Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Commitment Made, Commitment Kept

In my previous post, Our Walk Counts More Than Our Talk, we discussed everything our City Council, city staff, and I have done over the last two years. I am asking for one more term to finish the work we have started. We have laid the foundation for our city to have development growth and to further secure the quality of life we value through infrastructure improvements, ordinance revisions, and park improvements.

As citizens, we should have the expectation that every individual running for office will make clear to you their goals and expectations for when they are elected to serve as your representative. A real strategic look at what they plan to do should be expressed to you honestly. The past two years I have kept the commitments I made when I was first elected, but there is still much that needs to be done to keep us going in the right direction. Some of those items are as follows:

  • Maintain our citizens’ quality of life that we all value.
    • Focus on helping to develop and implement the new Neighborhood Watch programs local volunteers are organizing
    • Continue to seek every opportunity to adequately pay our police officers and provide them proper equipment to maintain our quality law enforcement
    • When discussing any development possibilities; we must take into account the impact on infrastructure, crime rate, city hall staffing, and any other variables to make sure our safety and values are top priorities.
  •  Help our Downtown succeed for decades into the future
    • For several years, our city has taken a back seat to helping our downtown. There is no question, these buildings are privately owned and should remain so going forward. This does not mean our community does not have a vested interest in the success of our Downtown. Our City and Downtown both recently approved and have started the process to implement Main Street Revitalization Program into our community. This program will bring together all the different groups trying to help mold a better Downtown and assist them where needed to work toward one common goal – maintain a priceless and historical Downtown and bring long-term success to those business owners.
  • Improve our infrastructure
    • Finish the Country Club project as promised. This project will repave and add sidewalks/curbs from 7 Highway to Mulberry St.
    • Maintain our strong street overlay budget. We have budgeted $540,000 to our overlay fund for this year and have added an additional Public Works employee to the budget to allow more individuals to help improve our existing infrastructure.
    • Increase our water/sewer budget to address our aging water and sewer lines
    • Continue working with MoDOT on ways to improve traffic flow on 7 Highway. With more houses being built in our community, we must look for opportunities of improvement to manage traffic flow through our town.
  • Create a structured plan for growth
    • Work with our Planning and Zoning committee and fellow citizens to develop a community 2030 plan that will guide our Council in making decisions when developers begin developing our currently undeveloped land
    • Use our newly passed Economic Development Plan to begin a concerted recruiting effort for business that will benefit and fall into accordance with our 2030 strategy as mentioned above
  • Lower/maintain our tax rate
    • Work closely with all governing bodies responsible for the tax burden on our community to prevent any increases to our personal property or sales tax rates
    • Use our new Economic Development Plan to broaden our tax base through commercial growth and/or possible industrial growth to add needed revenue to the city in an effort to reduce our overall sales tax. Although the city receives a small portion of the 9.475% applied to our community(only 2.75%); the city is going to have to be the one to do what we can to find unique ways to lower that burden.
    • We will NOT raise our personal property tax through raising the debt levy. There is no question avoiding this action will result in the city’s budget to remain tight. That being said, I do believe there are opportunities to reduce spending if needed. We are operating at a balanced budget with many great projects moving forward in our community.
  • Grow and maintain our parks
    • Continue working with Missouri State Parks to get the Rock Island Trail off of Cardinal and 58 Highway coming into town and on the actual rail bed as promised
    • Continue developing improved relationships in town with our other local entities, such as the school district, to better optimize our community’s tax base for needs that add value to our quality of life such as recreation through open lines of communication.
  • Create better tools for our citizens to get access to city services, programs, and assets
    • Build a better website with app capability to make for easier access from your phone to pay your water/sewer/trash bill
    • Provide easier access to create work orders for pot holes and other issues
  • Make it easier for our citizens to get stuff done
    • Finish our Unified Development Ordinance which will make it easier for our builders/developers to understand our code, and for future councils to decide on exceptions. This ordinance will also make it easier for you to find exactly what it will take to add a deck onto your house, or to put in a swimming pool as examples.
    • Continue to work with developers with our new policy to identify specific commercial/industrial growth that will benefit our town and keep our quality of life.
    • Work with our local business to find what codes or ordinances are preventing them from doing more business in our town and get them repealed or corrected.
  • In addition, we will continue to work with our fellow citizens seeking any and all ideas and opportunities that can be implemented to benefit our community.

None of what I mentioned can be done by me alone. It is extremely important to me to work hand-in-hand with our City staff, our many boards and committees, our elected City Council, and you, my fellow citizens, to identify the goals of all for the community – develop a plan for the Council to focus on – and implement said plan going forward. Curveballs will come across our plate, I’m sure. I have all the confidence in the world that our City is prepared to handle anything that comes our way. When I make a commitment to you, I promise to keep that commitment.
I am proud to be from and the Mayor of Pleasant Hill, Missouri. Excited is an understatement when I think about our future, and I am asking you for one more term to allow the Council and I to finish the many projects we have started. We are on the right path, and I hope you will allow me to continue to be a part of the journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

It Has Been an Honor

I started my first job with the city of Pleasant Hill as a laborer in the Parks and Recreation Department. I painted lines on baseball fie...