Sonora City Councilman Ron Stearn is looking forward to 2012 after a tough year for Sonora.
Stearn was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
First elected in 1964, Stearn is now in his 47th year on the Sonora City Council.
“The size of Sonora was 1.4 square miles, today it´s three square miles. The police department budget back in 1964 was $59,900, recently it was $1.8 million,” said Stearn.
“The US Capitol Christmas Tree coming through the streets of Sonora and being celebrated at the Motherlode Fairgrounds may have been the biggest thing that I’ve ever witnessed for the city. The event gave this area a lot of notoriety.”
As far as retail revenue for Sonora, Stearns mentions a few stores that have opened over the past year and is satisfied that a number of them will now keep sales tax within the city.
Stearn said, “Sales tax pays for probably eighty percent of our budget and keeps the city going. It pays for our police and fire. If a person heads down to the central valley to shop at a store we don’t have, we lose that revenue”.
“We need revenue. 2011 has been a tough year. City employees took a cut in pay and furloughs were mandated outside of police and fire.”
“The State of California keeps taking a lot of our money. In March, we had to write them $178,000 out of our redevelopment funds. We still are paying off part of the firehouse and part of the remodel on City Hall.”
Stearn is optimistic looking ahead towards 2012.
“We’ll always get by”, Stearn says adding that several tough decisions lie ahead.
When asked how he’s held up over the years, Stearn said “Quite a bit of patience, and I had an understanding wife for a long time.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard on AM 1450 KVML each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.