As I wind down my term as mayor of Del Mar, I’ve spent some time reflecting on all of the things the city has collectively accomplished this past year and during my tenure as a member of the City Council.
I was first elected to the City Council in 2010 and have served as mayor since December 2013. Together we have completed a number of significant priorities, including major infrastructure projects; enhanced relationships with regional stakeholders; and begun work on some exciting projects that will benefit residents, businesses, and visitors.
In particular, to facilitate community engagement, as a former member of the Design Review Board, I helped implement the Citizens’ Participation Program. The CPP helps make neighbors aware of a development proposal early in its design phase and also gives them an opportunity to meet with the project applicant and discuss concerns before the Design Review Board holds its formal public hearing on the application. This has been very successful to ensure neighborhood feedback of development projects.
I also established monthly “Meetings with the Mayor,” to provide community members with an opportunity to meet with me one-on-one to discuss issues that were important to them. This was a great way to get to know community members’ concerns, in addition to hearing from you while being in the community. And, through continued participation of the Community Relations Commission, we have enhanced our relationship with the 22nd District Agricultural Association and Solana Beach regarding the impacts of the Fairgrounds.
With the City Council and community’s support, we completed a number of priorities that help preserve and enhance the community’s character. Most notably, we began the sidewalk, street, and drainage improvement project in the Beach Colony area. The project filled in missing curbs and gutters, installed bulb-outs, pedestrian ramps, and sidewalks, and road improvements along Camino del Mar.
Additionally, in preparation of the San Dieguito River Path Extension Project, we secured a long-term lease from the North County Transit District to provide additional trail-head parking for the River Path at the southeast corner of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive. Finally, let’s not forget about finishing the seismic retrofit and rehabilitation of the historic North Torrey Pines Bridge.
In an effort to manage the city’s resources in a fiscally sound and prudent manner, the City Council authorized a $3 million paydown of the city’s Pension Liability. The council also agreed to establish a pension reserve fund, setting aside enough money to eliminate the city’s unfunded pension liability over 15 years. Furthermore, we entered into an agreement with the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas to redirect a portion of our wastewater flows to the San Elijo Water Reclamation Facility (SEWRF) in Cardiff, saving significant money in wastewater treatment costs and helping to create more recycled water. We also were successful in working with the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to receive a grant for the River Path Del Mar project. And, finally we worked with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to use their “Commercial Paper Program,” to borrow against future TransNet funds at a very low cost to implement sidewalk, street, and drainage improvement projects now.
Finally, I’m excited about the community’s progress in planning the City Hall/Civic Center project and the Shores Park Master Plan. We are fortunate to have an engaged community and I look forward to seeing these two significant projects come to fruition!
I am honored to have served the residents of Del Mar to implement your vision for our City and thank you for your support!