It was a long, busy meeting for members of the Riverbank City Council this past week.
After proclamations presented by Mayor Richard O’Brien to CASA del Rio Family Resource Center and the Riverbank Federated Women’s Club, the council heard plans for this year’s Cheese & Wine Expo.
The heart of the meeting, however, was devoted to much more serious, complicated matters that could reach into city coffers.
The council discussed results from its Strategic Planning meeting two weeks before, on Feb. 25. It covers city activities projected from 2020 to 2025, a five-year plan.
The city chose a new consultant to facilitate the development of its Strategic Plan, hoping to better position the City, prioritizing the goals of the Council in a fiscally viable manner and aligning fiscal and human resources to achieve the agency’s short- and long-term goals.
Regional Government Services was selected in January of 2019.
RGS held a series of meetings with Council members, the City Manager, Department Managers, and then reviewed pertinent background materials including financial reports, meeting agendas, minutes and the City’s proposed Capital Investment Plan.
Information from those efforts, as well as that day-long workshop held in city hall in February resulted in the report accepted by the council at its March 12 meeting.
At the workshop, the council reported it identified eight goals, giving them equal priority.
Included were: Ensure Financial Stability; Improve Public Safety; Improve the City’s Historic Downtown; Improve Community Communication; Promote Economic Development through Manufacturing; Promote Sustainable Land Use Planning; Maintain a High Quality of Live; and Ensure Financial Stability.
Officials note the Strategic Plan is meant to serve as a living and working document, which will be updated by council and staff on a regular basis, as needed.
They said the 2020-25 Strategic Plan captures the goals, suggested programs, projects and initiatives suggested by council and staff over the course of its development.
The goals that are included represent the highest priorities for City Council. Should other sources of revenue be identified, the City may revisit this Plan and adapt it as needed.
For now, officials said, by limiting the City’s efforts to these key areas, the City of Riverbank will be better positioned to achieve its long-term vision and maintain its fiscal viability.
In other new business on the agenda, the council heard from the present financial manager of the Designated Local Authority in Riverbank. The Manhattan Beach company reported to the council that the state Department of Finance had notified them that it would not be renewing its contract, requiring some changes in its operation.
The DLA had taken over the assets and liabilities of the former Riverbank Redevelopment Agency when the state dissolved it in 2012. When the city declined to take over operation of the new DLA, a successor group was created to manage the assets, managed by Kosmont Companies, of Manhattan Beach, along with a board of three from the county area.
The Riverbank Redevelopment Agency was formed in August 2004, and purchased the Del Rio Theatre and the adjacent Reed’s Automotive site, both on Third Street in downtown, for rehabilitation. In addition, it funded renovation and redesign of the cityscape in the downtown core, finished in 2007.
Kosmot was asking the current council to take over the DLA, but the council voted 4-0 to decline getting involved. Council members did decide to continue with their part-time support of the agency.