Editor’s note: After six months as Mayor of Sonoma, and with six months more of her term to go, we invited Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti to tell about her accomplishments so far, and what lies ahead.
Being Mayor of the City of Sonoma is a great job, especially if you love to work with people. I have always been a consensus-builder and today collaboration is even more important.
My long-time goal was realized in March when the City Council approved the Community Fund that establishes three-year contracts to deliver recreation and community services with four key non-profits: The Boys and Girls Club, Sonoma Community Center, Vintage House and the Sonoma Ecology Center.
I relish public speaking and enjoyed speaking to businesses at the Sonoma Valley Chamber’s, “Table Top” event with City Manager Cathy Capriola and at the recognition reception for the “Top Ten” tax earning businesses in Sonoma. Of course, a great thrill for me was to speak at the “Women’s March” earlier this year. Also on May 28th, I read a very important resolution to the hundreds of attendees at the Vets Memorial Park for the Memorial Day Observation.
The City’s Redevelopment Agency helped with the construction of 160 units of affordable housing in Sonoma. However, the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency in 2011 meant a loss of $1.1 million per year to our City. The Altimira Apartments Project, with 48 affordable units, is the only large affordable project the City has been able to assist with financing. The City Council has been looking at strategies to address this issue, including the potential creation of a Housing Trust Fund.
Traffic and parking is a decades long issue. One solution is to successfully negotiate the use of the State Park’s Casa Grande parking lot. Other options include paying a stipend for the use of church parking lots near the Plaza, identifying employees or employers who park in front of their businesses on the Plaza, or using the high school for overflow parking. The consideration of these options might include partnering with the Sonoma County Transit System for an electric shuttle bus to reduce traffic.
In November 2016, the Council adopted 22 Climate Action Measures as detailed in the Climate Action 2020 Plan. I can only highlight a few: 80% of public outdoor lighting was outfitted with LED bulbs; the City completed installing 3 EV charging stations; “Cash for Grass” is ongoing and very successful; and thanks to voters, so is switching from gas to battery or electric leaf blowers. Also, new construction will now accommodate EV charging stations. Of great pride for us all is our Smoking Ordinance to protect residents from exposure to second-hand smoke.
The Council also addressed cannabis, an issue important to many in Sonoma, and appeals of several projects.
While some might think the following as frivolous, I believe the City Council is establishing itself as the center of our City’s government by changing the title of Mayor Pro Tem to Vice Mayor, changing the name of our meeting room to the City Council Chambers, and also the upgrading the audio-video cameras in the City Council Chambers.
What a year! I’d do it all over again.