Santa Rosa approved a $357 million budget Wednesday that begins restoring some community services scaled back during the recession but which critics say continues funding public safety at the expense of other pressing city needs like roads, parks and unfunded pension liabilities.
The nitty-gritty of Santa Rosa’s budget deliberations doesn’t get underway until Wednesday at 9 a.m. But in some ways the most important budget decision has already been made.
The Santa Rosa City Council formally rebuked Councilman Gary Wysocky on Tuesday for what it called his abusive behavior toward city staff, a move that came despite a raucous and belligerent crowd of Wysocky’s supporters who shouted down, hissed at and booed the council majority as they sought to justify their unprecedented censure vote.
As a way to help restore trust in local government, Santa Rosa’s open government task force expressed support Thursday for a set of local rules requiring greater transparency than what’s called for under state open meeting laws.
Santa Rosa taxpayers began picking up the tab for the Bennett Valley Golf Club’s clubhouse and pro shop Tuesday after it became clear golfers alone could no longer shoulder the hefty debt on the $9.6 million buildings.
Santa Rosa’s open government task force, formed in response to criticism that city decision-making lacks transparency, opened its inquiry Thursday with a wide-ranging discussion about what open government means, where the city has fallen short and how the panel should explore areas for improvement.
The Santa Rosa City Council unanimously and enthusiastically approved a plan to transform a vacant hospital in Bennett Valley into housing for at-risk young adults despite neighbors’ threats to sue to force additional environmental studies.
Santa Rosa’s Open Government Task Force has finished selecting its members and set its first meeting for April 3. Vice Mayor Robin Swinth and Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom are heading the 11-member task force, which is charged with producing a report about the city’s commitment to open and transparent government.
Former Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm said Thursday he plans to run for City Council in November.
Santa Rosa City Councilman Jake Ours announced Tuesday he will not run for re-election in November. The first-term councilman is the second member of the council to bow out of the upcoming race in as many weeks.