City Council live — The strategic economic development plan

The Council gave unanimous approval to the item. Councilmember Dyane Burgos-Medina praised Micah Runner’s presentation on putting development of a strategic plan out to bid. “What a great project and what a great step forward,” she said.

“I think it’s going to be highly important to focus on young professionals,” Councilmember Zapien said. “This generation has been estimated to be more than one half of the entering workforce in the upcoming years. It’s going to be incredibly important how we attract and retain young professionals in the coming years.”

Councilmember Kathy Miller: “I think it’s really important … the strategies we select will dovetail. We have a long history in Stockton of spending money on studies and then five years later they sit on a shelf.” She said the plan should be coordinated with developing downtown and with building transportation. She said improving downtown and transportation will attract the younger workforce.

Vice Mayor Paul Canepa: He said the city needs to be more aggressive, take a look at business fees.

Councilmember Elbert Holman: “In our economic recovery there are things that are very, very important and one of those is public safety.” He said public safety is vital for attracting and keeping business. He said it’s important the city not go for “pie in the sky” things. He said it’s more important to “focus on things that are important” and to allow the community to be involved.

Citizen Gary Malloy: He said he is playing devil’s advocate, that many past studies have never been used. “We’re putting the cart before the house.” He said public safety and more police should be in place first. The city’s computer system needs to be in place. The sewer system “can fall apart anytime.” He said the city has deferred maintenance on many things for years. He said, “We don’t have the infrastructure to run as a normal city.” “I think spending $100,000 at this point is too early. … We all know to make downtown work people have to be living downtown. We don’t need a study for that.”

Runner said his goal is “a reasonable plan that is actionable.” He acknowledged that public safety is vital. “Mr. Malloy is right. We need to be a safe city to attract businesses.” Interim City Manager Kurt Wilson said economic development is important for increasing revenue. “Attracting business is exactly what’s going to make us sustainable. The only way we’re going to fix those gaps is if we improve the revenue side.”

The item passed 6-0.

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