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
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.
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.
San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones has recorded a virtual ‘State of Your Community’ address to keep residents in the know about all things San Marcos. Click here to tune in!
Although hosting a ‘State of Your Community’ event isn’t currently possible due to COVID-19, the Mayor felt a virtual presentation would provide a helpful update to residents. In her address, she covers a wide range of topics including: Community safety, quality of life, supporting local businesses, lending a helping hand, the importance of community input, healthcare and education and infrastructure and mobility.
“2020 has certainly been a challenging year, unlike anything we have experienced before,” Mayor Jones said. “Yet the resilience I’ve witnessed in our community has been absolutely astounding. From businesses navigating uncharted waters and families supporting each other, to online solutions for what we used to do in person and creative new communications tools that are helping us bridge the gaps. I am incredibly proud of who we are and how we have adapted.”
The Mayor’s ‘State of Your Community’ address will air on San Marcos Televisionat 2:30 p.m., and can be viewed anytime on the City of San Marcos Youtube channel here.
Attracting, retaining and expanding businesses is at the forefront of the City of San Marcos’ economic development efforts. The City offers a variety of services to help businesses thrive.
Piercan, a worldwide leader in manufacturing niche polymer products, including specialty gloves (used by NASA, pharmaceutical companies, national laboratories, military, and beyond) experienced this concierge service first-hand. The City helped Piercan secure a $1.5 million California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) this summer. Announced by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the income tax credit is set up to help businesses that want to grow and stay in California.
With this assistance, Piercan will expand their San Marcos operations and hire 62 new employees. The company will be investing more than $7.5 million in wages, equipment and improvements within the next five years.
“The City was instrumental in obtaining this tax credit,” said Julio Cedillo, General Manager of Piercan USA, Inc. “I’m very grateful for their support and their guidance through this process, as well as defining new opportunities to help us grow as a company in a reasonable and responsible way.”
Piercan, an international company headquartered in France since 1948, has been operating in the U.S. since 1995. It started in Vista, then expanded to San Marcos, where it currently employs more than 60 full time workers. Thanks, in part, to this tax credit, accelerated growth is on the horizon.
Piercan’s San Marcos headquarters specializes in containment isolator and glovebox gloves as well as bladders that are used to form unique carbon fiber components for aerospace and recreational markets to create propellers for airplanes, forks for bicycles, wing spars for drones and bows for violins among other products.
“We’re planning to grow, we’re going to create more jobs here in San Marcos, and we’re going to bring indirect development to this area. We want to stay in San Marcos, and we will likely double our size and workforce within in the next five years,” Cedillo said.
The City of San Marcos has helped five San Marcos companies secure nearly $3 million in state income tax credits since 2017, allowing local businesses to expand and create new jobs. Winning these tax credits is highly competitive, so City staff help guide business owners through the process.
Only 22 companies across the state were awarded tax credits in this round of CCTC tax credits – and San Marcos was the only city in northern San Diego County to make the list.
Of the more than $73 million tax credits awarded, nearly $18.2 million of that will go to nine businesses (of which Piercan is included) that are adding high-quality manufacturing jobs to our state – a national leader in manufacturing. Early in the stay-at-home order, Governor Newsom deemed manufacturing to be an essential function of California’s economy.
“As California works to safely recover from the COVID-19 induced recession, this tax credit program continues to be a model for both accountability and transparency. What we see today is 22 companies not only choosing California, but choosing Californians,” said Chris Dombrowski, GO-Biz Acting Director, and Chair of the California Competes Tax Credit Committee. “We are innovators at heart and so is our economy and we will continue to invest in companies that look to build the future here in California.”
To date, the City has helped Piercan USA, Inc. earn a $1.5 million tax credit that will create 62 jobs; Wholesale Shade earned a $500,000 tax credit to create 26 jobs; Cliniqa earned a $350,000 tax credit to create 24 jobs; Creative Electron earned a $446,700 tax credit to create 22 jobs; Oasis Breads earned a $200,000 tax credit to create six jobs and QC Power earned a $100,000 tax credit to create seven jobs.
These companies are all are part of San Marcos’ booming manufacturing industry, the City’s second-largest economic sector. Manufacturing provides 11 percent of local employment, which is about 4,300 jobs.
