|Nov. 17, 2022|
|As we get closer to Thanksgiving, expect a little extra traffic around Carlsbad, including folks visiting family and friends and kids enjoying a week off. Please give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go, remember to keep an eye out for walkers and bicyclists and, most of all, bring a little extra patience. I’ll share more tips below on getting ready for the holiday, along with these updates:|
- More traffic safety projects moving ahead
- Update on city finances and the local economy
- The latest election results
- New program to help you save water
- Reducing food waste during the holidays
- Don’t let clogged pipes ruin your family get together
- Turkey fryer safety warning (and a cool video)
More traffic safety projects moving forward
On Tuesday, the City Council approved additional projects that will improve traffic safety throughout Carlsbad and support the city’s ongoing efforts to balance the needs of bicyclists, walkers and drivers.
A first for local crosswalks
One of the projects is adding lighting in the pavement along crosswalks on Carlsbad Boulevard, which historically has some of the highest rates of collisions citywide.
Here’s some features of the upgraded crosswalks:
- New high-visibility crosswalk markings, similar to rungs on a ladder (Imagine the iconic “Abbey Road” crosswalk from The Beatles’ album cover – just like that! But with in-pavement flashing lights!)
- These pedestrian-activated in-pavement flashing lights are a first for Carlsbad.
- Six existing crosswalks will be upgraded: by the Army and Navy Academy between Mountain View Drive and Cypress Avenue, Oak Avenue, Sycamore Avenue, Maple Avenue, Cherry Avenue and Hemlock Avenue.
- Curb extensions will shorten the crossing distance for walkers and send a visual cue to drivers to be alert.
- Green markings on bicycle lanes in areas where cars and bikes are most likely to experience conflicts
Construction is scheduled to start at the end of the year, and the project should be completed by next summer.
Other traffic safety projects approved included:
- REDUCING SPEEDING: Reducing speeding on Cadencia Street and Gateway Road
- ENHANCING SIDEWALKS: Sidewalk improvements to fill existing gaps on portions of Garfield Street, Tamarack Avenue and Monroe Street
- MORE ENFORCEMENT: A California Office of Traffic Safety grant to enable our Police Department to do more enforcement.
- ADDRESSING HIGH COLLISION AREAS: Carlsbad’s first local roadway safety plan, which analyzes and provides recommendations for high collision areas.
City revenues higher than expected, but caution advised
The City of Carlsbad’s main sources of income are up an average of 10% for the first quarter of the fiscal year, thanks to a continuing economic rebound following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. However, city finance staff urged caution Tuesday because high inflation and the possibility of a recession mean the city should continue to closely monitor its financial health and be ready to make adjustments if needed.
During its quarterly financial and economic update to the City Council Tuesday, city staff reported that property, sales and hotel taxes from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2022, are higher than for that same time last year:
Transient Occupancy Tax revenue up 16%
- The increase in tax paid by visitors on stays in Carlsbad hotels and short-term vacation rentals was up mainly due to higher occupancy rates and higher room rates compared to the same time period in 2021.
Property tax revenue up 32%
- The increase in property tax revenue is due to an increase in property values and more aircrafts parked at Palomar Airport than this time last year (yes, airplanes pay property tax).
- Average home values for the middle tier of housing in Carlsbad ended the quarter at $1.45 million, up 18% over the past year.
Sales tax revenue up 5%
- The largest sources of sales tax revenue in the City of Carlsbad are automobile dealers, general merchandise stores and restaurants.
- Together, they generate 82% of the city’s sales tax revenues.
- All did better than this time last year, achieving record highs.
Economic vitality is one of the five goals in the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, so you’ll be seeing some new initiatives rolling out on that front. We will continue to keep a very close eye on city finances during these times of economic uncertainty.
Latest election results
As of last night, the Registrar of Voters has counted all but 15,000 of the votes cast countywide in the Nov. 8 election. The next update is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. Results are considered unofficial until the registrar completes its count, including provisional ballots that require additional review before counting.
