As the City of Fillmore gets down to business with its new council, I would like to make a few comments.
In my 20 years in the city I cannot recall such a mean and contentious election as we had this past November. I have watched as city opinion has been deliberately split between those seeking residential and commercial development and those demanding strict limitations on this growth.

Strong differences of informed opinion are a sign of civic vitality. It’s a good thing. What is not a good thing are intense and prolonged expressions of hateful disagreement the city has experienced during the past year.
This is a new year with a new council. A three-to-two vote split can be expected on the most controversial issues in the coming year. Let’s hope that this sort of disagreement does not affect the on-going success of our new water treatment plant (ahead of schedule and more than $3 million under budget) or the new business and city parks.

We are in a completely new fiscal environment now. Thank God we financed most of our big projects when we did. It is unlikely that, had we waited, we could do so now.

I hope, and Fillmore residents have a right to expect to see, civil cooperation on our new council. In many ways Fillmore is envied by other cities for its balanced budget, and large emergency SURPLUS! This didn’t just happen. Let’s give credit where it’s due.

Emotional conflict of the past aside, everyone must wish the new council well. Success will be measured in one way by whether it does as well fiscally in the next couple of years as we have in the past. We are in an entirely new, hostile financial environment. All Fillmore businesses are feeling the pressure of state, national, and global economic decline. In my opinion it will only get considerably worse, sooner than later. In one important way we can counter this recession by shopping locally.

We are starting the New Year with one unequivocally wild success – our new skateboard park. It will open officially in May, after the landscaping is finished.

Once again, let’s make it a Happy New Year.