Almanac

News - February 2, 2011

Susan George plans to retire as Woodside town manager

by Dave Boyce

The proceedings of the Woodside Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, had an unusual start: the meeting began with Susan George, the town manager since 1993 and in her usual seat, announcing that she will be retiring in 12 months.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Ron Romines opened the meeting by giving the floor to Ms. George.

In brief unwritten remarks, she had high praise for the council, the Town Hall staff and the residents. "I look forward to working with many of you over the next 12 months," she said, her voice just on the edge of breaking at one point.

"There will be lots to say about this," Mr. Romines said, "but there will be ample time (for that)."

Her priorities for the coming year: the completion and adoption of a revised and updated general plan, revisions to the residential design guidelines, completion of pending amendments to the municipal code, and two essays: one on the history of the town's public sewers and another on downtown parking, Ms. George told The Almanac.

"There are other areas like those about which I have a fair amount of stored knowledge and I want to pass it along to staff and to the council, as appropriate," she added.

A new budget is coming, too. "I am determined to leave the town well-positioned financially, so a major goal is the development of a sound two-year budget and financial plan for the council's review and adoption/approval this June," Ms. George said.

The town has been fairly well positioned financially under her leadership, with reserves that are consistently over the council mandate of 15 percent of the operating budget. A 40 percent balance is expected for June 30, the end of this fiscal year.

The update to the general plan has been a major undertaking. The general plan is meant to capture a town's character and guide its future development. The 10 chapters in Woodside's plan include land use, historic preservation, getting around town, hazards, noise, housing and environmental sustainability.

The updated plan, according to a staff progress report, will include a reorganized and more readable layout and a sophisticated full color set of maps that cover zoning and land use; sewer assessment; neighborhoods at risk of flood, seismic and fire hazards; roads and trails; open spaces and scenic corridors; and fresh water resources.

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