New Public Transportation Changes Coming

[CORRECTION: A correction has been made to this article after its initial publication. The article was corrected on April 23, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. The original article incorrectly stated "Robles coached the girls’ recreational basketball team and founded a youth girl basketball team in town." We apologize for this error.]

There were just a few items on the April 22, 2014 Fillmore City Council Meeting agenda, but one will impact many of the towns’ residents; that being the change in local public transportation. Besides the Council and staff there were about 10 in attendance for the hour long meeting. Other agenda items were approval of the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission appointments along with Weed Abatement and forming an Ad Hoc Committee for the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society (SCRVRHS).

The proposed Heritage Valley Transit Cooperative Agreement presented by City Manager David W. Rowlands was approved unanimously by the Council. The proposal replaces services provided by FATCO and VISTA and is a result of discussions involving the County of Ventura, Santa Paula and Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) creating a Cooperative Agreement for transit service in the Heritage Valley. The change will provide an integrated fixed route and dial-a-ride services in both Santa Paula and Fillmore with an intercity service along Highway 126.

The new Transit Committee, which is required to meet at least once a year, consists of representatives from each of the two cities and VCTC as administrator. The Committee will review the services and determine what capital expenditures are required or service expansion. Rowlands commented, "One of the more important of the (Service Agreement) sections is Funding." Fillmore will pay 33.3% of the cost of these services. This will be capped at not more than the monies allocated by the Transportation Development Act Local Transportation Funds which in FY 2014 is $416,894.

The new route is expected to start January 1, 2015 with a fixed 30 minute route through Fillmore and service hours on weekdays from 6:00 AM to 7:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Timed transfers with VISTA 126 services will be given at the Fillmore Senior Center bus stop. The exact bus stops through the route have not been determined yet, but all Fillmore Unified School District Schools (with the exception of Rio Vista which is unknown at this time) and City Hall will have bus pick up and drop off. According to Rowlands, in the future, when the route is established and it is known where the most riders board, signage and bus benches may be put at some locations.

Rowlands also announced that the California Department of Transportation had just informed him that they found justification for the Mountain View and Highway 126 traffic light signal, which will make a lot of residents pleased. The move to put the light signal at the intersection was started back in April 2012 by a concerned citizen, Raymond S. Brown Sr. who saw a need, then proceeded to make it happen and deserves a big thank you.

Another agenda item was an appointment to the Planning Commission. Albert Mendez, who has lived in Fillmore for four years was appointed and to the Parks and Recreation Commission; Giovani Robles, a Fillmore resident of 11 years was appointed.

Council Member Steve Conaway, who did not attend the April 8, 2014 meeting when the item was brought up, asked why there was need for an Ad Hoc Committee for the SCRVRHS. Council Member Rick Neal responded that the Council needed to establish exact hours of operation and to make sure it was a benefit to the community adding that the building SCRVRHS rents from the City is also one that many other organizations would like to use. Council Member Douglas Tucker added, "The intent was to open up a dialog" regarding the hours of operation, "We met was a very productive meeting." The SCRVRHS will be open at least two evenings each month and every weekend; at least 40 weekends weather permitting due to rain and the Santa Anna winds that blow in large amounts of dust. SCRVRHS will post the hours on its door and website.

Fire Chief Rigo Landeros asked for a hearing date on properties in need of weed abatement. The hearing date will be May 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers. Landeros also informed the Council that the Ebell Club will be closing and commented on what a great organization they have been. He then announced the 1st Annual Fillmore Fire Foundation Golf Tournament on June 7th starting at 12 PM at Elkins Ranch, 1386 Chambersburg Rd. Fillmore. The activities will include a 4-Person Team Scramble with scoring by a modified Callaway System and include dinner, raffle and awards. Entry fee is $85 per person which includes golf, golf cart and meal ($15 for significant other and includes dinner only).