When reflecting upon the state of the city — like the Roman god Janus, for whom January was named — one must look to the future and the past. Scotts Valley is fortunate to have had a good past year, and I know you share my confidence that the upcoming year will be memorable, as well.
First, let me say that I am honored and humbled to present this state of the city report. This is my fifth time as your mayor, and I feel blessed to represent a city that values community as much as Scotts Valley does. At its core are people who care deeply about this city and want to make it an even better place to live. I assure you the council and dedicated city employees share in that dream.
Looking back, 2012 was good for Scotts Valley.
No one likes confrontation, but when the county refused to stop its practice of unfairly pocketing large amounts of your tax dollars, the city had to act. We sued the county in 2008 and won. The appeal process, however, was drawn out and even went before the state Supreme Court. I am happy to say that finally, the judgment was upheld and not only do we now keep more annual tax dollars, we are receiving nearly $2.2 million over three years, owed to us for past unlawful collections.
We are now hopeful to get cooperation from the county to drop any attempt to change this outcome and save each side legal fees. New 5th District county Supervisor Bruce McPherson should be helpful achieving that goal.
Leaders should be judged on both what they do and what they don’t do. Concerning the latter, six years ago voters generously taxed themselves by increasing the sales tax one-half cent, with a decrease to one-quarter cent after three years. The slogan for that campaign was “A bridge to the future.” There was a sunset clause that made it a temporary tax, a promise that the City Council took seriously and honored.
Even though there are monetary pressures that Scotts Valley constantly faces, we felt that keeping a promise and maintaining the public trust topped every other concern. We voted to let the tax expire without having a vote to extend it. The time may come when we need additional revenue, but only then will we ask for the public’s help.
With respect to the future, after slowly emerging from a very severe recession, the economy has brightened enough to encourage developers to again invest in our city. There are several residential developments progressing, including 46 units adjacent to the transit center.
Several new businesses have moved to Scotts Valley, including Fox Shox and Bay Photo, bringing with them hundreds of employees. New life has also been breathed into the Town Center, with Safeway taking the lead in being the cornerstone anchor for that 17-acre development. The key for our city is that while we welcome their participation, we will insist that they involve the public to ensure that their voices are heard. In fact, PDC, the company affiliated with Safeway that will handle the development, will hold a community meeting to get input from the public from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road. They don’t have overt plans yet, but they want to hear from you.
The fundamental vision for the Town Center should remain largely intact and clearly bring attractive shopping alternatives to the public and needed revenue to the city.
Scotts Valley remains the safest city in the county. Obviously, a lot of that credit goes to our wonderful police department and its leadership.
Our excellent schools also play an important part in helping shape the attitudes and development of our young people.
A new Boys and Girls Club is in the works, which will help meet recreational needs.
Our working relationships with other public agencies — including the fire, water and school districts — are strong and getting better.
Scotts Valley’s success is a reflection of our community’s success. Thank you for doing your part in shaping our city’s future. I am hopeful that 2013 will be a banner year for us all.
Mayor Randy Johnson has served on the Scotts Valley continuously since 1996.