The San Luis Obispo City Council set their official goals for the next two years at a public meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5. The key goals include increased housing, fiscal sustainability, sustainable transportation, climate action and maintaining and upgrading downtown San Luis Obispo.
“We are continuing on with the goals we had in the last budget cycle and amplifying those,” San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said. “So, the goals we have are big goals that have long-term challenges, so we continue to recommit to those goals and be leaders on those goals.”
Potential goals were discussed through a public online survey and open forum Jan. 23. The final list was decided by city council members, including Harmon, who said she believes the most important goal is the city’s focus on sustainability.
“I think continuing to prioritize something on climate change is essential to our economic, social and actual survival,” Harmon said. “So, to me, that is the defining issue of our time and is of utmost importance.”
Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Jasmin Fashami said she is also excited about the goals focused on sustainability, specifically sustainable transportation.
“The city bus is something students use a lot and same with biking as parking on campus is expensive,” Fashami said. “Seeing it as a possibility means it will create more opportunity for students which is something I’m very excited about.”
Overall Fashami said she is pleased with the new goals. However, hopes that lighting within San Luis Obispo will be addressed. Although last year the city had a budget of $40,000 for new lighting structures, the city has had general complications with PG&E that has put this process on hold, according to Fashami.
“I’d like to hope we can work with PG&E to make those lights a reality in the city,” Fashami said. “I’m looking forward to working with the city more to learn how ASI, the community, [and the] student body can advocate for more lighting.”
Fashami represented the student body at the open forum, speaking about the need to increase the city’s street lighting.
The city’s next step to address these goals is to create a preliminary budget draft for the City of San Luis Obispo.
“Given our current fiscal constraints, staff will take council’s direction to put together a budget that focuses on delivering core services and infrastructure maintenance, while prioritizing these Major City Goals,” City Manager Derek Johnson said in the press release.
Draft work plans will be presented to the council April 16, 2019. Fashami said she advises students who are passionate about these goals or other topics to reach out to ASI or even city council members to make an impact.
“The biggest piece of feedback we have heard [when attending city council meetings] is we would like more students coming to city council,” Fashami said. “I think attending those meetings is a great way to get your voice heard. Or talk to student government and see how we can help your cause, reach out to council members, or even the Mayor. They all really love and appreciate the student voice, and it’s a much less daunting process than you might think.”