Recently appointed Emeryville Mayor Dianne Martinez gave her 2016 State of the City Address at last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. The twelve and a half-minute presentation recapped major city initiatives from 2015, projects in the works for 2016 and also hinted at what was in store for the city beyond this year. “What a long way we’ve come since being dubbed ‘The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast’. I don’t think there’s an ounce of rotten left in City Government”.
Martinez recollected the turnover in staff in 2015 which included Carolyn Lehr replacing Sabrina Landreth as City Manager, Michael Guina being promoted to City Attorney replacing Michael Biddle and Jennifer Tejada taking over as Police Chief for Ken James.
2015 Major Milestones:
- Passing of the PBID to fund the Emery Go-Round for the next 15 years
- The passing of the Highest in the Nation Minimum Wage Ordinance
- The collection $3.4 Million in 2015 through the Measure V Property Transfer Tax
- The negotiation of an additional 3% affordable rental units from CCRP by leveraging their desire to realign Shellmound street
Martinez also mentioned the desire by the council to study the impacts of the Minimum Wage at the one year mark. A large chunk of the 3.4 million in tax garnered was from the high-profile commercial sales including the EmeryTech building ($12 per $1000 accounting for over one million of the sum) and the Bridgecourt Complex (accounting for about .5 million). Nearly one-third of the sum collected was from residential sales tax collecting in the neighborhood of $5,000-$12,000 from each home buyer/seller in the city. The tax revenue generated goes toward supplementing our General Fund to provide services and infrastructure to residents.
Community Services Expansion
- Recreation Center Program expansion to meet the growing needs of our community
- Emeryville Child Development Center enrollment expansion from 76-102 children
- The ongoing Senior Center renovation expected to be completed in March
2016 Projects in the works
- Opening of the Emeryville Center of Community Life this August
- Grand Opening of the Joseph Emery Skate Park this Spring
- Grant-Funded Bicycle Improvements including the Christie Avenue Bay Trail Gap
- South Bayfront Bike/Pedestrian Bridge to Bay Street
- Addition of Public Art including a lighted installation under the Powell Street Bridge
What’s ahead for 2016?
- Climate Action Plan
- Tenant Protections (Study Session this spring)
- Homeless Outreach
- Small Business Support
- Bike/Car Share Programs
- Medical Marijuana
Martinez also alluded to several personal initiatives in the works including another ACCE/EBASE Sponsored initiative known as Fair Work Week and exploring a Soda Tax modeled after Berkeley’s recent measure. Martinez concluded her address by acknowledging the City’s Staff, Commission & Committee members for helping make Emeryville Great. “A place where ‘Rotten’ doesn’t accurately describe our city officials but playfully alludes to our shared past of a forward-looking city.”