As the new year starts – roughly halfway through the fiscal year for the City of Escalon, it is still a good time to look back on the calendar year to review what was good and what could have been better for the city.
The Times recently did a question and answer session with Interim City Manager Tammy Alcantor on several areas of interest in the city.
Q - What do you see as the biggest accomplishment for the city this year - either project-wise or financially?
A - In 2013 the City was able to work with the bank and refinance the loan for the Community Center renovations, Police department and the City Hall which reduced our annual debt payments by 75 percent. With this reduction it enables the City to use less of its reserves each year to make the payments.
Q - Biggest issue to face in 2014?
A - In 2014 one of the biggest issues that we hope to complete is the evaluation on the City waste water (sewer) and water system, along with the evaluation of rates for both that have not been increased for over 18 years. We will need to continue to evaluate our staffing level in all departments in an effort to continue maintaining current service levels while staying within our budget constraints.
Q - Personnel outlook? Still searching for Police Chief; any other major positions to fill?
A - Chief of Police final filing date is January 21 and we have already received additional résumés for a larger pool of applicants. We are also currently accepting applications for a Maintenance Worker II to back fill a position from Gene Espitia’s retirement. At this time it has not been defined when we will start the search for a City Manager.
Q - What are the plans for the old police department building on Coley Avenue? A ‘for sale’ sign has gone up; does the city have any interested parties in it yet?
A - At the beginning of December the City put the vacant properties on McHenry, the old City Hall on Main Street and the old Police Building up for sale. The goal is to have the properties improved to enhance the City with a possible revenue generator.
Q – City Council - does Ed Alves remain the mayor for this year and who is mayor pro tem?
A - Ed will remain Mayor until the end of the year (2014) with Gary Haskin as Mayor Pro-Tem.
Q - What are your hopes for the city this year, either in terms of budget, growth, change, etc.?
A - Hire a new Police Chief, maintain a balanced operating budget and maintain current service levels. While we have inquiries regarding potential growth to the City we are unable to accommodate any growth until we make improvements to both the waste water (sewer) and water systems.