City to prioritize economic recovery, diversity, equity and inclusion, housing and climate action

SAN LUIS OBISPO — After successful community outreach that garnered extensive input, the City Council formally set its goals on Tuesday for the 2021-23 Financial Plan. The goals for the next two years are economic recovery, resiliency, and fiscal sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion; housing and homelessness; and climate action, open space, and sustainable transportation.

The Council also supported the adopted City Council Vision focused on embracing the future of San Luis Obispo while respecting its past with core values of civility, sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, regionalism, partnership and resiliency.

Since early November 2020, there have been a variety of opportunities for community members to provide input to the City Council to enable them to establish the Major City Goals. These included input from City Advisory Bodies, a virtual community forum on Jan. 14 that was attended by more than 160 community members, a notice to over 150 community groups and individuals, and two online surveys that combined received nearly 2,000 individual responses.

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At a Feb. 6 goal-setting workshop, Council members were presented with the results of the public engagement efforts and reviewed each Council member’s independently submitted goal preferences before coming to a consensus. The intent of the Major City Goals is to develop desired long-term outcomes and capture tangible steps that can be taken by the City in the next two years to reach them.

“At a time when all of our community members have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud of the public input and engagement we have received and the Council’s focus on continuing our efforts of recovery,” said San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon. “These major city goals, including the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion programs, will help to ensure resources are allocated to accomplish the community’s highest priorities while also delivering essential services over the next two years.”

The 2021-23 Major City Goals include:

  • Economic Recovery, Resiliency and Fiscal Sustainability

In collaboration with local partners, continue to support economic recovery for all from the COVID pandemic and support a thriving local economy by supporting local businesses, arts and culture, downtown vitality, practicing fiscal responsibility, paying down unfunded pension liabilities, and investing in critical infrastructure.

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

In response to our commitment to making San Luis Obispo a more welcoming and inclusive city for all, continue to develop programs and policies to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and advance the recommendations of the DEI task force.

  • Housing and Homelessness

In order to expand housing options for all, continue to facilitate the production of housing, including the necessary supporting infrastructure, with an emphasis on affordable and workforce housing. Collaborate with local non-profit partners and the county, the state and federal government to discover and implement comprehensive and effective strategies to reduce chronic homelessness.

  • Climate Action, Open Space and Sustainable Transportation

To proactively address the climate crisis, continue to update and implement the Climate Action Plan for carbon neutrality, including preservation and enhancement of open space and urban forest, alternative and sustainable transportation, and planning and implementation for resilience.

“The major city goals provide a focus for what we, as a community, should strive to achieve over the next two years,” said City Manager Derek Johnson. “Staff will take the Council’s direction to put together a budget that focuses on delivering essential services and critical infrastructure projects while prioritizing these Major City Goals.” He further stated, “these ambitious goals will be undertaken as the community simultaneously recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With goals now set, draft work plans will be developed and presented to the Council in April 2021. Budget workshops will then be held in June before the final budget is adopted. Each financial plan is for a two-year cycle. More information on the goals and the budgetary process can be found online here.

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