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Council discusses tourism, police, city pool, roads 

PRCC-Jan-6,-2015Paso Robles City Council’s first meeting of the year was light, but not unfruitful. Here is a wrap up of the council’s action on Tuesday night.

Tourism & Lodging Promotions Business Improvement District

The council voted 5-0 to extend the Tourism & Lodging Promotions Business Improvement District’s assessments by five months to allow the district to align its fiscal year with the city’s. The district’s fiscal year runs Feb. 1 to Jan. 31 and the city’s July 1 to June 30.

Because the issue pertains to the self-assessment on lodging facilities in Paso Robles, all lodging businesses were given the opportunity to protest the extension.

“There have been no protests as of close of business today, or the start of the public meeting today,” Assistant City Manager Meg Williamson said.

Those who stay in Paso Robles lodging businesses are assessed an additional two percent transient occupancy tax that goes to the district to use for marketing purposes.

Economic Vitality Corporation

Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC) CEO and President Mike Manchak gave a report to the council because the city of Paso Robles is a sponsor of the nonprofit. Over the last 20 years, the EVC has created wine, tourism and other studies to see how it can create more high paying jobs in those industries. Manchak said most of county’s income is in tourism.

“It’s been growing steadily. That’s a good thing,” Manchak said, adding that the county has not had the highs or lows that other places in California has had.

One thing, he said, that keeps, and brings, more businesses to the county is the airport in San Luis Obispo. Manchak said that while the airport is doing well and there could be an announcement of more flights later this month, it needs to be continued to be used by the residents.

“My call to action here is, we’re looking for more flights,” Manchak said. “It’s a long haul in working with the airlines. If we don’t use the airports, we’re going to lose the airports. I think we have to continue to ask people to use our airport.”

Police community outreach

Paso Robles Police Chief Robert Burton told the council about three community outreach programs. Two, Police and Community Together and NextDoor, are new within the last month.

The first — also called PACT — was an idea from a line-level police officer, Burton said. The program is essentially that the city is broken into four areas, each with its own police officer as a liaison.

“This does not take the place of an emergency,” Burton said. “This is more of a program where you know that you in neighborhood that is this your liaison.”

The officer would then work with a control group so that there is consistent communication with neighborhoods.

The second program is NextDoor, a private social network program that breaks the city up into smaller neighborhoods. He said that its like the traditional neighborhood watch program, but where the neighbors communicate online. The department can also communicate with the public via NextDoor.

“It’s another way for us to connect directly,” Burton said.

City pool

Councilman Steve Gregory requested that city staff compile a report with historic information related to running the city’s pool, as well as information on what it would take to get the pool open for the summer. City Manager Jim App said city staff is compiling a report on what is needed to restore lost services. The council directed staff to work on the pool report first.

“What I’m concerned about is that May 1 is very close and I want to get this moving,” Gregory said.

There was some concern expressed on how much it would take to restore the service, but Martin said that the facts and figures are needed before a decision is made.

Committee to repair roads

Gregory asked that the council reinstate the standing committee to repair roads. Martin asked the city attorney if that could be done at the meeting or if it would need to be put on a future agenda. The city attorney said that it would need to be added to a future agenda. The council directed that it put on the next meeting’s agenda.

The council will next meet on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the first floor of city hall.


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