Folsom Mayor Rosario Rodriguez delivers her first state of the city message to residents

Folsom Mayor Rosario Rodriguez delivered her first state of the city address since being selected as mayor by the council in December.

The event was a buffet-style luncheon hosted last Thursday at Lakeside Church by Choose Folsom, a membership-based company that “promotes the economic vitality, community prosperity and quality of life” for visitors, citizens and businesses, according to the organization’s website.

Attendees were required to register for the event, and Choose Folsom handled the seating arrangements in tables of 10. Among those in the room were California Sen. Roger Niello, R- Fair Oaks; Assemblyman Josh Hoover, R-Folsom; all five City Council members; a representative from the office of Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, and members of the Folsom Cordova Unified School Board.

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New buildings

In her address, Rodriguez said that a new state-of-the-art permit center at City Hall will streamline planning, engineering, building services and access to information. She said the city is updating its zoning code and focusing on higher-density residential development in key areas of the city.

“We are exploring development opportunities on city-owned surplus land to support economic development and tourism,” she said.

She reminded attendees that the city council approved making its temporary outdoor dining permit program permanent and encouraged residents to shop locally. Rodriguez herself owns a small business: Sutter Street Taqueria in the historic district.

In 2022, the city issued more than 6,100 building permits that Rodriguez said will create as many as 841 new single-family homes, eight multifamily apartment projects and six new commercial buildings. She said Kaiser Permanente plans a 260,000-square-foot expansion of its ambulatory surgery center on Palladio Parkway with a four-story office building.

Rodriguez said while the city budget is sound, it forecasts a storm on the horizon because “sales tax revenue is no longer keeping up with the cost to provide services.”

“The city’s aging infrastructure is demanding attention,” she said. “By 2026, we will see a multi-million-dollar shortfall, and if we factor in deferred maintenance, such as repairs and restoration put on the back burner, that number exceeds $20 million.”

Public safety funding

Rodriguez said half of the city’s budget is dedicated to public safety.

“We talk a lot about prevention in Folsom because we understand the value,” she said. “We are investing more than $2 million annually on pavement maintenance, filling potholes and repairing cracked pavement.”

The projects serve to improve the flow of traffic, according to the mayor. The city also aims to improve Riley Street, upgrading its sidewalks and bike lanes, with $4 million given to the city by Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.

In late 2022, Vince Murdock filed a complaint in Sacramento Superior Court suing the city of Folsom and Sacramento County for dangerous condition of public property and liability after he was struck on his bike by another individual in a vehicle at the intersection of Greenback Lane and Folsom Ranch Drive.

In July 2022, the city settled a different civil liability case involving Deborah Richardson, a woman who tripped and fell on an uneven sidewalk on Folsom Dam Road between Lakeside Way and Alayna Way in 2018.

What the city’s built for residents so far

The mayor said in her address that the employment rate is among the lowest in the region at 2.4%, and that Folsom offers nearly 43,000 jobs.

Folsom announced on its Twitter account Wednesday that the city was ranked ninth in a list of best cities for high-paying, entry-leveling jobs by Forage, an education technology company.

Last year, a total of 338 new apartment units were constructed and approximately 2,500 new residents came to Folsom Ranch south of Highway 50, according to the city.

Rodriguez said roughly 60 residents city on boards and commissions that tackle community challenges, and the city offers its residents plenty of amenities including the Johnny Cash Trail, which will unveil its first public art project in 2023: a 7-foot tall guitar pick.