Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks recapped recent and past citywide improvements, trumpeted Encinitas’ low crime rate and offered a glimpse of future projects during the annual state of the city address at the Encinitas City Council meeting Wednesday night.
Of the upcoming projects Stocks outlined, the biggest announcement was that the city is seeking bids on a that will be built on a 44-acre site west of Interstate 5 and south of Santa Fe Drive.
“This is not we intend to, we hope to, we wish to, we plan to, it’s out there,” Stocks said. “The contractors have it, they’re putting together their bids."
The Encinitas Community Park, known as the , has been in the works for more than a decade. It will feature sports fields, a skate park and a children’s playground, as well as other amenities. Competing plans, funding shortfalls and environmental concerns have delayed the project.
But now the project is moving forward, and Stocks believes the timing is ideal.
“We have incredibly low interest rates,” Stocks said. “We have incredibly favorable bids that are coming in well under the engineer estimates. And we have the opportunity to try and build a park here before inflation kicks back in.”
Although Stocks didn’t state when construction would begin on the park, he said the city will make a decision on which bids it will accept in about six weeks.
Stocks also laid out plans for another project that recently went out to bid: .
“We’re going to be expanding the recreational sand area, constructing new restrooms, showers and concession stands to better meet the public’s needs,” Stocks said. And add a garage for the lifeguards’ equipment.”
Among other achievements on his list, Stocks touted the city’s graffiti prevention program and low debt.
“In conclusion, the state of the city is great,” Stocks said.
Several residents begged to differ.
, president of the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, raised
Wagner said the city’s pension system is plagued by an estimated $25 million in unfunded liability, a figure he believes is even higher because of additional city employees and faulty calculations for investment gains that rely on pre-recession interest rates.
“If you want to offer these benefits, pay for them,” Wagner said. “Don’t tell us the state of the city is sound when you’re underfunding pensions.”
“This city council has refused to adopt pension reform,” he added. “Even as our neighbors in Solana Beach and Carlsbad adopted pension reform, the council majority in Encinitas will not allow it on the agenda.”
Other residents brought up concerns about low-income housing and the , a blueprint that will guide development plans for the next three decades.