The Right Stuff
From the left: City Manager David Rowlands, Councilmember Diane McCall, Mayor Rick Neal, Mike Sedell, Mayor Pro-tem Manuel Minjares, Councilmembers Douglas Tucker and Steve Conaway, and City Attorney Tiffany Israel. This is a day for the residents of Fillmore to rejoice and remember. The $14 million dollar check presented at Tuesday’s regular council meeting represents a strong new start for the City of Fillmore. It’s been a long time coming. The team shown in the photo above, and our hard-working city staff, are responsible for this financial victory. Special thanks is also due to Mike Sedell, former City Manager of Simi Valley. He has used his unique, extensive experience with tireless voluntary efforts to get Fillmore back on track at many levels. No one deserves the key to the city more than Mike Sedell. Congratulations to the whole team.
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Mike Sedell receives Key to the City, $14 million check signifies victory
There was an unexpected surprise given out at this week’s Fillmore City Council Meeting. A "Key to the City" was awarded to Mike Sedell in recognition of all the time and effort he put forward helping Fillmore stay the course. Sedell was City Manager of Simi Valley for 17 years, retired. Before handing over the Key, Councilmembers held up a large check (approximately size 5'X2') in the amount of $13,936,173.82 written to the City of Fillmore by the Board of Equalization. The check was just a photocopy but it symbolized the efforts of City Management and Council members that had faith in what many criticized as foolish. The Key to the City was then handed to Sedell in recognition for helping guide the town through some very hard times. He always kept faith in the Fillmore's ability to recover and selflessly never asked for anything in return. Sedell responded, "I saw a community in need of a bit of help....It was a team effort." Mayor ProTem Manuel Minjares spoke from the heart saying, "It was really a situation that we needed the right people....it’s been a god-send and I can't express how happy I am.” Councilmember Steve Conaway added, "I'm so thrilled with where we're at." Councilmember Douglas Tucker then told Sedell, "We looked for guidance....you truly are a leader." Councilmember Diane McCall ended the comments with, "We are so fortunate to have you select us....All of your effort has fulfilled our city."
Other items on the agenda were discussions of building a Bike Park-Pump Track, First Quarter Financial Report, Monthly Investment Report for September 2013, contracting with a collection agency to collect money owed the City, a tree maintenance contract, and a Long-Range Property Management Plan.
An item that may be of interest to the young people in town is the approval of a bike park/pump track, also called a skills track, that may be constructed in a couple of months at Two Rivers Park. This is a track where young people can practice bike jumps and tricks that have become a very popular sport. The size of the bike park is about equal to a basketball court. The exact location has not been completely decided, but discussion suggest the south-west end of the skate park that is currently a parking lot area with tennis courts dividing the skate park and the bike park. Conaway stated, "We believe we can build it with donations." Someone has already volunteered to draw up the design plans and the construction materials needed are compacted clay and soil. When liability concerns were brought up Conaway responded that the liability falls in the same category as a skate park. Tucker questioned the cost of maintenance and upkeep and was told there is very little, mostly hosing it down with water.
There were two contracts approved by the Council. First, with Sequoia Financial, a debt collection agency out of Glendale, to recover at least part of the $116,000 owed in utilities, fireworks citations, parking tickets and other debt uncollected. Fillmore will receive 75% of what ever is collected and where courts are required Fillmore will receive 60-65% of what is awarded.
The Council had considered other means to collect debt owed the town, such as adding it to the property tax bill, but many of the townspeople were not pleased with that direction due to the amount of errors possible.
An item the Council continues to deal with is the State dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. The State is requiring all cities that chose to keep their Redevelopment Agency properties and become Successor Agencies to sell certain properties considered non-beneficial to the community and give the proceeds of the sale to the State. What Fillmore calls the 2013 Long Range Property Management Plan is the direction the City has taken to address the changes to the Redevelopment Agency since becoming the Successor Agency. Fillmore's Successor Agency consists of 19 properties of which 17 will continue to be owned by the City. The two that must be sold are vacant lots and could not qualify as a direct community benefit. Both are in the Central Business District; a vacant lot west of Central, 510 Santa Clara St. with a lot size of .36 acre. The other is Railroad Property located at Mountain View St./Santa Clara St. with a lot size of 2.11 acres.