Meridian CC Performance Update 3Q2020 - City Survey, Clean Energy, and other Updates.
Updated: Jun 27
I thought it would make sense to give a quick update on where we stand in terms of meeting the ongoing goals outlined in my campaign for Meridian City Council. Recently, I did a second quarter update on the larger topic of representing Meridian residents. The below is the latest installment in a series of performance reviews to give my personal opinion on how we are doing.
Going forward, beginning in 2021 I will be doing an annual recap on the progress made over the year, and then regular in-depth blog posts more frequently as milestones / progress are made on each objective. The first one in the series can be found here.
To recap, the objectives outlined in my campaign were:
#1: Represent Meridian Residents: Survey Results and More
A quick post with the progress on this topic can be found here for the second quarter: link here. We are going to be heading in the direction of implementing voting districts based on the changes brought forward in the Idaho Legislature, a move that I support to ensure that the city is widely represented geographically on City Council.
In addition, we recently received an updated statistically valid survey from our city's residents, and some of the interesting feedback can be found here. I think it's important to note the high level of overall satisfaction (91%) with the city being a great place to live and raise a family, and high results for customer service provided by the city. At the same time, there was some significant downward trend in "the city is heading in the right direction"; down approximately 10% from 2017 and much lower marks on planning for growth and growth / planning related topics.
Planning for future school sites, a better understanding of the school overcrowding issue so we can make informed decisions, and attempting to accelerate transporation projects may meet some of the concern outlined in the city survey. I am concerned about whether these measures will go far enough with those agencies outside of our direct control, in meeting the concerns of residents.
Clearly this is an area that our city needs to continue to focus. The priority growth areas framework is notable in that it doesn't grow everywhere at once and the areas where we are not prioritizing at this time. I would like to understand all of the available options to plan for growth that other cities have used and a deep dive on the pros and cons of various options.
For example, other cities have a concept of "adequate public services" to help manage their growth, or have found a way to manage their growth differently via building permits to meet the concerns of residents. All of these approaches have pros and cons. It seems prudent to evaluate of all of the options available to us in a systematic way.
The city is also somewhat limited in the current tools that we have available. I would also like to see us continue to engage with the legislature to encourage them prioritize property tax reform for the benefit of longtime residents, encourage them to focus on transporation challenges, and for them to consider allowing impact fees with some guardrails to help pay for the capital improvements needed to build new schools.
Long-term Sustainability: New Clean Energy Resolution
I recently brought forward a Clean Energy Resolution (found here) that was passed by the Mayor and City Council. The resolution outlines that where it is viable economically and functionally we will transition towards clean energy use. Some press coverage of the resolution is found here:
Excerpt from the Idaho Press: "The resolution backs Idaho Power’s goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045, resolving “that where economically and functionally viable, the City of Meridian will explore and implement policies that will support the transition toward clean and renewable energy use and maximize energy conservation.” It goes on to say that Mayor Robert Simison and council members will prioritize environmental stewardship in decision making.
“What I like about this resolution is it’s setting an intention especially at a city council level to lead by example in our city supporting responsible use of our resources, environmental stewardship and making smart investments in economically viable clean technologies that we develop here at home can benefit our whole community,” said Councilwoman Liz Strader, who proposed the bill."
In addition to the Energy Resolution, our most recent budget dramatically accelerates our LED streetlight conversions that have a three year payback, a move set up to help us run more efficiently going forward.
Family Wage Jobs and Workforce Development
In response to the unprecedented challenges brought by COVID-19, the City of Meridian is considering a grant program to businesses using CARES Act funding. More details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks about the program.
There is much more to focus on in the coming months and years regarding this objective, and I look forward to prioritizing it in the future.
I would like to thank the Voters of Meridian for their continued trust in me and the rest of the City Council as we work on moving the city forward. I hope to continue serving you and helping us as we maintain all the things that make us a great place to live, and grapple with the challenges that come from extraordinary growth.