Prout has goals, challenges as mayor
January 21, 2021 | View PDF
New Mayor Cathy Prout has some goals for the city as Shafter continues to grow during the pandemic.
With a 5-0 vote, the council selected Prout to serve as the city's mayor for the next two years. Prout said there are some challenges facing the city and she is looking forward to working with the council and discussing the ways Shafter can move forward.
"We are discussing having a strategic planning meeting that will give the group a chance to voice concerns and ways that Shafter can address those concerns, as well as making opportunities for its residents to thrive," Prout said.
The city started the effort to help small businesses by offering the BEAR program, a program that gives businesses up to a 75% break on permits and fees associated with expanding and building. It is a little early to tell how the program has helped the community, with several businesses applying for the program, Prout said.
"I know of several businesses that have applied. We will have to see how the program succeeds in keeping and attracting businesses to downtown," she said.
Prout said that every city faces similar challenges in this time of the pandemic, with revenues being affected county and state wide. But, with the strong reserves that Shafter has, and the sales tax revenue income that Shafter generates because of its different businesses, the city does not face such an uncertain future than similar cities, she said. Although Shafter has and will see a decrease in sales tax revenue because of the pandemic, it still has strengths that can push them forward.
"We have some challenges facing us going forward, but we also have a lot to be proud of and a lot of great things going here that we can come together and keep growing," commented Prout.
One change that Prout wants to see is the return of holding City Council meetings in person.
"We received the funds to get the equipment necessary for us to hold our meetings at the Shafter Vets Hall, with the cameras available and equipment necessary to hold the meetings in person."
Currently, they are still holding the meetings via Zoom and can be viewed by the residents on Youtube.
Prout said that it is still early to tell what specifically will be changing, but she said that the council will decide how the city will move forward as a unit together.