Running for his third full term as a member of the Scotts Valley City Council, Jim Reed says the city is “right on the cusp” of realizing some major long term goals, particularly the Town Center Project, and after all these years of planning and preparation, Reed wants to be part of getting it built.
First and foremost, Reed said he fully appreciates Scotts Valley “is an incredibly special place to live.” Based on more than 10 years of service as a city council member, Reed said he likes to think the current city council “has had an important role in making the town the jewel that it is.
Reed said he knows and agrees with many residents who believe a town like Scotts Valley “is all too rare today and very much worth protecting. And I like to think this didn’t happen by accident - it’s been prudent, centrist leadership that is comfortable in dealing in the grey areas- where issues are not black and white. We’ve been a council working from the middle to solve problems, and it’s vitally important that we continue doing that,” Reed said.
Reed is especially excited about the Town Center Project finally coming to fruition after more than 20 years of planning, relocating businesses and waiting for the right economic climate and the right developer. Reed relayed a story of when he first moved into the Sky Park neighborhood 18 years ago, with an infant son, and the seller gave him a newspaper clipping about a new town center coming to Sky Park. Now his son is 18 years old, attending CabrilloCollege, and the Town Center Project is finally here. “I’m very excited about that,” Reed said.
Reed said he received negative comments on social media with the perception he is pro-growth with his support of the Town Center Project, and said that perception is not entirely accurate. “There’s always been a big housing component to the Town Center Project, always around 300 units, but what’s really exciting to me is the brew pubs, the wine bars and outdoor cafés, and 30,000 square feet of ‘experiential retail’ like Abbott Square - a real town center – without so much housing that it will change our small town character,” Reed said.
Reed, 51, works as the chief of staff for Sam Liccardo, the Mayor of San Jose, and is very conscious of the extraordinary job growth in Silicon Valley, and the relentless demand for housing this economic growth exerts on Scotts Valley.
Paraphrasing a quote about this demand for housing emanating from over-the-hill, “The truth doesn’t change according to our ability to stomach it’- There’s growth over-the-hill that is impacting us, whether we like it not. We’re not doing ourselves any favors if we pretend there’s anything but pressure on prices and high demand for new housing in ScottsValley. What we need to do is make sure the housing we build is priced so that our kids, our teachers, our cops and nurses can live here,” Reed said.
In terms of the fiscal health of the city, Reed explains that it can be seen “as the best of times and the worst of times- here we are with the strongest economy we’ve had in decades- but local governments all across the state continue to struggle with fiscal problems, many not of their own making,” Reed said.
“Although the city’s fiscal management over my time on the council has been perceived by some as exceedingly lean and mean,” Reed said, “yet we still have significant structural deficits.” Reed discussed the measures taken by the current council to face a “structural deficit” or so-called “fiscal cliff” that is looming for the city when Measure U, a half-cent sales tax approved by Scotts Valley voters in 2013, expires in 2022, which will leave a roughly $1.2 million hole in the budget.
“I’ve been fiscally tight-fisted, more so than other council members, as shown on my “no” votes for the last few budgets approved by the council. I was objecting to some human service funding to nonprofits that are not essential to supporting our core services and I’d like to see the council move in a more fiscally conservative direction,” Reed said.
This is because Reed believes the council is going to have to, “look voters in the eye and walk them through exactly what we’ve done and show them how prudent we’ve been with their money- before we ask them for more,” Reed said. “And candidly, we’re going to need to ask the voters for more. The revenue we’re going to need is going to have to more than the half-cent sales tax scheduled to expire,” Reed added.
Reed has lived in Scotts Valley for 18 years, and with his wife, Lea, and has raised four children, all of whom have attended Scotts Valley public schools. Reed has been selected as mayor of the city by other council members, a somewhat honorary appointment with the responsibility of chairing the city council meetings, for the third time in January 2018.
Reed emphasized building relationships and trust with the community is the most important aspects his job. “One of the least important things I do as a council member is vote,” Reed said. “Local government is about relationships and how you collaborate with people, how you work with people to reach consensus- especially when not everyone is getting what they want.”
For more information on Jim Reed: www.joinjimreed.com.