Council Reviews City Goals
Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel had good news to report to the city council at Tuesday’s regular meeting;
Crime statistics for Fillmore were down signifi cantly.
Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel had good news to report to the city council at Tuesday’s regular meeting; Crime statistics for Fillmore were down signifi cantly.

Fillmore City Council held a meeting September 23, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The Council accepted and discussed a status report on the City's 2008 Goals. City staffers also reported on Lemon Way and the FEMA map controversy.

City Manager Tom Ristau provided the quarterly status report on the 18 goals that the Council had adopted in December 2007. Police Captain Tim Hagel pointed out a decline in crime over the past six months. Battery has dramatically decreased. He indicated that Fillmore is statistically safer than similar size cities in Ventura County. Hagel credits the School Resource Officers, the gang unit, and the maintenance of probation searches. City staff is preparing paperwork for the Brine Water Softener Buyback Program. Public Works Director Bert Rapp expects the program to start in October. Council Member Scott Lee criticized the status update on the "Town Theater Success" Goal. He said that the report does not accurately reflect the reality of that situation. Lee noted that the City has had the theater for ten years, the theater is not breaking even, and he wonders how long the City can support the theater in its current situation. Council Member Patti Walker asked, as part of the "Open Accessible, Responsive Government" Goal, that Council meeting minutes be placed online and that online documents be searchable. Lee said that the Senior Center should be included under the "Expand Recreation Programs and Facilities" Goal. Rapp mentioned that the City is replacing a 1920's water main that runs from Sespe to Highway 126. He said that replacing waterlines is expensive, but the old iron pipes are gradually being replaced. Mayor Steve Conaway congratulated the citizens of Fillmore on their soon-to-be-constructed tennis courts, which are costing only $1.25 per parcel per month. He was also pleased with the progress on the pool, park, and storm drain projects. Conaway noted that the goals are good and said, "We are investing in Fillmore's future." The entire Goals 2008 Status Report can be found on the City's website as part of the City Council Meeting Packet for 9-23-08 (

Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels reported on the Lemon Way Storefront and Home Owners Association. The Lemon Way Progress Update memo explains: "The City created and maintains the Lemon Way Store front as a support facility for the entire North Fillmore area. Homework support, legal services, law enforcement support and a small park are all part of this facility. The adjacent condo complex has experienced a tremendous decline in the past years. On September 25, 2007 the Council directed staff to support the rebuilding of the community through support for re-creation of the homeowners association and then the progressive rebuilding of fabric of the community." The Home Owners Association has elected a Board. The community plans to remove hiding places for gang members and crime by cleaning up a broken fence and other materials behind the Lemon Way Apartments along B St. The clean up is scheduled for September 27th, to coincide with Fillmore's city-wide clean up day.

Rapp reported that FEMA made major concessions at the September 18th meeting. FEMA agreed that the aluminum stop logs in the Sespe Creek Levee gap are sufficient for the railroad cut-through, and Rapp hopes that further discussions will eliminate or drastically reduce projected flood areas.

Sarah Hansen, accompanied by President Oralia Herrera, spoke on behalf of the Soroptimist Club, and thanked the City and especially Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels for their help with the Peace Pole and the International Day of Peace celebration on Sunday, September 21st. They hope to have a permanent Peace Pole next year.

Jamey Brooks and Tom Dawson argued against raises for city employees. Brooks noted that the City of Industry and Livermore are suing Fillmore for sales tax revenue. He read the claim and said that because the lawsuit will cost the City money, the City should implement a salary freeze. Dawson noted that three waterlines had broken last week. He believes that the City should repair and upgrade its infrastructure, build slowly so that the infrastructure is not overwhelmed, and the City should "tighten its belt" by not increasing City wages.

Ristau stated that the City budget was not on the agenda at the September 23rd Council Meeting only because the State budget was signed on that same day, and the City budget will be reviewed in light of the new State budget. Mayor Steve Conaway pointed out that Fillmore is not the poorest city in the county. It has a higher per capita income than Port Hueneme, Ojai, and Santa Paula.

Clay Westling spoke as a candidate for City Clerk.

Gloria Hansen spoke in favor of Measure I. She said that North Fillmore residents have been telling the Council for three years that they do not want 700 units on 60 acres. Hansen claimed that there would not be enough police and schools, and that the roads could not be fixed to accommodate that many units. She argued that lawsuits against cities are commonplace, so voters should not vote against Measure I just to avoid a lawsuit. She mentioned poor schools, gangs and graffiti. She questioned the revenue loss numbers used in the North Fillmore Initiative Report, and said that the source and methods for obtaining those numbers should be made public for independent review. She stated that North Fillmore should not be the solution to all of Fillmore's housing problems. She concluded by saying that Measure I is a question from the citizens of Fillmore to the citizens of Fillmore.

The Council is moving forward with a Right-to-Farm Ordinance that was recommended by the Planning Commission.
As part of the Housing Rehabilitation Program, the Redevelopment Agency approved a Critical Need Housing Grant of less than $10,000 to repair an applicant's roof.

The Council had designated Conaway as the voting delegate to the League of California Cities Annual Conference in Long Beach, which starts September 24, 2008. Unfortunately, neither he nor the two alternates are able to attend. City Attorney Ted Schneider will attend but cannot vote.

Lee mentioned that he had toured the pool, and that the children's area has fountains instead of a wading pool. He was impressed.

The next City Council meeting will be with the Fillmore Unified School Board at the School Farm at 6:30 p.m. on September 30, 2008. Fillmore High School Homecoming is this week.