Zach Hilton
music in the park san jose

To my council colleagues, city staff and the public, I am very excited to be a part of the many changes coming to Gilroy this year. I will continue to bring the views of my constituents to these meetings, as well as my own. 

We have many policies and practices that will continue to be updated to 2022 standards that come along with the adoption of our General Plan 2040. Legislating policy in house often doesn’t require budget allocations, and many of the best practices are already open sourced. Continuing from 2021, our entire Zoning Ordinance will be amended to meet the standards of our general plan, and I look forward to being a part of that process.

With the 2021-2022 legislative work plan already established, the Gilroy City Council will dive right into many items that need to be completed in 2022. Once the new city council is seated after the November 2022 election, a new legislative work plan will be established. Staff reported a $4.6 million general fund surplus due to stimulus funding such as the CARES Act, along with sales tax and property tax that came in better than previously projected. 

We have many opportunities through public and private partnerships coming before the council in 2022. I’m very confident that staff will continue to find grant funding opportunities that directly benefit all of our residents. The opportunities for furthering our economic development continues with a hillside adventure/water surf park proposal around Gilroy Gardens, Sharks ice arena at the sports park, and Gourmet Alley in Downtown. These proposals form the recreation triangle and further our recreation community designation by city resolution. Redevelopment and new construction will create additional hotels, housing units, jobs, restaurants and shopping. 

I’d like to find some common ground when it comes to homelessness, affordable housing, climate action, technology implementation, and most important our human capital or our employees. Many of these issues we can’t solve alone, and we need to leverage partnerships that currently exist as well as be flexible when it comes to new ones. Many organizations have a for-profit and non-profit side of their business structure. The non-profit side can obtain grant funding for the city and are often more in touch with grant funding opportunities in places where we aren’t. Thank you to all of our current city staff who have persevered through some of the most challenging times in their careers during the pandemic. You are a key part to our success as a city. 

This year, my prime focus is to continue Gilroy’s growth into the 21st century. Building upon the relationships I’ve made, legislative items in our work plan, and introduction of new items are just some of the things I have planned. We will focus on our Zoning Ordinance (Bike Parking, Noise Impacting Residentially Zoned Properties), Safe Storage of Firearms, Tobacco Prevention, Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, Housing Element 2023-2031, In-Lieu Fees/Nexus Studies, Parking Management/Enforcement, Community Plan to End Homelessness, Climate Action Benchmarks/REACH Codes, Safe Parking Program, RV Towing Policy, Wage Theft, Minimum Wage, and State Legislative Bills.

All of these legislative changes will make Gilroy more livable for all, and the path forward is clear to me. It will require everyone’s voices to be heard during public comment, focused work from my student interns, and I’ll be here to guide you through it.

We reached the end of the first year of my Student Internship Program, and I am incredibly proud of what they have accomplished. The work they do is essential to my platform, and I could not do it without them. From the op-ed’s they write to defend the defenseless, hold the powerful accountable, and attend meetings on behalf of my office. They are all maturing to make this community a better place. Young people are essential to our civic discourse, and I am proud to have my students lead the charge.

I became a member of CivicWell (formerly Local Government Commission), which will be able to provide technical assistance and resources for legislation. They have an annual conference which I will be attending as a Gilroy representative. The 30th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference brings together more than 100 mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers, and other high-level department heads in the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park. This innovative three-day gathering is designed to support local elected officials with tools and partnership opportunities to implement innovative solutions to our most pressing community challenges. 

On behalf of my office, my student interns, and my family, I am excited for the challenges that 2022 has to offer. There are still many things to be addressed, and I am taking them head on. Through the power of public participation, I am confident that 2022 can be one of the best years that Gilroy has ever had. For my full statement, please visit www.zachhilton.com

Zach Hilton is a member of the Gilroy City Council.

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