Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/09/2012 10:07:35 PM PST

RIALTO – A new City Council will be sworn in Tuesday while a taxpayer surcharge is expected to go.

Veteran council member Deborah Robertson will be sworn in as mayor, replacing former Mayor Grace Vargas on the dais. She will be joined by council newcomer Shawn O’Connell.

O’Connell said he is excited and expects several relatives and friends to be in attendance.

“There’s high expectations on what I plan on accomplishing during my term,” O’Connell said.

He said his immediate goal is to work with senior citizens who are going to “have a hard time paying for” the recent water rate increases the council adopted this year.

O’Connell will also be studying a budget that could be facing a $22 million structural deficit if the utility-users tax isn’t extended by voters next year.

“It’s our job as a City Council, besides making the tough decisions, we have to be fiscally responsible,” O’Connell said.

Related to the budget, the council is scheduled to consider dropping the perchlorate surcharge that ratepayers have paid since 2004.

The surcharge was adopted as a means to help pay for perchlorate contamination cleanup at a 160-acre site on the north end of the city, as well as ensure drinking water is safe in Rialto.

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