Serving the community since 1922

Council discusses city's progress and plans for the future

The Shafter City Council held a special meeting to receive an update on budgetary progress and status for the city, learning what is on track and what needs improvement for the growth of the city.

City Manager Gabriel Gonzales told the council members that the city has seen growth, and has acquired funding for new projects to help operations.

One key grant was from from Clean California. "This grant will allow us to do improvements on the Shafter Aquatic Center, as well as improvements to our existing parks, which will be a great asset to the city," Gonzalez said.

The $4.6 million includes $2.5million earmarked for the Aquatic Center. This will include the resurfacing of the pool and improvements to the area around the pool, as well as getting the facility to be AAD compliant.

The remaining funds will go to lighting at Veterans Park and lighting and improvements at Mannel Park, as well as infield improvements at Kirschenman Park and improvements to the Stringham Park area, including a parking lot and bus stop.

An ongoing project, according to Gonzales, is the improvement needed to attract new businesses downtown.. "Our business development director is hard at work marketing our city to new businesses, trying to bring businesses in there that will generate revenue."

Gonzales also said that the city is in negotiations to purchase a parcel of land along Seventh Standard Road, in the Gossamer Grove area, to be used for a combination police substation/fire substation. It is a 3-acre parcel of land, which would house both agencies.

Discussions have been ongoing for more than a year about the relocation of City Hall, but Gonzales said that they have decided that it would not be feasible at this time, and the decision was made to make adjustments and improvements to the existing buildings.

One concern that the city has is the issue of SB9, concerning affordable housing in cities. This will impact the city, with several developments in the works for building new homes.

"In California, it is impossible to build housing at this time that is affordable. To build housing according to the state's mandate, it is just impossible right now," Mayor Pro-Tem Chad Givens said.

The bill requires cities to have a certain percentage of their new housing be in the affordable housing category, opposed to housing that is at market value.

The proposed budget assumes revenue will grow slightly, with a jump from $51 million to $53.5 million. This is despite the loss of income from the shuttered Modified Correctional Facility.


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