Fillmore begins transition to new Town Council

Friday, November 6, 2015

FILLMORE -- With the voting machines barely put away at the county courthouse, the Fillmore Town Council met Thursday with the old guard still in place, but the town's new leaders also present, looking toward 2016.

Council President Alan Jones and member Meridith Trusty did not seek re-election and will be off the board on Jan. 1.

Ward 1 Councilman Curt Leonard will be the lone holdover, joined on the board by Robin Duncan, who will take over Trusty's Ward 3 seat.

Clerk-Treasurer Tom Gilson was on the ballot to fill the Ward 2 position currently occupied by Jones. However, having just been appointed clerk-treasuruer in October, Gilson has said he will resign his council position.

As such, the first order of business for Leonard and Duncan at their Thursday, Jan. 7 meeting will be appointing someone to represent Ward 2. In order to hit the ground running, they are already soliciting for applicants.

Any residents of Ward 2 interested in serving on the Town Council are invited to talk to Gilson at the town office 246-6711 or reach out to Leonard.

The early application process will allow Leonard and Duncan plenty of time to review the applicants.

In his continuing transition into his new office, Gilson announced the hours for Town Hall. The office will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break. Gilson will also open the office one Saturday each month, the Saturday preceding the utility bill due date, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., "so there will be less excuses for people to say they can't pay it."

The council is also considering a move to reduce the late fee charged on utility bills. By statute, the fee is currently 20 percent. In practice, the fee has not been charged recently.

Seeing it as overly punitive, board members are thinking of reducing it, either to a lower percentage or a flat rate.

The council plans to review the issue further in hopes of amending the ordinance in December. Gilson plans to begin enforcing the new late fee rate, whatever it is, in January.

Jones reported that the recent state audit of town finances has been completed. It will be one or two months before the findings are returned.

The council will also be looking for bids for replacing a culvert pipe that runs under Westwood Road. The current pipe is either 12 or 15 inches, and both Jones and Utility Manager Joe Cash believe it should be replaced by at least an 18-inch pipe.

The Fillmore Town Council meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Fillmore Town Hall, 2 N. Main St.

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