Terry Scott For Benicia City Council Economic Development
First Street is the window to our community. Keeping it vibrant, alive and meeting the changing needs of our community is essential to our identity and as a revenue source. We need to be agile. We need to be capable as a City to quickly respond to business conditions. We should look at creating a First Street ombudsman in Community Development that would manage and fast track projects that immediately help our Businesses—whether it’s alfresco dining in parklets on or near First St., enhancing the Marina area and looking at more opportunities for supporting retailers.
As a Council member I will listen. As a futurist I will respond with finding ways to make it easier to do business in Benicia.
As we look to the future, Benicia will see an incredible surge of Millennial and Gen-X residents moving into the downtown ring within the next 5 years. That transition will bring about change in an organic way. Have you visited Farm & Flour on the weekend? Do you recall One House Bakery prior to the pandemic? As transition happens in the downtown ring the City must help businesses create a vision of the future that understands what the new generation wants and needs.
We must tap into the new workplace economy that results from remote workers becoming the new norm coming out of COVID-19. Benicia is perfectly suited for the migration of Millennials and Gen Xers since they no longer need to live close to work as the trend moves to remote working.
We should actively pursue this new generation of workers and families. We have the quality of life they demand. But we must help lead the development of a transition plan as the downtown housing ring brings more families downtown. Millennials and Gen Xers want retail stores to be open later. They want different convenience retail and they want restaurants and entertainment. More families living in the downtown will help reimagine First Street based on additional sales tax.
The City needs to help modernize the Benicia Industrial Park including infrastructure like roads and collaborating with users and providers to ensure high speed internet connectivity is available. We need to reach out to the BIP community and collectively look at how to solve some basic issues that must be addressed
Financial accountability begins with looking at municipal cost containment and understanding opportunities for efficiencies.
Clearly the impact of significant revenue reduction will go beyond budgets 20/21-21/22 and most likely well into the future . We must review our current and forward-looking City budget to counterbalance increases in taxes.