Mayor John Marchand

Mayor John Marchand

This year’s annual Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce (LVCC) 2020 Wine Country luncheon and State of the City was forced to take place virtually.

The event took place on Thursday, July 23, at noon, produced live by Amos Productions. Marchand filled the majority of the meeting, which spanned just over an hour, with an update on the city.

He outlined the city’s priorities to include asset management — resulting in the creation of the Community Asset Management Committee — along with emergency management, noting the city had dedicated an emergency operation center and implemented systems for COVID-19 emergency management.

Marchand stated that the municipality encourages an innovation-driven economy. It has partnered with Livermore Downtown Inc. for various community events and supports revenue-generating businesses and high-quality jobs.

He also named the issue of homelessness to be a top priority. The city recently cut the ribbon on a new development on Chestnut Square, which features 42 affordable housing units. Over 200 applicants have already applied. Vintage 2.0 is another city project, which gives those in need access to food, laundry, showers, storage and interim housing.

In an attempt to generate a sense of the community’s priorities, Marchand said surveys are regularly submitted to the public. In 2004, 31% of people believed the city had decent shopping. Today, that figure is 72%. The rate at which people were voting went up over the years. In 2004, 69% turned out to the polls; in 2011, 72%; and in 2018, 92%. The surveys also captured the general perception of quality of life. In 2004, 80% said Livermore offered a good quality of life; in 2011, it went up to 84%; and now, it sits at 93% of those surveyed.

“That does not happen by accident,” Marchand said. “That happens from good leadership from the council and a dedicated staff, and the commitment of the staff to implement those decisions of the council.”

The mayor broke down the city’s budget. Of the $119.5 million revenue for fiscal year 2019-2020, 30% came from property taxes, 28% from sales taxes, 14% from other taxes, 9% from license permits and fees, 9% from intergovernmental and 10% from other sources.

The city is also working on a new downtown hotel. On May 11 this year, the council directed staff to initiate a Downtown Specific Plan Amendment to allow up to a four-story hotel. City staff and Presidio, the hotel developer, continue to work on modifications to design.

Marchand concluded, “What I would ask for this community to do is let’s come together; let’s unite together and move forward together.”