Hello, Fontana, I am your new city manager, and I am excited to be a part of Team Fontana.
My first month here has been anything but ordinary. Our daily lives have been drastically altered by COVID-19, but with our collective patience and perseverance, we not only will survive this historic pandemic, we will be stronger for it.
Our city staff did not miss a beat when COVID began, and we continue to work diligently to ensure the needs of our residents and businesses are met.
Even though many of our facilities and lobbies remain closed to the public, city business is being conducted as normally as possible by phone, email or online.
In the meantime, we are implementing safety measures to protect you and our staff when our lobbies and facilities reopen. As of now, our facilities are closed through Friday, May 15, with the possibility of an extension.
I know I’m not alone is saying that we can’t wait to put the pandemic -- and all the damage it has done -- behind us. But we also know how important it is to do this the right way.
Please continue to follow the directives of the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health by maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask when out in public and avoiding unnecessary trips out of the house. Fontana is an incredibly strong community, and together, we will endure.
----- IN THE MEANTIME, I would like to update you on some of what we’re doing at City Hall to get through this unprecedented time:
• Like businesses throughout the City and beyond, we have been financially impacted by the pandemic. By June 30, we are estimating that revenues will be reduced by $6.8 million from the lack of retail sales, recreation revenue and transient occupancy tax. I am proud to write that we have been able to close the gap with a combination of vacancy savings, departmental savings, and the use of savings from prior-year budgets that were set aside for future projects. As we continue to monitor the situation, we will revisit more internal cost-saving alternatives closer to June 30 if needed. We are advocating strongly for resources from the state and federal governments to offset the response efforts expenses we have incurred and the revenues we have lost.
• The Police Department has demonstrated the most agility in changing how they respond to the safety of residents amongst the virus. Over the past month, we have seen an overall reduction in crime.
• The IT Department quickly transitioned staff to work remotely, allowing them to continue their daily duties in serving the public.
• The City Clerk’s Office swiftly met the need to transfer City Council Meetings to a virtual realm.
• The Community Services Department exceptionally met the challenge of offering essential health and wellness, educational, and recreational resources to all during this time for all ages and abilities. They are providing and delivering over 1,200 meals per week to seniors, assisting the Fontana Unified School District with grab and go meals, and keeping residents connected to the resources 24/7 through KFON TV, social media, and email and text alerts. Staff created the Virtual Recreation Center, providing a variety of educational and fun, at-home opportunities.
• The Public Works Department continues to provide infrastructure improvements throughout the city. Residents are encouraged to report issues such as graffiti, fallen trees, potholes, and sidewalk problems through the Access Fontana app.
• The Community Development staff is ensuring growth and development needs, and projects are still taking place. Permits and design reviews have been ongoing through virtual meetings, and conference calls and inspections are taking place with appropriate personal protective equipment and social distancing.
----- AS A REMINDER, the city website houses numerous resources for assistance regarding COVID-19. Continue to visit fontana.org for continuous city updates.
Thank you so much for your patience, vigilance and support. As we emerge from this public health crisis, I look forward to working closely with our residents, businesses and stakeholders.
And, last, to give you a little background on me, I had been the city manager at Dana Point before arriving in Fontana. Prior to Dana Point, I was the chief operating officer at the County of Orange. I believe strongly in a customer-focused mission for local government and plan to use my experience to continue to enhance our efforts here in Fontana. I met my wife, Kathi, while attending Orange Coast College, and we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this month. We have two children, Reagan and Jackson.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
Stay strong and stay safe.
(Mark Denny is the Fontana city manager.)