Thursday, March 01, 2007

City's Footing Solid as 2007 is Under Way

City's Footing Solid as 2007 is Under Way
By Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writer

Vacaville is in solid shape as the third month of 2007 begins - an assessment city officials will elaborate on today.

The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce is hosting the annual State of the City address this morning, featuring presenters Mayor Len Augustine and City Manager David Van Kirk. Alex Hall, the chamber's vice president of operations, said he expects a crowd of about 60 at the Hampton Inn and Suites.

"We're honored that the mayor and city manager thought of us first," Hall said. He said he anticipates an overview of where the city stands fiscally and the projects on the horizon, followed by a question-and-answer session.

According to Augustine, the report is mainly positive.

"I think first of all, the state of the city is what I would call sound," Augustine said. He added, "Financially, we're in very good shape, but that is obviously a snapshot view and we still have to conserve."

Finance Director Ken Campo said spending and revenues are on track, and the city's emergency holdings are well within the range that the council wants them.

While Campo expects fluctuation, he said the city should be able to hold reserves at that level for a while longer.

Vacaville also has made headway on safety. In 2006, the city saw its standing in the Morgan Quitno safe city rankings jump from 81 to 55 in a comparison of more than 370 cities. On Feb. 5, a 4.2 percent drop in part-one crimes, including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, larceny and arson, was reported..

"The crime rate is down," Augustine said, "but we will continue to make that a priority."

The list of recent achievements continues, the mayor said, as the city has revamped its public transit system and unveiled an improved recycling program. He added that another priority, economic vitality, has been addressed with the Genentech expansion, the State Compensation Insurance Fund campus, The Kaiser Permanente Hospital, the Nut Tree and other projects.

"All of these are things that are going to bring jobs to the city," Augustine said, adding that the goal is to average 1,000 new jobs per year.

The mayor also stressed the importance of community participation to the city's success. He added that the strategic plan, an overview of city goals, priorities and projects, "focused our vision."

The mayor and city manager will share more about 2006 milestones and future plans beginning at 7:30 this morning.

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

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