Greenbelt Area 1 change proposed at council
Billy Gabriel was announced as the new Fillmore Fire Department Captain at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Billy Gabriel was announced as the new Fillmore Fire Department Captain at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Fillmore City Council held an extraordinarily brief meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11th, at City Hall. The Council passed an ordinance regulating push-cart vendors and door-to-door solicitation, announced its intention to promote and cooperate with the 2010 Census, discussed the changing Santa Paula/Fillmore Greenbelt Agreement, heard an update on the Draft Storm Water NPDES Permit, and conducted other City business.

The Council postponed a few agenda items. A special meeting will be held on March 17, 2009 to cover awarding a contract for the Fillmore High School Recycled Water project. If Council Member Steve Conaway is able to attend, the Council will also discuss implementation of Measure I (North Fillmore Area Initiative), including discussion of required General Plan amendments, zoning ordinance amendments, and costs. The Measure I item was postponed to allow Mayor Pro-tem Gayle Washburn, who had been on vacation, to finish reading the relevant staff report and background information. If Conaway cannot attend the March 17th meeting, then implementation of Measure I will be covered at the regular March 24th meeting. Police Captain Tim Hagel's report on 2008 crime rates was postponed until the March 24th meeting.

Mayor Patti Walker, on behalf of the Council, presented a proclamation to Dave Rodriguez, representing the US Census Bureau. The proclamation declared that the City is partnering with the Bureau, the City will support the census process, the City will cooperate with the Bureau, and explained the importance of the census. The 2010 Census will provide employment opportunities to local residents, will determine how some federal funds are allocated, and will determine how many representatives California has in the Congressional House of Representatives. Rodriguez explained that census employees will start verifying addresses within the next couple of months, surveys will be mailed out to those addresses, and census workers will visit addresses of those who do not return the surveys. Fillmore Citizen Gary Creagle said that he wanted the upcoming census to reflect the true economic demographics of Fillmore, and that he did not believe the usual census methods were adequate.

The Council discussed Santa Paula's desire to modify the Greenbelt Agreement between Santa Paula and Fillmore. Santa Paula wants to develop that part of the Greenbelt known as Area 1, which includes Limoneira property. In return for allowing those agricultural lands to be removed from the Greenbelt and developed, Santa Paula proposed that the Greenbelt be extended onto South Mountain. Ventura County would like the Greenbelt extended across Sespe Creek. Washburn pointed out that the South Mountain properties contain oil fields and landslide areas. Public Works Director Bert Rapp expressed concern that including Sespe Creek in the Greenbelt might inhibit Fillmore's flood control maneuvers. The Council decided that Santa Paula's proposed compensation for the 818.37 acres was not appropriate, because the additional lands cannot be developed and are not suitable for agriculture. Conaway said that comparing the current Greenbelt lands to the proposed lands was not like comparing apples to oranges, but like comparing apples to rotten bananas. The City will negotiate for different replacement land.

Santa Paula City Council will discuss changing the Greenbelt Agreement from a resolution to an ordinance at its March 16th meeting. Walker and Council Member Laurie Hernandez will attend that meeting. The Fillmore City Council is in favor of the Agreement becoming an ordinance.

Public Works Director Bert Rapp reported on the Draft Storm Water National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. He said that many of Fillmore's requested changes had been incorporated into the Permit. The Permit's prioritization of treatment devices now matches Fillmore's priorities; both favor rain gardens and bio-filters, and disapprove of manufactured filters, which cost more in the long run and are less effective. Fillmore, as a city located on a large river, is now exempt from hydro-modification requirements, which are designed to reduce erosion. Those requirements would have been expensive and difficult for Fillmore to meet. Fillmore, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, and various environmental organizations are suggesting additional revisions to the Permit. Those further suggestions will be considered at a May 7th hearing.

Kathleen McCreary spoke on behalf on the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau, requesting that the City appoint an employee or Council Member to take former Deputy City Clerk Steve McClary's place on the Bureau's Board. She said it was important that Fillmore be represented, and the Council and Staff agreed to look for a volunteer.
Fire Chief Bill Herrera announced a new addition to the Fillmore Fire Department: Captain Billy Gabriel. Herrera also thanked two volunteer firefighters and two volunteer medics for their services.

Conaway reminded the Council and audience that the Skate Park Grand Opening is March 21, 2009, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The ceremony will start with a ribbon-cutting. Professional skateboarders, including Tony Alva, will perform. There will be raffles, live music from two bands, skateboard vendors, and refreshments (including In-N-Out burgers) for sale. Later, the town movie theater will show "Lords of Dogtown".

Fillmore High School (FHS) Freshman Alejandra Amezcua requested donations towards chalking the F. She was accompanied by two other young women from the class of 2012. Freshmen traditionally re-chalk the white hillside F annually. This year it will happen on May 4th. A cup was passed along the dais and through the audience to receive donations.

Debra Louth announced that the FHS swim team is now using the new pool, and will host Santa Paula High School (SPHS) in a swim meet on March 18th. They will take that opportunity to thank SPHS for graciously hosting FHS at the SPHS pool for the past several years. The Council approved a tentative budget for swimming pool operations and maintenance.

Gary Creagle complimented the hard-working volunteers who are contributing to the North Fillmore Storefront project, including Council Member Laurie Hernandez and Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels. Hernandez noted that volunteers will continue the work at 8 a.m. this Saturday.

Rapp submitted a progress report on the Brine Discharging Water Softener Buyback Program. Since the start of the program, the City has had 67 inquiries about the program, and the City has received and approved 20 applications.
The Council amended the Deputy City Clerk's job description and salary range.

The Council authorized staff to advertise for public bids for the Hazardous Materials Abatement and Demolition of 334 and 336 Clay St.

Mayor Patti Walker said that it was a pleasure to have worked with former City Manager Tom Ristau, she was grateful for his efforts, and wished him well. He was not present at the meeting.

Bartels mentioned that Citywide Clean Up Day will be March 26th (8 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Household Hazardous Waste Day will be April 4th (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.). Call 524-1500 for more information.

The Council requested public comments on Fillmore residents' unmet transit needs, but did not receive any.