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Colusa City Council brainstorms plans
Economic development, financial stability and transparency were the main goals discussed at the special meeting of the Colusa City Council held at Rocco's Bar and Grill on Tuesday afternoon.
In a special retreat, the council held a brainstorming session to identify general goals for the council over the next three years, strengths and weaknesses of the city and objectives of the council.
The major long-term goals identified included economic development, public safety, enhancing community involvement, long-term financial stability and infrastructure improvements.
One of the hot topics expected to be discussed, the city manager's position, was tabled until March 5 because council members wanted more time to review material given to them at the meeting.
"Economic development leads to employment, which leads to revenue," said Councilwoman Donna Critchfield. "Until people go to work in Colusa, I doubt we're going to see a lot of growth."
Councilwoman Marilyn Acree emphasized the need for a three- to five-year plan for economic development. Some of the ideas discussed were improvements to downtown parking, sidewalks, lighting standards for downtown, general city marketing ideas such as murals and capitalizing on Colusa's location and climate, and working with neighboring communities on regional development plans.
Two actions on economic development came out of the meeting, both focused on bringing in investors.
Acting City Manager Randy Dunn suggested building a citizen committee to further brainstorm and develop a marketing plan to bring both local business investment and tourists to downtown Colusa. He suggested they could work with the Chamber of Commerce.
Secondly, City Planner Bryan Stice offered to put together a report cataloguing available properties and buildings in Colusa to have available for potential business investors. The document would include building locations and sizes, acreage available, fees and codes. He said he will aim to complete the report in three to four months.
Another goal brought up by Critchfield was council transparency.
"We aren't transparent. Technically we are, but I don't think it seems so to the public," said Critchfield.
"It should be a part of every goal to be clear and open to the community," Dunn added.
City Attorney Krysten Hicks suggested making more documents available online and providing the council meeting agendas earlier before the meetings.
Critchfield said that the city finances, specifically, need to be more transparent and available to the public in a simple format that could be easily understood and accessed online.
"(The public should know) how much we're paying in salaries, where we're getting money and how we're spending it. It should be much easier for people to determine what we're doing with their money," said Critchfield.
She added that even as a council member she often had difficulty understanding the city finances.
Toni Benson, city finance analyst, said she will work on putting something together to make the reports more user friendly.
"We'll implement something and see if it works — everything is trial and error," said Benson.