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Mayor announces he will not run for reelection

by Kaden Quinn | November 23, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

With the end of his first term coming to a close, Mayor Rich Green announced he will not be running for reelection.

During the Board of Aldermen's meeting on Nov. 7, Green read from a statement to the city and to city council that he will not be running for a second term. He will vacate the position in five months with the intent to fully retire. He said he would like someone much younger to fill the role and present new ideas to the city.

"I am making this announcement now in the hopes that forward-thinking individuals will agree to serve the city. I will be 72 years old next June and it's time to fully retire," Green said. "We must move forward as a city and change must occur if we are to prosper and succeed."

In the statement he emphasized the improvements that occurred in California during his tenure as well as multiple issues that still need to be addressed. Green said when he entered office, city departments were barely breaking even or were in the red, with most of city funding coming from its electric department.

In a later interview with the Democrat, he said the city had not raised its taxes in many years, with only about 9.5 percent of total county tax billings on people's property are put toward California while the remainder went toward the California R-1 School District and Moniteau County. He said, for that reason, there wasn't enough tax money coming in to run the city.

He said the board modestly raised rates for the trash, water and sewer departments to make them profitable. It also slightly increased some electric charges.

"I'm proud that the aldermen have seen that we need to do that," Green said. "That's a tough call and it's been tough for me, because I know people are on fixed incomes. And it's hard, but I think if people want city services, we've got to be able to pay for them."

Green listed several other accomplishments such as the creation of a historic district in California; the introduction of Greyhound Lines bus services to the community; the designation of California as a POW MIA and Purple Heart City; and an increase in pay for city staff.

He said a major concern for the city moving forward is the condition of its wastewater treatment plant. Green explained the treatment plant is three years past its lifespan and running twice its design capacity. He said 1.8 million gallons a day run through the plant when it was designed for only 1 million. It was also noted much of the equipment needed for maintenance is becoming more outdated.

Along with the problem, the mayor addressed topics such as a further need for annexation; large amounts of failing city equipment that needs to be replaced and paid for; lack of funds to repair city streets; the need for a city manager to keep up departments and take account of issues as they come; and the need to diversify job opportunities in the city.

"My greatest concern for California is the concentration of employees with only three large entities: Cargill, Burgers Specialty Meats and state workers," Green said. "In my opinion, California city government, Moniteau County government, California Progress Inc, Moniteau Regional Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce must work in concert. We must grow or at least maintain our current industries and attempt to attract large employers."

The mayor said he's enjoyed his time in the position working with city departments and other staff. He said city supervisors are a good team who work hard, crossing over into each other's departments when required. Green continued, stating California is full of good people; however, the city needs to grow for it to continue to succeed.

"I love the people here, it's a great town but it needs to move forward," Green said. "I have always been concerned that we rely too much on our big industries. We need to diversify the industries and get industry here. We need to continue to run the city like a business. That's really important and that we recognize that we have to make capital, invest capital for the future. Keep the city moving, so as the city grows, we have the infrastructure to grow with it. That's important."

Green said any candidates wishing to serve as either an aldermen or the mayor can pick up the paperwork at city hall on Dec. 6.

Print Headline: Mayor announces he will not run for reelection

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