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Council candidates receive overview of SP operations

September 01, 2006
Santa Paula News

Candidates for City Council had a brief overview of Municipal Government 101 at a special meeting held Tuesday where they heard from department heads and others who oversee Santa Paula’s operations.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesCandidates for City Council had a brief overview of Municipal Government 101 at a special meeting held Tuesday where they heard from department heads and others who oversee Santa Paula’s operations.Eight candidates - including the incumbents - are running for the three seats held by Mayor Rick Cook and Councilmembers Gabino Aguirre and Mary Ann Krause, who attended the meeting along with challengers Bob Gonzales, Ralph Fernandez, Sergio Hernandez, Fred Robinson and Damien Shilo.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz led the session that ran alphabetically with Administration up first.“Our role is to provide legal advice to policy makers,” noted City Attorney Karl Berger.Building & Safety Director Steve Stuart explained that his department has wide responsibilities ranging from inspection of new and rehabilitation construction, code enforcement - most of which is “complaint generated” - and Community Development Block Grant management among others.Department heads representing Community Services, Finance, Fire Planning, Police, Public Works and Finance among others described what work is done and who does it.
“The fire department is all inclusive,” responding to all emergencies noted Interim Fire Chief Kevin Fildes.The SPPD has 32 Officers, 28 Reserves and 19 “civilians” said Chief Steve MacKinnon.“We’re getting the community involved with the department to solve problems in their neighborhood...quality of life are those small issues that don’t make headlines” but greatly impact the community he noted.Much discussion was centered on the city’s new wastewater treatment plant with candidates asking about financing, capacity needs and funding sources.Due to failing to meet minimum discharge requirements the city has been working with the state to create a new facility which, when completed, will hopefully have utilized much of the fines facing the city.The plant is currently at the 30 percent design level noted Public Works Director/City Engineer Cliff Finley and the faculty - projected to cost $69 million - must be online by September 2010 or the city could be subjected to $25,000 daily fines.The city has raised wastewater treatment plant rates for the last three years to help meet the cost of a new facility, noted Bobkiewicz.