The City of San Marcos was recently recognized with a prestigious award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
The City’s Finance Department earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in financial reporting for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended on June 20, 2019.
The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and it represents a significant accomplishment by a government agency and its management.
“Transparency and accountability are of paramount importance,” said Lisa Fowler, finance director for the City of San Marcos. “This level of recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association is a testament to our commitment to this mission.”
The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.
San Marcos’ award-winning comprehensive annual financial report can be viewed here.
San Elijo Life turns 14 today. We have covered the news, events of San Elijo Hills for the last 14 years. We started with the grand opening of the Chevron and covered wildfires, HOA elections, the Town Center development, The Opening of Double Peak Park. Please keep sharing your Life in The Hills. Stay safe and post your favorite fall photo here. Cheers Edward Philbrick – Realtor
Your city news. On your time. That’s the idea behind the new ‘San Marcos City Podcast,’ hosted by City Manager Jack Griffin and other city staff. As a podcast aficionado himself, Griffin knows the podcast platform allows and encourages listeners to take a deeper dive into issues they care about.
So why not offer San Marcos residents podcasts that demystify city government and offer a transparent listening opportunity about current projects and how government works?
“Most cities are increasingly challenged getting communications out to the public,” Griffin said. “The podcast is a great platform to engage our residents in thoughtful, in-depth discussions about the city they call home. We won’t be talking politics here, but we will be focusing on important city issues and updates.”
Listeners can tune in to listen to interviews with local experts, business owners, higher education leaders and more. As a leader in public safety, infrastructure, recreation, industry and cultural programs, the City of San Marcos features a wide variety of innovative offerings and services to share with the community.
The San Marcos City Podcast currently features four podcasts:
– Interview with Fire Chief Dan Barron and District Chief Dean White regarding wildfires
– A summary of key items the San Marcos City Council approved in September
– San Marcos Creek Project update with Project Manager Isaac Etchamendy
For individuals who want to accelerate their progress toward a degree, Cal State San Marcos is offering a wide range of fully online courses to the public in key academic areas during Winter Intersession 2021. With a compressed timeline, these courses enable students to earn as many as four units in four weeks. The session dates are Dec. 21, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021.
Course topics feature such disciplines as astronomy; history; literature and writing studies; sociology; computer science; women’s, gender and sexuality studies; human development; philosophy; political science; and art, media and design.
During Winter Intersession, students from other universities, qualified high school seniors and community members can register for courses without being formally admitted to the university. Credits from CSUSM courses are fully transferable to other institutions. In addition, up to 24 undergraduate and nine graduate units taken as a nonmatriculated student may be counted toward a CSUSM degree.
By taking advantage of accelerated classes during Winter Intersession, students can speed time to graduation, lighten the course load required during fall and spring terms, or get a head start on education goals.
The class schedule is available beginning Oct. 12, 2020. Enrollment for CSUSM students opens on Oct. 19 and for the public on Oct. 26. For more information on Winter Intersession, please visit csusm.edu/winter.
About Extended Learning at CSUSM
As the academic outreach arm of Cal State San Marcos, Extended Learning is a leading provider of professional and continuing education in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties. Offering degree programs, professional certificates and personal enrichment courses, Extended Learning helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and training goals. Please visit CSUSM Extended Learning to learn more.
The next general election is right around the corner on Tuesday, Nov. 3 – make sure you’re registered to vote! In addition to the presidential election, you’ll also have the opportunity to vote for a San Marcos City Council Member for District 3 and District 4.
The deadline for voter registration is 15 days prior to the election.
In person: Complete a voter registration form with the City Clerk at San Marcos City Hall located at 1 Civic Center Drive.
What to consider before you vote
Who and what is on the ballot? Do you want to vote but are unsure who is running or what issues are on the ballot? The County of San Diego has compiled a list of candidates on the ballot in November 2020. Campaign statements and campaign status for San Marcos City Council candidates are now available.
Mail-in vote or in-person polling? In light of COVID-19, many residents have questions about how and where voting will happen. Per the Governor’s executive order in August 2020, postcards have been mailed to registered voters in San Diego County to encourage voting by mail ballot. If you’re registered to vote by mail, ballots are expected to start to arrive in early October. Voters can still visit their local polling place to vote in-person, but there will be fewer polling locations and some locations may have changed from previous elections. The County of San Diego encourages you to vote early and be prepared. Bring a copy of your mail ballot with you and expect long lines.
San Marcos district elections
San Marcos residents now vote for City Council members by district instead of an at-large election. During the November 2020 election, only residents from District 3 and District 4, as determined by their voting address, will be selecting a council member. The filing deadlines for candidates has closed and the list of San Marcos City Council candidates is now final.
