Letter to the Editor

Discontent residents should get facts straight

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To the Editor:

Politics as usual. Promises, promises, promises. Resign now.

I find it very interesting how and when people choose to become disgruntled. In our first year, the Fillmore Town Council and clerk-treasurer have worked well together to identify a number of serious problems and have begun working toward viable solutions. Now that we are acting on those solutions, people are speaking out.

We established the fact that inflow and infiltration (processing rainwater as wastewater) costs the town as much as $50,000 or more each year; and we procured grants to pay for $16,000 worth of engineering studies to help identify flooding and drainage issues.

We are pursuing grants in the amount of $650,000 to help us deal with our flooding and drainage issues; and we are looking into additional grants to deal with the town's other problems.

We sorted out the town's books (not an easy task) and discovered that there were well over $100,000 in uncollected utility fees and we put a program in place to collect those fees that offered residents several options for assistance. Interestingly, it is only now that we are enforcing collections that people are making accusations.

We implemented a number of programs to try and foster community involvement (including a twice a year Community Pride Week, a quarterly newsletter, and involving the local school in renaming one of our streets).

We have spent countless hours on the town's behalf dealing with a number of other issues, yet we see railing accusations from uninformed individuals who are unhappy with the town (or Town Council) for a variety of reasons.

For the record, the only council member who ran on a platform of not accepting the full council salary was Alan Jones. After the elections were final, the other two council members agreed to forego the utility portion of their salary for the first year so that we could fund renovations and upgrades to the Town Hall office that were sorely needed. This agreement was for the first year of our term and no more.

We have made significant progress in the first year. I accepted this position so that I could help make a difference for the Fillmore community. I sincerely believe we have made a great deal of progress in identifying and fixing Fillmore's problems.

For that reason, I chose to stay and try to make a difference, and to those malcontents who want to continue to chant the mantra of "Politics as usual. Promises, promises, promises. Resign now," I suggest you get your facts straight and focus your energy on helping us to find ways to make this community better.

Jeff Osborn

Fillmore Town Council