Cook noted that the previous year had featured the council grappling with issues that at times saw the panel, “All going different ways and we were able to shout and argue,” and, “Then walk out of here, not even talk about the meeting and go get a Coke.”
Cook told the council he appreciated their support.
Several public speakers earlier in the meeting accompanied by more than a dozen others had addressed the council on the rising rates of city utilities, specifically the sewer processing surcharge, which had almost doubled to $1.12 per 100 cubic feet effective November 1.
“I sympathize with the citizens,” said Cook. “I’m also paying for it,” and he noted a rate study has been launched looking for solutions to lowering the fees, although there are “no promises.... “
He thanked staff for their support and noted that Santa Paula is “Going to be that bright star in the sky,” especially with Limoneira East Area 1 and East Area 2 residential and commercial development in the near future.
It is a project that “Staff is working hard on even though we are understaffed,” in various departments.
“I thank my wife Sally for putting up with this now for three years and several years prior,” and Cook noted that council service, “takes all of us as a unit, a strong family unit and social unit within the community.”
The council is elected to serve the people and Cook urged that residents never hesitate to stop council members to discuss issues and concerns.
“Even if we don’t speak Spanish, still stop us,” as someone to translate is always nearby.
“I hope Santa Paula will move forward,” rapidly to 2014-2015 when “Limoneira is coming on board,” with the start of 1,500 residential units and commercial development and “That will be so positive.”
Of those struggling to pay rising utility bills, “We all are residents up here and we feel your pain,” said Cook.
A lifelong Santa Paula resident, Cook is retired from the Santa Paula Police Department and later the Ventura County Public Defender’s office. He also served the city as a Planning Commissioner from 1993 to 1998.