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Napa council to set focus on 2021 city goals
Government

Napa council to set focus on 2021 city goals

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Napa City Hall

Napa City Hall.

When the Napa City Council sets this year’s to-do list of top priorities this week, it will try to balance the pressing needs wrought by a historic pandemic with longstanding issues such as housing, homelessness and cannabis retailing.

In a special meeting Tuesday, council members will complete their annual goal-setting exercise, deciding what main priorities to include in Napa’s 2021-22 budget. The setting of the priority list will feature goals the council discussed at a two-day workshop in early February.

The priorities will serve as a de facto guidebook to the creation of Napa’s next budget, in which the city must cope with a deficit opened up by the closure of hotels and a sharp drop in tourism as COVID-19 choked off travel for much of 2020. Revenues have been forecast to reach only $87 million for the year ending June 30, more than $10 million off pre-pandemic forecasts, after 2019-20 sales taxes fell by an eighth and hotel room tax revenue by 26% from the year before.

Goals the council will debate will fall into six categories, including a new one of fostering greater diversity and equity, a response to the nationwide anti-racism protests that also reached Napa following the May death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police. On the council’s slate is a proposal to emphasize language equity for Spanish-speaking Napans, by making city communications, meetings and announcements more widely available and culturally competent.

Other goals would focus on efficient city organization; roads, sidewalks, and infrastructure; housing and neighborhoods; economic development; and community-focused services.

Topics from the February workshop that may be included in the priority list include fostering housing creation, removing development barriers, funding a joint-power Climate Action Committee proposed by Napa County to coordinate carbon reduction efforts, and bolstering the services provided to the homeless population.

At the council’s preliminary hearing Tuesday, one of Napa’s most of-the-moment issues came to the forefront when council members expressed support for a “hero pay” ordinance to temporarily boost the hourly wages of grocery workers whose jobs have placed them at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Such an ordinance — a version of which the American Canyon council approved the same night — would follow in the path of similar rules passed by Los Angeles, San Jose, Berkeley and other California cities this year.

Also on the list of potential goals is deciding whether to liberalize Napa’s cannabis-selling ordinance, which has allowed a handful of dispensaries to open west of downtown but still limits sales to medicinal customers instead of the non-medical retailing allowed in Vallejo and other surrounding communities.

Budget discussions are expected to take place through the spring, before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

WATCH NOW: FAUCI REFLECTS ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Dr. Anthony Fauci Reflects on, One-Year Anniversary, of COVID-19 Pandemic. One year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In a new interview with the ‘Today’ show, Dr. Anthony Fauci took the time to reflect on the dismal anniversary. Dr. Fauci was asked how he would’ve reacted if he had been told one year ago that the U.S. would see half a million deaths. It would have shocked me completely … I mean, I knew we were in for trouble … I said it then, ‘we better be really careful.’ , Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'Today'. In fact, that day at a congressional hearing, I made the statement ‘things are gonna get much worse before they get better’ and that was at a congressional hearing a year ago today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'Today'. Dr. Fauci admitted that he didn’t think “much worse” would come to mean so many deaths. When asked what went wrong early on in the pandemic, Dr. Fauci blamed the “divisiveness in our country.” . One of the things I keep harkening back to that you can’t run away from is that we had such divisiveness in our country that even simple, common-sense public health measures took on a political connotation, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'Today'

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You can reach Howard Yune at 530-763-2266 or hyune@napanews.com

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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