District 3 includes area around Cal State San Marcos, the Creek District and Civic Center area, and extends east to the Nordahl Marketplace, west to Rancho Santa Fe Road and north to the 78 Freeway.
District 4 includes Santa Fe Hills, Palomar College, and neighborhoods north of Borden Road and Santa Fe Road to the west.
Still not sure what district you live in? The City has developed a district map as a resource for residents. To learn more, watch the City’s Know Before You Vote video or visit the City’s webpage on district elections.
About the San Marcos City Council
The City of San Marcos is a Charter City governed by a five-member City Council consisting of a Mayor and four Council Members from four districts. The term of office for each member is four years with staggered terms. There is a limit of three consecutive terms for each position.
Thousands of San Marcos students were scheduled to start school in-person on Aug. 18. In the weeks leading up to the start of school, COVID-19 numbers spiked, and plans to start in-person learning vanished. City of San Marcos leadership recognized an opportunity to support City employees as they prepared to balance the demands of their essential jobs and distance learning with their children.
The Parks and Recreation and Human Resources departments teamed up to quickly determine how to best assist City employees. That’s where the idea for ‘learning hubs’ was born.
Learning hubs are socially distanced classrooms providing online learning support for students of different ages and grade levels at the San Marcos Senior Activity Center. There are two classrooms with an average of 18 students that attend daily. Desks are spaced out and aisles are lined with power strips where students can charge the devices they need for online learning. While there are not on-site teachers, City staff members oversee the classrooms and provide support to students when needed. The City follows CDC guidelines by checking temperatures before students enter, prohibiting visitors (including parents) from entering the classroom, providing hand sanitizer and wipes to students, and following a strict cleaning protocol.
“The City has a number of staff members, across several departments, who have limited or no ability to work from home,” said Darren Chamow, program manager for the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department. “When we got the news about school districts continuing distance learning due to COVID-19 numbers, we saw challenges ahead for City operations. The City is providing critical services and programs to the community. Without the learning hub, it would not have been possible for some of our employees to continue to work and support our community and assist their kids at the same time.”
The concept of the learning hub not only supports the City’s essential workers and their children, but also provides new job responsibilities for other City employees whose programs were put on hold or canceled for the year due to COVID-19. In addition, the learning hubs program provides the City with an opportunity to leverage underutilized facilities to provide support to City employees, who are providing essential services during the pandemic.
“Launching the program was a perfect example of timing meeting opportunity,” said Janelle Laughlin, human resources manager for the City of San Marcos. “The demands on our employees, as public servants, have never been greater. Overnight, we had to completely change the way we do business and how we provide programs and services to the San Marcos community.”
Program costs for this new offering have been largely covered by funds available from programs that were canceled due to COVID-19. The program will likely continue to provide support for City staff through the end of 2020 and potentially beyond.
“The math made sense and we got buy-in from City leadership, allowing us to quickly launch a program to support our employees, at a time when they needed it the most,” Laughlin said.
With their cute round faces, big eyes, and fun personalities, short-snouted breeds such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers have become increasingly popular in recent years.These dogs, along with other flat faced breeds such as Boxers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, and Japanese Chins are known as Brachycephalic dog breeds.This term refers to the shape of these dogs’ muzzles, which are significantly more compact than other dog breeds.
While charming and adorable, flat-snouted dogs carry with them a special set of dangers vs their longer-nosed cousins.Their flat faces mean significantly shortened facial bones and a shortening of the overlying soft tissue.These structural differences mean both their soft palate (the soft tissue in the back of animals’ throats) and their nasal passage are more compacted, often resulting in a partially blocked airway. This particular set of structural abnormalities is known as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.The end result is a relatively obstructed airway which affects the dog’s ability to respirate.
In addition to needing efficient breathing to provide oxygen to the body, dogs rely heavily on their respiratory tract to dissipate heat.Breathing, in the form of panting, is the primary way in which dogs cool their bodies down.This means that efficient breathing is essential for thermoregulation.For Brachycephalic breeds, this vital function is restricted, often severely, which put these dogs in jeopardy during hot weather or extreme exercise.
It is important that owners of Brachycephalic breeds understand the restrictions of their dogs’ anatomies.For starters, these dogs should NOT be asked to participate in activities that require higher respiratory and cardiovascular output. This includes activities such as hiking, running, and jogging, especially during warmer weather.While all dogs need exercise, flat nose breeds benefit from regular exercise that is slow and steady vs fast and/or intense.
In addition, it is important to note that these breeds are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it and to know the signs of danger.
All dog owners should know the signs of heat-related injury and owners of Brachycephalic breeds should know these can occur much more quickly in their dogs vs. their longer snouted cousins:
Signs of Danger include:
A noticeable rise in breathing volume or a “gurgling” sound when they breathe
Excessive panting and/or panting that appears labored
Bright red gums
Difficulty walking/walking very slowly
Vomiting and/or bloody diarrhea
Lack of coordination or staggering
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are life threatening and should be considered a veterinary emergency.
