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Perry Beck to retire

New town hall and depot renovation highlight 11-year tenure
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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At last week’s council meeting, Town Manager Perry Beck announced his plan to retire on Sep. 30 after serving at Loomis’ helm for 11 years. Beck, 64, said September will be a good time for him to retire and for someone new to come on because budgeting for the town’s fiscal year will be completed and elections are over. “We’ll miss Perry,” said Loomis Mayor Rhonda Morillas. “He’s been easily accessible for both the council and community. He’s got a lot of common sense and he listens to and hears what you’re saying. Then he tries to do the right thing,” Morillas said. She said she sees the completion of the railroad project as one of Beck’s greatest achievements. The project included the acquisition of the property adjacent to the railroad tracks along Taylor Road, the renovation of the Loomis Train Depot, and the building of the new park and the multi-model station. “We started negotiating with the railroad on this in 1992. Perry was able to get it done. It was a huge process,” Morillas said. Morillas said the council will more than likely decide in February to have a consultant conduct a search for a new town manager. She said the new manager will “have some pretty big shoes to fill.” Beck said he sees the town manager position as desirable for a candidate who wants to work in a “nice, small town, with family living that has real possibilities.” He said the town’s close proximity to the ocean and mountains will be a draw. Perry said he believes the new town hall, the depot renovation and leaving the town with no debt are his greatest accomplishments. “I feel good about what I’ve done. I hope people looking back will say, ‘Things went well on his watch,’” Beck said. Beck said he’s seen significant changes during his tenure. “The economy went from unbridled optimism giving way to the reality of shortages and lack of money. It’s been a roller-coaster ride,” Beck said. According to Beck, the total of all town funds was $5.3 million in 2000 when he came on board. That amount is now $10 million and at one point after the boom times was at $13.5 million. “During the high point we didn’t go crazy with payroll, didn’t incur any debt. We put the money back into the general fund for future use,” Beck said. “The challenge for the new town manager will be to increase revenue or cut expenses,” Beck said. In an interview with the Loomis News in 2007, Beck said he saw his greatest challenge as town manager at the time as trying to maintain the slow growth the council wanted while balancing competing interests in development. Beck also said he liked the small-town feel of Loomis and described the Loomis folks as "down to earth" and "Midwest kind of people." Beck said they were not very different from those in Chandler, Okla. where he served as city manager prior to coming to Loomis. Beck said his plans for retirement are to travel and eventually move back to Oklahoma with his wife, Laura.