Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inaugural "Coffee with the City Manager"

This past week, I hosted the first "Coffee with the City Manager" event here at City Hall. The purpose of this meeting was to provide an informal, open forum for community members to come speak on topics that matter most to them.

Thank you to the seven residents -- Georgia, Peter, Karen, Ran, Paul, Jim, and Brent -- who joined me for a cup of coffee last Wednesday. I found our conversation to be a dynamic and inclusive dialogue -- and if I may say so myself, of most healthy and much-needed public discourse.

We started our meeting with a brief update on key City initiatives -- including, but not limited to, the Levee Protection Planning & Improvements Project, Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project, annual budget process, and the recent endeavors under the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

A variety of other topics were also brought to discussion. Here are a few key highlights from our conversation:

What does the City Manager do?

  • The City Manager is appointed by and responsible to the City Council, serving as the Chief Administrative Officer overseeing the day-to-day operations and City personnel. In summary, the City Manager also develops the annual City budget, proposes new policy objectives, and implements those policies and programs that are adopted by the City Council.
  • There are nine departments that report to the City Manager, which is supported by a team of Department Heads.
  • Legal counsel is provided via the City Attorney, who is tasked with minimizing the City's liability risks, ensuring all departments are legally compliant; as well as providing information and legal advice to the City Council.

City Center Concept & Foster Square

  • Originally, the 15-acre site adjacent to City Hall proposed an idea that revolved around the "City Center Concept." Public input was gathered through surveys and of these, some suggestions included shops/retail, dining, a movie theater, etc.
  • Today, Foster Square is gradually coming to fruition. There are three housing developments that are being constructed on the project site -- Alma Point, Atria, and Lennar. Of this, 21,169 square feet of retail space is also included. These projects are currently underway and are near completion.

Charter Square Shopping Center & the Fourth Elementary School

  • The San Mateo-Foster City School District has begun its process in regards to the fourth elementary school in Foster City. It should be noted that the San Mateo-Foster City School District is exempt from the City's zoning ordinances, per Government Code Section 53094.
  • The San Mateo-Foster City School District recently issued its Notice of Preparation on the Environmental Impact Report. There will be a public comment period in which citizens may submit their concerns. The City has prepared a preliminary letter in response to this.
  • An Ad Hoc Citizens Education Facilities Committee will be created to engage the School Board throughout this process. Committee members will be appointed at the April 3, 2017 City Council meeting.

Community Engagement

  • Foster City has several sources where community members may access the latest City information and events. This includes the City website, City app (Foster City Access), e-newsletters (Foster City Current & Business), FCTV, daily Police Report Bulletin, and much more! The City is also active on a number of social media streams. Visit the Communications Hub for all the ways you can stay connected.
  • Woven within Foster City's fabric is its vibrant and diverse community. This City has been known to be rich in cultural events. City staff will continue to do its best to preserve and promote this element by bringing forth the many cultural events & activities you see daily.

Relationship with Chamber of Commerce

  • The City has a collaborative partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, working together to execute the City's economic development vision & strategic plan, providing resources to our local businesses & stakeholders. 

As your City Manager, I will continue to host these forums as a means of fostering a robust public dialogue and integral partnership between you, our citizens, and your City government. 

Please feel free to reach me via phone at (650)286-3220 or email at kmiller@fostercity.org. Stay tuned for more "Coffee with the City Manager" events to come!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Looking Ahead Into March ...

March 12 is Plant a Flower Day and March 30 is Take a Walk in the Park Day

After bouts of rain and with the onset of Spring, I'd like to highlight a cornerstone of Foster City: our City parks. From water-lined pathways, to fields of greenery and overlooking views of the bay, Foster City's parks system boasts some of the best around. There are a total of 24 parks that contribute to the unique beauty of our City, while providing a plethora of open space. The vitality of our community is due in part to the recreational opportunities provided by these areas. These include sports fields, picnic areas, bocce ball, and aquatic sports -- just to name a few. 

At a glance, here are some timely trivia about our parks system:

24                                        

Foster City has 24 parks comprising approximately 200 acres of parks and open space, and including dozens of amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps, walking ramps, a dog park, windsurf rigging area, school garden and 8 miles of recreational facilities along the Bay Trail.




25,000                               

Thousands of people flock to Foster City's Leo Ryan Park for its signature events, including the annual cityFEST! Celebration, Fourth of July Celebration, epic Summer Concert Series, Polynesian Festival, and Holi Festival. In 2016, it is estimated that 25,000 people visited the park for the Fourth of July Celebration alone.



17                                      

The City employs 17 full-time people to maintain the park system. Although they work in teams, this means that each employee maintains the equivalent of almost a park and a half, or about 10 acres per employee. Parks employees also spend 600 hours per year supporting special events in the City's parks. Parks employees maintain and upgrade planting materials, prep ball fields, repair irrigation systems, maintain park facilities, and ensure parks are ready & safe for all users.

212                                    

The Foster City lagoon is the City's primary stormwater drainage basin, but also serves the dual purpose of providing a recreational amenity. The beautiful lagoon contains 212 acres of water. Residents use the waterway for swimming, fishing, and boating. Foster City also offers concessions that rent boating & windsurfing equipment of use on the lagoon.

12                                      

Foster City serves as a regional amenity for youth sports enthusiasts, with 12 soccer and baseball fields, including 5 year-round synthetic turf fields. There can be 200 games a week during peak seasons and about 7,000 practice hours annually associated with AYSO, Peninsula Youth Soccer, Pony/Colt Baseball, Foster City Youth Softball and Foster City Little League.




