Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fairfield runs lean shop, city manager says

Fairfield runs lean shop, city manager says

By From page A1 | March 03, 2016                                                                    
FAIRFIELD — Steph Curry shooting the winning three-pointer Saturday in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Draymond Green making a three-point shot during overtime Tuesday for the Golden State Warriors against the Atlanta Hawks.

David White, city manager of Fairfield, said he feels the same accomplishment week after week because of the amazing work of city employees.

Speaking Wednesday at the State of the Cities breakfast hosted by the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce, White recounted how Fairfield once had 650 city employees but that now 530 people work for the municipality.

“We run a very lean shop,” he said. “We’ve done a really good job with our resources.”

White also said at the breakfast meeting at Courtyard by Marriott on Holiday Lane in Fairfield that the city thinks holistically about community safety.

“It’s not just about arresting people on the street,” the city manager said.

He called the 2015 closing of Talk N Win on North Texas Street in Fairfield a huge win for the city and said officials took on the Internet gambling site in different ways, including successfully seeking state legislation about such operations.

Parkway Gardens, the 240-unit condominiums on Del Paso Court, is a more stable asset because of the city’s efforts, White said.

Measure P, the sales tax measure that ends in March 2018, is crucial to the city’s finances, he said.
Some people ask, “Why would you talk about this now?” White recounted.

“I lose $16 million of money to run the organization,” he said when the five-year tax ends.

Discussions about extending the measure have begun, said the city manager, who added that he and department heads for Fairfield are available to talk to groups about how the city is doing.

Suzanne Bragdon, city manager for Suisun City, spoke next and said the path for the municipality is stabilizing. But she said was shocked when 40 percent of residents in a poll responded that they believe the city’s finances are excellent or good.

Suisun City does not benefit from the 250,000 vehicles that drive daily along the Interstate 80 corridor where Fairfield and Vacaville are located, Bragdon said.

“We can fund the status quo,” she said of Suisun City’s financial status.

Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, said about 75,000 commute out of the county on workdays – while about 33,000 drive into Solano County.
Person also called Travis Air Force Base “more than just the largest employer.”

“This is a key catalyst,” she said.

Person said the second phase of Moving Solano Forward, an effort to develop a countywide strategy to further diversify the economic base of Solano County, is underway. A $453,460 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, pays for the new phase of the project.

Sean Quinn, former Fairfield city manager, is working for the Solano Economic Development Corporation as project manager for the Moving Solano Forward effort.
Solano County is contracting with the economic development corporation for the project.An economic development corridor strategy and a website to assist business, government and brokers are part of the second phase.

Solano County received a $370,000 grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment for the first phase and paid consultant Economic Planning Systems Inc. in an 18-month undertaking for an economic diversity report.

The first phase recommended 13 strategies and 39 actions for local jurisdictions during the next five years.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or