By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 12/26/14, 1:25 PM PST | Updated: 1 min ago
SAN BERNARDINO >> Repeatedly over the last several years, city officials have cut what they acknowledge are important services, saying shrinking revenues leave the bankrupt city no choice.
Critics, council members, creditors — pretty much everyone has said that a long-term plan needs to increase revenues to the city. But how do you do that?
This year’s budget, covering the fiscal year that started July 1, includes a new deputy city manager for development who’s charged with answering that question.
Bill Manis, who started in September, says the turn-around has already begun.
“I believe people can see changes already,” Manis said. “With the dissolution of the former redevelopment agency, combined with the bankruptcy situation and staff reductions, the economic development function of the city was dormant for a period of time. That has officially changed thanks to the new leadership. … We all have a ‘can do’ attitude and a united interest to bring prosperity and interest back to the City of San Bernardino.”
More concretely, Manis listed a few projects under way in the city:
• Updating the economic development presence on the city’s website
• Implementing an “Available Properties” data base for the city
• Completing the dissolution process for the Successor Agency and marketing projects that were part of the redevelopment agency
• Working with the Successor Agency team on the Long-Range Property Management Plan
• Discussing the need for an Economic Development Strategic Plan with the city manager, mayor and City Council
• Working closely with the city Manager, Mayor and Common Council on the City’s Homelessness situation
• Working with the county and other partners to apply to be a Promise Zone, a federal designation that would open additional funding opportunities for the city. The application was submitted just before Thanksgiving, and results are expected in early 2015, Manis said.
Establishing the deputy city manager positions wasn’t controversy-free. The $197,287 in compensation including benefits could be better spent in other areas, said critics.
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