Some of the hottest topics at Monday night's Mayoral Candidate Public Forum were: Measure N, water issues, fiscal responsibility, senior and low-income housing and transportation.
This was the third forum in the series of candidate nights hosted by the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce.
Mayoral candidates Steve Alexander, current Council member Michael Ceremello and Incumbent Jack Batchehlor were each given time to sway voters as to why they would be the best fit to serve Dixon.
We'll post answer to each question shortly. Let's start with the candidates' introductions:
Alexander opened by saying there are four critical issues facing Dixon: fiscal accountability, sky rocketing utility bills, the need for a voice of reason, and transparency.
"We can never allow expenditures to exceed revenue," says Alexander, "majority of revenues come from property taxes and sales taxes. These have diminished by a few million dollars over the past five years."
Alexander says in order to maintain the quality of life we so enjoy in Dixon, we need to increase revenues by encouraging, not discouraging, new high paying jobs to town.
"You better hold your feet to the ground because bankrupt Dixon Solano Water Authority, who provides some of the cheapest water in the state to 1,800 Dixon homes was voted on by a razor thin 3/2 vote to be taken over by the city," he points out. "Where's the money gonna come from? Your pocket book."
According to Alexander, Dixon's 2,800 Cal Water customers are paying the fees for the changes, as they are paying some of the highest water rates in the state.
He ended his opening statement saying there is a need for a voice of reason to address real issues, "Families, seniors, kids and grand-kids deserve a better kind of leadership than they have been getting. This is your town; not the politicians' town."
Ceremello opened by listing his credentials, saying he moved to the area in 1991 to get an MBA from UC Davis, after earning three degrees from three colleges in the UC Nevada Reno system, in Economics, Geology, and Plant Science Degrees.
Ceremello said Alexander's reference to 1,800 DSWA customers is actually more than 2,600.
He said the City has an exclusionary view point rather than an inclusionary one.
"This should not be government of the few, by the few and for the few, and yet it continues to be," he said. 'Measure N opponents are fighting to keep the public from knowing what is their right to know, and giving misinformation, disinformation and outright distorting the facts. It's about serving the public and that's what I've been doing and will continue doing as your new Mayor."
He says the general plan needs to be reviewed and updated and he believes the City can be a lot more business friendly than in the past.
"Debate is the purpose of the people on this council," said Ceremello, with the goal being to fully educate the people of Dixon on issues.
Incumbent Mayor Batchelor began with, "In the last four years, Dixon has experienced and survived difficult economic times, with the reduction of property tax, sales tax and the recent loss of redevelopment, coupled with the fact that no new construction has begun in Dixon since 2007... Dixon has maintained a level of service that has ensured that our community remains a safe and great place to raise our families. This fact is a result of the cooperation of our city employees, strong leadership from our city manager, finance director and senior manager, with all of the city employees agreeing to salary and wage reduction without sacrificing a significant reduction in level of services. All of these factors have allowed for a balanced budget for this fiscal year."
Bachelor listed off his accomplishments: low-income senior housing, 100 new jobs with the expansion of Altec, approaching the final phase to bring water to the Northeast quadrant of the City so that commercial development will be able to happen, working with the members of city council to install solar panels to reduce our energy costs.
"My vision for the next four years will be to see the completion of the first phase of Heritage Commons, the completion of our water well, maintaining our water and waste water departments in full compliance with federal regulations," explains Batchelor, "with a working and up-to-date infrastructure, I envision Dixon capturing more jobs that pay a livable wage. I also want to resume work on the core area drainage project and work to find funding options B & H street."
Batchelor also discussed plans for Dixon to achieve sustainable water supplies by continuing to reduce desalinization levels, and allow for the repair and maintenance of surface streets and sidewalks.