Fillmore Town Theater closing down after this weekend
After this weekend the Fillmore Towne Theatre will be a thing of the past. For the last few years the theatre has never turned a profit, and patronizing has been slim to none.
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Hagel receives Proclamation for service
Outgoing Capt. Tim Hagel was presented with a Proclamation from Mayor Gayle Washburn at last night’s city council meeting. Capt. Hagel served the community of Fillmore for three years and will transferring to Thousand Oaks.
The April 12, 2011 Fillmore City Council Meeting came with a sad announcement to the residence of Fillmore. The Council decided that this coming weekend, April 16th and 17th, will be the last days the Fillmore Towne Theater will be open to the public for showing feature films. Closing the theatre was the only reasonable option available due to the City’s budget problems and by doing so the City will save approximately $4,700 for the next three months. The Council suggested Theatre Committee be formed, consisting of residents interested in the theatre’s future and ways to make it self sustaining. Leasing it out was suggested and checking on it periodically to keep it maintained.
This was a joint meeting with the Fillmore Senior Center, the Redevelopment Agency and the City Council. Other items on the agenda included the Senior Center’s budget and activities, proclamations, the City’s budget, a Fillmore resident’s property lien, and an adoption of the revised Central Ave Storefront Rehabilitation Program criteria.
At the previous March 22 Council Meeting a requested was made for more additional information from the City Manager Yvonne Quiring in regards to the 2010/2011 Midyear Budget. To honor that request Quiring put together a Power Point presentation which is available online for Fillmore residences to view at http://fillmoreca.com/mid-year-1011.htm.
The presentation reveals a grim look at Fillmore’s finances. The town is facing a $1.9 million General Fund shortfall which is a 26% cut from previous years and could be as high as 39% if the Police Contract is not adjusted. Revenue from building permits, which averaged 12-22 in previous years, were down to 8-9 houses last year. That, along with lower tax revenues and the possibility of Governor Brown’s plan for the abolishment of Redevelopment Agencies with its uncertainty of what funds will be left available just adds to the budget worries. Quiring told the Council the shear size of the “deficit dictates that no single budget balancing approach will work. It will have to be a combination of cuts, possible additional employee concessions, fee increases, and service level changes.” Quiring stated at present there are no Staff layoffs planned; first is a need to identify the impact of cutting specific services. The City has asked residents for their feedback on what services they would consider less vital before proceeding with cutting back positions. Without the benefit of that feedback the cuts may be premature. The City Council authorized a citizen’s survey which is available online at www.fillmoreca.com . There are three ways to complete the survey; complete it online; fill out the online PDF survey, print it and mail/deliver it to City Hall; and pick up a hard copy at the City Hall Finance front desk or Public Library, complete it and return it to City Hall. The deadline for completing the survey is April 20th. This weekend, Saturday April 16 between 9am and noon, the City Clerk Clay Westling will be handing out the survey at Vons shopping center. Quiring hopes to have the results available to present to the Council for their next meeting.
However, if the budget outlook worsens or other circumstances arise which make it advisable to make reductions prior to the presentation of the budget on July 1st, the Staff will return to the Council with those proposed changes.
Departments have been asked to make at least 30% across-the-board cuts and to prioritize the services the City provides to the public. At the last council meeting City Attorney Theodore Scheider informed the Council of a 20% rate cut his firm charged the City for their services. Currently all City employees have taken a reduction of about 5.5% through furloughs and other benefit reductions which will continue through the fiscal year 2012. Negotiations with the Union will begin in mid-April.
The cost to the City for Sheriff and Police services is approximately 39% of the General Fund which comes to $2.9 million (excluding add-on positions). What can be done to reduce these costs are not known at this time and probably will not be concluded by the time the 2010/2011 Budget is adopted.
A large price tag for the City is the maintenance of the City Pool. The annual pool deficit is approximately $143,000. It was suggested adding chairs/lounges to the pool area so people could hold parties and encourage attendance to increase revenue. A trust fund has been established to receive donations for the pool.
Council Member Patti Walker suggested having City employees do the grounds keeping and asked if the City had the equipment to do the job. That possibility will be looked into.
Council Member Steve Conaway, who was not in attendance, gave a written statement containing his suggested cuts, which were read by Walker. Conaway suggested cutting the School Resource Officer (SRO) and cutting the monthly $75 stipend each council member receives. Another item on his list was suspending the employee car stipend and was also one of the cuts the City Manager suggested doing. Quiring believes paying for mileage used by employees is more cost effective than providing a car. She recommends either selling some of the City’s cars or using them to replace older ones needed in other departments, such as Public Works.
