The Coast News Group
The City of Vista. Courtesy photo
Cities Vista Vista Featured

Council updates city goals, focuses on homeless strategic plan

VISTA — City Council updates its goals every two years, and did so most recently at an open
workshop on March 6. Vista residents were invited to provide their input at the beginning of the
workshop and department directors were on hand to answer questions from the city manager or
other council members regarding specifics such as programs and activities.

Many of the city goals from 2018-2020 mirrored those from 2016-2018. Looking ahead, the
itemized goals included Fiscal Responsibility; Homeless Strategic Plan; Continue to Improve
Flow of Traffic, Reduce Congestion, and Improve Roads and Sidewalks; Continue to Decrease
Blight and Improve City’s Image; Economic Development; Public Safety; Parks and Recreation;
and Maintain Standards for Multi-Family Housing.

New to the list was the Homeless Strategic Plan.

Communications Officer Andrea McCullough said that across San Diego County there has been
an increase in homelessness.

“The council wanted to come up with something on how to address this,” McCullough said.
“The city already gives funding to CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds.”

McCullough added that some of these funds go toward affordable housing or can be used to
support organizations that help the homeless, such as Operation Hope or Solutions for Change.

“The City Council wanted to come up with a comprehensive plan,” McCullough said.

Now that the council has determined this as a goal, McCullough said that City Manager Patrick
Johnson and his staff will come up with the objectives to meet those goals. Once a plan is
mapped out, it will be presented to the council for consideration. It’s a collaborative approach in
which council members will then provide their input and further direction.

McCullough noted that the issue of “sidewalks” was added to the 2018-2020 goals under the category of
Traffic and Roads.

“One of the 2016-2018 goals was to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and continue to
improve our roads, which is still a priority,” McCullough said.

During the 2016-2018 period, McCullough said, the engineering department was already
working on sidewalks with limited funds from Safe Routes to School grants.

When the city first incorporated, there were many older homes and very few
connecting sidewalks. Today, things have changed and the council wanted to take a look, McCullough said.

Another slight difference between the 2016-2018 and 2018-2020 goals was the change from
Continue Fiscal Sustainability to Fiscal Responsibility.

“The council agreed they had achieved the emergency reserves that they want,” McCullough
said. “Then every year, trying to reach a 30 percent reserve. This year in the budget year, before
July 1, the city will have reached and anticipated reaching its 30 percent emergency reserves
goal. So, their goal instead of continued fiscal sustainability is now fiscal responsibility.”

McCullough said although there was a discussion about removing the line altogether because the
30 percent was achieved, it was decided that the item would stay with a minor rewording.

“The city is very fiscally responsible regarding budget, but other members decided they wanted
to keep that and have it as a goal because they wanted to make sure the public knew that,”
McCullough said.