320                                      

From July 1, 2015 to June 20, 2016, 320 park permits were issued, in addition to the hundreds of "drop-in" park users who come to play on the playgrounds, walk their dogs, play games with friends, and otherwise, use the parks as part of their daily lives.


As you gear up for Spring (and before we know it Summer!), visit our Parks & Recreation page for more information on the City parks and what we have to offer. If 24 parks aren't enough, I promise you we have many events & activities in store for the upcoming months!

Monday, February 13, 2017

2016 Annual Traffic and Crime Reports

Foster City is a wonderful community known for its beautiful parks, excellent infrastructure, engaged citizens, and dedicated City Council & City staff. It is also one of the safest cities in the nation. In my monthly meeting with Police Chief Joe Pierucci, he shared the 2016 Annual Traffic and Crime Reports. Both reports contain useful information regarding statistical data, trends, and prevention efforts made by our staff. I would like to take a moment to highlight a few significant points from each report as a quick reference.


  • 220 collisions occurred in 2016, up slightly from 212 the prior year
  • Over the past five years, we have averaged 215 collisions a year 
  • 40 people were injured in collisions in 2016, which is fewer than the 58 injured in 2015
  • There were only six collisions between vehicles and bicyclists in 2016 – all of which were low speed/low impact with injuries deemed minor in nature. 
  • There were only six collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in 2016, again with no major injuries occurring and similar vehicle speeds involved. 
  • FCPD Officers continue their efforts in DUI detection, seatbelt enforcement, distracted driver enforcement, regional enforcement, and directed enforcement


  • Overall “Calls for Service” increased by 3% during 2016. This is the third consecutive year that “Calls for Service” has increased
  • Foster City experienced a drastic reduction in residential burglaries during 2016 (18 total). There were 43 residential burglaries in 2015. This was a 59% reduction!
  • The general category of “Theft” increased during 2016 (179 total) as compared to 106 in 2015

According to Chief Pierucci ...

"This is a trend being experienced by Law Enforcement agencies throughout the State of California. Recent changes in legislation over the last few years (Early release of prisoners; reclassification of numerous “felony” crimes to “misdemeanor” level offenses; the threshold for felony theft being raised to $950; the reduction of numerous narcotics violations from felony level crimes to misdemeanor level; and the knowledge by criminal offenders that being caught for one of these new classified criminal offenses will result in a citation and release with a later court date of six weeks or more in the future (rather than an immediate incarceration at the County Jail) has empowered many criminals with the thought that the “gain” from their crimes far outweighs the “risk” of being arrested. Frequently, these criminals will continue committing crimes and fail to appear for their court dates. Once again, the need for our agency to emphasize the importance of removing “opportunities” for criminals to commit crimes here in Foster City through education, crime prevention and active patrol work remains one of our main goals." 

  • In summary, Foster City saw decreases in residential burglary, graffiti, vandalism and stolen vehicles. There were increases in theft related crimes and commercial burglaries. Retail stores remain heavily impacted by theft.

Public safety is a priority as we continue to assure that Foster City is a great place to live, work, and play. So stay safe Foster City and I can assure you that when you engage with our Foster City Police Department, they will provide you "Excellent service, every call, every contact, every day, and then some!"


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Excellence in Governance & Economic Development Update

Excellence in Governance Program

Throughout any organization, and especially in municipal government, a universal goal is to provide excellent service in what we do everyday. Here in Foster City delivering good governance is not only a core value characterized by our City team but continues to be ingrained in the work culture & environment.

In September 2016, the City launched the “Excellence in Governance” Program with the purpose of capturing achievements made by our City staff, including those related to City Council policy.  Each department provides a monthly recap structured around five (5) focus areas:

  • Sound Financial Management
  • Effective Community Planning and Neighborhood Preservation
  • Effective and Efficient Municipal Operations and Services
  • Positive Community and Governmental Relations
  • Effective Professional Development

The reports received from the various departments are then compiled and refined to create one complete snapshot of the City’s accomplishments over the course of a quarter – encompassing anywhere from daily interactions made with our constituents to reaching a milestone in a major project.

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the first quarter summary of Excellence in Governance - FY 2016/2017 2nd Quarter Accomplishment Highlights. We will bring you this report on a quarterly basis as we work to serve our community and keep our citizens informed.

http://www.fostercity.org/departmentsanddivisions/citymanager/upload/Accomplishment-Highlights-2nd-Quarter.pdf

Economic Development Update

There have been several exciting updates in terms of Economic Development efforts in Foster City. The partnership with Scoop Technologies to bring the carpooling app and $2 rides to Foster City has yielded outstanding results. There have been 8,858 fewer trips in and out of Foster City since launching in October of 2016. This is the equivalent of 102,200 pounds of CO2 saved during the same time. Additionally, in 2016 City staff spent 40 hours assisting Foster City businesses solving problems and helping to negotiate resolutions as part of the Office of the Ombudsman out of the City Manager’s Office. City staff also conducted 50 business visitations, directly reaching out to Foster City’s thriving business community.

Coming up this year are more sustainable initiatives to help residents and businesses live, work and play in Foster City including the launch of a Kiva.org – Foster City micro-lending program and two new websites. The first new website is www.connectfostercity.com, a connection portal linking anyone travelling in and out of Foster City with the myriad of transportation alternatives available. Sustainable.fostercity.org will also be launched this year as part of Sustainable Foster City, where anyone interested in Economic, Environmental and Social initiatives can go to learn more. 2017 promises to be an exciting year.


Have a super weekend and enjoy the game on Sunday! I hope the team you are pulling for is excellent and "Plays Like a Champion!"