In the first of a three-part series, we are interviewing the three newly sworn-in city council members to get their thoughts and reactions to the issues that face the citizens of Wellington in 2018.  Joe Soria was the first one to be interviewed.  
Starting with his election, Soria says he was “overwhelmed.  Humbled.  I had no idea.  If I was lucky and got 60 votes, I would have felt good.”
He says he is sure his other newly-elected Council Members, Kevin Dodds and Jennifer Heersche, felt the same way.  
“Tax payers wanted new voices in.  I take that very, very seriously.  This is not something you can have fun with and make mistakes with other people’s money.  You are talking about the citizens of Wellington.”
As soon as he got to work a few weeks ago, he quickly discovered that things were “more complexed” than he thought they would be.  As one of the new people on the council, he has been “sitting back and taking notes; learning before I make any suggestions.”  Soria used to work for Pepsi Cola, and he knew from his experiences there that things could take a while, and one has to wait for them to eventually happen.
His first workshop session was just last week, and he found it “informative and educational.”  He said it “went like I thought it would go for his first one.  I sat back and just listened to the people who have been there before me, and try not to jump in on things I do not know a lot about.”
One thing Soria wants to do is stop overspending.  He thinks that the council needs to “get back to reality.  The citizens of Wellington do not work for us, we work for them.  Their voices are sometimes not taken into consideration.  It is why I decided to run.”
Soria goes on to say, “My dad told me I needed to run.  People were coming up to me and asking ‘why don’t you run?’  My dad loved this city.  He thought this would be good to get some young blood in and voice their opinion.  People asked my dad if he would run, but he said he was too old,” Joe finishes saying with a chuckle.  
Soria believes that “streets and waterlines are our big issues.  We have to take care of our infrastructure, and find the money to pay for the streets.  There is something like 61-62 miles of waterlines that need to be replaced and we need to find the money to replace them.”  He emphasizes that “our streets need to be fixed.  We do not have the money, but we have to find a way.”
One way Soria suggests is to use “bonds, anything. We have five to seven bonds out right now, with three of them to be paid off in 2022.  We need to concentrate on paying off those bonds and not on things we do not need.”
One of those things we do not need right now, Soria suggests, is the issue of automated trash.  Joe feels that the issue with the “streets and waterlines are more important.”
Joe says that Council Member Dodds “had the idea of just refurbishing a trash truck, costing 50-60,000$.  It would be another option.  The people with the trash cans in the alleys would still get service.”  Soria feels that “going down both sides of the street twice is not saving time.  We also won’t save time having to take care of people who cannot get out to the curb.”
Above all, Joe stresses that “right now, we do not have the tax base.  The automated trash service should be pursued another time.”  
“What happened to the common sense?  We need to slow down.  We have the college, development on the west side with the streets, and out at the airport.  We build, build, build, but no one is coming in yet.”  He goes on to say, “Living all these years and being retired, and seeing people struggle, you have to take care of the people of this town.  This is their tax dollars. Sometimes, you gotta listen to the tax payers.”
In conclusion, Soria believes that “we need to watch our spending, get people and industries in here.  Get our young people back.  This is a semi-retired town.  I have a grandson working here in town; I would like to see him stay.  With the college, that will help bring in younger generations and have them stick around.  We need to get this town going again.  We’ve gotta find a way. With overspending, we need to get back to basics and get the town going again.”