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Governing Without A Road Map

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010

Budget woes have cities scrambling for money to provide basic services like police and fire. But there are other essentials that should not go unfunded -- including a general plan update.

Granted, most public officials wouldn't put that item at the top of a priority list, but for the people of Willows, California, it is essential.

With a population of just over 6,000, Willows doesn't stand out among other California cities with budget challenges. The city is operating with a $243,557 deficit, and the costs associated with updating the General Plan simply don't exist.

Planning Commission Chair Larry Domenighini says he's concerned that the city will be unprepared for for the future, especially if growth comes quickly.. "It's a major concern," he said, "something the city needs to look at, but it's about the money."

In this case, not only is it vital to keep current with land-use planning and growth projections, the city will be hard-pressed to attract new businesses if there is uncertainty about the future.

The  General Plan is the roadmap for a community, and it's difficult to know where you are going without some kind of direction.

Tags: budget deficits, California, General Plan, planning commission, Willows

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