Mayor sees bright future ahead
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Mar 29, 2013 | 4601 views | 6 6 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Brent Ives talks about some of new social media communications the city is set to begin in the coming months, during his State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Mayor Brent Ives talks about some of new social media communications the city is set to begin in the coming months, during his State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Mayor Brent Ives thanks city staff members and city officials for their work in 2012 during his State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Mayor Brent Ives thanks city staff members and city officials for their work in 2012 during his State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Mayor Brent Ives discusses job growth in 2012 during the State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Mayor Brent Ives discusses job growth in 2012 during the State of the City address on Wednesday, March 27 in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Mayor Brent Ives declared Wednesday, March 27, that “the future is bright” as the city of Tracy positions itself to attract technology jobs and companies from the Bay Area in the coming years.

He made the statement while addressing a capacity crowd during the State of the City in the Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Theatre at the Grand Theater Center for the Arts, 715 Central Ave.

“This is an exciting time for your city,” Ives said. “Hang on — this is going to be good.”

Since city government focused its attention on stabilization and strategy last year, Ives said those efforts are bearing fruit.

In 2012, more than 200 new businesses opened and a net of 2,500 jobs — a good deal of them in finance, real estate and health services — were added in Tracy, according to Ives.

“This recession taught us to shift toward a private-sector business model and look for partners that were in it for the long term,” he said.

Ives said city officials have created a plan for Tracy to capitalize on a post-recession economy by “substantially improving our planning systems, by changing a bureaucratic mindset, by investing in infrastructure planning, and lastly, by adopting a strategy element for sustainability.”

He cited two business agreements in 2012 as examples of the city’s progress.

Amazon.com announced in January that it is opening a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center next to the Crate & Barrel warehouse at 1605 N. Chrisman Road. It’s scheduled to open in October and create around 1,000 jobs in the city.

ProLogis Inc., an industrial real estate developer based in San Francisco, recently purchased the rights to 1,200 of 1,700 available acres west of Tracy.

Ives said the company — which also has an office at 17284 W. Commerce Way in Tracy — plans to develop the area that he described as the “genesis of nearly 20,000 jobs to come.”

“The (City) Council has been quite involved in the design of that area, and we need to design that use carefully,” he said. “We have very promising talks progressing with many job producers from all over the world.”

As city officials plan for the end of Measure E in April 2016, Ives said it’s essential to protect the city’s financial reserves by conducting business in a way that lowers costs and increases revenue.

Measure E is a half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2010.

According to city records, Tracy received $18,422,071 in sales tax revenue in fiscal year 2011-12 — $5,910,308 of which was from Measure E.

The city received only $896,551 from Measure E in fiscal year 2010-11 because the tax was passed in November 2010, and collection didn’t begin until April 1, 2011.

A fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Ives emphasized that the city’s leadership only has so much control, and said that unchecked fiscal spending by Gov. Jerry Brown and state leaders in Sacramento has strained relationships with cities like Tracy.

The mayor asserted that the recession was seen by the state “as an opening for the grabbing of revenue between governments.”

“The state and the governor need to return to seeing local governments as the places of innovation and economic creation,” Ives said. “I urge the governor to leave us alone and deal with his own issues and let us deal with ours.”

As time progresses, Ives said he wants to question the need of Measure A, a slow-growth law passed by voters in 2000 that limits housing allotments to an average of 600 a year.

Tracy’s housing market — which had 35 homes for sale at the beginning of March — needs more inventory, according to Ives.

“A major stumbling block to us growing economically is to have a constrained housing market,” he said. “I think it’s time for our city to have a serious discussion about the negative impacts of Measure A.”

Ives said there is “a pent-up demand for higher education” opportunities in the city that are “flexible and progressive.”

City officials are in negotiations with California Lutheran University “and perhaps others” to bring a satellite campus to Tracy, he said.

“I’m not sure what the specific new educational model will be, but, we are going to figure it out,” Ives said. “To make a college or university happen in Tracy, we as a community must be prepared to show significant interest, time, treasure and the indisputable desire to support a higher education presence.”

Other highlights from 2012 mentioned by Ives included:

• The city’s budget is “nearly balanced … years ahead of schedule.”

• Auto theft is down 17 percent, and violent crimes represented 6 percent of the overall crime in the city. That rate is among the lowest in the Central Valley.

• Efforts are under way to improve communications with residents by using social media and digital technology.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 835-3030 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
(6)
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tomgreen123
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April 02, 2013
I saw we stop building low income housing. Keep house prices high, let them find places in Stockton, not Tracy. Tracy is becoming a dump.
walkingtall
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March 30, 2013
I am exited that there allegedly is such a low inventory of homes. Less homes means less competition more money for the seller! On another note, This quote "Ives said the company — which also has an office at 17284 W. Commerce Way in Tracy — plans to develop the area that he described as the “genesis of nearly 20,000 jobs to come," makes me want to laugh. 20,000 jobs, are you serious! Kind of like the 1,200 jobs that Amazon is going to bring, when the real number is about 350 to 375 jobs. I wonder who Ives thinks he's trying to fool with the laughable, numbers he has pulled out of the sky! It's nice to paint a rosy picture but come on Ives! Nice try!
Sneaky
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March 29, 2013
I actually agree with a fair amount of what he said, particularly the financial responsibility and long term financial planning aspects, but the comments on housing and the excitement about ever more warehouse businesses miss the mark for me.

In the full text he refers to mixed use development, downtown living and people wanting to live differently and having choices. He is right about folks wanting to have choices to live differently but I suspect the choices I want available are not what he has in mind. I suspect he wants folks crammed in like sardines, whereas I would prefer more options for acreage. If we are going to build more neighborhoods at least make them ones with decent lot sizes (1-3 acre).

This gem also made me laugh: "While we have withstood the decimation of redevelopment, agencies, the recession was seen by the State as an opening and justification for the grab of revenue between governments."

Similar to how the city saw it as a chance to grab revenue by using scare mongering to fool the more gullible among us into voting for measure E???

The end of the redevelopment agencies was a good thing. It ended a huge waste of money.
Cratchit
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March 29, 2013
Please! Measure A was a great idea when passed and still works well today. The lack of housing for sale has much more to do with Banks not listing their real estate holdings than it has to do with Measure A!

If you doubt that is true just cruise any neighborhood and see the empty houses. There are three within a block of where I live and hundreds more throughout the city.

We should not even consider more growth until those homes are at least listed for sale to give an honest view of what is going on.
Sneaky
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March 29, 2013
Agreed. Plus more inventory is not going to help the value of my house. Limited inventory will. Lastly I really don't want to see the open fields all turned to suburban neighborhoods. The open space is the best part of Tracy.

Long live measure A!!
ChrisRoberts
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March 31, 2013
It's funny how he is still taking a swipe at measure A. Talk about sore losers. They really can not let this go. It's been YEARS. And we will make another measure A when that expires. This is what the voters of TRACY WANT.


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