Housing, downtown beautification, and a plethora of infrastructure projects are on the city of Calistoga’s to-do list for 2019.
The council held its annual goal-setting session on April 4, presenting staff with a list of continuing and new tasks to tackle in the upcoming year.
Staff will report back to the council on May 9 with an Adoption of Goals, and how many of the old and new tasks it can realistically accomplish this year given staffing and budgetary constraints. The council will consider staff’s feedback and approve the final working plan for 2019.
A review of last year’s goals by city officials revealed that most have been met, and several are ongoing.
A budgetary review or the priority goal, to maintain the fiscal vitality and stability of the city, including maintaining a minimum reserve of 50 percent of budgeted expenditures, has been met.
A good effort was also made to address housing needs, said City Planning Director Lynn Goldberg with the 30-unit senior housing complex on Washington Avenue, a 78-unit apartment complex approved for Lincoln Avenue, and two city-owned properties off lower Washington street.
Going forward, Goldberg said she has also seen an increase in interest for applications to build ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units).
Considerable time was given to the discussion of sidewalks, on Lincoln Avenue and elsewhere in town.
One goal the city would like to see resolved is visitors from the resorts who ride bikes on the sidewalk, and abandon them at various places around town.
From the audience, City Planning Commissioner Tim Wilkes suggested designated parking spots and racks for bicycles on the street.
Also at issue are sidewalks that need repair due to expanding tree roots. When given a choice to take the tree out to repair the sidewalk, most residents prefer to leave the tree, Kirn said.
The city also intends to improve downtown sidewalks to make them ADA accessible.
The city has met its goal to provide free and expanded activities to residents. That includes expanding days and hours at the pool. Parks & Recreation Director Rachel Melick said requests for passes so far this year have been “fantastic” with 150 summer passes last year and 243 this year.
“The feedback has been phenomenal and classes fill instantly,” she said.
A future goal for the city now is to provide a shade structure for the pool.
Police and Fire staffing
The Calistoga Police and Fire Departments are facing ongoing staffing issues. Police Chief Mitch Celaya’s contract is up at the end of June and said his goal is to implement a succession plan for the department as a whole.
The city has approved a police training program for one officer and will replicate it at least one more time. Celaya would also like to see a supervisor on duty for all shifts.
The fire department received two new trucks this past year, and has an agreement to use the Calistoga Beverage plant on Silverado Trail for training purposes.
Staffing is the biggest challenge, said Fire Chief Steve Campbell, but current staff are all EMT trained with state certification. Calistoga has also been informally sharing services with St. Helena’s Fire Department, and will look to partner more formally.
Public Works will be implementing automated water meter readers this year, as well as paving on Grant, Cedar, and Washington streets. Old infrastructure is also due to be replaced on Cedar, and a new bridge is planned for Grant Street.
A grant is also being secured to replace the intake tower at Kimball Reserve.
As part of the city’s effort to support local business a priority goal will be sprucing up the downtown area. Vice-Mayor Michael Dunsford noted that parts look “junky and rundown” and suggested implementing a downtown beautification plan as part of a cohesive urban design plan. That would include business façade improvements and landscaping.
Other suggestions included more benches along Lincoln Avenue and public art.
Napa County Fairgrounds
Another priority for the city is to support long-term land stewardship of the Napa County Fairgrounds. The city is still in negotiation with the county for purchase of much of the fairgrounds, but until that time it would be “irresponsible” to take over management duties, said Mayor Chris Canning.
The full list of City Council Goals, Objectives & Priority Projects for 2018-2019 can be seen at http://www.ci.calistoga.ca.us/home/showdocument?id=31981.