FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — The City of Fresno is receiving a historic amount of money this year from sales tax revenue and rescue funds.
Councilmember Miguel Arias believes this means it’s a perfect time to revitalize downtown neighborhoods. He’s proposing a plan to set aside $5 million to invest in rescue funds for the reconstruction of streets, curbs, sidewalks and overall maintenance of downtown neighborhoods.
“You cannot simply pick up garbage. You have to invest in the actual infrastructure in the neighborhoods where people live. These big bumps, this poor patchwork, and these huge cracks in the roads are a safety concern,” Arias said.
For the first time ever, the City of Fresno has received more than $100 million in sales tax revenue. This comes in addition to $250 million from the federal government rescue funds, $40 million from Measure P, and an estimated $10 million from cannabis revenue.
“This is the time to make sure that these neighborhoods that were left behind get put at the front of the list to be re-invested in,” Arias said.
Arias said the mayor’s proposed budget focuses on public safety.
Downtown residents say it needs to be a priority.
“I got a call down the street the other day and a branch that’s about 900 pounds fell on the sidewalk – almost him them – if it would have, it would’ve killed them. They had been on a waiting list for two years for the city to take care of the tree and they never did. The city never came out,” said Adam Franks, a tree-trimmer and South Tower resident.
In addition to reconstruction, Arias wants to give developers who build on any parcel under five acres in the city the same credit as those who build on the outskirts of the city, which includes having fees waived and receiving credit of up to 50% for any off-site improvements.
Steven Chandler, who has lived in the area since 1976, says he’s thrilled to see a council member put emphasis on the area he calls home.
“We’re thrilled that there is money now available and that he’s focusing on this area. You consider the well-being of children that walk by here everyday on their way to school…how could you put a price on that?” he said.
City Council is going to discuss this proposal on Thursday. Budget meetings begin on Monday.