The Registrar of Voters will post the final certified results by Dec. 8. We have planned an oath of office ceremony for all our newly elected officials on Dec. 13.
At this stage, Carlsbad’s results are coming into focus, but I will wait until all the votes are counted before sharing them here. You can see the latest numbers on the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters website. Tip: use the filter feature in the upper right to search for Carlsbad results.
Save water with new program
Even with recent rain, saving water is always important in Carlsbad’s climate. I’m proud that Carlsbad continues to be a leader in water conservation, recycled water and desalination, and now a new tool is available for Carlsbad residents who want to save even more water.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is offering free home water surveys, where an auditor will meet with you virtually and provide personalized resources and information:
- Recommendations for reducing water waste
- A review of indoor devices to check for leaks, damage or inefficiencies
- Evaluation of the home’s water meter to check for leaks
- Irrigation controller training and zone/station information
- Identification of irrigation problems
- Review of issues that contribute to higher water use, such as valve malfunctions, high or low pressure, sprinkler misalignment, poor draining, breaks and leaks, and runoff
- Information about rebates that might help you save water and money
Surveys are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, and funding is limited.
Reducing food waste this holiday season
By now, you’re probably well into planning and maybe even prepping your Thanksgiving meals. Did you know food waste increases by more than 25% during the holiday season? Here are ways to reduce waste during the holidays:
- Plan ahead. Make a grocery list and reconfirm your guest list before shopping. Coordinate dishes with family and guests.
- Avoid disposables. Set the table with glasses, dishes, silverware and cloth napkins. Skip the single-use products.
- Share and reuse leftovers. Ask guests to bring reusable containers to take home leftovers. Enjoy trying new recipes or freeze leftovers for future use.
And remember, please compost any food scraps you can’t eat in your green compost cart. That does not include fats, oils and grease, which are a whole different story …
Disposing of cooking fats, oils and grease
Fats, oil and grease aren’t just highly flammable, they can also do a number on your pipes. Unless you want to spend Thanksgiving evening dealing with plumbing problems, be sure to follow these tips:
- Never put fats, oils or grease down your drain.
- Use your garbage disposal sparingly. Fun fact: these are meant to take care of food scraps that accidentally go down the drain. You aren’t supposed to put food down there intentionally.
- Scrape oil and grease into the trash, NOT into your green compost bin.
- Scrape food scraps into your kitchen caddy or compost bin.
- Do not rely on grease-cutting detergents or hot water to wash away grease.
- Wipe cooking pan residue with a paper towel and throw it in the trash.
- Carlsbad residents can also pick up a used-oil kit with a 1-gallon capacity and watertight lid from the city’s trash provider, Republic Services.
- Once filled, call Republic at 760-332-6464 to schedule a pickup and request a new container.
Using a turkey fryer? Watch this first
Many people enjoy turkey cooked in a fryer, and our climate makes outdoor cooking possible year-round. If you’re planning to deep-fry your turkey, please watch this video from the Carlsbad Fire Department on how to safely use a turkey fryer and what to do if things go wrong.
Make sure you are aware of all the precautions needed to keep you and your family safe. And thank you to our Fire Department for sharing these tips!
No City Council meetings the next two weeks as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday. The next one is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber.
Keep an eye on those Santa Ana winds. During dry, windy weather, even the smallest spark can set off a fast-spreading wildfire. More dry, windy weather is expected over the weekend. Here is a good source to track the latest red-flag warnings.
I’ll save my Thanksgiving wishes until next week, when I’ll be coming to you one day early, on Wednesday. City offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. In the meantime, have a happy and safe weekend!
Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager
CarlsbadConnects app is an easy way to report things that need repair or attention around town, like potholes, sidewalk cracks, traffic light outages, graffiti and code enforcement issues. Submit service requests anonymously or create a free account where you can track progress and see what other people have reported.
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