At the January 17 City Council Meeting, City Manager Bruce Pearson’s report on the current state of Pleasanton painted a future that looks bright.
Pearson reported that general fund revenues are about 116 percent on the sales tax side for the first four months of the year. Permits and fees are about 44 percent of projected income, some 19 percent ahead of what was projected for the year and over the same period last year. Property taxes are about 72 percent of collections of what was projected at about the same rate from last year. General fund revenues, overall, are at about 45 percent for the fiscal year, once again significantly ahead of the projections. To give everyone a feel of where the city should be, Pearson noted that the city should be at about 25 percent for the year and it is already at 45 percent. General fund expenditures are at 19.5 percent for the year.
Pearson, who introduced his family at the city council meeting, has often publicly stated how both he and his wife have fallen in love with the city of Pleasanton. He hit the pavement visiting the local businesses and questioned his council members on how others felt about this town.
“I began discussing with citizens, business owners, councilmembers on an impromptu basis, over the past several months about who and what we really are,” said Pearson. “So I can get a feel of what you all see,” said Pearson. “Cities are now competing for each other and does Pleasanton really have an identity that people really know about? We all know what we are, but do other people?” asked Pearson.
Mayor Clinton J. Powell thinking in the same direction called Pearson about a week ago about Pleasanton needing an identity, a symbol.
“Yes, we are the Birthplace of the Cowboy,” said Pearson. “We all know that and we’re very proud of that,” Pearson said. Pearson is not afraid to seek the counsel of others when he wants answers or information. Pearson recently met with a consultant who has 25-years experience working with small towns in the Hill Country.
“I’ll be turning some of that information to the Mayor to get his take on that and see which way he might want to go, and get direction from council to discuss some of these things. If you don’t blow your horn, no one else is going to,” Pearson added.
He cited a recent study done in the Dallas area, in which only 8 percent knew where Kerrville is located. However, about 80 percent knew where Fredericksburg is. “What Fredericksburg has done over the last few years, is they have put themselves out there.”
A recently hired consultant, Chris Stewart of Stewart Consulting looks to be another professional that sees big things ahead for Pleasanton. In this city council meeting, he gave an update on the progress of the city’s Master Plan. After Stewart Consulting’s meetings with the Planning and Zoning Commission, three different scenarios, representing three possible futures for Pleasanton were presented.
“Some of those scenarios involve more modest growth projections, while some are more aggressive. We just laid them out to see how they will look,” said Stewart.The consulting firm took each of these to a community meeting before the holidays and received input from the public, which he was pleased with.
“How can we make this the best future land use representation for Pleasanton?” Stewart asked.
Scenario A. is a very modest, more well-rounded opportunity. He described this as the starting place based on the original utility map that was developed. Scenario B. is what he called an “exploring process.” In other words, what could Pleasanton become? It is more balanced and considers Highway 281 and the 476 corridor. Gallegos asked how far south it went. He responded 281 South all the way to 37.Scenario C. looks at increasing the area, and not focusing so much on Highway 97.
“If we target our growth to reach Highway 97, what would that look like? We got a little bit crazy here and probably looked at more growth than would be realistic,” said Stewart. I think this could be a tremendous retail, economic engine for the city and also an opportunity to really identify to the hundreds of thousands of regional travelers here, ‘Hey, Pleasanton is here!’ This area is what I see as a gateway,” Stewart said.