At our City Council meeting in June, my council colleagues and I passed the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. This budget is something our residents can be proud of. Hindsight is 20/20, and our city staff has put forth a solid, balanced, responsible and most importantly fiscally conservative budget. This will be the fifth straight year of having a balanced budget.
Like every other city, we have challenges, but we are still in a good position. Our unemployment rate is at 3.6%, the lowest since September 2008. The U.S. economy has been in a steady but slow-growth mode for years and as a result, Downey residents’ median household income is 104% and 108% of the county and national average, respectively. Still, there are challenges that lie ahead.
A challenge that all cities face is the lack of affordable housing which is driven in part by the high cost of land in Southern California. In response to the high demand, the City proposed a first-time homebuyer assistance program to further the access to low and moderate income Downey families. Through a partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), the City’s contribution of $353,000 in HOME funds will be matched 100% match by NHS.
Applicants receive up to $60,000 in down payment assistance. The program will allow approximately seven low-to-moderate income households become local homeowners. For more information and how to apply, please visit our City’s website or contact the Housing Department at (562) 904-7161.
We currently have four new housing developments being built in our city limits. This will not only help with the housing situation but also bring in much-needed tax dollars.
In November of last year voters adopted with 62% in support Measure S, a 20-year, half-cent sales tax for safety, infrastructure, and crime prevention programs. Businesses began collecting the new tax on April 1. Council appointed an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee to review expenditures of revenues and make appropriate recommendations.
Council has already approved for funds from the measure to be used for the hiring of 10 new police officers. Additional funds planned to be used for a new radio system for our first responders, much needed fire station infrastructure repairs, and the roll out of the Downey Library Master Plan.
Downey continues to evolve and change. In order to keep our residents up to speed on all the new developments, we have a created a map with detailed information on each project site. This interactive map contains projects that have been submitted for the Planning Commission's review. The information can be located on the City’s website under “Development Activity.” Simply click on an icon to learn more about the project.
Save the date for our Havana Nights Rooftop Concert on August 31 at 6:30 p.m. This rooftop concert is a free event that celebrates live music and art in Downtown Downey. Join me and your fellow Downeyites in the conga line.
Did you know that only 15 minutes of walking a day can help relieve back pain, keep knee joints healthy and lowers risk of blood clots? Join us this summer every Saturday at 8 am at Furman Park for “Walks With Your Council Member”. These walks will help to improve fitness, health and well-being as well as give you a chance to speak with your elected officials about any city issues or questions you may have. No special equipment needed, just your walking shoes and a bottle of water.
As your Mayor, it is a privilege to share the City’s recent accomplishments and upcoming events. As always, I welcome your comments, concerns, and questions. You can reach me at (562) 904-7274 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.