Welcome

It has been an honor and privilege to be your representative on the Fillmore City Council.

Experience – Dedication – Commitment

The past two years as Mayor have been a challenge for all of us; in our City, throughout the State, and the Country. It just isn’t as easy doing this job when there is no money to do the things that you want to do to improve the community, when employees are laid off and when services must be reduced. But I am committed to making those tough decisions, analyzing the choices and moving forward. Fillmore needs the experience and the commitment that I bring to the table. In this time of economic challenges, Fillmore needs intense focus on the real issues. My top three issues are :

  1. Economic stability. Since the “great recession of 2008”, we have faced revenue takeaways from the State, creating large budget deficits. These deficits required tapping into our reserve funds, laying off employees and reducing benefits for remaining employees. This is a time when all have to share the sacrifices.
  2. Business development. I believe that small, local business is important to the community. Those entrepreneurs who are willing to start businesses deserve our support. They are the ones who create the jobs. Also, our business park needs to start development. The council has supported and facilitated that development by funding water well #9 and being the first to pay our Common Area Infrastructure Fees.
  3. Reducing the operating costs of our Water Recycling Plant. Our sewer bonds have been downgraded three times in the past year. S&P indicates that due to high delinquencies, loss of customer base and other factors, that we are not meeting our bond ratios. The two options are increasing sewer rates and reducing operating costs. We have had to increase our sewer rates over and over in just a few years. Now it’s time to look at how to reduce the costs.

Some of the other issues facing the community are:

  • The El Dorado mobile home park litigation
  • Sales Tax Agreement litigation

 


Accomplishments

  • One of the Council’s priorities is transparency and communication. While not all of our vision has been implemented, such as having video and minutes from all of the meetings available and searchable online (using software called Granicus), we have been able to publish all of the agendas, staff reports and budget documents as pdf files on the city website.
  • We have made the draft budget documents available to citizens before the budget is adopted. This provides more information and input to citizens on the process and has resulted in much more open dialog prior to budget adoption.
  • We have tried to make the budget documents more user friendly. While it is still not as easy to interpret as we would like it to be, we are moving in the right direction by showing the department revenues and expenses on the same page.
  • Fiscal Responsibility: Said “no” to costly projects that were not necessary. For example, not buying land under the 126 Hwy bridge for millions of dollars to have “control” over the riverbed and being able to clean it out. This is a Watershed Protection District function, not the city’s.
  • While we have supported the business park, we drew the line at using the City’s General Fund as collateral to lenders for business park developers, and voted “no”.

My vision was and is a sustainable community that provides a high quality of life for residents.

Other fiscal initiatives I want to bring to the City Council; explore a local sales tax measure, audit our franchise fees, create paid parking behind city hall for tourist visitors, create a community garden, create a volunteer coordinator position at city hall and new agreements for the Towne Theatre and Equestrian Center.

Some of the additional activities I have been involved in to achieve this are serving as President of the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau. I am also a Board Member of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and the Ventura County Council of Governments.

I hope this website is informative. I am always interested in hearing from you. Please send email to gaylewashburn@sbcglobal.net or call 524-7313.

Re-elect Gayle Washburn for City Council ~ Progress over Politics