Wheatland mayor has big shoes to fill
With a new City Council in place, freshly installed Wheatland Mayor Rick West said his first priority is just keeping the small Yuba County city moving forward.
West said he realizes he is stepping into big shoes, with previous Mayor Enita Elphick, who chose not to run for re-election, given much credit for helping turn around the city's finances in the last decade.
"I just hope and pray I can carry on with the leadership legacy that she leaves behind," said West, who was selected for mayor by his fellow city councilmembers earlier this week during the annual reorganization. "I'll do the best work with the councilmembers that I can."
Early next year, West said, he will have a study session with the rest of the council to determine the city's priorities going forward and to discuss how to work as a team.
For now, West said he will concentrate on keeping the city moving forward. But within the next few years, he said, growth is likely to be the major topic for the city.
"It's going to have to happen sooner or later," he said, though when there's pressure for growth, the city has to manage it smartly. "You have to grow and not overburden your services," he said.
But one area where many local governments have had problems in recent years does not look like a concern for Wheatland, he said: About halfway through the fiscal year, the city's budget is in the black.
West, a Wheatland resident since 2001, won a second four-year term on the council in November. Lisa McIntosh, a council member since 2001, also won another term, as did newcomer Joe Henderson.
Jay Pendergraph, whose term expires in 2014, is vice mayor under the reorganization. The other councilman, David Coe, also has an expiring term in 2014.