The headline said it all, "Victorville Eyes Layoffs." It's not surprising given the economic state. But while Victorville's city manager is proposing, and perhaps wisely so, that the city facing a $13.4 million budget deficit slash $1.5 million in pay and benefits, Hesperia's financial situation looks pretty good.


In fact, Hesperia is still looking to spend millions -- actually $42 million -- on street paving next fiscal year. Although that's down $4 million from last year, it's a significant investment in improving our city.


But the city is in good shape because people like City Manager Mike Podegracz and Assistant City Manager Brian Johnson -- and the City Council which oversees them -- practice fiscal prudence.


Hesperia continues to trim the fat where possible. The city is doing what it can to eliminate employee overtime, and several vacant positions aren't being filled. The future is looking good for those of us on the south side of Bear Valley.


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Speaking of the city, last week Star columnist Richard Doornbos and I met with Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith at City Hall after Richard sent the mayor and City Council members a letter of his suggestions. Richard's letter addressed a wide range of concerns including traffic on Main Street, commuter flow on Rock Springs Road, the completition of the Ranchero Road project, a suggestion to add railroad crossings near Lemon Street and Lime Street and more.


The mayor was extremely gracious and spent more time answering questions and talking about the city's goals and accomplishments than either Richard or I had anticipated. It was a very worthwhile visit, and both Richard and I appreciated the mayor's time.