On Dec. 16 the Scotts Valley City Council appointed its new mayor, Derek Timm, and vice-mayor, Jim Reed. Both men look forward to tackling daunting challenges that 2021 presents, such as facilitating economic recovery, expanding affordable housing and addressing racism alongside the community.
Timm hopes that 2021 will bring many City improvements to fruition.
“The Hangar will open in the spring, we’ll finish library renovations and the community theater is coming together,” he said. “We’re working with the center owner of the old Kmart and with Target to upgrade that center. We want it to set the tone for what a future town center can look like.”
Reed said he has his hopes for the city’s center.
“A small downtown center sized for Scotts Valley, a main street common gathering place with a village green, restaurants, outdoor cafes and a taproom, some retail stores and more,” he said.
Adds Timm: “We want Scotts Valley to come out of the pandemic not looking different, keeping our businesses alive.”
These improvements could help revitalize the economy, alongside the City’s partnership with the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce and loans for local businesses. While the City Council focuses on local economic recovery, they’re also managing a fiscal crisis of their own.
“We basically went into our own shelter-in-place in terms of our budget,” Timm said. “We’ve had to make cuts to so many departments, freeze positions and salaries. I hope to bring some resources back next year.”
Reed said now that the City has data on how the pandemic impacted their revenues, the council “is hopeful this year we’ll begin the long and overdue process of making our police pay more competitive.”
Timm, a 17-year Scotts Valley resident, predicts an influx of new citizens in 2021.
“[Scotts Valley] is ideally suited for the post-pandemic workforce,” he said. “We were built up with high tech, so we have high-speed fiber-optic networks throughout town that aren’t available in many places. Also, more than ever people are more focused on their home life and that’s made Scotts Valley attractive to many.”
Unfortunately, this influx has a downside, he said.
“The general cost of housing is a huge concern,” Timm said. “We don’t have workforce housing and we’ve seen housing prices go significantly up throughout the pandemic, 20-25% in some places, and that’s scary. We want to encourage developers to create places for teachers, workers and grown kids.”
To encourage more affordable housing options, Timm and Reed hope to expand the affordable housing inclusionary ordinance throughout the City. The ordinance currently requires developers to create at least 15% affordable housing in some parts of the city, but Timm wants “the policy to match the need.”
The City Council’s hopes to further community inclusivity have also broadened with the desire to confront racism.
“This is a community goal, not necessarily a council goal,” Timm said. “I want inclusivity and belonging for everyone here in Scotts Valley. I want to see a community effort in conjunction with our schools, council and community to confront racism head-on. We can’t ignore it, or be quiet, or pretend it doesn’t exist. We need to help members of the community that are in pain and bring education to those that don’t understand why they’re in pain.”
Timm plans to “bring others on board to help train our community.”
“My first goal is to create a broad coalition of people in town to drive this effort. Educating people on the biases and racism that they might not know even exist, is a slow process, but we need to start,” he said.
Despite the busy year ahead, Timm said he isn’t discouraged.
“We’re very hopeful for the long term future of our City and we’ve got a great team moving forward in a thoughtful way,” he said.