Housing is an important issue for Salida. It has been discussed for many years, but little has been accomplished. I am concerned that there be accessible housing, both rentals and home purchases, for residents in all categories of income. This is sometimes referred to as “fair housing”. While talking to people in my district, the issue of available, reasonably priced rentals and the impact of vacation rentals has been prominent. I hope to foster discussions of these needs and work toward sensible programs. I have a strong background in land use codes and am working to understand the various housing programs available, as well as learn the developers’ perspective. I am committed to working on this issue.
Planning and Managing for the Future
Although Salida has not grown over time, it is changing and I believe it is critical that we, as a community, discuss what we want Salida to be like. The City Comprehensive Plan is a good start to open this discussion, but I believe it needs to be more specific and identify both what we want and don’t want. The City Land Use Code should reflect these directions, as should our city budget.
Looking for Consensus
Having used a consensus approach in numerous professional positions and in the League of Women Voters, I believe a community should tackle its issues through studying the facts and identifying common ground upon which to build. Working together accomplishes much more than conflict does. This also requires Council-staff rapport and respect for varying views. The current antagonistic atmosphere was another area of concern noted as I talked with residents in my ward. Salida is a friendly, caring community, and preserving its small-town atmosphere through collaboration is critical and the only way to meet the challenges we face.
Broadening the Economic Base
For the most part, city revenues come from sales tax. In some ways this is a benefit to residents as it is estimated that our out-of-town visitors contribute close to half of our sales tax income. However, as City Treasurer, I have seen how dependent we are on the state of the economy. We are very vulnerable to recession years or bad weather months, in which tourism is down and thus sales tax is too. A broader economy, which might include some clean, light industry, an institution of higher education, or a training center, for example, would help stabilize our revenues, as well as supply jobs that are not part of our service industry. This would also mean a wider variety of good paying jobs and move us away from becoming solely a resort community. This also means we seek new sources of revenue, possibly through better use of our hot springs resources, agricultural assets and historic heritage.