With its balanced budget, successful border expansion and continued commitment to the environment, Calabasas bucked the statewide trend and boasted what officials believed to be a very successful year for the city.

Voters gave approval to the direction the community was taking by returning three City Council incumbents to office in the 2009 municipal election.

Unlike four years ago when two incumbents were voted out of office in the biggest turnover in Calabasas City Council history, March’s election saw James Bozajian, Mary Sue Maurer and Jonathon Wolfson voted back into office for four more years. With few issues on which to attack the incumbents, challengers Bob Sibilia and Dale Reicheneder trailed in the vote count from start to finish.

In March, Jonathon Wolfson began his first term as the city’s mayor.

In April, the city began annexation proceedings at Mont Calabasas, a development of 110 luxury homes at the northwest intersection of Las Virgenes Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard. The annexation of Mountain View Estates, a 385-home gated community at Mureau Road and Mountain View Drive just east of the city limits, began in August.

Public reaction to the Mountain View annexation was mixed. Motivation for the annexation was the $400,000 in additional property tax revenue the city would receive by acquiring the development. Officials promised not to exercise eminent domain or develop any of Mountain View’s open space. Annexation of the property from Los Angeles County is pending.

Despite the downturn in the economy, Calabasas approved a balanced budget in August to cover the next two fiscal years. The city holds reserves of more than $20 million.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said at an appearance before the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce late in the year that the county overall is in better financial shape than any major urban county in the state. Yaroslavsky said the county has avoided employee layoffs and furlough days, and said he expects a brighter 2010.

In October, world-renowned conservationist Jane Goodall visited Headwaters Corner, the home of Mountains Restoration Trust, to see the work of local students connected to the Roots and Shoots environmental program developed by the Jane Goodall Institute.

Under MRT guidance, the students designed and created a Water Conservation Garden along a hillside at Headwaters Corner on Mulholland Highway.

In October, the City Council increased its effort to ban plastic grocery bags inside the city limits. The Los Angeles County Public Works Department is working on a study to ban plastic and paper bags in the county’s 88 cities and the document should be completed by early 2010. The county board of supervisors earlier voted to ban the distribution of plastic bags in the unincorporated areas of the county if voluntary programs by retailers in those areas don’t reduce use of the bags 30 percent by July 2010 and 65 percent by July 2013.

The year ended on a celebratory note as the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center in December acknowledged its 10-year anniversary.

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