Vacaville Council Candidates Voice Views
VACAVILLE — Five City Council candidates agreed more than they disagreed Tuesday night, saying they supported the city’s two November tax measures and that, if the measures pass, some of that money should be spent to improve city economic development efforts, buttress public safety departments and support city businesses.
The two incumbents, Dilenna Harris and Ron Rowlett, told listeners at the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce’s candidates night that they have shown their ability to lead Vacaville through tough times and that their records show that they have worked hard to help Vacaville’s businesses.
“I am asking you to trust me again,” said Harris.
She said she had an open and transparent term of office where she said she worked for a consensus to get Vacaville through its budget problems.
Rowlett cited similar coalition-building skills he has used to streamline processes to get new businesses to settle here and help struggling businesses stay here.
Of the three challengers, Jennifer Goode was the most outspoken in the need to improve the council’s responsiveness. Deloris Roach pointed to her experiences working with local governments and small businesses that would help the city become more open to new solutions. Bill Mueller said his background as an engineer will allow him to work out viable solutions to the city’s challenges, such as stabilizing and raising property values, returning fiscal stability to the community and improving the business environment.
In her opening address, businesswoman Roach said she would push for better long-range policy planning, work to sustain services for seniors, restore the city’s economic development department to help bring in new business and get young people more involved with city government.
Goode stressed the need to fully staff Vacaville’s public safety departments, “which is not currently happening,” make the council more responsive to residents’ needs and reach out to the city’s neighborhoods more.
Measures I and M, the former to keep an existing tax and the later to raise a 0.25 percent sales tax, got support from all five candidates. Goode said the money should be spent to sustain what the city has without “growing more bureaucracy.” Mueller said much of it should deal with deferred maintenance needs. Harris said some of it should go to rebuilding economic development efforts. Rowlett supported re-establishing the city’s reserve and Community Development Department. Roach also supported spending on economic development.
All supported trimming city red tape, which candidates said has been a detriment to businesses. Harris pointed out that the city is already working on ways to do that while Goode said Vacaville’s government has gotten a reputation of not being pro-small businesses while catering to big-box retailers. Muller suggested putting more business support services online and having a mentoring system to help businesses get through the city’s approval processes.
Rowlett and Roach broached the idea of consolidating some of the city’s departments as a cost-saving and efficiency measure because the city’s work force is smaller after the last few years of cutbacks.
When asked about privatizing some city services, Roach and Rowlett were cool to the idea. Goode said it should be a viable option. Mueller said it could work if carefully monitored. Harris said the city is already doing some privatization of some services and it can work if done correctly.
Read the original article in the Daily Republic.