City Scene: Paving the way to a bright futureBy: Evert Palmer, Folsom City Manager, Special to the Telegraph
While the economy continued to struggle in 2012, city leaders navigated the course toward Folsom’s future with a goal of building upon the distinctive quality of life that makes Folsom such a special place to live.
We kicked off the year by completing annexation of the Folsom Plan Area, more than 3,500 acres south of Highway 50. The annexation culminated more than a decade of careful planning and expanded Folsom’s geographic boundaries by 25 percent.
The long-range plan for the Folsom Plan Area includes 13,000 new jobs, 10,000 housing units, rapid-transit bus corridors, retail and office space and municipal services. Private landowners will develop the area gradually over the next quarter century as the economy dictates.
Earlier this month, we finalized a plan for Folsom Plan Area landowners to purchase a reliable water source for future residents south of Highway 50. That plan complies with state and local water management mandates and Measure W. It also benefits current residents by allowing the city to retain water rights to conserved water and by providing rate relief in coming years.
As we began updating Folsom’s General Plan, the long-range planning document that provides a framework for future development, we embraced social media as a tool to involve residents in the process. You may now share ideas, participate in surveys and tune in to what others are saying from the comfort of home by accessing our community engagement website – townhall.Folsom.2035.com. I encourage you to log on and tell us what you value about your neighborhood and our community.
While you are on online, take a moment to “like” your city’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/CityofFolsom) and to sign-up for our monthly email city Newsletter (www.folsom.ca.us). We introduced these tools this year to make it easy for you to stay up-to-date on city programs and services.
As the calendar turns to 2013, we are heartened by some positive indicators that our economic future may be brighter. On the housing front, sales of existing homes increased to levels we haven’t seen since 2007, and a significantly greater percentage of those sales were conventional rather than bank or short-sales. The median sales price rose about four percent over last year, and the average sales price is now equal to the assessed value of pre-owned homes.
In 2012 we saw the highest number of single family residential building permits issued since 2007, three times as many permits issued over the previous year. Since July, 40 new homes have been sold, compared to fewer than 10 in the last few years.
Auto sales are also up significantly. In fact, for the past 15 consecutive months the number of auto sales exceeded the number of vehicles sold in the previous year. Those sales represent increasing consumer confidence and, of course, a boost to local sales tax revenue that helps fund your government services.
The groundwork we have laid for Folsom’s future will preserve Folsom’s way of life for our next generation. I am hopeful that 2013 will be a good year for our community as a whole, and for you and your family. I extend my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evert Palmer is the city manager of Folsom. His column, City Scene, publishes the last Wednesday of the month.