strategic plan. Strides were made toward the construction of a new fire station in Western Goleta and the future of the Goleta Train Depot as well.
“We wish you a memorable holiday season, and look forward to working with you in 2021 to ensure the Good Land remains the best place to live, work and play,” Mayor Perotte said. “Stay positive, keep safe and be well.”
The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjtedKrRNcY&feature=youtu.be.