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By Susan Wiggins
Tehachapi City Mayor 

From the Mayor

 


As most of you have noticed, it’s election season, which is hard to avoid unless you live on a deserted island. As with most campaigns, those who are running want to be elected to the office which they seek.

Everyone has their own mantra and claim that choosing them in November will be the best choice. When all this rhetoric begins and then rumors get added in along with it, it is hard to see the “forest for the trees.”

Most of you know that I am currently the mayor of Tehachapi and I have served on the council for nearly six years. My term as mayor will end following this election when the council will choose its next mayor.

I have been a journalist off and on for over 40 years, and because of that I can’t stand it when the facts are skewed or just wrong. I am not advocating that you choose one candidate over another in this city race. I just want to “stick to the facts,” as one old editor advised me many years ago. So here they are:


-The city has a balanced budget this fiscal year, and has had one for many years. Money is tight and the budget is reviewed and checked almost on a daily basis to ensure it stays balanced.

-The cities accounts are audited on a regular basis as dictated by state law. An independent audit firm does the work and submits the reports to the state.

-The city is reported to have “hidden money” placed somewhere and this amount is determined when the council has its “back room meetings.” This has always struck me as funny. I have heard this same comment in almost every election I have covered as a journalist or been involved in as a candidate since 1968 and have found this quote written in very old newspapers I have read. Someday I want someone to lead me to that money. . .


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-The city has written and received over $25 million in grants in the last 12 years. Some grants require matching funds from the city which allows great projects to be accomplished for very little cash from our taxpayers.

-The city really does operate with transparency. Every two weeks an agenda is issued that includes a list of all the checks written by the city to pay its bills. Reports are included to further show what the city is doing. The agenda is posted online and is available at city hall.

-Tourism continues to increase. Did you try to drive downtown during the Apple Festival -the place was packed, and I only saw two people I knew, the rest were from all over Kern County and beyond. People eat in our restaurants; fill up hotels, and buy gas here.


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-Development continues. Two vacant older buildings downtown are currently in escrow to bring more businesses to downtown Tehachapi.

-The city does not spend thousands of dollars on the Gran Fondo. A report on what money was brought into the community is planned to be given at a future council meeting.

-And just as a reminder, I own a home in the city and pay taxes on that property every year, just like you all do. As part of the council I am not going to be reckless and cost me a lot more money on my taxes.


-Questions about these comments or any other topic can be addressed by calling the City Manager Greg Garrett at city hall or any of us on the council. Our numbers are “in the book.”

 
 

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