Friday, December 28, 2007

Nothing is for Certain...but Change Itself

There have been numerous articles written recently about the financial issues negatively affecting the State, the County, and a number of local municipalities. While the experts debate why this is occurring - inflation, oil prices, home mortgage crises, a falling dollar, etc., the question of concern for our community is - how are we affected in Brisbane?

First, it can be said that our small town is not immune to the the larger economy. And with all three of our major revenue sources (sales, property and hotel taxes) all experiencing slower growth rates in the past few years, revenues to the City have in turn remained relatively flat. The recent housing slump and mortgage crises have also attributed to the City's current need to address its financial issues. Thus, City Council and staff will be developing plans to prioritize and reorganize operations in order for the community's needs to be met, and its values upheld.

To solicit community input and discuss the impacts of potential changes in programs, the City Council will be holding public workshops during the spring. In the next few years, the City will be seeking to reduce its expenditures by an anticipated $1.6m (with as much as $2m for fiscal years 2009-2011). In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or comments, please drop them here, and be sure to check back for survey questions that will forthcoming. This feedback from the community will be of utmost importance when it comes time for the actual planning and decision-making process to commence.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Star Light, Star Bright

...Scores of stars are dotting Brisbane's hillside, tonight.

Photo courtesy of Lee Panza,

Just a friendly reminder that City Hall will be closing at noon on 12/24 and all-day on the 25th. Similarly, we'll be closing at 12:00 p.m. next Monday the 31st, and all-day on New Year's Day. Enjoy the time spent with friends and family!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Wisdom of Crowds

The oft-spoken expression, "Two heads are better than one," though not in the least novel to any of us, may be taking on a whole new level of meaning when applied to the growing number of cities nationwide that have been adopting green building rules and ordinances. The movement for all new commercial, residential, and civic developments to incorporate green building measures into their design, construction, and maintenance comes at the realization that local governments can have a positive stake in curbing the negative effects of global warming. Buildings, which until recently have been left largely unregulated, have been shown to contribute significantly to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (the other two big ones being tailpipe emissions and power plants, and controlled by the federal and state governments, respectively). Nationwide, construction is the biggest manufacturing industry, with no surprise that buildings account for 39% of U.S. energy use, 70% of electricity consumption and 12% of potable water use. It now becomes obvious why so many cities are raising their building standards - thinking more so on how future generations will be able to benefit through more strict design and building standards being set presently, rather than on any the short-term impacts.

Brisbane is no different. Though small in size, the city is one that has long been known to be environmentally-progressive. And it expects to continue being just that. This coming Monday, 12/17, the City Council will be voting on adopting its own Green Building Ordinance, which will impose mandatory green building standards for certain real estate development projects. We encourage the community to come and be a part of yet another way the city is pursuing opportunities to protect natural resources and to preserve the unique and current character of Brisbane.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Holiday Tradition Done Right

Last Sunday, the Community Park was transformed into a place of wonderment and delight as carolers flooded down from Visitacion, filling the chilly night air with joyous singing and traditional holiday melodies. By 6:30 p.m., a sea of faces representing our spirited community had gathered for the Tree Lighting Ceremony…with even a special guest visit from Santa!

This year, the Holiday Tree took on a whole new level of luminosity with the use of blue and white LED lights. LEDs last 10x longer and save 30% more energy than incandescent bulbs, and also produce more light per watt. The result? Well in our case, an even more glowing and radiant Holiday Tree than in years past, itself a picture of the City’s goal to be both environmentally responsible, as well as ever-mindful of how to cut down on expenditures. The Holiday Tree, then, can be an example of how the same level of services (if not better) can be provided to the community…by just being a little more creative in how we choose to implement them.

Thank you to all who braved the cold to make this event such a success. And a special thank you to Alison for sharing your photos, and to Generators Unlimited, for sharing your mobile power!