SUISUN CITY — Residents joined council members and staff Saturday to mull the future as Suisun City slowly recovers from the Great Recession and the loss of redevelopment funding.
About two dozen attended the Chart Our Future workshop, which included an interactive exercise and department overviews, at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center.
“We want to work with the community to start prioritizing the service levels that we have lost over the past four to five years so we can start figuring out how to prioritize and be ready when the economy turns around,” said City Manager Suzanne Bragdon as she opened the forum.
The workshop featured a “Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” exercise that spotlighted a variety of topics from crime to dog parks. Placing stickers next to items on charts, residents appeared to agree that Suisun City’s community events, the waterfront, Train Depot and the marsh were strengths, while deteriorating streets and dilapidated buildings on Main Street were weaknesses.
Bob Ritchie, a resident since 1979, said the waterfront has potential to lure more consumers to Suisun City.
“We just see it as a crown jewel down here that just needs to be polished up,” he said.
Ritchie said he wanted to propose a “Yachts of Fun” event, along with wine tasting, to expose more people to the area.
“It’s just another way to bring money into the community . . . getting tax money back to the city and moving forward,” he said.
Offering an overview of revenue sources, Assistant City Manager Ron Anderson said general purpose taxes currently contribute about $4.6 million to the $9 million general fund. About 1 percent of sales tax revenue collected in the city goes to the city while the rest benefits the state. Purchases outside Suisun City pay for services outside Suisun City, he said.
“So shop local when you can,” Bragdon added.
Anderson said the gas tax, the primary source for street repair funds, hasn’t been particularly fruitful as of late.
“Even though the price of gas has gone up, the amount of gas tax that we get has been going down because generally people are using more fuel-efficient vehicles,” he said. “So the funding source that we use to pay for streets is flat at best,” he said.
Residents noted police department staffing as an investment priority during the SWOT exercise.
Police Chief Ed Dadisho said the department has seen the elimination of its investigations and traffic units, which means patrol officers have to do their own investigations.
“We are starting to hire more officers, so I’m pretty confident we’re going to start having a dedicated officer in investigations within the next month or two,” he said.
Those in attendance continued to pepper council members and staff with questions ranging from senior transportation to car thefts to park surveillance cameras.
Suisun City will post an archived video of Saturday’s workshop as well as more public input opportunities on its website at www.suisun.com.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.