Rohnert Park on Tuesday became the second Sonoma County city to opt out of the first year of Sonoma Clean Power, while Santa Rosa’s leaders continued to push back against the June 30 deadline set for the decision.
They have watched their city’s budget deficit slowly shrink for four years, but on Tuesday the Rohnert Park City Council bent under the accumulating — and rising — weight of retirement and medical benefits and unanimously agreed to declare a fiscal emergency.
With construction crews finishing track replacement work through Santa Rosa this month, officials at Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit are starting to plan for the final stages of the $360 million project that will link Santa Rosa to San Rafael.
The company behind the only residential housing developments in Rohnert Park in the past 12 years is back with a project that would punctuate a sore chapter for the city.
Wal-Mart is resuming efforts to expand its Rohnert Park store into a superstore, reviving a controversial plan that was halted in court after one of the more divisive arguments in recent city history. The city Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday to review the project and new studies evaluating its effect on the community.
The Rohnert Park City Council authorized a change to the city’s employment rules Tuesday, making it much easier for the city manager to fire future department heads. The decision means that all future executive level staff will be at-will employees. Currently, they work under for-cause agreements that require a lengthy process before someone can be dismissed.
The Rohnert Park City Council unanimously approved its city manager’s request to look into hiring an assistant city manager, but not without pressing home the message that they wanted economic development to go to the top of the to-do list.
Rohnert Park, after more than a year of negotiations, has signed off on a new lease with the Petaluma company that operates the city’s golf courses. The lease lowers the annual rent that CourseCo pays the city from $175,000 in 2011 to $81,000 a year. After maintenance costs that Course-Co is to cover, the city will get $50,000 a year. The lease also builds in a revenue-sharing formula.