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Keeping Up with Ken
Q & A with Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin
May, 2024 - Issue #230
courtesy of Shutterstock (right)
courtesy of Shutterstock (right)

Q: What can residents expect this year from the Free To Be Me Festival?
Get ready for a great, inclusive day out at this year's Free To Be Me Festival, taking place at West Creek Park on Sunday, May 5, from 12pm to 3pm. This new location was selected to allow participants to enjoy the new inclusive play area. As you enter the park, you'll encounter the inclusive play structures designed for everyone to enjoy. Inclusion aides will also be available to provide instructions on how to properly enjoy the play equipment. As you explore further into the festival grounds, you'll find a wide range of engaging activities. You can unleash your creativity at the arts and crafts stations, or if you're feeling energetic, you can join the fun at the drum circle or play basketball, volleyball or softball. There's an activity for everyone. Throughout the day, enjoy live performances by talented acts such as Dance Studio 84, Bright Star Martial Arts, the Include Everyone Project and Major Impact Theatre. When you need a break from the action, unwind at the Chill Zone to enjoy a secluded, calming space or join our library staff for an active storytelling session. The Free To Be Me Festival is a free community event that celebrates our special needs community, offering a day of fun, inclusion and togetherness. For more information, visit santaclaritaarts.com/free-to-be-me. I hope to see you there.

"Despite these challenges, our leadership has done a tremendous job finding creative ways to STRETCH OUR RESOURCES and remain within the current year's budget."
Q: How is the city doing with its Fiscal Year 2023/24 operating budget, and where can we find more information about it?
The City of Santa Clarita continues to be committed to fiscal responsibility. We will be bringing the Fiscal Year 2024/25 budget to the city council for consideration next month. Our conservative practices have not only enabled us to overcome economic challenges but also to thrive and reinvest in our community. We are proud to maintain our AAA credit rating from S&P Global Ratings and have 20 percent emergency operating reserves. Although the pandemic is now behind us, the current challenges we face are heavily influenced by increases in raw material costs. Furthermore, we are operating in a contract environment where we receive fewer bids and quoted prices that exceed our anticipated costs. Despite these challenges, our leadership has done a tremendous job finding creative ways to stretch our resources and remain within the current year's budget. If you are curious about the Fiscal Year 2023/24 Operating Budget, please visit santaclarita.gov/city-budget.

Q: May is National Bike Month!
How does the City of Santa Clarita celebrate?

Each May, the City of Santa Clarita celebrates Bike Month by offering residents activities and opportunities to stay healthy and safe while riding. City leaders have long prioritized creating a robust trail system for cyclists to enjoy a ride, or commute throughout the city, without having to contend with cars on the road. As we celebrate cycling, a highlight of the month is the Santa Clarita Bike Challenge, held in partnership with Trek Bicycle. Running from May 13 to the end of August, this challenge encourages residents to explore the city using an interactive map on bikesantaclarita.com. Challenges are linked to specific locations where participants can check-in using their smartphones. Participants earn a raffle entry for each verified check-in, increasing their chances of winning prizes. At the end of August, winners are randomly selected - the more challenges completed, the better the odds of winning. Another exciting event is the annual Hit the Trail Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 18, from 8am to 12pm. Residents can start from three different locations, including the George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex, Iron Horse Trailhead and Lost Canyon Trailhead. Each trail offers varying distances and scenic views as riders pedal towards Bridgeport Park. The first 200 riders will receive a swag bag, adding to the excitement of this community ride.
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