Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne presented the “State of the City” at a luncheon Thursday hosted by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
Osborne started off by highlighting some of the city’s milestones over the past year, including the city’s first district-based election, the Santa Ynez Riverbed cleanup, improvements at some city parks, and an increase in attendance for library programs.
But the “elephant in the room,” she said, is the city budget.
While the city council’s goals for the community include fully staffed and equipped public safety departments, finding the funding to make that happen is a challenge because of the city’s nearly $4 million obligation to CalPERS for the current budget cycle.
The mayor says making cuts to balance the budget could mean losing personnel, including from the police and fire departments.
Another option for closing the budget gap is a tax increase.
Osborne is encouraging Lompoc residents to provide their input on the budget process at the next budget meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at City Hall.
“I really want the community to understand that we know what kind of community we are. We also know that we are a strong community that can address these issues and solve these problems,” she said.
Osborne said the city is also looking toward the future with plans to improve customer service by city staff and encouraging community involvement in crime prevention through Neighborhood Watch programs, the Graffiti Removal Volunteer Team, and the support of youth programs.