Four people have applied to fill the seat of Buellton City Councilman John Connolly, who will officially step down Thursday night at his final meeting.

Connolly said he is moving out of the city to live closer to his Air National Guard base, where his opportunities and responsibilities have escalated to the point that commuting is no longer convenient.

“The only comment I have is that it’s been a pleasure to serve you and the council and the city,” Connolly said June 8. “It’s just been an amazing experience being a part of the growth of this city.

“It’s not easy for us, but we’re excited about the new change, and being able to watch this city grow the way it has been is immensely gratifying because we’ve seen it go in the proper direction, I believe, in the past several years.

“It’s taken the entire city to make that happen and a wonderful City Council,” he added. “I could not have ever worked with a better group of council members and staff as we have, and I just want to let you know how much I appreciate being part of your lives and the growth.”

Council members plan to honor Connolly for his service at the June 22 meeting, then will interview the four who have applied to serve out his unexpired term, which will end Dec. 13, 2018.

If the council decides to appoint one of the four Thursday, that person will be sworn in prior to the start of the July 13 council meeting, City Clerk Linda Reid said in a report to the council.

Applicants to replace Connolly are Art Mercado, Efren Pulido, Shannon Sadecki and Marcilo Sarquilla.

Mercado is a 22-year resident of Buellton who currently is serving his second term as chairman of the city’s Planning Commission. He has been a planning commissioner for eight years, with his current term scheduled to expire in 2018.

A Santa Ynez Valley Union High School graduate, he majored in agricultural business at Cal Poly and equine reproduction at Colorado State University.

He has managed both small and large horse farms in Texas, Kentucky and California and currently is the foreman for an irrigation company.

Pulido is a real estate agent who grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley and has lived in Buellton for three years.

He spent eight years as an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the U.S. Marine Corps and eight years as an explosives specialist with the Department of Homeland Security.

He holds an associate degree in computer-assisted drafting and is certified as an environmental horticulturist.

Sadecki graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and has lived in Buellton for 28 years.

She earned a degree in environmental studies, with an emphasis in urban planning and development, from UCSB, worked for an engineering firm, then earned a master’s in multicultural education and a teaching credential.

For the last 11 years, she has taught high school math and science for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Sarquilla has lived in Buellton for 23 years, served on the Buellton Parks Commission in 2014, has served on the Buellton Union School District board since 1999 and ran for a council seat in the November 2016 election.

In April, he applied to fill the unexpired term of Buellton Councilman Dan Baumann, who also resigned to move out of the area.

He studied computer systems and programming at several colleges and worked as a tape librarian and computer operator for Service Bureau Corp., as a bank processing systems analyst for NCR and as a systems analyst in a number of areas and hardware administrator for Santa Barbara County.

Currently, he is the lead systems administrator, working primarily with the payroll system, for the city of Lompoc.