Kelly Chastain

Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/31/2010 07:41:14 PM PST

COLTON – Aiming to continue work that started in her first term, Mayor Kelly Chastain has decided to run for re-election. She’s certain opponents will challenge her voting record, but is confident she’ll be re-elected.

“I know I will be attacked for my stand on the need to raise utility and water rates, but I’m not ashamed and will stand by those votes as it was necessary to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of water and electricity to our residents,” she said.

In March, Chastain and three council members voted in favor of raising electric rates by about 17 percent. In May, she and four council members voted to raise water rates incrementally each year until 2012. Upon the final increase customers will pay more than double what they paid for water and service fees before the increase.

Like any politician, Chastain has supporters and those who oppose her views.

Pete Carrasco, a resident and chairman of the Colton Public Library board of trustees, disagrees with Chastain’s support of the Super Block and Pellissier Ranch, two project areas planned as multi-use developments near the southwest city limits. He says leadership should focus on attracting new businesses rather than investing in plans for “pie in the sky projects” that don’t fit the city’s income demographics.

“I think the whole community is looking for a new approach, more of a realistic vision that takes into account the makeup of the community,” Carrasco said.

Utilities Commissioner Kirk Larsen said he’s satisfied with Chastain’s voting record and supports her views on economic development. He said new development plans will bring jobs and much-needed sales tax to a city that has seen its income base dwindle during the recession.

He said Chastain has helped establish a teen center, bike path and improvements to Veteran’s Park. She spends time in the community and represents the city on a slew of regional commissions, he said.

“She’s been a visible mayor,” Larsen said. “She’s all over the place making appearances.”

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