NEWMAN — Editor's note: We invited the mayors of Stanislaus County's smaller cities to share their thoughts on what 2013 will bring for their communities. This is part of that series. Previous essays are available at www.modbee.com/opinion.
What big projects will be started or finished during the year in Newman?
The biggest project will be the planning for the annexation of the Northwest Master Plan. It incorporates approximately 100 acres of commercial and business park land (350-plus total acres). It has the potential to generate more than 1,000 jobs for the community. It is a mixed use (commercial, light industrial-business park, and residential) project. It is the first truly new development under the new general plan adopted in 2007.
The project will incorporate new design standards including mixed residential with an increase in density over current levels, a neighborhood school, parks-sports complex, pedestrian- and bike-friendly streetscapes and walkways.
What are some of the ongoing issues that will reach a decision point in 2013?
Most of the issues that will continue to face Newman are planning issues related to infrastructure. We hope to receive a new waste-water permit that will allow the city to expand capacity at the plant.
In addition, the city will be working to secure approvals for a new water well and booster tank. These improvements will enhance fire protection, improve water quality and generate additional capacity to support future growth.
Where is the city of Newman in terms of growth decisions?
Many of the growth-related decisions were made during the formulation of the new general plan (2007). The city intends to follow the goals that were crafted by our community during the many community meetings and public hearings. The process was very long and very well attended by community members. These goals and programs will be incorporated in the new master plan.
How can residents of Newman best help the Newman City Council in 2013?
The best thing that residents can do is become more active in the community, with local groups, local organizations and get involved in community issues. Continue to interact with council members and city staff.
Newman, like every other city in California, has been attacked financially by state lawmakers who wish to try to balance the states budget on the back of local government. We in the city of Newman have been able to weather the storm by being financially prudent.
Katen worked for 28 years as a Newman police officer, retiring in 2005 as a lieutenant. He was elected to the Newman City Council in November 2006 and elected mayor in 2008. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2012.