The best way to “treat” heat related injuries are to simply prevent them.The following advise will help prevent heat stroke in your dog:
Be aware of the forecasted temperature and keep your pet out of the heat; for some sun-loving dogs, this may mean locking them indoors during the heat of the day
Limit outdoor exposure during the hottest months of the year
ALWAYS have cool water available.
Walk dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds, on a harness.This will prevent blockage of the airway which is essential for efficient respiration and efficient body cooling
Offer a cooling pad or cool areas for your pet to lie down if they need to cool off
DO NOT exercise your dog or allow them to play outdoors when it is warm outside.Remember that flat-nosed breeds have a lower heat tolerance, so they should be exercised only when it is cool outside.
In addition, studies have shown that brachycephalic dogs who are physically fit are better able to respirate and are better able to manage their body temperatures.This means that healthy weight and exercise are important to preventing heat related injuries.Heed the following advise regarding conditioning your Brachycephalic dog:
In general, squatty flat-nosed dog breeds are not designed for strenuous exercise.Avoid running/jogging, hiking, and similar exercise requiring significant respiratory output
Healthy weight is essential to the wellbeing of all dogs.Your dog, regardless of breed, should have a visible waist and a “tummy tuck” behind their chest when viewing from the side.In addition, your dog’s ribs should be easy to feel when lighting running your fingers down their sides.You should not feel a layer of fat over your pet’s ribcage
Keep your pet physically fit.While it is inadvisable to require strenuous exercise (such as jogging, running, and steep hiking) of a dog with a significantly flattened snout, exercise is still important.Your pet should have mild to moderate exercise daily, ideally twice daily
If you are just starting an exercise program, do so slowly and allow your dog to buildup endurance over time
Always exercise your brachycephalic breed dog a harness.This allows them to keep their already restricted airway as open as possible
When exercising (regardless of ambient temperature) always pay attention to your dog’s breathing.If it becomes louder or seems strained or labored, stop the exercise and allow your dog to rest/cool down. Head home once they are cooled off
Take water with you during exercise with your dog.This will allow you to help them cool down
In general, it is important to remember that brachycephalic breeds often have significantly compromised respiratory tracts.This affects their ability to exercise, handle extreme stress, and to cool their bodies.Neglecting these considerations can put your dog in a life-threatening situation.
If you have any concerns about heat-related injury in your pet or any other concerns about your pet’s wellbeing, contact your veterinarian immediately for expert advise and treatment.
The City will be hosting a “live” virtual presentation online using Zoom Meetings Tuesday, September 29 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be facilitated in English and Spanish and the project team will be available to answer questions from the public. The link to the Zoom presentation will be provided on this site prior to the presentation.
For more information about community workshops please visit this link.
San Marcos renters who have experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the City’s new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program.
The program, funded with $1,051,615 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) resources, will provide immediate financial aid to residents experiencing a loss of income directly related to COVID-19. It provides residential rental assistance (up to $10,000, total) to residents whose incomes are at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, who were current with rent payments prior to March 16, 2020 and who are otherwise in good financial standing.
“Thanks to these CDBG resources, the City of San Marcos is able to extend a helping hand to renters facing extreme financial hardship during the pandemic,” said Lisa Fowler, City of San Marcos Finance Director. “Our goal is to raise awareness about this valuable program and encourage residents who are eligible to apply.”
The development of the Rental Assistance Program was approved by San Marcos City Council on June 9. Program funds will likely be fully expended by June 30, 2021.
Applicants with the lowest income levels will receive priority over other eligible applicants. Residents may receive up to $10,000 per household, per application, for up to six months of partial or full rent. A rent reasonableness assessment may be conducted by the program administrator to determine the amount of assistance that will be provided.
The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Virtual Candidate Forum for San Marcos Unified School Board Candidates on Wednesday, October 7th from 5:00 – 6:30 PM.
This free event provides a forum that gives voters the opportunity to meet each of the attending candidates running for School Board, and learn about their positions on various school-related topics.
Voters in San Marcos Unified School District will vote for one trustee for each of the three areas.
Area A Candidates Joseph Lai, LeeAnne Leon, Jay Ross, and Carlos Ulloa
Area B Candidates Sarah Ahmad, Brian Epperson, and Pamela Lindamood
Area C Candidates Jamie Chamberlin and Victor Graham
All candidates with the exception of LeeAnne Leon have confirmed their attendance.
Questions for the candidates must be sent in advance to Rick@sanmarcoschamber.com, and received by September 30th. Questions that will be asked during the candidate forum will be selected by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.