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Our View: Auburn City Council needs to light some fires

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Sometimes slow and steady doesn’t cut it – particularly when results are few and far between. The City Council needs to establish a collective “bucket list” and start lighting proverbial fires to get things done. The current City Council and the city in general, has been stuck in first gear for far too long on far too many important issues. If results are any indication, economic development has been lethargic – particularly at the Airport Industrial Park, where several buildings currently stand vacant. In recent months, the biggest action taken by the city is to lay off several key employees. City Council, set some goals. Act with a sense of urgency. Forge a plan and then take the initiative to do everything in your power to bring in ventures with long-term prospects and good-paying jobs. If that means ruffling a few feathers with some perks and incentives then so be it. With county government operations — particularly the courts — moving to more populous areas in the Lincoln-Rocklin-Roseville growth areas, Auburn needs to be smart and flexible. The shift in jobs is an opportunity to build Auburn with a new, clearer vision of what it will become. No one at the city level is stepping up with that vision. Keeping the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in Auburn holds the promise of holding onto about 20 full-time jobs and bringing in consultants and other peripheral environment-related professionals to the city. The recent decision by the conservancy board to shy away from giving Auburn permanent headquarters status should be a strong warning sign that more needs to be done to cement the location in the city. Costco’s presence on Nevada Street has been long-rumored but isn’t happening. There’s even a move to locate it along Highway 49 in North Auburn, according to county records. What’s the city doing to entice the corporation and its tax dollars to set up shop within city limits? There has been no public attempt to show support. The council and city staff are rightfully working hard on the looming wastewater treatment issue and Streetscape plan. And, might well be diligently working behind the scenes on many other challenges facing the city. But the communication between the city and its residents needs work. If significant progress is being made, say so in a public forum. Invite input from residents. There are clever people living in the area who might be able to help. Look around the city and there are plenty of problems that need to be addressed by the council. From the small — a clocktower that doesn’t have the right time — to the large — a newly opened stretch of American River that isn’t drawing boaters or tourists — councilmembers need to bear down to get the job done. The city needs walking and cycling routes that are well-marked. Downtown, it needs sidewalks that aren’t dangerous to walk on. On the fire danger front, there is still work to be done to clear up private properties on the rim of the canyon that have yet to be cleared and made more firesafe. The Auburn park preserve is already long overdue in opening — many years actually — but that kind of lethargy isn’t unprecedented. It took 10 years to build a restroom in Old Town Auburn. That’s not the kind of initiative and sense of purpose that breeds a community confident in local government. Beyond the prestige of the position and the opportunity to take a turn as mayor, the post, at minimum, demands a huge commitment and hard work. But it also demands elected officials who take action for their constituents and their community.