Candidates answered questions covering such topics as city involvement, land encroachment, high-voltage power lines, how they stay involved in the community, infrastructure fees and more.
About 100 people attended the forum at City Hall to hear candidates Debra Kay Hernandez, Ray Marquez, Rossana Mitchell and Jesse Singh.
The special election will replace Councilman Bill Kruger who submitted his letter of resignation Sept. 4. An all-mail special election on March 5 will be held to fill the former councilman's seat.
Candidates were asked Monday night if they would consider contracting out services currently performed by city employees and if so, what criteria would they use to determine what is best for the city?
Singh said the city's top priority should be the cost-effectiveness.
"If we keep things in-house (it has to) be because we're doing it in the most efficient way possible. I don't think that we should, right off the bat, be consolidating government in order to start outsourcing some of our tasks," he said.
"But we can certainly look at innovative ways to get certain tasks done outside if it means cost efficiency for our residents."
Hernandez said she doesn't think cost should be the overriding concern.
"The main purpose of the city is to interact with its citizens and provide the environment that we've all moved here to enjoy," she said.
"While it may not be as cost-effective to keep certain things in-house, it maybe in the best interest of the citizens ... that the services are being performed at the level of expectation of the citizens."
Mitchell said "you have to be loyal within your own community, and I would not be part of that (contracting out services) unless it's absolutely necessary," she said.
"And if we couldn't find the qualifications needed within the city, yes, but other than that I do believe we have to work with what we have with in our communities and that includes when we do contract out."
Marquez said the biggest expense for most cities is pubic safety. When a city has their own police and fire it's about 70 percent of their total budget, he said.
"We are unique, we do contract with San Bernardino County sheriff so there is savings, and if not it would be twice as much. We do have a fire district, so there is no cost to the city whatsoever," Marquez said, adding it's because the Chino Valley Fire District generates its own funding through property taxes.
"At this point today I would say (not to contract out) because there isn't any big one group that's doing one thing."
Each candidate was given a chance to provide a two-minute opening statement, followed by the question and answer portion and ending with closing statements.
The city will spend $135,000 from its General Fund for the election.
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