Los Banos council, mayor sworn in

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 6, 2012 

With the Nov. 6 election now certified, City Council reorganized Wednesday during its regular meeting.

Councilwoman Deborah Lewis was the only new face on the dais and took the oath of office along with re-elected Mayor Mike Villalta and Councilwoman Elizabeth Stonegrove, who will serve as mayor pro-tem.

Former Councilman Joe Sousa no longer has a seat after a failed run at mayor.

Like many municipalities, the Los Banos City Council is looking for economic development. The city's unemployment rate hovers around 15 percent, and the council faces closing a $641,000 deficit.

Tom Faria, who along with Scott Silveira remains on the council, has experience with council reorganization.

"I always have high hopes," he said, adding government moves "like a big ship -- it moves gently."

Lewis ran on a campaign of making Los Banos friendly to new business.

She praised the last council's decision to suspend regional transportation impact fees in January.

Lewis credited the decision with the expansion of the Walmart store and the Black Bear Diner, and the arrival of Les Schwab Tire and Dollar General.

Stonegrove, now in her second term, urged residents to be involved in community events.

In their first meeting as a new council, the members voted on two annexations and a business license, and set committees to interview for vacant commissions seats.

Lewis, who won her third go at a council seat, thanked voters after taking the oath of office.

"It warms my heart to be a part of the City Council," Lewis said, "and the work is about to begin."

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

enterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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