South San Francisco is working hard to improve public safety and develop its economic resources while supporting environmental sustainability, Mayor Kevin Mullin said at a his to the business community on Tuesday at the .
The speech was Mullin’s second this year to give an overview on South San Francisco’s accomplishments, challenges and future plans. At the April 27 city council meeting, . The South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce hosted Tuesday’s talk before an audience of about 100 people in the business community.
Mullin cited the as a major accomplishment this year. The garage added 254 additional parking spaces to downtown that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
But the city is also supporting alternative modes of transportation through the , Mullin said. The new bike routes and bike-friendly transit improvements in the plan will improve sustainability as well as provide safety and new access to cyclists, he said.
With approximately five drive-by shootings involving young people in the year 2010, community violence is a top priority for the city this year, Mullin said. Since the beginning of 2011, four new police officers have been hired, more money is being allocated towards crime in South San Francisco and the Neighborhood Response Team remains strong.
This year, 88 arrests have been made, 54 being gang related, 624 field interviews were conducted, 249 of those gang related. Currently there are nearly 600 outreach programs all working to keep young children off the streets and in programs such as the summer youth program and the new Junior Giants Program, where children between the ages of five and 12 can play on a baseball team for free.
Another topic discussed was the newly introduced two-tiered retirement system. South San Francisco is the only city in San Mateo to introduce this system. Under this agreement, newly hired employees will receive reduced retirement benefits. Yet, starting in July, employees are set to receive a two percent raise increase. This program will lessen costs in the long run, Mullin said.
The mayor concluded the luncheon by thanking outside grants and funding that help the city deliver additional services through , the and other programs. The city has raised about 250 million outside dollars over the past 12 years that have also gone toward paving streets, creating bicycle routes, building a new playground and renovating the public library.
“Without [outside funders], a lot of this would not be possible,” Mullin said. “Even after the comprehensive plan for downtown was completed two years ago, the city continues to receive funds.”
At this time, the city’s two largest development projects are the and the ferry terminal that will link South San Francisco to the East Bay. The Oyster Point Project, which includes construction of an 82-acre life sciences campus as well as public improvements to the area, is assumed to be one of the biggest projects the city has faced, Mullin said.