Following my answers below to the League of Women Voters Questions for Cleveland Heights City Council candidates, I have provided a link to the answers provided by all 10 City Council candidates, for your convenience. Here are my answers:
1. In order of priority, describe the three most important things your city government must address to improve life in Cleveland Heights and how you will get it done: The three most important things city government must address are a lack of a vision, strategic action plans to achieve the vision, and a commitment to implement the plans. First and foremost, we must improve our financial sustainability, housing and other buildings, and schools’ performance. A vision and planning will guide spending priorities, allocation of resources and measurement of progress. We have amazing assets in this community to build on. Through regional collaboration, we can maintain government services for lower cost. We can attract new residents and high-potential businesses through planning and effective marketing of our city and schools.
2. What can the city do to improve and continue trends toward regionalizing city services?: Cleveland Heights can improve and continue trends toward regionalizing city services by working with communities in the First Suburbs Consortium and with University Circle and Cleveland to develop compatible systems and explore cost-saving collaborations. City employees should be trained how to improve productivity, and rewarded for success; serving on the front lines, they know what is needed and should reap benefit from making improvements. We must put the interests of “customers” (residents) first in decision-making.
3. Do you support the Mayors and Managers Association’s developing plan to share revenue among cities in Northeast Ohio? Please provide reasons for your answer.: The Mayors and Managers Association’s developing plan to share revenue aims to get communities in Northeast Ohio to work more collaboratively and reduce competition for industrial development. The initiative includes regional land planning to preserve green space and to reduce the rising cost of infrastructure development in a region without significant population growth. Revenue sharing is credited for some of the growth in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Proponents say that our real competition is the rest of the world, not our neighbors. Depending on final details, I expect to support this initiative, because it is fair and supports growth.
4. In the current economic climate, what is council doing to ensure the fiscal health of the city besides belt-tightening?: It seems that council is beginning to think about positioning Cleveland Heights for growth as the economy improves, with talk of a business incubator and year-round farms. We need a vision and strategic action plans for our city that include diversification of our tax base, ideally attracting high-potential biomedical and other businesses to our community so that we reduce the tax burden on homeowners. The city has begun to deal with foreclosed and abandoned homes and must become more aggressive in tearing down worthless houses, and repairing and selling homes that can be salvaged to responsible buyers.
5. Given this period of shrinking tax base in our cities, what can you do as a council member to encourage confidence in your community and its future?: Cleveland Heights is relatively well positioned adjacent to University Circle, with its growing educational and healthcare institutions. Our city’s unemployment rate is less than the state average. Cleveland Heights must remain the best place to live. I want to build on our strengths to make an attractive vision reality. We can celebrate our historic homes and the successes of our businesses and citizens. Working together, our city government and schools must make our schools attractive to more families with children who are ready to learn and disciplined. Elect me, and I will engage and empower residents for these positive outcomes.
For the answers to these questions offered by all Cleveland Heights City Council candidates, use this link: http://chuh.net/lwv/vguide/action-202a1.php