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Saturday last day to give opinions to city hall

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

This month Claremont residents who wish to have a hand in determining the future of our city, and its budget, will have several opportunities for their voices to be heard. The city website will direct you through a survey for your opinions. Here’s the link: https://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/living/council-priorities.

During January the City of Claremont will conduct a series of community meetings to develop a list of priorities and gauge which local issues, concerns or problems its citizens deem to be the most important.

There will be three virtual focus groups (the first already happened) during which attendees will be asked which local issues are most important, including how they want to see the city allocate its budget. The focus groups will be facilitated by Patrick Ibarra, a consultant hired by the city. Additionally a survey on the city’s website is available to provide feedback.

During the focus groups the public will be asked via prompts from Ibarra where Claremont should allocate its resources. For example, participants will be asked to rank issues like affordable housing, public safety and arts and cultural programming from extremely important to not important at all. People will also have an opportunity to bring up additional issues beyond those included in the survey or raised by the consultant.

The meetings vary in time and day of the week — the first focus group took place on Thursday, however, the second will be on Saturday at 9 a.m. followed by the final one Wednesday at 6 p.m. Links for the meeting are on the city’s website. For more information on the redistricting process, please contact the city clerk’s office at 909-399-5461 or 909-399-5463. Also, please visit the city’s redistricting webpage for additional information.

The consultant will combine the findings from the focus groups and the results of the survey into a report that will be presented to the Claremont City Council during a joint community and council workshop on Saturday, January 22 at 9 a.m. While this was to be conducted in a hybrid format, it most likely it will take place via Zoom, only because this week the city temporally suspended in-person meetings due to the surge in COVID cases.

These meetings will be of critical importance because the council will set its long-term legislative agenda based on what it hears from the community. In the past, public budget workshops have been lightly attended so a small number of very active and engaged residents provided all of the input.

On Wednesday Mayor Jed Leano said he hoped the new format will rejuvenate the process and noted that virtual meetings seem to be the way people are connecting.

“I hope this gets more voices involved and a provides a more holistic view of the priorities for the next year,” he said.

Last year the city held public budget workshops in May, inviting the community to provide input at that time, but by then the council had already fully formed its allocations.

“It was at that meeting last year we realized we needed to get input and priorities before the proposed allocations were formulated,” Mayor Leano said. “And hence the January engagement start.”

Redistricting public hearing and workshop

Every ten years local, county and statewide governments use the most recent U. S. Census data to redraw electoral district boundaries, and Claremont will be engaged in the process this month.

In 2019, Claremont switched from at-large type elections, where candidates run to fill any open seat, to five individual council districts. The city now must use the current census data to adjust the current district boundaries to remain population-balanced and “take into consideration communities of interest.”

On January 29 at 10:00 a.m., the city will hold a workshop to gain public input and ask for assistance in redrawing the district boundaries. The link to the Zoom meeting can be found on the city’s website.

 

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