By Eric Heinz
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce and the city of San Clemente hosted the annual State of the City on Friday, April 8, highlighting some of the major accomplishments from the last year and looking toward future goals.
Mayor Bob Baker introduced the ceremony with State Sen. Patricia Bates, and Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Ward gave the State of the City address.
During the address, it was mentioned the city is seeing an increase in local business, “a renaissance,” in many parts of the community.
“I think as the economy is getting better and we’re seeing less available space out there, people are having to be creative to existing structures and make improvements to existing structures,” said James Wynne, chairman of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “I think an upgrade of the tenants and quality businesses refers to the renaissance they’re talking about.”
A video put together by the city mentioned the sales revenue from the Outlets at San Clemente covering the cost of maintenance at Vista Hermosa Sports Park as well as other needs within the city. The revenue from the mall, originally expected between $1.2 million to $2 million, is expected to be significantly less than that, but city officials are optimistic the revenue will increase as more stores and restaurants open.
“I think it just continues to grow, and as people continue to buy into the Outlets, the sales tax revenue will grow with it,” City Manager James Makshanoff said.
In recent financial planning workshops, the city projected some deficits a few years down the road due to deferred maintenance and other factors, which the city’s budget workshops will take into account.
“We’re just working on the budget process right now, and we feel like we’re going to be in a pretty good place for next year, and we’ll be bringing a balanced budget to the council with similar services,” Makshanoff said. “No reduction in services are being planned at this time.”
A major milestone for the city is the upcoming opening of Avenida La Pata, which will connect San Clemente directly to San Juan Capistrano and provide an alternative north-to-south route to the Interstate 5 freeway. An opening of the road is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14, Ward said.
Also, the city’s trolley program is expected to begin in mid-2017, once routes are mapped out.