“We love helping connect local businesses with resources that will help them grow in San Marcos,” said Tess Sangster, Economic Development Director for the City of San Marcos. “This is a big win for the City and Piercan, as their expansion and creation of new jobs will boost our local economy and community.”
The business license portal now allows for online payment processing. It speeds up the process, too. Business owners can submit applications, renew and print their license within 1-2 business days after payment and any required approvals instead of waiting to receive it in the mail, which was taking 2-3 weeks. Not only does the portal simplify the process, it allows for virtual vs. in-person interaction. The City has implemented a variety of no-touch environments as a result of COVID-19 and will continue to expand its offerings.
Please ensure the City has your correct email address on file before your license expires. If you have already received a paper renewal notice and would like to renew online, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request your security code.
· San Marcos City App: You can help us keep San Marcos safe and clean by downloading this app that is your gateway to City service requests. Whether you see graffiti, maintenance needs, traffic light outages or stormwater issues, the app is a simple way to report non-emergency concerns. The app makes it easy to identify the location of your concern and track the progress and resolution of your request.
· Online services: Visit the City’s COVID-19 response page for a full list of services available online, by phone or email. From building permits and inspections to parking citations and land development, residents can easily get in touch.
The City of San Marcos welcomes community input about housing priorities as we plan now to meet the housing needs of current and future residents.
A housing plan update is required every eight years by state law to ensure that we are planning ahead appropriately.
We invite you to explore our new Virtual Housing Plan Workshop about the City’s housing priorities and share your feedback. Here, you can easily participate in a virtual three-step process that replaces an in-person workshop. You can provide input between now and September 4.
At your own convenience, you can:
Watch a brief video that explains what a Housing Element is and why we are updating ours.
Review our ‘Housing in San Marcos Guide’ to understand how we’re addressing housing needs.
Share your ideas about housing in an easy-to-use online survey format categorized into these three sections: Your existing housing choices, your housing priorities and where you think new housing should be located.
We need your help in order to make this focused planning effort a success. Your feedback is greatly appreciated to ensure that we address the housing priorities of our community. A new Housing Element must be adopted by April 2021. Other state requirements include our Climate Action Plan Update and resiliency planning within our Safety Element (coming soon). While the City of San Marcos’ General Plan Update has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Housing, Environmental and Safety Elements must be addressed as required by state law.
We’re listening – please give us your feedback at our Virtual Housing Plan Workshop through September 4. Together, we’ll envision the future of housing in San Marcos.
RELEASE OF UPDATED CLIMATE ACTION PLAN and INITIAL STUDY/NEGATIVE DECLARATION
The City of San Marcos has updated its Climate Action Plan (CAP) to meet new State of California goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the community’s desires for a clean, sustainable environment. The new state requirements set stricter targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. The updated CAP and environmental materials are now posted on the City’s web site at https://www.san-marcos.net/departments/development-services/planning/climate-action-plan-update
It’s time for you to weight in.
Community members can review and comment on the Draft CAP and associated Initial Study/Negative Declaration through September 7, 2020
WHAT IS A CLIMATE ACTION PLAN?
A CAP is a long-range plan that outlines strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The intent of this updated plan is to adopt strategies and measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in San Marcos to 42 percent below the City’s 2012 levels by 2030. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the updated CAP provides additional benefits including: reducing air pollution, improving traffic conditions, supporting local economic development and improving public health and quality of life. Partial funding for this update was received from SANDAG’s Roadmap Program.
Key CAP highlights include:
The updated CAP builds on the City of San Marcos’ 2012 baseline greenhouse gas inventory.
Based on emissions projections in the future, and to be consistent with the State’s current regulations, the City’s target reduction for the year 2030 is 42 percent below the 2012 levels.
The updated CAP includes eight strategies and 22 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The implementation timeframe for the updated CAP is 10 years.
The City of San Marcos will monitor the progress of CAP implementation and will provide periodic public updates.
WANT TO PROVIDE COMMENTS?
Due to current public health orders related to COVID-19, the City is not able to host a public workshop on the updated CAP and Initial Study/Negative Declaration. Comments on the updated CAP and environmental document can be submitted by:
The City will review all comments received on the updated plan and Initial Study/Negative Declaration and incorporate those into the final CAP. Staff will hold Planning Commission hearings in October 2020 and City Council hearings in November/December 2020 to formally adopt the CAP update.
Contact: Saima Qureshy, Principal Planner, City of San Marcos