Elk Grove officials talk budget, take queries during town hall meeting

Elk Grove Promenade: Not dead yet   The City of Elk Grove conducted a self-described town hall meeting Monday night at city hall to dis...

Elk Grove Promenade: Not dead yet 

The City of Elk Grove conducted a self-described town hall meeting Monday night at city hall to discuss the city's budget process and to get input from residents on all matters related to the fiscal budget.
 Budget Director Katy Baumbach

Explaining the process and fielding questions were City Manager Laura Gill, Budget Director Katy Baumbach, Police Chief Robert Lehner and Mayor Steve Detrick who heard a variety of suggestions, compliments and concerns.

Baumbach did a general overview of the sources and expenditures on the city funds and provided some background on areas such as the decrease in sales tax revenues, which account for 31 percent of city revenues. 

"We saw a free fall in sales taxes," Baumbach said commenting on the effects of the great recession. "Things are [now] stabilized a bit."

The first audience member to speak was Elk Grove resident Lynn Wheat who presented a list of suggestions for the city as budget process for next year proceeds. Among others, Wheat suggested the city should merge transit services with Regional Transit, modify the city's pension plan and implement social development programs for children. 

Other subjects brought up by audience included law enforcement, the planned civic center, storm drains and the status of the Elk Grove Promenade Mall. The beleaguered mall has sat half-constructed for over two years year on the city's south side.

One frustrated audience member said the only thing she sees in the Elk Grove Citizen are several pages of foreclosure notices and that the Elk Grove Promenade is being taken over by animals. "The city has gone to pot," she said.  

Gill explained that subsequent to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the original developer, General Growth Properties, the property is now owned by the Howard Hughes Co. and that they intend to complete the project. "They are supposed to come talk with me," Gill said.

Gill added that four original anchor mall tenants, Macy's, Target, J.C. Penney and a major cinema operator still have leases and noted the construction of the nearby Kaiser medical facility. 

"They are committed to getting the project completed," Gill said. "It is not dead yet."

 The city will also hold another meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the Elk Grove Public Library on Elk Grove Boulevard.

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