A couple things about Marysville:
– First, the thing about Ellis Lake. It’s a local landmark and at its best it’s a beautiful gem; at it’s worst it’s trashy, overrun with campers and panhandlers, and it smells.
City officials are rightly looking at how to mitigate the worst things, and maximize the best. We applaud them for it and hope they keep after it. But, as they seek a partnership with Yuba Water Agency to revamp and refurbish the lake and parkland, we have a feeling they’re avoiding the number one problem with the lake: it can be worrisome ... even scary ... for anyone who wants to use it – especially in the evening or early morning.
It strikes us that the sure fire way to improve conditions of Ellis Lake and the surrounding parkland is maintenance and care. And supervision/security. And how can that be accomplished?
Like we said, we’re very happy to see improvement plans being considered. The planning between the city and, hopefully, their eventual partners on the project YWA has to do with revamping the facilities, doing something to improve water quality, and developing access.
There was mention of a pedestrian bridge crossing B Street (a tough street to cross if you’re on foot or bike). And the discussion also includes fixing up walkways to accommodate those people, as well as meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements; fixing lighting and improving nighttime visibility; and changing the way the water is managed to keep it fresher.
City Manager Marti Brown said she hopes to apply for grant funding through YWA and get specs out for bids in the next couple months. All the plans make sense – aerators, connectivity, modernization.
But nothing would beat effective monitoring, supervision, and maintenance of the parkland. And that’s a challenge. You can apply for grants to fix and build. But what about for operating and personnel costs? Because that’s what it’s going to take to make Ellis Lake really serviceable – someone to prevent transients from overtaking the park, making sure campers don’t become permanent, cleaning up after them, fending off the drug dealing and thievery, and instilling a sense of security in the neighborhood and for people who would love to enjoy a stroll through or picnic along the shores.
That’s going to take some brainstorming.
– The second thing is about that sales tax increase city voters approved (Measure C). Since that tax increase was given the nod, the city has climbed out of its fiscal hell hole. The thing is, the way we see it, the city is still teetering at the edge of that hole.
Before Measure C went into effect, the city clearly had an urgent situation on its hands. The city was: having major trouble fielding an effectively-staffed police force; was letting parks go dead; had streets that weren’t just bad, but were shot. Even with all the deficits in services, the city was still faced with huge increases in costs that would have run it into the ground.
There was the usual woe-be-unto-you types condemning the tax increase. But we shudder to think what the city would look like had it not approved the tax. There had been murmurings of un-incorporating the city and of taking a good hard look at the ramifications of bankruptcy. The very folks who proclaimed that local government had to be run more like a business were not cognizant of the idea that you need to sometimes invest in your business to keep it working. In their minds, un-incorporating and accepting bankruptcy would have been good business.
All that said, this is no time to entertain anything approaching relaxation. Increased costs are already eating up the increased revenue. City leaders better plan out the next few years and work to gain some public support.
According to a Friday report, the city has restructured departments and expense allocation to have a more transparent and manageable set of books. They’ve been restructuring in order to better track how money they were already spending is used so they can better judge cost effectiveness.
Good, because they’re going to be facing some long, uphill stretches: rising health care costs, unfunded pension liability, bond payments, commercial vacancy rates ... there’s plenty to worry that budget about.