The second year of his two-year term as mayor of Escalon was not exactly what Robert Swift anticipated.
Closing out a two-year term as the city’s mayor as of Monday, Dec. 7, Swift said he is proud of the city, his fellow council members and the way the community has rallied in light of the pandemic.
Looking back over the full two years, Swift said it has been a good run.
“Honestly, I have had the time of my life, it has been such an honor to serve the community I grew up in, that my kids grew up in, my family,” Swift said.
He also pointed to accomplishments he feels the city has made in the past couple of years.
“We are building this town for the long run,” Swift said. “From the completion of the lift station to the continued, sustainable way we have been budgeting our finances, we are looking long term, every decision we make.”
The mayor said he firmly believes the council is moving in the direction the city residents want, keeping Escalon a small, close knit community.
He said the council wants to make sure the city “stays in the driver’s seat” when it comes to public safety and infrastructure, working to maintain control over those areas.
“Many communities that have started to develop have made deals with developers,” he pointed out, noting that he and other council members want to stay away from that route.
“We’ve made a conscious decision,” Swift said, noting that when major decisions need to be made, the council asks “How will it affect the soul of the community?”
The mentality, he said, is to “not sell out” to large developers but keep the city in its slow growth mode.
That often means higher costs but he said the trade-off is worth it.
“This is a community where kids can play in the parks, people help each other out because they know each other,” he said.
Swift added that 2020 has been memorable and, as difficult as it has been, he has seen local residents rally to support the city’s small businesses, helping to keep the doors open.
Escalon rotates its council members in to the mayor’s seat so even though he will no longer preside as mayor, Swift will continue to serve on the council.
He also praised the efforts of city staff, including administrators and workers across all departments, for putting the directives of the council into action.
“We are doing things that will benefit generations,” Swift said.