Dunsmuir mayor eyes projects for 2016 and beyond

Lauren Steinheimer
Dunsmuir City Council member Dave Keisler, left, received a plaque of appreciation for his two years as mayor from new mayor Josh Spurlock during the last regular meeting of 2015 on Dec. 17.

Building trust, open communication and a clear sense of teamwork while strengthening the city’s economy and infrastructure are top priorities for Dunsmuir’s new mayor, Josh Spurlock.

As far as big projects for the city, Spurlock said he’s looking forward to a major water infrastructure upgrade to replace Dunsmuir’s old and leaky pipes.

Before that can happen, the city needs to complete a Prop 218 process to increase water rates, which Spurlock hopes will be completed within the year.

Other big dreams Spurlock has for the City of Dunsmuir, such as bringing fiber broadband to the area and possibly installing solar panels at Mott Airport, are probably farther off in the future.

Growing up, Spurlock said he never imagined he’d be the mayor of Dunsmuir one day, mostly because he’s from Utah. He moved to Dunsmuir almost three years ago after landing a job with FireWhat?, where he continues to work as social media specialist.

He got busy giving back to the City of Dunsmuir right away. He’s been volunteering with the local fire department for a little over two years and serving on city council for one year.

Spurlock acts as city representative on four committees: public safety, economic development and tourism, public facilities and services, and the airport committee.

The main focus of the public safety committee is to keep Dunsmuir safe from crime and other threats, such as wildfires.

The economic development and tourism committee is busy working with various organizations in an effort to bring fiber optic broadband to the area and hopefully attract more businesses.

The public facilities and services committee recently took charge of sprucing up Veteran’s Fountain, which was falling into disrepair due to a tree growing nearby.

The airport committee is working on obtaining funding to make necessary upgrades to the airport.

In the past year, Spurlock said he’s observed a shift in the citizen’s response to their local government. “I’d say the big change that occurred can be summarized as trust,” he said.

He recalled some of the more heated city council meetings that occurred two years ago, with people shouting and pounding their fists on the table. “Now when people show up to meetings, they tell us to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Spurlock said his greatest accomplishments over the past year include helping to bring stability to the city and hiring interim city manager Randy Johnsen, who everyone has confidence in. “We’re here to take care of business and make sure things get done,” he said.

Spurlock said he’s impressed by the teamwork demonstrated by Dunsmuir’s current city council members. “I’m very happy with how open this team of council members is. There’s a lot of give and take. I think we all share the desire to achieve what’s best for Dunsmuir and preserve the businesses here,” he said.

As far as enhancing the level of communication between council and citizens, Spurlock said, “There’s always room for improvement with communication. I feel like I’m out in the public pretty frequently, seeking out connections with citizens and listening to what people have to say.”

“As new mayor, I’m finding that it’s really beneficial to actively search for occasions to interact with the public. I think the most important thing is for people to know we all have an open door policy. We’d love to hear what people have to say. My hope is that we will continue to have people’s trust and continue to serve the people of Dunsmuir.”