By Yvette Brooks, Mayor of Capitola
Earlier this month I was selected by the City Council to serve as the Mayor of Capitola in 2021. I am honored and humbled by their decision. It is a privilege to serve our community and all of our residents.
As we embark on a new year, I am eager to get to work with my fellow Council members. My priorities as the new mayor are: To focus on strategic budget planning, to support families and their children and to ensure policy is created with an equity lens.
As you likely know, the City of Capitola has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Earlier this year, the City had to make huge budget cuts which greatly impacted our organization, businesses, and our residents.
At the Dec. 10 City Council meeting, Council reviewed a budget update that showed we did better than expected in the first part of the fiscal year.
Based on that news, the City Council unanimously agreed to establish a $600,000 COVID Contingency Fund as a safeguard as we move into the next quarter.
We also authorized filling a position in our police department that had been held vacant due to budget cuts and allocated funding to develop plans to reduce fire risk on City-owned property and toward regional efforts to address homelessness.
In addition, City Council unanimously passed to end the City’s furlough of employees and was even able to offer a small cost of living increase for our hard-working staff.
Impacts from the pandemic are not limited to just budgets. Families and children throughout the region have also had to make deep adjustments in their everyday lives.
I am proud to report that Capitola recognized this early on and was one of the first to open an Out of School program for children in our community.
This program supports families within the Soquel Elementary School District by providing critical care for children of essential workers, consistent with current health guidance. That we were able to set this program up, from scratch, in the midst of the pandemic is a testament to the great work of our staff, and phenomenal help from both Soquel School District and Santa Cruz County.
It is with great excitement I can announce that with the generous support of Santa Cruz County Parks Department we will be able continue funding support to families through the next year.
As the City continues to navigate through the pandemic, it is imperative we recognize the need of all our community members.
To be able to do so, I feel we must begin to look within our own organization. In the next few months, the City Council will discuss training opportunities on racial bias, and begin reviewing the City’s current/outdated policies.
I am optimistic for the future of our City. As we continue to work together, wear masks, maintain social distancing and adhere to safety protocols to keep our families and others safe, we together can reduce the COVID infection rate and begin to rebuild our community and get back to business as normal.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or visit our website www.cityofcapitola.org for the most up to date information. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yvette Brooks is mayor of Capitola. Look for her report monthly in the Capitola-Soquel Times and online at www.tpgonlinedaily.com