RIO VISTA -- At last, Rio Vista has a new city manager following a search process that lasted almost two years.

Tim Chapa, who is currently the city manger in the Kern County city of Arvin, will fill the post starting in early December under a 5-to-0 vote taken Tuesday. The job pays $135,000 annually.

The position has been filled by a series of three temporary and one acting appointment since council members voted two years ago not to renew the contract of former city manager Hector De La Rosa when it expired in April 2012.

Last year, Bob Gorson, the former city manager of Taft, also in Kern County, was being considered for the post. But the search process was restarted after Gorson was criticized in a grand jury report for violating a city policy when he paid an employee for accrued vacation time, a right reserved for the Taft City Council. The second search process resulted in 38 applicants and seven finalists who were interviewed.

"We chose him as our top candidate on Oct. 2," Mayor Norman Richardson said Wednesday.

Hiring details had to be worked out before the council could vote on the appointment, he said.

The Delta city has a population of 8,200 residents who live in an seven-and-a-half square mile area.

Having Chapa take the job as permanent city manager will help stabilize the city, Vice Mayor Constance Boulware said. "We are very excited and it's a good thing for the city to have someone to help us move forward," she said.

Chapa's experience with managing public works, in addition to his all-around experience, is a plus for Rio Vista in that the city is embarking on a plan to improve its water and sewer infrastructure to comply with state regulations.

Rio Vista's economic outlook has improved since a couple of years ago when it was struggling financially as a result of a reduced general fund from lower property taxes. The improved picture is the result of new homes going up at the Trilogy retirement community and voter approval in November 2012 of Measure 0, a three-quarter cent sales tax measure, Boulware said.

"The general fund is looking much better," she said, adding that passage of Measure 0 is helping the city build up its police and fire departments and its reserves.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.