Thursday, June 24, 2021

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Three Williams residents vying for City Council

The Williams City Council race is heating up for the Nov. 3 election with three people running for two open seats.

Former Mayor John Troughton and Roberto Mendoza are seeking to retain their incumbent positions, but they have challenger Don Parson wanting to unseat one of them.

The three candidates met on stage at the Education Village, in Williams, Oct. 7 for the last of five forums, hosted by the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce.

“I decided to run for office this time because I feel there is a need,” said Parson, who currently serves on the County of Colusa Planning Commission. “It’s time to roll up my sleeves and serve the community of Williams and the citizens to make this a better place to live.”

Troughton, who was born and raised in Williams, has been on the City Council for 12 years, running in 2008 largely because of reported improprieties in the city finance department.

“I learned to talk about finance in the City of Williams,” he said. “There were a lot of things that happened that were not good. We spent money that we didn’t need to spend.”

Mendoza came on the council in 2016, running as a member of Spencow, a group that has worked to encourage the Hispanic community to take greater interest in their local government.

Mendoza said he often has a differing opinion from other members of the council, and that he does not always agree with the majority.

“I appreciate everyone,” he said. “We all have differences of opinions. Some will vote for me; some will vote for someone else. It’s free will.”

He insists, however, that he works only for the citizens of the city and will continue to welcome the public to share their concerns with the City Council.

While the Williams candidate forum did not draw a particularly large crowd, the three fielded a large number of questions, including how to spur economic development, with three questions left on the table when time was called some 90 minutes later.

All three agreed the city is facing an uncertain financial future, and that infrastructure is the city’s greatest need.

“We have an aging sewer system,” Troughton said.

As for solving the city’s street problems, candidates were divided.

Parson and Troughton said business park development and home development would increase city coffers. Mendoza is the only member of the council to advocate borrowing the money to fix the roads.

In addition to selecting two members of the City Council from a field of three candidates on Nov. 3, Williams voters will also decide the fate of Measure B, a half-cent sales tax proposal.

If passed, the measure would increase local sales taxes from 7.5 cents to 7.75 cents on every $1 (or 5 cents on every $10 dollars) spent on general goods, including gas sales.

If the measure passes, city officials estimate that it will provide approximately $600,000 annually in additional funding which could be used for street and sidewalk repair, maintaining public safety, and providing funding to recreational activities and repairing recreational facilities.

Colleen Wrysinski and Donna Critchfield were the moderators for the forums in Williams and Colusa for school board and city council candidates. Sue Gibbs was the timekeeper for all five events.

Wysinski thanked those who attended one or more Candidate’s Night.

“It shows your willingness to become informed voters,” she said.

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