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Rare Study Session to Focus on Luring Businesses

Development is crucial to Pacifica's long-term economic sustainability, mayor pro tem says. Meeting is first of its kind in over five years.

Pacifica city councilmembers will host a rare public study session on Sunday focusing on bringing some life to a static business environment, Mayor Pro Tem Len Stone told Patch.

The first such meeting in at least five years is being held at the urging of Stone, who wants the city to take a more aggressive stance in attracting businesses. Stone said economic development would generate revenues needed to maintain economic sustainability.

The meeting will be held at the Pacifica Police Department's EOC Room from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

One of Stone's priorities is hiring an economic development director that would spearhead such efforts.

Stone cited efforts in other Peninsula cities, such as San Mateo, San Carlos and Redwood City, where economic development has helped boost revenues.

"We've never as a city set aside money for proactive economic development," he said. "That's something that has to happen."

How the city would fund such efforts, however, isn't clear.

Pacifica erased a structural deficit that all but obliterated city's reserves through a combination of tax increases and job cuts, Stone said, noting the council recently approved an approximately $27 million budget with an estimated $200,000 surplus.

The city's reserves are down to $600,000 from well over $6 million as recently as five or six years ago. Stone said.

The city is exploring police outsourcing as a way to fund discretionary programs such as economic development, Stone said.

A consultant the city commissioned to crunch the numbers reported back to the council earlier this month, however councilmembers have been mum on what, if anything, they gleaned from the consultant's findings.

Patch cited a source with requesting anonymity in a report earlier this year estimating an annual savings to the city of $2 million.  

"If we're going to make progress we're going to have to take capital and spend it on things that are going to increase our revenue in the long term, and that money's going to have to come from somewhere," Stone said. "Something's got to give."

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Lionel Emde July 22, 2012 at 04:02 PM
This characterization of Pacifica's finances is, at best, a fantasy: "Pacifica erased a structural deficit that all but obliterated city's reserves through a combination of tax increases and job cuts, Stone said, noting the council recently approved an approximately $27 million budget with an estimated $200,000 surplus." The city council is so unsure of itself that it only funded programs like the Resource Center for six months, rather than committing to a full year, which has previously been the norm. S & P, the bond-rating company, recently downgraded Pacifica's credit rating from A to A-, and threatens to do so again next year unless the city changes the way it runs its finances. A "$200,000 surplus" and a supposed $600,000 reserve fund for a $27 million general fund is nothing, one step away from default through any number of possible events. Other cities do not run their finance departments this way, and would never have run so close to the edge as we are. All the talk about "tax increases and job cuts" having somehow solved the problem is garbage. They haven't dealt with the pension/payroll problem that will eat us alive in the next few years. There isn't enough economic development available to even start solving that problem, and building a commercial base takes years which we don't have to wait.
Bhatman July 22, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Can Mr. Sinai point to ANY commercial development that came before either the City Planning Commission or the City Council in the last ten years that was rejected? Didn't think so. It's about time he stopped this ridiculous whining about NIMBYs and put the blame where it belongs; the broader economic woes affecting the economy as a whole and the over-emphasis on real estate development and catering to the needs of the BAAWLERS who want to run roughshod over Pacifica (Build Anything Anywhere With Little Environmental Regard, Suckers)..
hutch July 23, 2012 at 05:42 PM
While every other city on the Peninsula has seen at least a 8% increase in population in the past 20 years Pacifica's population decreased. This is a direct result of the anti development folks fighting every project like the Quarry and more recently the assisted living project which did finally pass.
hutch July 23, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Even Colma had a huge population increase http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=place:0654806&dl=en&hl=en&q=pacifica+population#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=population&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=place:0654806:0614736:0617918:0620956:0625338:0631708:0673262:0665028&ifdim=country&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false
hutch July 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM
From around 1999 to 2011 Pacifica lost over 3000 citizens. Just happens to be the timeframe that Jim Vreeland, Pete Dejarnett and Sue Digre were placating their anti-development friends.

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