Council Member Jamey Brooks responded to the suggestion of suspending the $75 monthly stipend to the Council by saying, “The seventy-five dollars doesn’t pay for my gas” and the other Members agreed that their stipend should not be cut.
Quiring said residents have asked her questions such a,s “We were told we had $3 million in reserve, now we don’t. Why?” She explained that the reserve has been used to keep the City running for the past year due to revenue being less than expenditures. Like the Federal Government, the City of Fillmore will see huge cuts in the coming months.
The meeting had some good news. The Senior Center Board proudly announce they now have an average of 700 to 750 participants each month and have expanded many of the activities they offer such as computer classes, Wii Bowling, arts and craft classes, exercise classes, first aid training and much more. The Center now has an ADA toilet which was donated by Marie Wren, and is working of getting the automatic doors to help wheelchair bound seniors enter the Center. The quoted cost for the doors and installation is $13,000. The Center applied for a grant but it was deferred. The Centers only fundraiser last year was the sale of fireworks which brought in around $14,000. This year a Christmas Ball fundraiser is being planned along with the fireworks sales.
Another item on the City’s agenda was a lien against a Fillmore property on McCampbell Street for code violations in the sum of $111,210. The problem began in 2006 when neighbors complained of accumulated debris on the property. The owner of the property has had numerous hardships in recent years, which include the death of her husband and daughter, disability of her son and the care of her aging mother. The property has recently been cleaned up and is no longer in violation with plans to donate some of the debris to the Salvation Army and Saint Vincent De Paul having been arranged. Joe Kern spoke to the Council on the owners behalf and asked that the fine be made reasonable and a payment plan be worked out. He also informing the Council that the property has a reverse mortgage and that putting a lien on it would be of no value to the City because it would be placed second in line for payoff and there would be nothing left at that point. The Council agreed to a fine of $1,218, which is the costs incurred by the City in this matter and a payment plan for the owner will be worked out.
The City Council presented three proclamations with one going to Teresa Norris who represented the Los Padres Sierra Club. The proclamation was in recognition of “Earth Day” in the City of Fillmore, which is April 22nd. Norris read quotes from John Muir and talked of the beautiful Los Padres Nation Forest that is the backdrop to the City of Fillmore.
Another proclamation presented went to the outgoing Police Chief, Capt. Tim Hagel whose service began April 2008. Fillmore’s crime rate decreased all three consecutive years of his service. Hagel was also recognized for his K-6 grade mentoring program, Adopt a Cop at Mountain View Elementary which teaches and mentors student on appropriate ethics and values, numerous hours as a substitute teacher to enhance the relationship between officers and youth, the development of the North Fillmore Store Front and the list goes on. In statements of appreciation; Walker said she “Appreciates the compassion for the community.” Council Member Brian Sipes responded “Thank you for your sacrifice…we’re going to really miss you” and Brooks added “Down to earth guy…Thank you for being so enjoyable.” Mayor Gayle Washburn told the Chief “I’m going to miss you…hope you come back soon.” Hagel spoke to the Council of his love for the town and that his first job as a young man was here in Fillmore at the Forest Station. Thirty years later he said he came back as Chief. “Volunteerism” is the word Hagel would use to describe Fillmore, “From teacher to seniors to the volunteer Fire Department.” Hagel will be transferring to Thousand Oaks.
The third proclamation presented went to a Fillmore Middle School Art Class student for designing the Senior Center Inc.’s logo. Winner of the $50 prize and accepting the proclamation was Maria Flores.
Tina Thompson and Laurie Smith, owners of a medical facility and rural heath center on Sespe Avenue, addressed the council about the revised Central Ave Storefront Rehabilitation Program. Thompson and Smith had applied for the program in February under the old guidelines and before the new boundaries had been decided and asked that their property is included in the new boundaries. The Council agreed to grandfather the property in with the exception of Mayor Washburn’s No vote. Washburn explained that she didn’t want an exception made for one property and not others.
The Council wants to remind those nonprofits interested in selling fireworks this summer that it is time to submit applications, and tell residents that the Farmers Market will now be on Wednesday starting April 20th.
Eric Vigil from the Rotary Club Sunrise wanted to remind Fillmore residents of the Casino Night fundraiser being held at El Pescador Restauran,t and they need volunteers for the 4th of July Car Show.