New town council ready for Fillmore duties

Thursday, December 27, 2007
Council members Alan Jones, Jeff Osborn and Wes Terhune with new clerk-treasurer Wanda Seidler.

As 2007 draws to a close, newly elected officials in Fillmore are looking forward to filling what they say was a mandate for change handed down by voters in November.

After a swift swearing-in ceremony last Friday, the three-member board, with new Clerk-Treasurer Wanda Seidler in tow, sat down with the BannerGraphic to map out big aspirations for the small town.

Economic stability, according to Jeff Osborn, will be front and center for the newly elected officials.

"Our priorities will be two-fold. The financial welfare of the town and the specific issues of water and sewer," he said.

Launching Fillmore into the 21st century is one way the newly elected officials hope to accomplish some of their lofty goals.

Seidler, whose background is in architecture and engineering, plans to immediately implement an electronic filing system to replace the town's ink and paper recordkeeping.

The addition of a website, www.fillmoreindiana .com, donated to the town by Osborn, who is a web developer, will be another way to inject vitality and community involvement into the local government.

"We want to make the town and the site user friendly," said new board member Wes Terhune, who added that he hopes access to information will help draw Fillmore residents into the business of government.

According to Osborn, the board will regularly update the website, posting town financial statements, meeting minutes and agendas and other pertinent information.

The already active site currently lists local maps, contact information for all utility companies, churches and schools, telephone numbers for every new board member and a mission statement from Osborn. The site will officially be donated to Fillmore on Jan. 1.

In addition to implementing technology, the new Fillmore officials are going back to school to learn how to run a town.

"None of us have been in public office before," said new board member Alan Jones, "so we are learning."

Jones and Osborn have already begun attending training sessions provided through the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and they say the information they have come away with will prove invaluable. The two are also enrolled in a three-day town government boot camp, slated for early January, that will provide legal and financial training.

Seidler has also been receiving training on running the business side of Fillmore and will attend additional seminars provided by the State Board of Accounts in February.

Though training and technology may serve as a springboard into the board's first few months in office, the group says that cooperation with each other and the involvement of citizens is imperative to the future success and growth of the small town.

The board will be publicizing all public-planning sessions and say they are eager for an open door policy of government to build community trust and involvement.

"The idea is that we want everyone to be thinking about one another," said Terhune, "instead of just themselves."

The new board convenes for Fillmore's first public meeting of 2008 at 9 a.m. on the second Saturday in January. Bert and Betty's restaurant will provide refreshments at the inaugural meeting and the board hopes that tradition will continue throughout the year.

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