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The Santa Rosa City Council will huddle up with senior city staff this week to figure out the best way to navigate the daunting road to recovery from the October wildfires.

The council’s annual goal-setting meeting is designed to make sure the city’s priorities are clear to the staff and public in advance of the budget process. It takes on new significance in the wake of fires that destroyed nearly 3,000 homes and 80 businesses in the city.

The loss of 5 percent of the city’s housing stock, a personal tragedy for thousands of residents, has thrown the city’s budget picture into profound uncertainty.

City spending has exceeded the current budget by more than $5 million. Property tax revenue is expected to take a hit, though the sales tax picture is more murky. And reimbursement from the federal government is uncertain.

All of which will directly impact the city’s ability to recover from the fires and pull off projects already in the pipeline. This includes the creation of a greenway on the former Caltrans Highway 12 corridor in the southeast, the funding of affordable housing and homeless services, future phases of the Old Courthouse Square reunification, and infrastructure upgrades to Roseland.

The council meeting will be Thursday and Friday in the Chalk Hill Room at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa.

It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday. The meeting is open to the public, and the public comment portion takes place near the beginning of the Thursday session.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.

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