135 community members participated in the study sessions

The Atascadero City Council came together Tuesday night for an efficient meeting to approve the Community Development Block Grants’ (CDBG) funding and receive an update on what the public wants to do most with the money raised from Measure D-20.

The CDBG award process began in the fall of 2020. When the County published a request for the CDBG proposals, the City of Atascadero received nine applications. According to the agenda packet, the funding total is anticipated to be approximately $144,792.

CDBG funds are available to community development activities that meet at least one of three national objectives. The activities must either benefit low and moderate-income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of blight or address urgent needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the community’s health or welfare.

The Council has already reviewed the CDBG and approved the draft funding at the Dec. 8, 2020 meeting. Tuesday night’s motion sends the plan to the County Board of Supervisors and inclusion into the countywide Consolidated Plan.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard joined the Zoom next to recap what the City has learned in their nine study session meetings held between Jan. 14 and Feb. 6. In those study sessions, the public watched an informational video about the City’s need and then broke into small groups and asked those in attendance six questions and recorded their responses.

The questions asked included, what is going well in the City? What things big and small would make Atascadero better? If the City spent the D-20 funds perfectly, what would success look like as part of the development of Measure D-20?

As far as what could make Atascadero better, the top answers stayed consistent as they have for the past six months. The public asked for money to be spent on safety, fire, homelessness, downtown, and retention of City staff and other employees.

The City Manager went over the top answers to each of the questions, and all of the information gathered can also be found on the City’s website. Altogether, 135 participants from the community joined the study sessions, which added up to more than 150 pages of responses that are also archived on Atascadero.org.

Following the nine study sessions, Council, staff, and interested members of the public met to determine priorities for the expenditure of Measure D-20 and also the priorities for all City funds. The session was facilitated by Nicole Lance and Eric Bailey of Extraordinary Balance.

The facilitators helped the participants breakdown the items of interest into four separate, strategic focus areas. The four focus areas are economic and community vibrancy, fiscal and infrastructure efficiency and sustainability means, ensuring public safety and providing exceptional City services and quality of life.

Each of the four areas of focus comes with a clear and defined message as well as key areas to focus on.

Tuesday’s meeting counted as meeting number 12 out of 20 total Measure D-20 meetings. Next up, on Apr. 27, a draft action plan will be brought before the Council for consideration.

To watch this or any City Council meeting, head to Atascadero.org to sign up.