Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Councilmember Ryan Toussaint, a native of the Santa Ynez Valley and a Solvang resident since 2006, is announcing his bid to become Mayor of the City of Solvang. He was elected in the 2016 Solvang City Council race and has served as Mayor Pro Tem during his tenure. Toussaint owns and operates an Information Technology business that serves Santa Barbara County.
Mr. Toussaint is running for office to provide new energy and leadership in a period of new opportunities and challenges. His goals include stabilizing water rates, enforcing budget discipline, improving economic growth and finding solutions to Solvang’s traffic problems.
Within his first few months of serving as a councilmember, Toussaint audited the 2016 water rate proposal to raise Solvang water rates by nearly 35%, uncovering over $12 million in non-existent expenses in the process. His discovery was a big win for both the residents and businesses in Solvang, putting an immediate stop to a rapidly increasing water rate schedule. Councilman Toussaint’s review of the budget also unearthed rapidly accelerating cost centers and necessitated the action of the Council to begin addressing the City’s unfunded pension liabilities, upcoming state unfunded mandates as well as increasing costs in all services contracted from the County. Today, the Council needs to begin taking a longer-term approach to finances and goals in order to prevent further taxation on the citizens it serves. As Mayor, Mr. Toussaint will make sure budget and taxation issues are addressed openly and directly.
One of the biggest concerns Toussaint has for Solvang residents and rate payers for water is a new unfunded mandate from the State, Storm Water Management. The City Council could choose to tack this expense onto the rate payer’s waters bills. Toussaint believes this can be addressed with strong financial planning and leadership to avoid further increases to our water rates that are already too high.
The current Mayor has run un-opposed since 2010. Councilman Toussaint feels it is now time to give Solvang residents the choice for a new face. With a strong vision for obtaining Fiscal Responsibility, creating Strategic Partnerships, stabilizing Water Rates, reducing Traffic Congestion and improving Solvang’s Quality of Life, he believes Solvang’s residents and businesses can thrive while at the same time protect Solvang’s special small-town character.