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Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy on her 2010 goals, hot issues

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Sandy Sheedy is ready for controversy.

The Sacramento city councilwoman plans to focus on a set of contentious issues this year. Her top citywide goals for 2010 are to address the budget and respond to concerns involving the development department and utilities funds.

The Sacramento Press is publishing a series on the 2010 goals of city council members. Links to stories on the goals of other council members are included at the bottom of this story.

Sheedy represents District 2, which covers neighborhoods north of the American River such as Del Paso Heights, Strawberry Manor and North Sacramento.

Unlike many of her council colleagues, she is not running for re-election or higher office. Her district seat is not up for election this year.

The City Council expects this year’s budget situation to be rough. To address last year’s $50 million deficit, council members made significant cuts to services.

Sheedy said when she considers this year’s budget top priority will go to “essential services that make the city run.” In her view, essential services are police and fire, code enforcement, solid waste, and streets and roads.

Sheedy also said she wants to work on the city’s Community Development Department’s permitting processes. The department’s Facilities Permit Program came under fire last fall during a public debate over Nestlé Waters North America’s move to Sacramento.

The program was halted from Oct. 27 to Dec. 15. In December, City Attorney Eileen Teichert said the program broke city laws. It was changed last month to conform to city laws, according to Teichert.

“I’d like to get the Community Development Department up and running again like it should be,” Sheedy said.

In addition, Teichert is examining the department’s decision to authorize 35 building permits in a Natomas flood zone last year. In a Dec. 15 letter to the Oakland office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city attorney’s office acknowledged that the city broke federal rules by green-lighting the permits.

Teichert said in November she found “additional issues” with the department as she investigated the 35 Natomas permits.

Legal issues surround another of Sheedy’s top goals for the year — she plans to respond to a Jan. 6 Sacramento County grand jury report. At issue is the city’s adherence to Proposition 218, a state law regulating city funds.

“The Grand Jury found that, at best, the city has not done enough to determine whether the city is violating the law and, at worst, has shifted millions of dollars in costs from the general fund to utility enterprise funds,” the report states.

Sheedy said she will focus on the issues raised by the grand jury.

“Let’s find out what went on, and let’s fix what we need to fix and move on. We’ve got to get back to the business of the city.”

Sheedy also has goals for her district this year. They include making street and infrastructure improvements from Arden Way to Highway 160; ensuring that operations at a teen center at Robertson Community Center continue; and completing parks in Strawberry Manor and Del Paso Heights.

Read the Sacramento County grand jury’s report on the city’s financing here.

Learn about Councilman Kevin McCarty’s plans for the year here. Councilwoman Lauren Hammond’s priorities are explained here. Read about Councilman Steve Cohn’s 2010 goals here. Councilman Robbie Waters’ objectives can be read here.

Photos by Anthony Bento.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

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