Frank Ferry installed as Mayor, vows to devote time to connecting children and teens to City Hall.In a quick and mostly cheery Tuesday evening meeting, the City Council said good bye to 2008 and to Mayor Bob Kellar. His year-long term as Mayor ended , and he resumed his normal City Council duties.
In his place, 11-year Council member Frank Ferry took the position, and followed his oath of office by thanking his family, his fellow Council members and the community.
He was quick to look to the future, and he didn’t sugarcoat the challenges facing the City in the next 12 months.
“It’s…not an easy year,” he said, noting that the economic downturn has presented new obstacles.
However, he also noted that the City’s history of responsible management has made it possible to work through the tough times.
“The decisions made in good times were more important than the decisions we make now,” he assured, underlining that the City put aside a 15% reserve and kept staff numbers lean.
This, he said, will allow some major City projects to continue, even despite the overall slimming of the budget.
Projects like the new Santa Clarita Sports Complex additions , the Cross Valley Connector and the new library planned for downtown Newhall will continue their planning and construction phases.
And as every new Mayor does during the year, Ferry has chosen a special project in which to take the helm; connecting our kids with the City government.
He calls the program “Mayor Dude,” and he announced that it will increase the City’s outreach to local students. Ferry will personally visit schools throughout the year, and the students will be actively recruited to participate in community projects like River Rally, Make a Difference Day and others.
Ferry believes that by communicating with this Valley’s youth, he can set a connection between them and their hometown. This, he hopes, will encourage them to take the lead in guiding the future of Santa Clarita.
“I want to one day get these kids up on this dais, or heading up our non-profits,” he said.
Ferry will serve the next year as Mayor, and Council member Laurene Weste assumed the position of Mayor pro Tem.
In other Council news, The Henry Mayo/G&L Realty campus expansion plan was finalized, as the Developer Agreement was passed by a 3-2 vote. Bob Kellar and Marsha McLean dissented.
Public access television also got a shot in the arm, as the City Council unanimously voted to award a 6 month operational contract to SCV TV. Headed by Leon Worden, SCV TV has the support of a coalition of local media and educational outlets who are working with City staff to develop a plan to enrich the station with local content. The discussions and planning of the coalition will continue over the next 6 months, while the City works with SCV TV to purchase the necessary equipment to run Santa Clarita’s Public Access Channel 20 using grants. As a result of a 2006 California bill, channel 20 will come under City control on January 1st.
The next Santa Clarita City Council meeting will be on January 13th.