After 25 years of public service as Bakersfield’s City Manager Alan Tandy said he’s proud of many of the city’s quality of life improvements, and that he has no plan to retire from his job.
During an interview on “The Richard Beene Show,” Tandy talked about the city’s effort to improve transportation, including connecting the Westside Parkway to the Highway 58 via the Centennial Corridor, but he said he was most proud of the work the city has done to improve parks and athletic facilities.
“I’ve got things I’ve been working on a long time, and that I feel a commitment to bring to fruition,” Tandy told host Richard Beene. “The water projects that we mentioned earlier, and we’ve got phased improvements on a couple of our major sports complexes.”
Earlier in the 43-minute interview, Tandy said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the city would reach a settlement with three water districts to allow a certain amount of water to run through the Kern River nearly year round. In recent weeks, city officials said that making that a reality has become a priority.
“We hope so,” Tandy said. “We’re working on it. It isn’t easy because it’s a litigious area. We’ve been involved in court-related actions to get water back into the river. That goes so, so slowly. We’re trying negotiated settlements with the other interests.’’
One area of major concern, as Tandy noted during a State of the City address earlier this month, was an ongoing softness in the retail sector, which has led to a weakening of sales tax revenue the city collects.
“So, the concern in my office is it appears we’re going through a permanent shift in how people retail and buy,” Tandy said. “Sales taxes are our largest revenue source that we have, which allows us to deal with inflation, cost of living increases, and there may be an impairment to that long term. The state of California has constricted political subdivisions to raise revenues in many, many ways so there is little left allowed to the city other than a referendum issue.”
Beene questioned whether the current City Council understood the constraints of the retail sector, coupled with limitations placed on the city by the state to increase revenues.
“We are going on three years without adjustments to our current labor contracts,” Tandy told Beene. “We are three years plus with virtually no personnel additions, or modifications to adjust for growth, and we look forward into the future and don’t see an end to that circumstance.”