Danville town leaders remain focused on smart spending, keeping a strong record on public safety, promoting a vibrant downtown and making improvements throughout the community, Mayor Robert Storer said in his State of the Town address Thursday afternoon.
More than 150 business professionals, town officials and other community members attended the luncheon event, presented by the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Storer, in his first year as mayor, highlighted town accomplishments over the past year and looked toward local government priorities for 2014 and beyond.
"I'm proud to say that the town council and this staff are careful stewards of the public's money," he said. "We have a reputation in the region as a well-managed, fiscally responsible town."
The town's sound fiscal practices include having no unfunded liabilities, avoiding borrowing funds for construction projects, maintaining a 10-year financial forecast that is updated annually and preparing for "rainy days," according to the mayor.
"We have a very unique way of doing business in Danville. (We) actually take money in and we put money in a savings account -- craziest thing you've ever heard," Storer said, chuckling.
"We run the town like we run our households: don't spend money we don't have," he added. "Just like you at home, if not as much money is coming in, we adjust. We tighten our belts. We actually save money and we don't spend money we don't need."
Careful budgeting is the key to the town's financial solvency, according to Storer.
"We don't build our budgets on good times, when the numbers are huge. We build them on conservative times," the mayor said. "It's easier to weather a storm when your numbers are realistic and conservative."
Approximately 88% of the town's expenses are focused on the "highest priorities," in the areas of parks, planning, public works and police, Storer said.
Among the town's 2013 achievements, the mayor pointed to the Danville Police Department reporting a 7% reduction in property crimes and 5% fewer traffic collisions.
"Like every city in California, we want safety and the safety of our residents to be the top priority," Storer said. "If you come into Danville with the intentions of doing harm, we will arrest you, period. That's how simple that message is."
Additionally, the town spent about $3 million last year, as it has regularly in recent years, on slurry seals and pavement overlays on Danville streets, according to the mayor.
"This allows us to have our pavement remain in good order, but 'good' in the state of California is wonderful," he said.
Storer also described how town officials have worked to conserve water in light of ongoing drought conditions locally and statewide. The town has cut back on watering its grass areas and lawns, turned off its water features and relies on a computerized central irrigation system to control water use, he said.
Later, the first-time mayor discussed downtown construction projects on tap in 2014, including the posting of new directional signs, Railroad Avenue improvements and northern Hartz Avenue beautification.
Storer highlighted other public projects planned in Danville this year, including Osage Station Park renovations, four new bocce ball courts coming to Sycamore Valley Park, soundwalls being installed near Crow Canyon Country Club and widening of San Ramon Valley Boulevard.
Danville also remains committed to smart regional planning, according to Storer, who talked about his trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this month with Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne, Livermore Mayor John Marchand and Dublin Vice Mayor Don Biddle.
"We spent the better part of the week trying to secure (federal) funds for transportation and infrastructure projects and policy issues that were of mutual interest in the Tri-Valley on behalf of our residents," he said. "They were good, productive meetings."
Other talking points during Storer's presentation included praise for town staff members, Danville's support for preserving open space and the importance of the downtown community.
"We understand that there's a need to strengthen small businesses," Storer said. "We want people to know, we want to send that message that we want you to come downtown, spend money and visit our small businesses."
The 35-minute speech marked Storer's first State of the Town address. He was appointed mayor in December as part of the town council's annual reorganization. This is his fifth year on the council.
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