By David King
At the Mayor’s Luncheon on February 1, hosted by the Concord Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Hoffmeister delivered the State of the City to a sold out audience of community leaders, business owners, and invested citizens. The 45 minute video of her presentation is available, but if that sounds too daunting, then read on for the highlights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5psLhWjrZo
It had been a few years since her last address. As she pointed out, “Flip phones was the technology of the day.” In that address she had mentioned that someday in the near future we will all become reliant on mini-computers as a daily device. That would now be our smartphones.
What can we expect in the future? How far away are we from the life of the Jetsons? With increasing traffic congestion, are we headed towards a city of flying cars? Maybe not, but we already are on the verge of driverless cars, and pilotless drones. “We are getting there,” she says.
She began the address by first paying homage to Concord’s Veterans and to recognize the City’s memorials to honor them: the annual Beacon Lighting on Mount Diablo which just honored the 81st Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Blue Star Memorial, Gold Star Memorial, and the High School Fallen Soldiers Memorial.
Overall, the state of the City is positive. Concord is full steam ahead rebounding after the Pandemic with goals of rebuilding the staff, roadways, and its finances.
In recovering from the Pandemic, Concord received $27 million in ARPA Federal funds which the city is in the process of distributing.
$7 million will go to City projects, infrastructure, public safety and special events.
$7 million is targeted to supporting non-profits.
$3 million is destined to help the unhoused.
$2 million goes to small businesses.
$8 million in assistance to the City for Covid testing, PPW, CORE social workers, small business relief, etc. While some small business grants have been distributed, the remaining grants will be dispersed this Spring.
On the subject of our unhoused. A community panel will be assembled to help in preparing a strategic plan to present to the City staff and Council. The council has approximately $5.4 million in its coffers to support the unhoused which it will direct upon completion and acceptance of the plan.
In June of 2020, the general fund was down $7 million. To offset this, the City ultimately cut about $10 million which translated to the loss of 36 positions in 2021.
Fortunately, the City has rebounded and generated higher than anticipated revenues in 2022. With this the City has set priorities to fund its Unfunded liabilities, staff positions, and increase funding towards
Public Works’ improvement projects, deferred maintenance and addressing homelessness.
General Fund Revenue
For fiscal Year 2022-2023, Hoffmeister points out the importance of local business as it is responsible for 36% of tax revenues, and there is an additional $12.4 million in tax revenue due to the passage of Measure V. Our taxes are responsible for about $86 million in general fund revenues.
Part of the rebound credit was given to Visit Concord for its role in increases in travel related spending — up over 37% in 2022 and over $30 million in hotel sales, an 11% increase.
For those wondering where property tax money goes, Hoffmeister broke it out. Of every tax dollar: .53 cents goes to schools and colleges, .15 cents to Contra Costa County, .11 cents goes to the City of Concord, and .21 cents towards other taxing entities.
Fixing roads is the primary concern voiced by Concord citizens. In response, City has approved $120 million for Improvement Projects which includes a 5-year pavement improvement plan. It is the largest such funding ever committed in the city’s history. This is a result of the passage of Measure V which allowed the City to leverage funding for those projects. This includes:
Grant and East streets pavement rehabilitation.,
Some of the trench work road delays on Willow Pass traffic is for traffic signal upgrades installing technology for better traffic flow.,
Port Chicago /Bates Avenue pothole base repair.
Hillcrest Park Green Infrastructure,
Bike lanes and ADA, installing license plate readers, maintaining the 343 parks, community centers, and community pool.
The city is planning for the state-mandated housing increase of 5,000 more units by 2031. Currently, some housing projects are already underway such as the Rick Judd Commons 62-unit affordable housing project on Galindo Street. Penny Lane with 70 units just completed on Clayton Road. The Argent is building 181 apartments on Willow Pass Road, Salmon Run – 32 units Downtown on Clayton Road, and others. Another 200 units have been approved for construction including the Avesta Senior Living of 150 units.
Housing will be a combination of market rate to low to moderate income housing. Grant Street is completed downtown with 228 luxury units in two mixed-use buildings, now available for lease.
As per the white picket fence property on Galindo, State mandated that it be offered to non-profits. The City has received six proposals for 100% affordable housing. City staff will make recommendations to Council to choose from there.
In addition to recruitment for more police officers, the City has introduced a community camera registry program. It is Free for those with security cameras around residences and businesses which could help police in their investigations when solving crimes. It is still your option to allow or not share your video.
City has purchased 65 license plate readers. and drones.
Several businesses have opted to make Concord its home.
Vinfast Electric Cars is a Vietnamese electric vehicle company poised to compete with Tesla, and will have a retail showroom at the Veranda.
Pet Food Express is moving its headquarters from Oakland to Concord.
Berk’s Beans Coffee Roasting is family owned on Solano Way.
Hammerhead Security is moving from Richmond.
Robert Skate Academy is a non-profit teaching mindfulness through skateboarding and is coming to Sun Valley Mall.
Bay Rubber Company, Urban Air Adventure Park, Chick-fil-A is coming into the former Claim Jumpers location in the Willows.
Dutch Bros. Coffee wis under construction on Clayton Road.
Concord Life Science Center is a privately owned company offering flexible space, laboratory suites and shared workspaces for start-up life science companies.
Automotive is extremely important to Concord’s sales tax base. Future Automotive Group is undergoing expansion, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram opened on Diamond , Lincoln under construction on Burnett, Hyundai on Marsh Road.
Concord Pavilion had its best season in over a decade with 173,019 tickets sold to 19 shows.
All in all, Concord’s robust economic recovery in 2002 has paved the way for aggressive infrastructure and maintenance funding, more housing, and a growing economic future.