Wow, time flies! It seems like it was just yesterday when I asked for your vote in May of 2015. Yet here we are and I’m once again asking you for your vote.
When I ran two years ago I focused on the need for the city to get its finances under control and told you that I would work to improve the quality of life in our city. As I write you today, I am happy to say that both areas are in better shape today than they were two years ago.
The first year on the council was a learning experience for me. I had to learn two things. First, I needed to articulate my ideas better so that others could fully understand what I was trying to accomplish. Second, and most important, I had to learn to listen better to my colleagues on council to understand their vision for the city. Once I learned to listen better, together we were able to accomplish several things that will help us secure our city’s future.
Over the past two years, council has done the following:
- We produced a balanced budget for the first time in 9 years. We did this without raising your property taxes.
- We increased the Homestead Exemption for over-65 residents to $40,000.
- We increased the Homestead Exemption for disabled residents to $60,000.
- We froze property taxes for both over-65 residents and disabled residents. If you are a member of one of those two groups, your taxes will not increase as long as you remain in your home, unless you make significant improvements that are beyond repairs, such as adding a pool or room.
- A large group of citizens were concerned about the speed limits in the city. Working together with our County Commissioner, we were able to implement a plan to lower speed limits for the entire city, improving both vehicle and pedestrian safety.
- We increased Capital Improvement funding for our Parks without increasing your property taxes.
- We implemented weekly heavy/bulky trash collection, helping beautify our city and making it easier for residents to get rid of unwanted trash.
I say that ‘we’ did the above items because it takes a collective effort to produce the kind of results that we were able to accomplish.
If I am re-elected, I will continue to focus on fiscal responsibility and quality of life. In addition, we will need to select a new city administrator/manager. Our current city administrator, David Stall, has announced his intention to retire in February 2018 and we must prepare for that. In addition, we must focus on several critical infrastructure needs, including a new water tower.
I cannot write about this election without also asking you to Re-Elect Alderman Jerome McKown. Jerome has been a steady, calming influence for this city and without his help, we would have accomplished nothing. I have learned much from Jerome, both on council and about life in general. He is a man of wisdom and compassion and Shoreacres is better today because he lives in our community.
The past year has been challenging to say the least but I decided to run again to continue the improvements that we’ve made financially and to work to secure a better, safer and more prosperous future for our city.